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  1. #1
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    Default Generally, how long before I should do Tribal Fusion?

    This is the school i go to. Arguably, the best bellydance school in all of Miami:
    http://www.belly2abs.com/class/

    They have it set up where there are three courses that a beginner must take and complete before moving on to the open level stuff (which includes Tribal Fusion, Intermediate Egyptian, etc.): Beginner 1, Beginner 2, & Intro to Intermediate (each spanning 8 weeks, 1 class per week). I am currently taking two Beginner 1 classes and am on the 5th week of both. And I just enrolled yesterday for a third Beginner 1 class in order to to perfect the movement(s) learned earlier before moving on to Beginner 2.

    So my question is:

    How long ideally should a beginner wait before taking up Tribal Fusion?

    I read on here that people who rush into Fusion without a proper Egyptian or ATS base often are stiff, incompetent, and rather ''same-samey''-looking. Looking to avoid that at all costs without spending too much time learning Egyptian though, as I have
    no interest in dancing Egyptian at all.

    I just want to become a Tribal Fusion dancer as fast as possible.
    Last edited by achilles007; 08-05-2015 at 06:54 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Tribal Fusion is a form of bellydance that began in 1996, in San Francisco, California, with Jill Parker, who founded Ultra Gypsy Dance Theater company, the first Tribal Fusion dance company. Tribal Fusion Belly Dance is a modern form of belly dance which has evolved from American Tribal Style belly dancing, blending elements of ATS with any other style of dance. It frequently incorporates elements from Popping, Hip Hop, Breakdance, ‘Egyptian’ or ‘Cabaret’ belly dance, as well as from traditional forms such as Flamenco, Kathak, Bhangra, Balinese, and other folkloric dance styles
    Okay. I'm trying to be polite here but it's not easy. Given the description of Tribal Fusion from the site, I don't see any reason beginning belly dance classes would be any more important than beginning classes in hiphop, Balinese, Flamenco, and "any other style of dance." TF by this description has damn all to do with belly dance, be it Egyptian or Cabaret, and referring to TF as "a modern form of belly dance" makes me wonder what else the advertiser doesn't have a clue about.

    Why the heck don't they just offer a beginning tribal fusion class instead of requiring you to spend hundreds of dollars taking classes that are only vaguely related? Hmm, could the good old bottom line be at work here?
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  3. #3
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    How about asking your teacher/dance school about this? Your teacher know the level required, and could probably give you feedback on what you need to work on too. If there are something particular you need to work on, how about a private lesson to target your most challenging areas with the thing in mind that you'd like to to tribal fusion?
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    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Listen to Daimona. She's nicer than me and gives actual advice as opposed to going on unrequested rants.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

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    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    With any fusion dance you should have a good grasp of the basics. In my experience it takes people about 2 years to get beyond beginner belly dance ie be able to do the basic moves nicely and have some appreciation for actual belly dance as opposed to doing belly dance moves. There are exceptions - some take a little less and some are still doing aerobics with belly dances years later.

    However, as Shanazel says TF can be anything and often has absolutely no connection to belly dance - even in the eyes of the GP (I mean new age music, no hips, and no emotion? WTF?) If you really want to grow in belly dance though, rather than taking three classes from the same school I'd suggest getting a different perspective from other teachers and sign up for workshops. Oh, and listen to lots of Arabic music.

  6. #6
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    How long ideally should a beginner wait before taking up Tribal Fusion?
    In practical terms it depends on the student, and on what level the class is. If their bottom line TF class expects a certain level of knowing some generic basics and being familiar with their terminology, and that's what their beginner classes deliver, then fair enough for them to specify.

    In wider terms I agree that to create a genuine original fusion you need a decent grounding and understanding of the elements you are fusing, and a couple of months of beginner belly dance are never going to do that for the belly dance part, IMHO. But to learn a Tribal Fusion where someone else has done all the fusing already? I don't see why you couldn't learn that from the outset. The downside is that you don't get the depth of understanding of what you are fusing, so when you want to create anything of your own you don't have the same background to draw on as a dancer with wider experience.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    With any fusion dance you should have a good grasp of the basics. In my experience it takes people about 2 years to get beyond beginner belly dance ie be able to do the basic moves nicely and have some appreciation for actual belly dance as opposed to doing belly dance moves. There are exceptions - some take a little less and some are still doing aerobics with belly dances years later.

