Gothic Belly dance

Aziyade

Well-known 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...
That was definitely fusion, both of music and dance, but I don't think that's where the CONfusion began.

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?
I think the ballet influence might have delineated Folkloric style from Oriental, but not really classical from modern. According to Shareen el Safy, once Badia stuck the dancer on a stage and presented the dance as a stage show, that's when Raqs Sharqi was born out of the folkloric form. Shareen credits the ballet posture and uplift as opening up a new way of moving, but that was in place by the time the "golden era" started.

If you look at folkloric side by side with Oriental you can see how the posture affected the way the movement looks, but I don't think you can really call the upright posture a fusion of ballet with belly dance.

The mass influx of dancers NOW from Russia is due to the collapse of the Soviet-supported arts. The unemployed dancers found job opportunities elsewhere. I don't see them as having really any effect on the Egyptian/Turkish dance itself (you could argue they affected the economy, but that's a different subject.)


As for Bal Anat -- that's a good question. It's hard to say exactly what was going on in the US, because different things were happening in different places at different rates. I don't know that I would call Bal Anat a fusion though. But I've only seen the remixed show and about 20 minutes of footage of the original group.
 

lizaj

New member
For example ATS came late to the UK the late 1990s?
There were " tribal "dancers who ploughed their own furrow like the Urban Gypsies.
Now there is English Tribal (400 Roses who use original music sometimes and blend folkloric dance) and British Tribal(I am not sure what makes them British).
There are ATS teachers and troupes and there are troupes like the one I belong to who use ATS moves and (shock horror) belly dance to perform Tribal Fusion.
Then there are those inspired by Racel brice into solo fusion acts as well as troupes.
There are those with very distinct "robotic"/urban styles such as Dawn O'Brien and Khalgani ( who began as ATS).
When does it cease to be belly dance?
We no longer do..we feel happier that we fulfill "the trades description act" by calling ourselves tribal fusion unless we return to Egyptian moves and music( which we do)
But Gothic bellydance is it those of the Goth persuasion who belly-dance(because they have learnt Turkish or Egyptian style).
I don't automatically assume a connection with ATS/Tribal Fusion.
I was approached at an (Egyptian style) workshop and asked why I wasn't at Gothla. Well, I was a tribal dancer wasn't I? :confused: I am not of the Goth persuasion so why would I be there? This dancer seemed to assume that my membership of a tribal group meant I had to be interested in Gothic bellydance.
Which style I find very "stylish" by the way but I don't want to do it! I have seen dancers trot out Gothic routines as if they were the latest fashion , drop and move onto the next...:shok:
 

Amulya

Moderator
The first gothic belly dance performance I've seen (somewhere mid-90's) was not tribal infused (we didn't have tribal in Holland at that time) but straight from cabaret style. It was pretty much cabaret in essence, but it got a dark feel to it and the music was darbuka, but somehow turned goth. I've got the performance on video, but can't put it up on Youtube because I don't know who the dancer was.
 

meddevi

New member
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.

Well you asked "When did it begin to be fused?" and I really think that's where the first cross-pollinating began here in the US. In order to ask about how to fusion become normal/acceptable and traversed into rampant (rabid), I think the melting pot was the grounds upon which made it all possible. We go from separate cultures and styles to a new diaspora of sorts. And many of my idols and teachers (Dalia Carella, Azar, Judeen, Malia de Felice, Alexandra King, etc) came out of that time-frame. And all of the women I mentioned have experimented with different kinds of fusion (Dunyavi, Afro-Belly, Goddess/Ritual, Bal Anat & Tribal, Flamenco/Gypsy respectively and so forth)...so it seems natural that one of two things would happen with their progeny: rebel or follow. By rebel, some of those studentss went to extreme "purism", and some followed the fusion path, while others followed the dichotomy (tradition and experiment hand-in-hand). And as many of these ladies have been teaching 20-30+ years, that's a fair amount of generational change-over.

