experimental or tribal fusion?

Kelly

New member
In relation to disability or illness..

The arts and media world is full of fully functioning and successful people with BPD, depression etc. etc. etc. Bill gates has Aspergers Syndrome and there are people surrounding us every single day with things we cannot see or know about.
I have people in my classes, youth club and personal life with various issues...we all do.

If people choose not to declare such things then that is their personal choice.. we should assume they wish to be treated equally like everyone else in the world. Lets respect that and not try and patronise people by second guessing their ailments, domestic problems, identified or un-diagnosed illnesses.
ITA with the above:clap:
 

Zumarrad

Member
Word word WORD to Caroline Afifi's posts. Belly dance isn't only movement! I know, I know it makes it harder to define, but the cultural element is so vital, and the easiest way you can incorporate that is *by using Middle Eastern music*. Like Caroline I want to know why people insist on calling their dance "belly dance" and demand to be considered belly dancers when the only resemblance left is a two-piece costume and some undulations. It is not to say that TF and its multiple siblings are not beautiful dances when well-done. But why do these people *honestly* think they are belly dancing? A lot of the upper body work I see in TF does *not* have any relationship to the upper body work used in oriental or folkloric dances. It. Just. Doesn't. So that right there is movement not from the BD lexicon. And culturally it seems to be a dance for dancers to look at and enjoy; it has no parallel in the world as a normal everyday thing for people to do for fun, it represents nothing, though when it is called "belly dance" it is often perceived as representing the Middle East, confusing viewers; Tribal Fusion is dance for dancers. And that's great. They should invite some other dancers to look at it too, like contemporary and ballet dancers, and present the form as a form of its own, not "the evolution of belly dance" like belly dance was static and unchangeable like the fictive Orient and it took some Americans to pull it out of the Dark Ages....

... oh dear, that was my soapbox.

I am just getting tired of attending belly dance events and listening to 90 percent non-ME music and watching 90 percent experimental dance, and having people believe that's all that belly dance is or can be. It means people don't know what they're looking at any more. Someone mentioned that So and So was "a really good oriental dancer" and I had to say to her "well, I'm going to have to disagree because I've never seen her perform oriental dance and being talented in the low level classes she attended before she took up a solely tribal path and occasionally performing in a bedleh is not the same thing." They think oriental dance is a bra, a belt and some good shimmies. And it's not that the dancer in question could not or might not be any good at oriental dance, it's just that I'm unaware of her ever studying it and I have never seen her perform it.

I think we made a mistake in giving classes names like "orientale" because people think that what you learn in a baby beginner's class is oriental dance - when in truth it is generic belly dance basics created before there was a division off into tribal.
 
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Shahrahzad

New member
present the form as a form of its own, not "the evolution of belly dance" like belly dance was static and unchangeable like the fictive Orient and it took some Americans to pull it out of the Dark Ages....
:D he he! :clap:

To me, TF seems very orientalism.
 

Zumarrad

Member
Some of it is, for sure, and in a funny way I don't mind that so much because orientalist art/design *is* part of the construction of the East in western minds and it feeds into our own dance history (see Ruth St Denis, Maud Allan et al). But when they're prancing round in cancan skirts to Balkan tracks (or Herb Alpert for that matter), it's tremendous fun but it's really not belly dance at *all* by that stage.

The thing that gets me is, it's OK for someone who is a belly dancer to do someething that isn't belly dance. But people increasingly think that, for argument's sake, if RB does it it is a) belly dance and b) tribal, and in some cases it really isn't, which doesn't mean that it's not good and fun and valid to do.

A lot of people, myself included, are not wild about RB and another dancer's clip of ATS to a beledi piece, but that's a simple matter of style/interpretation. It's way more "belly dance" than Tijuana Taxi was. And yet I loved Tijuana Taxi.
 

Kira_Majeric

New member
You could take the short cut and watch the movie. I think there were two made of the first book. No belly dance scenes that I can recall.

Sorry for getting a little off topic everybody!
The new movie done by the Si-Fi Chanel is the one that follows the book. then there is Children Of Dune that follows the 2nd and 3rd books.
 

