Tribal, ATS or Fusion

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Maria_Aya

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A question for our Tribal genious members.
As I'm into arabian style I find it difficult to say what is Tribal what is ATS and what is Fusion.
So anyone plssssss answer what is the difference?
And maybe some dancers from each style.

Thanks in advance
maria aya:)
 

sedoniaraqs

New member
A question for our Tribal genious members.
As I'm into arabian style I find it difficult to say what is Tribal what is ATS and what is Fusion.
So anyone plssssss answer what is the difference?
And maybe some dancers from each style.

Thanks in advance
maria aya:)
Well, two of the three seem easy enough to answer. To me, fusion is dance that fuses two or more genres or styles of dance, so this is a very broad term under which tribal, ATS, and lots of other things would fall. Fusion gets used as a trashcan term. IMHO alot of what gets labeled as fusion is just a bunch of stuff mixed together that isn't necessarily coming from any specific genre or style, or at least not from specific elements from specific styles executed well. So the ballet/oriental fusion link I posted in another thread today would be true fusion in my book (and pretty good, too).

ATS is a very stylized form that evolved on the west coast of the US; most dancers would say it started from the style developed by Carolina Nericcio and her company Fat Chance Belly Dance. It uses some of the same movements as Egyptian dance but they are very stylized and used in a totally different context. Group improvisation is an important part of the style: one dancer in the group is the leader and provides cues to the group as to directional changes and movement transitions. The costuming is a worldwide mish mash of items from Africa, the Middle East, India, and most anywhere else but there is a particular look to it. The music seems to most often be folkloric Egyptian and other North African music, or world music that draws on those. A video is worth a thousand words:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BheWoMmd5kM&search=fat%20chance%20belly%20dance

Tribal is harder to define. Some people would say tribal = ATS, but others would make tribal a more inclusive term that includes ATS as well as other stuff. I think tribal is stuff that started in the US, and, at least early on, on the west coast. Some would take it back to Jamila Salimpour, who made a style based on Egyptian movies, limited knowledge of North African/Middle Eastern folkloric dances, and her own imagination. But there was a feel of primative, earthy, orientalist type of stuff to it, and that seems to be the common thread in all of the subsequent branches and offshoots that you see today that get called tribal (urban tribal, tribaret, etc.). It has, to the uneducated public, a facade or illusion (intended or not) of authenticity that feeds off of (I think) orientalist stereotypes that are found in western culture. I have often witnessed scenes where a tribal performance seemed to more quickly and strongly grab the attention of a naive audience than a more authentic oriental or folkloric performance. I know this is not always the case but I have seen it alot. Therein lies the love and hate for tribal.

Wow, did I write all that?

Sedonia
 

sedoniaraqs

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A few more things. The use of the term "tribal" goes back to Jamila Salimpour, who, circa 1970's, was passing it off as tribal dance, as in authentic dances from particular tribes, which of course it was not. (FYI she recanted this much more recently, but by that time the term tribal was entrenched in the US). The coining of the term ATS was an attempt to rid tribal dance of its stigma as a misnomer. ATS = American Tribal Style, a term that rightly names its origin as American. Of course, some people hated this because of the potential to confuse the dance style with tribal dances of Native Americans. Its an ongoing debate in the US.

I studied ATS for about 9 months early in my dance studies years ago, so I can speak a little about it. As you can see from the FCBD clip above, there are a few movements that are used over and over. Arms and hands can't do just anything, they have to be in certain positions for certain hip movements. This facilitates the group improvisation and makes it easier for a group (even a very large group) to be very synchronized. ATS dancers often use finger cymbals and/or swords as props.

Sedonia
 

samsied

New member
I am not a tribal dancer, but I have been around "tribal" due to living on the West Coast of the US. At one point, I did briefly dance in a tribal troupe (for about 3 months) and have taken a few tribal workshops and have seen several performances... Here is my semi-educated attept to answer Maria's question.

There is a really interesting interview with the founder of Fat Chance Bellydance that is available on the web(www.blacksheepbellydance.com), go to this site and find the article titled "Carolena's interview". She is usually considered the creator of American Tribal Style and in this interview she discusses how she developed as a dancer and how the aesthetic of this style evolved.