It all didn't happen overnight, but the internet is definitely speeding things up a bit by spreading the changes around faster. And then we have those slutty muses, dropping the same seeds of inspiration around the globe independently.
 

meddevi

New member
I was approached at an (Egyptian style) workshop and asked why I wasn't at Gothla. Well, I was a tribal dancer wasn't I? :confused: I am not of the Goth persuasion so why would I be there? This dancer seemed to assume that my membership of a tribal group meant I had to be interested in Gothic bellydance.
Which style I find very "stylish" by the way but I don't want to do it! I have seen dancers trot out Gothic routines as if they were the latest fashion , drop and move onto the next...:shok:
Still fighting the misinformation that Gothic = Tribal (though the vice-versa is a bit interesting). I DO credit Carolena and FCBD in the GBD Resource (and elsewhere) with helping to open bellydance to the more alternative crowd, but frame of mind and style don't always go hand-in-hand.

And yeah, there's definitely no lacking in style-hoppers. I'm amused when people come to the "Intro to GBD" workshop, expecting to come out with a choreography to add to their repertoire, especially when the workshop is advertised as introduction class with a heavy focus on concept, nowhere saying "and you'll learn a choreography that explains GBD". If I learn a single Flamenco choreography in a workshop, I'm not going to be adding it to my website. Not unless I'm going to really study it and work with it. But that's me.

But again, I think the internet is making us more aware of these things. When the net was younger, I remember other fusion fads: Gypsy, Flamenco, Indian-Fusion, and now there's Bollywood, Andalusian, etc --- and ironically, some of the folks I see online now espousing "fusion is BAD!" were trotting these performances out at the local hafla 5-10 years ago. Of course, that doesn't make "fusion GOOD!" either. ;) Just means memories are short or perspective is key.
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
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.
QUOTE]

This is SOOOOO true and straight to the point. :clap:

I have said the same things many times myself and I will keep saying it.
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
For example ATS came late to the UK the late 1990s?
There were " tribal "dancers who ploughed their own furrow like the Urban Gypsies.
I remember Tribal workshops popping up, and I myself bought a load of fat chance CD's.

What emerged in the Uk at this time was a 'style' of dress, not a style of dance, The Urban Gypsies are a classic example of this.

What people did was not real Tribal, it was something 'new' to teach and make money from which again (at this time) had no history or 'correctors'.

Of course that is beginning to change and people have to call it something else as the 'ATS' is now understood and respected for what it was/is.

The 'Tribal' craze actually saw the end of ME folk styles.

It replaced everything which was not 'Raqs Sharqi' and has run amok ever since.
 

Amulya

Moderator
But don't you still have a big Suraya Hilal following in the UK? She was big on some folk styles, although they weren't considered 'the real thing' because she put some modern dance influences in?
 

lizaj

New member
I remember Tribal workshops popping up, and I myself bought a load of fat chance CD's.

What emerged in the Uk at this time was a 'style' of dress, not a style of dance, The Urban Gypsies are a classic example of this.

What people did was not real Tribal, it was something 'new' to teach and make money from which again (at this time) had no history or 'correctors'.

Of course that is beginning to change and people have to call it something else as the 'ATS' is now understood and respected for what it was/is.

The 'Tribal' craze actually saw the end of ME folk styles.

It replaced everything which was not 'Raqs Sharqi' and has run amok ever since.
yes I think the costuming was the main attraction. Women nervous the "cabaret" costumes of the time (there were few dresses and the Turkish bedlah ruled when I started) I think it tied in with an all-inclusive,anything goes idea.
I ( and a few other students) knew that as with the Egyptian style we wanted to dance well, there was more to Tribal than a loose free for all. The first ATS dancer we met up with ( and we got her to come to us!) was Scottish Tribal dancer Lyndsey McQueen and boy did we realise what a lot of work we had to do and a lot of research.
What I wonder is.... did Tribal also diminish the influence of Suraya?
 

Kharis

New member
What I wonder is.... did Tribal also diminish the influence of Suraya?
The documentary about Suraya in the mid 80's in the UK was what fired up a lot of interest in the dance around that time. Before that there were was very little that was in the public eye. So, her influence was far reaching in that period, and you can still see it's influence in people like Jo Wise, Wendy B and even Sara Farouk. You only have to watch early film footage of these 3 to see where they originally came from. Did Tribal diminish her influence... I think not. I never gelled with her style and decided not to go down the Hilal path but studied footage of major Egyptian dancers. I'm glad to say I'm not influenced by her at all. I do hold my hat off for her in that she is technically very good at what she does... but it's not for me.