Makeda Maysa

New member
Shaharazad, I gave you rep! Thank you for saying those things about hip-hop! I find it interesting that often, on bellydance forums, we parse all forms of Middle Eastern dance or bellydance and talk about what's authentic and what isn't and talk about the necessity of using ME music, etc., and then say something like, "All this stuff I'm seeing is more like hip-hop" or "They're doing all that booty shaking like those 'hip-hop' dancers do" and I think to myself, "What hip-hop are they talking about? Have they ever seen true hip-hop dance?"

And that's how, after six years of studying Middle Eastern dance (and ATS and tribal fusion, which are not Middle Eastern), I have come around to Caroline (and others') way of thinking. Because when I think of how something from my own culture has been appropriated and twisted and diluted and bastardized and the dismay and ire that causes in my spirit . . . I realize that I don't have the right to commit the same atrocities and think it's okay. That does not mean that I do not love ATS and fusion styles. I do. I love them - to watch and to dance. But I do not call them Middle Eastern dance or even bellydance. Not anymore. It is possible to hold one belief strongly and then, with education and thought, change your mind completely. However, that only happened when I stopped bristling when others disagreed with me and just listened.
 

MissVega

New member
I feel like I might be sticking my neck out here on a chopping block by getting myself involved in this but what the hell, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

As a fusion dancer myself (and a controversial one at that apparently re: the Caribbean fusion thread :rolleyes::mad::naghty::(:confused::think:) I find this an interesting topic. THere is no denying that all dance evolves and changes, be it for the better or for worse.

I have struggled with what to call my dance style. I use so much belly dance movement vocabularly that I feel that credit should be given to belly dance, however I also use caribbean/african posturing such as a lower wide legged stance and alternate pelvic posture which are the antithesis of raqs sharki (by my understanding, please correct me if I am wrong).

I have always explained to students in my fusion class that should they venture into the land of traditional belly dance to NOT use such posturing and movement as in that setting it would not be appropriate. I also encourage them to take a traditional belly dance class with a highly recommended instructor.

I started out calling it Caribbean Belly Dance Fusion and then realized that this was misleading since it made it sound like there was a Caribbean Belly Dance, which obviously isn't the case. So then I went with Caribbean Fusion Belly Dance, which I still think is unclear, so am debating just cutting it down to Caribbean Fusion. I just want belly dance to get the credit it deserves. Currently I describe it as "Belly dance movement vocabularly blended with caribbean music, movement and culture". I try to make it clear that I am using a lot of belly dance movement but that it does not make it belly dance.

I started doingthe fusion because I didn't like what caribbean dance was evolving into, namely dancehall. My family is Jamaican. That is my heritage and my culture, and I love it. However as proud of it as I am, I am not prepared to get on stage and get on my head and pop my crotch the air, especially if there are children in the audience. THere is a lot of good in caribbean dancing, but it is getting lost. I saw the similarities in belly dance movement, and the grace, beauty and feminity and thought by merging it with some caribbean I could tone down the vulgarity that is becoming so popular in the caribbean dancing and make it more "family friendly".

For the most part I have had a very good response to this dance. I have never called it middle eastern dance, or raqs sharkia, and I am always eager to explain it and explain that it is not belly dance and what some of the differences are. However again I feel belly dance deserves the credit since I have borrowed so much from it. I wouldn't want to use so much from belly dance and then not give it the association. I think people need to know where a particular move comes from.

I do try my verybest to be respectful to belly dance. I know how I feel when I see what dancehall has evolved into and how different the dancing in Jamaica has gotten fromwhat my grandma showed me, and how few of the cultural dances have been maintained and preserved.

THat being said I do like to experiment but I do my best to try and "label" my dances as appropriately as possible. I'm young, I've made mistakes, but at least I've learnded from them and do my best not to make them again.
 

maria_harlequin

New member
Argentine Tango has a regional origin, but is now danced world-wide. Samba, likewise, with the added nuance that what is formally recognized as Samba today is different from the original form - but it's still called Samba.

The dancers pursuing the AT and Samba art forms do not need to know the cultural, regional or political history surrounding the birth or development of these dance forms to become beautiful AT and Samba dancers in their own right.

Likewise with belly dance. The only difference between belly dance and these other dance forms is the formal codification (definition) and recognition of the art form.

Goth BD, ATS, ITS and TF dancers call themselves belly dancers because they are. The moves and transitions used in these dances aren't invented or pulled from any dance form but belly dance. The dancers rock out to different music, wear different costumes and present the moves and transitions with different feeling, but it's still inherently belly dance.

