Gothic Belly dance

perizade

New member
A. writes- If you are taling about Dondi Dalen, she is not a belly dancer. Having danced in Egypt does not make one a belly dancer if they miss the cultural connection. I hate to sound like a broken record, but what is it about Dondi's dancing that leads you to feel that she is a belly dancer?

Dear Rico,
You seem to think that being an authentic dance artist somehow means we are not creative. Can you tell me why you believe that? I consider creating within the boundaries of the dance to be very creative indeed.

Regards,
A'isha
A'isha- I know Dondi pretty well and there is no doubt in my mind that she is indeed a belly dancer and a good one too. She does not miss the cultural connection at all, and has been a highly demanded dancer in Egypt and all over the Middle East, really. These are people who would know, right? She didn't just go to Egypt once or twice- she's spent years in the Middle East and has been a successful dancer there.

I love gothic belly dance. It is fusion- there's no getting around that. But it's beautiful, it's art, what I have seen has been very well put together.

Look, veils are not original to the dance. Neither are zills. Now we have poi balls! Belly dance is mutable and ever changing, while the core remaining the same. Gothic belly dance may be like a modern dance using all ballet moves while not actually being a ballet. It can still be incredible.
 

lizaj

New member
A'isha- I know Dondi pretty well and there is no doubt in my mind that she is indeed a belly dancer and a good one too. She does not miss the cultural connection at all, and has been a highly demanded dancer in Egypt and all over the Middle East, really. These are people who would know, right? She didn't just go to Egypt once or twice- she's spent years in the Middle East and has been a successful dancer there.

I love gothic belly dance. It is fusion- there's no getting around that. But it's beautiful, it's art, what I have seen has been very well put together.

Look, veils are not original to the dance. Neither are zills. Now we have poi balls! Belly dance is mutable and ever changing, while the core remaining the same. Gothic belly dance may be like a modern dance using all ballet moves while not actually being a ballet. It can still be incredible.
The post you refered to is from 2006 and Aisha (sadly) does not post here nowadays so you aren't likely to get a response.
 

Aziyade

Well-known member
Look, veils are not original to the dance. Neither are zills.
Um, crotales or clappers go about as far back in history as we can get. I think you would have a hard time defending the idea that cymbals aren't an authentic or "original" part of Egyptian music and dance.

Now we have poi balls!
Americans and Canadians have taken Maori poi spinning, removed it from the dance and cultural context and set them on fire. And now Americans have added veil poi to American belly dancing. That doesn't make it a part of the Egyptian / Turkish / Lebanese dance tradition. It may get incorporated into the American dance tradition, if it survives, but right now it's just a fad. Toe tap was a fad and didn't get incorporated into the ballet tradition. Not every "new thing" has staying power :)


Gothic belly dance may be like a modern dance using all ballet moves while not actually being a ballet.
Modern dance is not a movement vocabulary. Even ballet is not a movement vocabulary. I get what you're saying but the parallel doesn't work. Belly dance is also not a movement vocabulary, and I would certainly argue that Goth dance is not a movement vocabulary, since it has changed so much since the 80s.

The art of Dance is always about movement, but it's really never about "the moves."
 

perizade

New member
Clappers are awesome, but zills they are not. And if many parts of the Middle East, a dancer just wouldn't use zills. And you are right about fads, although to me good dancing is just plain old good dancing, no matter what format. If it takes skills and is beautiful, mission accomplished in my book.

I would agree that Gothic belly dance may have all belly dance moves, but a lot of the Middle Eastern culture behind it is gone. So is it still belly dance? Gothic belly dance is a hard sell in the Middle East right now. Most Arabs aren't into wild tattoos and piercing, though an Arab teen-ager may be totally open-minded! :D However, I think while belly dance originated in the Middle East, it's gotten much broader in the 20th century and beyond. And that's okay!

When I watch a belly dance I like authenticity, but I also like to see something new and individual. I love goth, so for me it is kind of a dream come true!
 