I wish that I'd found Cathy Selford years ago, because she's great and a real old style dancer. She was around in the 70s.
 

Sita

New member
Still fighting the misinformation that Gothic = Tribal (though the vice-versa is a bit interesting). I DO credit Carolena and FCBD in the GBD Resource (and elsewhere) with helping to open bellydance to the more alternative crowd, but frame of mind and style don't always go hand-in-hand.

And yeah, there's definitely no lacking in style-hoppers. I'm amused when people come to the "Intro to GBD" workshop, expecting to come out with a choreography to add to their repertoire, especially when the workshop is advertised as introduction class with a heavy focus on concept, nowhere saying "and you'll learn a choreography that explains GBD". If I learn a single Flamenco choreography in a workshop, I'm not going to be adding it to my website. Not unless I'm going to really study it and work with it. But that's me.

But again, I think the internet is making us more aware of these things. When the net was younger, I remember other fusion fads: Gypsy, Flamenco, Indian-Fusion, and now there's Bollywood, Andalusian, etc --- and ironically, some of the folks I see online now espousing "fusion is BAD!" were trotting these performances out at the local hafla 5-10 years ago. Of course, that doesn't make "fusion GOOD!" either. ;) Just means memories are short or perspective is key.

I may have missed this in the earlier part of the thread, but what your saying is intriguing- Gothic is not 'descended' from tribal fusion?:shok:
This is new to me so would be kind enough to explain the history and origin of this dance form? so that I truly understand this form of dance - where it came from, what makes it Gothic b.d. because I have to say this form confuses me more than the others (probualy because I such a limited knowledge) :confused:
Thank you,
Sita
 

meddevi

New member
I may have missed this in the earlier part of the thread, but what your saying is intriguing- Gothic is not 'descended' from tribal fusion?:shok:
This is new to me so would be kind enough to explain the history and origin of this dance form? so that I truly understand this form of dance - where it came from, what makes it Gothic b.d. because I have to say this form confuses me more than the others (probualy because I such a limited knowledge) :confused:
Thank you,
Sita

Yeap, that's exactly what I'm saying. The roots of what grew into Gothic Bellydance was developing in the late 90's through early 2000's. And that came from both Tribal and Cabaret backgrounds. Myself, Badriya, Taletha, Jeniviva, etc - all come from predominantly cabaret/oriental backgrounds. And many other Gothic Bellydancers who are now more Tribal/Tribal Fusion, like Sashi, have their initial roots in cabaret.

Having lived in the Bay Area from 2001-2007 (after moving away from New England where I learned to dance in the first place), which was the "fertile crescent of tribal fusion" if you will, home to Ultra Gypsy, Frederique's groups, and eventually the Indigo (through several incarnations), I would say that the development of Gothic Bellydance was alongside what we visually recognize today as "Tribal Fusion" (whether it fits that description or not..). People say that California is where GBD started, because I was there making noise, then brought Ariellah out into the light (I recommended her for the first GBD DVD), and then I made connections with Sashi, and shortly after there was the pierced wings performance, and a lot of focus again on California and those crazy Goths) - but I was first coming from Rhode Island and already creating "dark" performances in my early days out there, and was networking with the ladies from Martiya Possession of DC (Asharah, Mavi, Ya Meena), Ma'isah in Australia, and many more in pockets across the US - I think it was spawning in many places in once. In whatever style base those folks were working in.

Back in 2004, when Wendy Oliver started "Tribal Fusion Faire" in SLO, CA - the term was still new and even more ambiguous - in Wendy's brain, it wasn't about the style of dance, but the blending of tribes and featured ALL styles of dance (so unfortunately now, when people hear that name, they think it's a festival of Tribal Fusion..)

Anyway, I think the confusion comes down to people seeing costumes that are not familiar or traditional, and thinking that the dance must be "other", and at that time (before tribal fusion became a household name) "other" = tribal. I remember when I first developing Nouveau Noir and created a more bedlah-like costume for a silent film piece, a lot of locals came up to me afterwards and said "Tempest, I never knew you did cabaret!". Which was a head-scratcher, cause the only thing that was different between the last performance and this one was the costume and music, and the music was still as goth as the last one, and my main teacher was cabaret.