There's nothing mystical or sacred about BD. It's a beautiful, uplifting dance form, like many other dance forms, that it is attainable to anyone who puts in the study time and sweat.

Speaking of which, it's time for me to go practice. :dance:
Are you talking about ballroom tango and ballroom samba? If so, they're NOTHING at all like Argentine tango and samba as in "carnival" samba. My latin dance friend who also does ballroom tango would have no idea what to do if she were told to do Argentine tango or non-ballroom samba. I can understand not needing to go in depth into the history of ballroom samba/tango in order to be a beautiful dancer in those forms because those dances are rooted as sports - not as a cultural danceform. In order to perform Argentine Tango and Samba beautifully? I believe that yes, you have to know about the history and the culture.

Same with belly dancing.

Are you saying that the moves in belly dancing can't be found in any other dance form? The samba dancers I saw during the Carnivale celebrations in Portugal and Brazil shimmied the way we do. Or Hula? Or Afro-Carribean? Belly dance "movements" aren't exclusive to belly dancing.
 

Aziyade

New member
I feel like I might be sticking my neck out here on a chopping block by getting myself involved in this but what the hell, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

As a fusion dancer myself (and a controversial one at that apparently re: the Caribbean fusion thread :rolleyes::mad::naghty::(:confused::think:) I find this an interesting topic. THere is no denying that all dance evolves and changes, be it for the better or for worse.

I have struggled with what to call my dance style.

I just read the thread you mentioned. Like some of the others, I don't know much (anything) about dancehall music and your culture, so I found it educational both on the culture and on the whole "fusion" issue.

Having watched your clips, I respect you for saying that you struggle with what to call your style. I felt like you were trying to interpret that music the way I have been trained to do so with Middle Eastern music. You have excellent technical skills and your performance was enjoyable to watch. It's obvious you have thought about this fusion, and no matter whether or not each of us feels like it was a SUCCESSFUL fusion or not, it is really an excellent discussion point for the topic of fusion.

If you put a gun to my head and forced me to describe it, I guess I'd say that the first clip seems (maybe -- my knowledge is limited/nonexistant) like Caribbean club dance with a strong belly dance "accent" -- NOT because of the movements, but because of the way you have interpreted the music. My first thought was "oh she's listening to the music the way a bellydancer would." The dance specifically didn't track TO ME as bellydance, and because of the cultural issues brought up in the other thread, if it were my dance, I probably wouldn't call it bellydance fusion, but that's just my opinion and I'm quite conservative with what I consider to be "bellydance" to begin with, so ...

In other words, I sympathize with you saying you struggle with what to call it.
 

Kira_Majeric

New member
I feel like I might be sticking my neck out here on a chopping block by getting myself involved in this but what the hell, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

As a fusion dancer myself (and a controversial one at that apparently re: the Caribbean fusion thread :rolleyes::mad::naghty::(:confused::think:) I find this an interesting topic. THere is no denying that all dance evolves and changes, be it for the better or for worse.

I have struggled with what to call my dance style. I use so much belly dance movement vocabularly that I feel that credit should be given to belly dance, however I also use caribbean/african posturing such as a lower wide legged stance and alternate pelvic posture which are the antithesis of raqs sharki (by my understanding, please correct me if I am wrong).

I have always explained to students in my fusion class that should they venture into the land of traditional belly dance to NOT use such posturing and movement as in that setting it would not be appropriate. I also encourage them to take a traditional belly dance class with a highly recommended instructor.


Do you have any videos posted, I'm curious to see what your fusion looks like. ^_^
 

MissVega

New member
Do you have any videos posted, I'm curious to see what your fusion looks like. ^_^
lol oh yes, do I ever. I'm addicted to youtube...and there is no rehab for it LOL. Since August 2006....I"ve watched over 30,000 videos...scary eh lol!

YouTube - sweetberry07's Channel is my channel

THis is the link to the specific video that came "under fire" on the forums here
YouTube - Fiesta Multicultural show- Caribbean Bellydance Fusion
Its from last March

This one is from last October from a Halloween belly dance show
YouTube - Feelin' Hot Hot Hot Wuk - Tropical Devil Belly Dance Fusion for Halloween
THe last minute or so of that performance is pretty much just dancehall (albeit watered down in comparison to current development of dancehall), just a heads up.