Amulya

Moderator
Gothic belly dance is a hard sell in the Middle East right now. Most Arabs aren't into wild tattoos and piercing, though an Arab teen-ager may be totally open-minded! :D However, I think while belly dance originated in the Middle East, it's gotten much broader in the 20th century and beyond. And that's okay!
Is it needed to be able to sell it in the Middle East? There's many other styles that wouldn't sell in the ME, but does that bother the dancers? Not really.
However you never know if the costume makers in the ME take up trends from gothic belly dance, they seem to take up trends from other styles already.
 

meddevi

New member
Is it needed to be able to sell it in the Middle East? There's many other styles that wouldn't sell in the ME, but does that bother the dancers? Not really.
However you never know if the costume makers in the ME take up trends from gothic belly dance, they seem to take up trends from other styles already.
They do indeed. I have seen some creative versions of my own design work coming out of Egypt and Turkey in the last 2-3 years, being sold by big-name American vendors, and India as well too now. Kinda funny when folks will supposedly $900+ for a not-so-well made, non-custom piece, when they can get the real thing from me, custom-made to a T, triple-sewn and unique for much less.
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
Clappers are awesome, but zills they are not. And if many parts of the Middle East, a dancer just wouldn't use zills. And you are right about fads, although to me good dancing is just plain old good dancing, no matter what format. If it takes skills and is beautiful, mission accomplished in my book.[/QUOTe

However, I think you are more likely to see Zills/sagat than you are 'clappers'.

I would agree that Gothic belly dance may have all belly dance moves, but a lot of the Middle Eastern culture behind it is gone. So is it still belly dance?
No, it is another form of dance which requires it's own definition and culture.

Gothic belly dance is a hard sell in the Middle East right now. Most Arabs aren't into wild tattoos and piercing, though an Arab teen-ager may be totally open-minded!
:D

Yes, however, they would not recognise it as belly dance but A Western fashion called 'Goth'.

However, I think while belly dance originated in the Middle East, it's gotten much broader in the 20th century and beyond. And that's okay!
Yes and no...much broader by whom?

I still find it incredibly difficult to get my head around people who think they can take an artfrom from another culture and redifine it as their own.


When I watch a belly dance I like authenticity, but I also like to see something new and individual. I love goth, so for me it is kind of a dream come true!
Yes and some fusion is OK provideing you have studied both forms and know how how and where you are connecting it.

The trouble is, the 'fusion' becomes the 'taught' dance and still retains the same label giving everyone the impression that the dance has become much broader.

It does not and could not happen with any other cultural dance form as it would never be allowed to happen.

Develeopment and growth in most cultural dance forms comes from the people of that particular culture and is accepted on that basis.

Who the hell am I to start redefining and broadening the definition of Flamenco? I could just imagine me even trying to begin to do that! what a joke that wuld be.

But with ME dance, any idiot can do it, teach it, change it, re-define it and then try and sell it back to the Arabs as their own dance and tell them they will like it.

What a load of old Bollocks! :lol:
 

Kharis

New member
I feel that bellydance has changed and none of us can deny it. The core moves are still there, the foundation that is the steadying force. But the landscape above seems to have it's seasons. What was done back in the 40 and 50's is altered to what is done now. No doubt this will alter yet again over the next 10 years and beyond as the current dancers now are replaced by others coming up behind. The transience that is fusion is, I feel, here to stay for a long while yet. But those rocks that are the core of this dance will always remain... unseen perhaps and submerged at times, but necessary.
 
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Caroline_afifi

New member
[
QUOTE=Kharis;126703]I feel that bellydance has changed and none of us can deny it. The core moves are still there, the foundation that is the steadying force. But the landscape above seems to have it's seasons. What was done back in the 40 and 50's is altered to what is done now. No doubt this will alter yet again over the next 10 years and beyond as the current dancers now are replaced by others coming up behind. The transience that is fusion is, I feel, here to stay for a long while yet. But those rocks that are the core of this dance will always remain... unseen perhaps and submerged at times, but necessary.
[/QUOTE]

Of course it has changed. But the discussion is not about if the dance has changed or not, it is about what people think it has become.

Again, I have no issue with any form of dance, only those which change beyond all recognition and cling to the original title.


I have said this befopre but I dont mind saying it again..

Why would anyone see an advert for Irish dancing and think to themselves 'ooh I fancy that'.

Then they go along to the class a few times but decide they just dont 'get' the Irish music so they will use the same steps to dance to the Bee Gee's, and as they are not Irish anyway, they will bring in their own English culture and a few new dance moves to be 'creative' and make it a bit more 'interesting'.