Ok, I just rambled off. Folks keep saying I should write a book on this all, and I probably will - one day ;)

It's in the middle of getting a complete overhaul, as I haven't had time to seriously update in 2 years, but you can read notes from the roots (essentially a small book) at The Gothic Belly Dance Resource
 

meddevi

New member
A little more, cause the site had a total freak-out while I was trying to post earlier.

In perspective, considering the roots of GBD, I think the distinction has a lot to do with what Tribal Fusion is NOW, what was developing back THEN which was was ambiguously "experimental Middle Eastern dance/ bellydance" - and that the experimental types of dance were far more welcome at Tribal events (Tribal Fest, Tribal Cafe, Tribal Quest) then they were at more traditional bellydance events (though that rarely stopped the proverbial us from presenting them there..). I know that I felt far more comfortable and accepted at Tribal Fest then Rakkasah back then. I worked with Tribal dancers and took some classes with Fat Chance and Ultra Gypsy, but I kept going back to my roots. I was more inspired by the aesthetic and feel of Tribal, but I loved the oriental and folkloric vocabulary far more, and was probably best described as Tribaret back then as I sorted it out with my dark nuances - and none of that involved the pop-lock-hip-hop-glitch moves and combos that categorizes Tribal Fusion today.
 
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Caroline_afifi

New member
The documentary about Suraya in the mid 80's in the UK was what fired up a lot of interest in the dance around that time. Before that there were was very little that was in the public eye. So, her influence was far reaching in that period, and you can still see it's influence in people like Jo Wise, Wendy B and even Sara Farouk. You only have to watch early film footage of these 3 to see where they originally came from.
Actually, it was Wendy B who got Suraya started and set her up in London.
Both Jo Wise and Sara Farouk were students of Wendy's too.

Everything else came afer this.
 

gisela

Super Moderator
Can anyone explain why the [quote says posted by me] when it was said by Kharis?!! I 've noticed this a few times?/ Sorry oT
testing

Well I think if the quotes-codes are messed up somewhere, like the poster accidentally erases an [ f ex then it keeps messing up from there on for everyone that quotes that. That's my guess.

But maybe :think: in this example you are asking about there are too many quotations? It should only say "quote" once in the beginning and once in the end. In some posts here there are two-three quote codes in the beginning....
 
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lizaj

New member
testing

Well I think if the quotes-codes are messed up somewhere, like the poster accidentally erases an [ f ex then it keeps messing up from there on for everyone that quotes that. That's my guess.

But maybe :think: in this example you are asking about there are too many quotations? It should only say "quote" once in the beginning and once in the end. In some posts here there are two-three quote codes in the beginning....
You'd think I'd know wouldn't you? ;)
 

TribalDancer

New member
A little more, cause the site had a total freak-out while I was trying to post earlier.

In perspective, considering the roots of GBD, I think the distinction has a lot to do with what Tribal Fusion is NOW, what was developing back THEN which was was ambiguously "experimental Middle Eastern dance/ bellydance" - and that the experimental types of dance were far more welcome at Tribal events (Tribal Fest, Tribal Cafe, Tribal Quest) then they were at more traditional bellydance events (though that rarely stopped the proverbial us from presenting them there..). I know that I felt far more comfortable and accepted at Tribal Fest then Rakkasah back then. I worked with Tribal dancers and took some classes with Fat Chance and Ultra Gypsy, but I kept going back to my roots. I was more inspired by the aesthetic and feel of Tribal, but I loved the oriental and folkloric vocabulary far more, and was probably best described as Tribaret back then as I sorted it out with my dark nuances - and none of that involved the pop-lock-hip-hop-glitch moves and combos that categorizes Tribal Fusion today.
On the nose with what I was about to say/observe. it was more that GBD was coming of age around the same time, and in the same venues, and among many of the same sub-cultures, as tribal fusion was. So they were thrown much together and appeared to be one and the same. It doesn't help that many of the aesthetics and energies can overlap anytime anywhere (tattoos & piercings, makeup and costuming, etc).
 
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