    However, as Shanazel says TF can be anything and often has absolutely no connection to belly dance - even in the eyes of the GP (I mean new age music, no hips, and no emotion? WTF?) If you really want to grow in belly dance though, rather than taking three classes from the same school I'd suggest getting a different perspective from other teachers and sign up for workshops. Oh, and listen to lots of Arabic music.
    Thanks Kashmir,

    The school that I'm at has multiple teachers teaching same or different classes. As an example: I have four different teachers that I am taking all of my Beginners 1 classes with (one is Tribal Fusion) . I can leave the studio and go somewhere else if that is what you mean also but many other places (as well as workshops) just don't really cater well to beginners. Many advertise as Intermediate and I have a long way to go before that. I would feel intimidated stepping inside of a class that is well above my level and slowing class down. There is one other studio that I know of that teaches beginners though, but I think that place only has one teacher.

    So about two years learning the basics? May I ask if what you mean by basics, do you mean just learning how to do the basic hip circle or Omi well enough to music?

    Or do you include layering, combinations, and more traveling stuff?

    Off the top of my head in the Beginners 1 class we have learned chest/hip circle, hip lift/drop, chest lift/drop, snake arms, choo choo shimmy, twist shimmy, basic egyptian, grapevine upper/lower undulations, hip drop w/kick. Latest class we learned vertical figure 8.

    I won't be seeing any layering or anything more complex until Beginners 2 class, I think.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    In practical terms it depends on the student, and on what level the class is. If their bottom line TF class expects a certain level of knowing some generic basics and being familiar with their terminology, and that's what their beginner classes deliver, then fair enough for them to specify.

    In wider terms I agree that to create a genuine original fusion you need a decent grounding and understanding of the elements you are fusing, and a couple of months of beginner belly dance are never going to do that for the belly dance part, IMHO. But to learn a Tribal Fusion where someone else has done all the fusing already? I don't see why you couldn't learn that from the outset. The downside is that you don't get the depth of understanding of what you are fusing, so when you want to create anything of your own you don't have the same background to draw on as a dancer with wider experience.
    Okay this sounds good. I'm just worried that I will look too much like an Egyptian dancer when I finally am ready to do Fusion and I will have ingrained the wrong ''look'' and will have to spend years starting all over again.

  9. #9
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    OK, so you hate oriental dance and don't want it to taint your tribal purity. The best thing you can do is stay far far away from Middle Eastern anything and do some ATS as foundation. You may find over the years that you learn a few things about the importance of ME music and dance EVEN to tribal fusion leading lights, but right now, you hate it, you don't want to learn it, so don't.

    Just please don't accept any performance gigs in a restaurant or anything where you are expected to represent ME culture and stick to haflas and tribal community shows. You'll be sweet.

  10. #10
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by achilles007 View Post
    Okay this sounds good. I'm just worried that I will look too much like an Egyptian dancer when I finally am ready to do Fusion and I will have ingrained the wrong ''look'' and will have to spend years starting all over again.
    I wouldn't worry too much about looking too much like an Egyptian dancer when you're aiming for fusion and you're still learning the basics (different schools consider the basics differently, btw). The basic belly dance moves are in general the same for most styles, but names may differ and what parts of the movements you emphasize will differ. True stylization comes later.

    Whatever style you prefer and would like to do, you need to understand the body mechanics to produce the moves correctly. Then you must practice combinations and transitions, then combine moves and combinations to choreographies and learn to improvise and interprete the music. And as you learn more and understand more over time, there is always room to revise the basics. Yes, some combinations are more common in some styles than others and are closely tied to the choice of music, but this isn't something you need to worry about at this stage of your stage journey. There is still so much to learn for the open-minded dancer.

    Many think that doing the isolated moves are enough to call it belly dance, but it isn't the moves that make it belly dance as a lot of the moves we do in belly dance are also found in other dance genres. It includes the whole package of learning the framework of what can be called belly dance and not, considering the choice of music and the interpretation of it, the history of the dance (both original middle eastern part and the newer tribal part all the way up to contemporary tribal fusion), and much more. You know, you've got to know the boundaries to be able to break them successfully as well as creating a good and interesting fusion.

    It takes a good while both to learn and combine the moves and to learn to listen to and interprete the music in a good way (it doesn't matter if it is western new age or traditional arabic music), this is why you'll need to listen to a lot of music and view a lot of dancers in addition to your own dance practice.

    If you want to truly study tribal fusion, it is actually necessary to also study the origins of tribal fusion (TF) - AmCab and ATS. You don't have to be an expert in all of them and don't have to learn one before the other, but it will expand your toolbox of the dance you would like to dance and understand the framework. Study the background of your favorite dancers to get an idea of what other elements you could focus on in addition to belly dance. I'm sure most of them have a much wider background than you've imagined.



    ETA: If you see links in my post above, it is done by the forum software. I didn't add them.
    Last edited by Daimona; 08-08-2015 at 11:07 AM. Reason: ETA
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