Then as they are a punk rocker who loves the Bee Gees, they will use their punk image and called it Beegee punk Fusion Irish dance.

Then they turn up at Irish dance festivals and try to justlfy it as Irish dance.. but it has become broader and they have to except evolution and change or run the risk of being an ol' boring fart of a purist.

It just could not happen. River dance had lots of different styles of dance in it... but not once did anyone try and place it under the umberella of Iriush dance.

Would they dare?... I think not.

What is wrong with dance evolving into something else? I dont see the problem.

It is other people who wont let it go.
 

Kharis

New member
However you never know if the costume makers in the ME take up trends from gothic belly dance, they seem to take up trends from other styles already.
This is true. Even the top designers have produced some pretty ghastly designs, as worn by Dina. I've seen her in some dreadful stuff that has absolutely no connection to belly dance whatsoever and more to do with exhibitionism. I have footage of her dancing in a mini skirt of pvc held together with huge safety pins and nearly bursting out of her miniscule bra. I'm still hoping for a come back to the old Suhair Zaki classic bellydance cozzy.
 

Aziyade

Well-known member
I feel that bellydance has changed and none of us can deny it. The core moves are still there, the foundation that is the steadying force. But the landscape above seems to have it's seasons. What was done back in the 40 and 50's is altered to what is done now. No doubt this will alter yet again over the next 10 years and beyond as the current dancers now are replaced by others coming up behind. The transience that is fusion is, I feel, here to stay for a long while yet. But those rocks that are the core of this dance will always remain... unseen perhaps and submerged at times, but necessary.
I've been spending a lot of time lately looking at the so-called "Golden Age" dancers and watching the movies, reading about the Egyptian cinema industry, and listening to the music both FROM the movies and modern recordings of the same songs.

There ARE differences I'm seeing between the Golden Age and today's dancers, but I believe the differences are really not as HUGE as people often tend to want to argue. The STYLING is different, and we've discussed how film-making itself demanded a different kind of styling than you would find in a nightclub. The use of the chorus line and traveling movements through the sets are hallmarks of the Golden Age style, but again, those elements seem related more to how the dance was staged, rather than how it was done, or even how the music was interpreted. Take away the sets, the chorus and the storyline and you basically have any of the concerts from the 70s, until Nagwa Fouad brought it all back again.


I don't know if it's a cultural difference, between the UK and the US, but here (US) it seems like "Fusion" is just a word people throw on their performances when they aren't really belly dance, but aren't really any other style either. But we usually seem to call it Tribal Fusion, rather than just fusion, even when it has no connection to Tribal.

Most of what I've seen described as "Tribal Fusion" (and this is my own personal experience) had only one thing in common with "Tribal" belly dance, and that's a few costuming elements. Most Tribal Fusion I've seen is REALLY just breakdancing. Nobody wants to hear this, but I remember seeing breakdancing in its formative years and TF is just a slightly softened, less athletic, and more "refined" version of a variety of breakdancing. Even the music is similar now.

Kharis, I agree that Fusion in general is here to stay, largely because we're a global internet community now, and everybody from the Yanks to the Aussies to the Polish to the Cambodians are doing "belly dance" and bringing their own conceptions, prejudices, ideas, and experiences to the table. And some of it is awesome (I heart Turbo Tabla's Saidi fusion and Elena Lentini's interpretive Spanish belly dance.) But some of what we see here is Fusion just to be different. Or fusion just for the sake of fusion, or fusion that really isn't, but it's such a great title for my dance that I just HAVE to use it! :/


Just thinking out loud now -- I think Raqs Sharqi IS losing favor over "Hip Hop Belly Dance" in the US, and I think it goes back to a certain kind of Orientalism. The Orientalist painters were painting the East AS THEY WANTED TO SEE IT, and not as it was. When the people saw what the East was really like, they were disappointed and PREFERRED the fantasy.

Americans in general PREFER a fantasy dance -- we love that Gypsy skirt flailing thing, and we love the hip-hop-pop-n-lock breakdance "fusion." It's not really common to find an American student who GENUINELY loves the Egyptian music and dance, unless her teacher loves it and understands it and is rabid about passing on that love. We have the Orientalist attitude that we can make the dance "better" or we can take it down a different (read "better") path than it's currently on.


dunno, and way off topic. sorry.
 