And if you're pressed for time, ythis is a demo video of mine, has everything from arabic pop to taxim, drum solo, caribbean fusion etc
YouTube - Cassandra Fox Demo Video

I dance to just about anything if I hear a song and I like it. I've got everything on my channel from Red Strokes by Garth Brooks, to Despedida by Shakira.
 

MissVega

New member
I just read the thread you mentioned. Like some of the others, I don't know much (anything) about dancehall music and your culture, so I found it educational both on the culture and on the whole "fusion" issue.

Having watched your clips, I respect you for saying that you struggle with what to call your style. I felt like you were trying to interpret that music the way I have been trained to do so with Middle Eastern music. You have excellent technical skills and your performance was enjoyable to watch. It's obvious you have thought about this fusion, and no matter whether or not each of us feels like it was a SUCCESSFUL fusion or not, it is really an excellent discussion point for the topic of fusion.

If you put a gun to my head and forced me to describe it, I guess I'd say that the first clip seems (maybe -- my knowledge is limited/nonexistant) like Caribbean club dance with a strong belly dance "accent" -- NOT because of the movements, but because of the way you have interpreted the music. My first thought was "oh she's listening to the music the way a bellydancer would." The dance specifically didn't track TO ME as bellydance, and because of the cultural issues brought up in the other thread, if it were my dance, I probably wouldn't call it bellydance fusion, but that's just my opinion and I'm quite conservative with what I consider to be "bellydance" to begin with, so ...

In other words, I sympathize with you saying you struggle with what to call it.
THanks! I appreciate your honesty and opinion:) I figure time will help me sort it out. But it is so subjective and you get so much different feedback and it is so subjective its almost impossible to pinpoint a "correct" label versus incorrect. I think I've accepted that I can't please everyone no matter what I call it lol:rolleyes:

What really burned me about the thread about it was that some people judged it without any knowledge of caribbean dancing or culture and its evolution and those that were familiar with it were just focusing on the negative aspects of it, which is what I was trying to move away from entirely. Much caribbean dance is lost. I have looked and looked and looked for an instructor in caribbean dance and have yet to find one, all I know is what my grandmother has told me and shown me. I particularly was irked by a posters comment in regards to skirts being belly dance. My grandma certainly never wore any batty rider shorts when she danced. It was always in long skirts, she actually made the pattern and makes my dance skirts. Calypso traditionally was done in long tiered skirts. THe thong/batty rider trend was started by Carlene, the original DHQ.

THis is a clip from last years INternational DHQ competition held annually in Jamaica...most of the contestants were like this...
YouTube - International Dancehall Queen 2009 Jamaica
There are elements of dancehall that I love..... however current performances sum up all of the aspects about dancehall that I Don't love.... lol
My grandma was born on that island in 1926 and I can assure you, she never danced like that:/
 

MissVega

New member
Are you talking about ballroom tango and ballroom samba? If so, they're NOTHING at all like Argentine tango and samba as in "carnival" samba. My latin dance friend who also does ballroom tango would have no idea what to do if she were told to do Argentine tango or non-ballroom samba. I can understand not needing to go in depth into the history of ballroom samba/tango in order to be a beautiful dancer in those forms because those dances are rooted as sports - not as a cultural danceform. In order to perform Argentine Tango and Samba beautifully? I believe that yes, you have to know about the history and the culture.

Same with belly dancing.

Are you saying that the moves in belly dancing can't be found in any other dance form? The samba dancers I saw during the Carnivale celebrations in Portugal and Brazil shimmied the way we do. Or Hula? Or Afro-Carribean? Belly dance "movements" aren't exclusive to belly dancing.
Well said:clap:
It is also like going to Dominican Republic and dancing salsa or Bachata, versus going and learning it at a studio. Two entirely different entities all together yet still called the same thing.

Most dance genres have moves that are shared between which is to be expected. I feel that NO dance is pure, and why would you want it to be? I'm a huge fan of hybrids and mixes, but maybe that is because I have a mixed family so I have a bias;)
 

Kira_Majeric

New member
lol oh yes, do I ever. I'm addicted to youtube...and there is no rehab for it LOL. Since August 2006....I"ve watched over 30,000 videos...scary eh lol!