Aziyade

Well-known member
Clappers are awesome, but zills they are not. And if many parts of the Middle East, a dancer just wouldn't use zills.
By clappers, I mean the wood crotales, like castanets, that we have historical records of. I don't know when exactly dancers and musicians started using metal ones -- it's usually just attributed to the "ancient" Greeks.

I'm curious as to your source/reference for the part I put in bold. Although I have heard that playing sagat is "largely a Ghawazee thing," it certainly carried over into the Golden Age stage show. I would still argue that cymbals are an original/authentic part of belly dance, and whether they were popularized by Ghawazee or Ottomans, they still remain a part of the belly dance tradition.
 

TribalDancer

New member
It just could not happen. River dance had lots of different styles of dance in it... but not once did anyone try and place it under the umberella of Iriush dance.

Would they dare?... I think not.
I totally appreciated your entire post up until this point.

Yes, Riverdance DID sell it as Irish dance. And the Irish dance people were pretty irritated by it, because they felt it was too outside the traditional norms of Irish dance to be associated.

And then Irish step classes all over the world were overflowing with students...sound like any other internationally touring show based on a cultural dance you know of?

Most of what I've seen described as "Tribal Fusion" (and this is my own personal experience) had only one thing in common with "Tribal" belly dance, and that's a few costuming elements. Most Tribal Fusion I've seen is REALLY just breakdancing. Nobody wants to hear this, but I remember seeing breakdancing in its formative years and TF is just a slightly softened, less athletic, and more "refined" version of a variety of breakdancing. Even the music is similar now.

Kharis, I agree that Fusion in general is here to stay, largely because we're a global internet community now, and everybody from the Yanks to the Aussies to the Polish to the Cambodians are doing "belly dance" and bringing their own conceptions, prejudices, ideas, and experiences to the table. And some of it is awesome (I heart Turbo Tabla's Saidi fusion and Elena Lentini's interpretive Spanish belly dance.) But some of what we see here is Fusion just to be different. Or fusion just for the sake of fusion, or fusion that really isn't, but it's such a great title for my dance that I just HAVE to use it! :/
Amen and Amen and AMEN! I think everyone NEEDS to hear this more. Fusion for the sake of fusion. Tribal without any tribal. Hip hop under the name bellydance...is it ignorance or is it just a memememe-you-can't-tell-me-what-to-do world any more?
 

perizade

New member
By clappers, I mean the wood crotales, like castanets, that we have historical records of. I don't know when exactly dancers and musicians started using metal ones -- it's usually just attributed to the "ancient" Greeks.

I'm curious as to your source/reference for the part I put in bold. Although I have heard that playing sagat is "largely a Ghawazee thing," it certainly carried over into the Golden Age stage show. I would still argue that cymbals are an original/authentic part of belly dance, and whether they were popularized by Ghawazee or Ottomans, they still remain a part of the belly dance tradition.
I know what you meant by clappers. It varies from region to region, but plenty dancers I know from the Middle East have mentioned that often, a dancer just doesn't use zills. It's not like a taboo or anything, just not common. I agree they are a traditional part of the dance, I'm just saying the dance is very fluid and open to new things.
 

Aziyade

Well-known member
Amen and Amen and AMEN! I think everyone NEEDS to hear this more. Fusion for the sake of fusion. Tribal without any tribal. Hip hop under the name bellydance...is it ignorance or is it just a memememe-you-can't-tell-me-what-to-do world any more?
I was talking with a student online a while back who first "introduced" herself to the internet community through a series of posts defending a certain position we've all grown weary of hearing. (I don't mean to be vague, but I don't want to call her out if she's reading this.)

She told me a few months ago, "I went to Bhuz and OD and tribe and everybody kept telling me the same thing and I felt really offended because I thought nobody understood what I was saying." I told her "We were just trying to arm you with the right information, and give you a better perspective on this dance, so you can hopefully understand where we're coming from, and make INFORMED decisions about your own dancing." She didn't flounce; instead she lurked for a while and apparently took some private lessons with a teacher we recommended.

It's funny because we've kept in touch and NOW she understands. She has her own definite opinions about what she wants to perform, but she now understands we weren't being mean or hostile or negative. She understands now why everyone was telling her the same thing -- that she was wrong in her perception -- and now agrees that it wasn't US who were being prejudiced against HER; SHE was being prejudiced against anything and anyone who contradicted the happy little fantasy she'd created for herself.

Like I've said: I get it. I've been there. Thank heavens I had people like Morocco and Lucy to pound it through my head that there is always another perspective, and sometimes when you hear the same thing from 30 different people, that thing turns out to be truth. :)
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
[
QUOTE=TribalDancer;126772]I totally appreciated your entire post up until this point.

Yes, Riverdance DID sell it as Irish dance. And the Irish dance people were pretty irritated by it, because they felt it was too outside the traditional norms of Irish dance to be associated.

And then Irish step classes all over the world were overflowing with students...sound like any other internationally touring show based on a cultural dance you know of?
Surely not??? The thing I saw (on video) was African!!! OMG I have heard it all now!:lol:


Amen and Amen and AMEN! I think everyone NEEDS to hear this more. Fusion for the sake of fusion. Tribal without any tribal. Hip hop under the name bellydance...is it ignorance or is it just a memememe-you-can't-tell-me-what-to-do world any more?
[/QUOTE]

erm..? possibly the latter? :clap:
 

TribalDancer

New member
I am not sure what dance you are referring to, so I can't comment. But the original Riverdance was largely Irish dance, then there was flamenco, vocalists, and other variety acts. Then Michael Flatley went on to continue to produce more Irish dance shows, like Lord of the Dance, as well.
 

lizaj

New member
As far as I remember purists of Irish Dance and Flamenco had little time for Flatley and Cortes..however they still remained within the recognizable realms of their dance. Fusionistas of belly dance have strayed a little/a lot further.
How much is it our own fault for welcoming all comers to the dance?
Saying this is a dance for everyone?
Saying it is a "fun" dance?
Saying it is a way to keep fit?
Did we all embrace it too thoughtlessly?

Another point? When did it begin to be fused?
Is ATS to blame?
Is Bal Anat to blame?
 

meddevi

New member
In LA, NY, and SF, in the 60's and 70's, where you had a melting pot of Greek, Lebanese, Syrian, Turkish, Egyptian, etc of musicians/dancers performing together at clubs and other venues - the start of "American Cabaret". Out of need and demand, ends were pulled together to create a supply, and in that supply stream, a fusion began...

(I feel like there should be dramatic music and black/white stills being flashed across your screen as that's read..)

Or how about that influx of Russian dancers into Egypt and Turkey? That influx of ballet which creates the lines between "classic" and "modern" Egyptian for some?

As far as I remember purists of Irish Dance and Flamenco had little time for Flatley and Cortes..however they still remained within the recognizable realms of their dance. Fusionistas of belly dance have strayed a little/a lot further.
How much is it our own fault for welcoming all comers to the dance?
Saying this is a dance for everyone?
Saying it is a "fun" dance?
Saying it is a way to keep fit?
Did we all embrace it too thoughtlessly?

Another point? When did it begin to be fused?
Is ATS to blame?
Is Bal Anat to blame?
 
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lizaj

New member
In LA, NY, and SF, in the 60's and 70's, where you had a melting pot of Greek, Lebanese, Syrian, Turkish, Egyptian, etc of musicians/dancers performing together at clubs and other venues - the start of "American Cabaret". Out of need and demand, ends were pulled together to create a supply, and in that supply stream, a fusion began...

(I feel like there should be dramatic music and black/white stills being flashed across your screen as that's read..)

Or how about that influx of Russian dancers into Egypt and Turkey? That influx of ballet which creates the lines between "classic" and "modern" Egyptian for some?
and you still have with that "development" a very recognizable "belly dance".
Am-Cab from a mixture of eastern Med. dancing/ME dancing
Performance Raqs Sharki from social dancing/ the more raw beledi/folkloric steps

But who do you "blame" for further fusions..to todays myriad styles called belly dance by some ..?
Make a cracking article for our mag this ladies/
As one of these naughty fusionistas I'd love to trace our history in more detail.
 
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