YouTube - sweetberry07's Channel is my channel

THis is the link to the specific video that came "under fire" on the forums here
YouTube - Fiesta Multicultural show- Caribbean Bellydance Fusion
Its from last March

This one is from last October from a Halloween belly dance show
YouTube - Feelin' Hot Hot Hot Wuk - Tropical Devil Belly Dance Fusion for Halloween
THe last minute or so of that performance is pretty much just dancehall (albeit watered down in comparison to current development of dancehall), just a heads up.

And if you're pressed for time, ythis is a demo video of mine, has everything from arabic pop to taxim, drum solo, caribbean fusion etc
YouTube - Cassandra Fox Demo Video

I dance to just about anything if I hear a song and I like it. I've got everything on my channel from Red Strokes by Garth Brooks, to Despedida by Shakira.

Love your dance!! ^_^ and your fringe really adds to your movements. I think that if a music moves you, you should be allowed to dance to it. I love Symphonic Metal, and am working on some stuff with some of that music. Thanks for sharing. ^_^
 

Aziyade

New member
I think that if a music moves you, you should be allowed to dance to it.
I think everyone on here will agree that you should be allowed to dance to whatever music you like.

The troublesome issue is what to CALL your dancing. How you represent it to the public.

I can only speak for the USA. Americans are dance-savvy in only a few dance forms. We know what ballet looks like, we pretty much know what tap looks like, and a lot of us can recognize country line dancing and/or square dancing. When it comes to African dance, French folk dance, Native American dance, etc., we usually take it on good faith that when somebody describes their performance as "African dance" that it IS actually African dance, and not Tai Chi Sword, or Jazz dance.

Unfortunately for the belly dance community, there are a lot of people who like to use the term "belly dance" to describe their dancing, but it doesn't bear anything in common with the generic community standard that is bellydance. I'm not talking about any Tribal derivation -- I'm talking about the clip that actually started this thread, and others which have morphed so far beyond what ANYBODY would consider to be remotely belly dance.

Think about this -- if you went to go see a musical advertised as "Cats" and when you got into the theater, it was actually the opera "Madam Butterfly" wouldn't you be confused? Maybe a little angry? (Or much happier, depending upon your musical tastes!) But either way, wouldn't you feel that the producers had misrepresented the show?


Funny and true story -- the continuing ed department of my university offered a one-day Baltic cooking class, which a friend of mine attended. The instructor spoke with a slight Germanic accent, which some of the participants commented about after the class was over. One of them was surprised she didn't have an Irish accent. My friend didn't understand until the lady pulled out an ad for the class. There in 18-point type was the class description: CELTIC cooking class.

A misprint -- ridiculous but understandable, but these women had just spent three hours learning how to make what THEY would tell people was CELTIC food! We believe what we read, sometimes even when it flies in the face of common sense.
 

Kira_Majeric

New member
I think everyone on here will agree that you should be allowed to dance to whatever music you like.

The troublesome issue is what to CALL your dancing. How you represent it to the public..

I hear you on that. It is that same with music, with all of the genres. Every new idea needs a title. I really think that if it holds the spirit of belly dance, it can be called a belly dance. Why complicate things further? Well, unless you want to. that is when you want to further name the belly dance, like Gothic Belly Dance, ect. All of the titles can get confusing.....

I listen to a lot of metal, but now even that has changed and i am supposed to call what i thought was metal something different.....i'm so confused. The same with folk music, and everything else. At least classical music will never change, I can still call myself a classical musician and not get confused....

^_^
 

jenc

New member
Actually the meaning of classical music has suffered a change. It used to refer to music of a particular age - still does for musicians as far as I know. But for most people it means anything that isn't modern. AND for some people modern music is included if it is arty.
 

Aziyade

New member
I really think that if it holds the spirit of belly dance, it can be called a belly dance.
Ah, but what is the "spirit" of bellydance? LOL.

A'isha used to call it the Essence. Sausan calls it the Nephis. It's a tricky concept -- like Tarab, I think.


I kinda wonder -- would you all consider Kaya and Sadie's "Snake Charma" video to have the spirit of bellydance? Yea or Nay?

Or is it bellydance just done in the worst possible scenario? :)
 

~Diana~

AFK Moderator
the generic community standard that is bellydance.
Has this been discussed anywhere? I really like to know what the generic community standard is. Is there a list that is set out, is it something that is left up to everyone, or is it the common aspects that people seem to agree on?

I'm all up for listing and standards because it helps me figure out where to place myself. If you can fill me in anyone can PM me.
 
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