Another good resource is a book called "The Tribal Bible" by Kajira Djoumahna (the owner of the site I just mentioned). In this book Kajira distinguishes that "tribal" is not folkloric dance (though I have met tribal dancers who think they are doing folkloric dance). It is a fusion style that often uses mideastern, North African moves fused with a few Indian and Flamenco influences. It is most often done in a troupe or "tribe" and uses group improvisation. I have heard debate whether it is still American Tribal style if it is solo or not improvised.

As Sedona mentioned, the costuming tends to be a fusion of Indian, Middle Eastern, Spanish, American, North African clothing and jewelry. The group I danced with used arm positions to cue which move we would do when the drum beat reaches the "1" of the next 8 count. That means the arm moves tend to look quite posed, and the nature of this type of dancing tends to mean the dancers dance to just the drum rhythym rather than other parts of the music like an Oriental dancer might do. Dancers in the tribe often take turns leading, and the background dancers are usually watching the lead dancer and each other so it has a more aloof, "cool" type of pressence. (dancers interacting with each other rather than the audience).

Tribal Fusion, from my observation, seems to be when dancers use some of the techniques and aesthetics of American Tribal, but do something else. The tribal dancers in bellydance superstars are usually considered "tribal fusion". When you see "tribal" dancers with dreadlocks or braids, wearing bell bottomed jazz pants they are usually dancing "tribal fusion". As was mentioned, sometimes Tribal fusion is used as a catch all for anything that does not fit in any other category. Often it is a fusion of the fusion style known as "tribal" and another type of dance/movement. Tribal Fusion dancers may dance to more complicated parts of the music since they are not usually dancing in the group improv format.

Where are the tribal dancers? This is they type of thread they usually participate in. I pologize if I misrepresented tribal and tribal fusion as I am not a tribal dancer.

I personally have mixed feelings about this genre. When done well, I enjoy watching it and appreciate much of the creativity and the social spirit. However, I agree with what was earlier posted about it being influenced by "Ethnic" fantasies (but so is American Caberet and perhaps other styles). And I also am concerned that often this style seems more authentic and legitimate to American audiences since it looks more like an "ethnic dance".
 

TribalDancer

New member
I thought you guys did a fine job of answering.

And please don't take offense, original poster, but I am soooo tired of answering this question over and over. it has been discussed ad nauseum on hundreds of different threads on dozens of discussion groups.

My answer to it is here
http://www.tribalbellydance.org
 

tim ema

New member
Great link, TribalDancer!
tribalbellydance.org had some amazing articles - very informative!

I am reposting here my OT from the "Bicycle hips" thread:

I'm marveling at the broad spectrum of dance style and costume encompassed by "Tribal"! I'm also seeing the terms "Tribal", "Urban Tribal", and "Tribal Fusion" bandied about across the web as though they were interchangeable - but your comment on the Spanish Tribal Dancer thread about her being more Fusion than Tribal leads me to believe these terms are far more distinct than this humble newbie has thus far understood.


I have read and been very informed by the other posts in this thread, and have come to a greater understanding that there are distinctions amongst these terms, however there are a few specific...umm...underpinnings? Basic premises? Starting points?...that I am hoping to be clearer on so that everything else I've read can be re-read with greater comprehension...


tribalbellydance.org speaks about Gypsy Caravan and Fat Chance (GC and FC respectively) like the two primary "schools" of the Tribal style. Does one have to study one of the two or both and base their dance on one of those two schools to be considered Tribal? Is the term ATS generally considered to be a referance to the FC style? Why? Is the origin of GC not American or is it simply a case of the term first being applied to FC, so now it's theirs?


In addition to FC and GC, Rachel Brice and the Indigo are really saturating the media in the name of "Tribal" right now. I have heard Brice refer to Jamilia Salimpor, but don't know if she studied the FC style, or if her style is independantly created. It certainly seems very distinct. Is her style a separate "school" or would she be considered "Fusion"?

The issue of improv seems to be absolutely pivotal in the Tribal style - to the point that dance moves, costume, and music can be utterly "Tribal-esque", but if all the group's work is choreographed, many would STILL not consider them actually a Tribal group, as the principle of improvisation has been abandoned. It this a position taken by a small core group of "purists" or is this the main feeling of most dancers in the Tribal style?

If improv is so vital, is a solo artist -if she/he is committed to the Tribal ethic- required to avoid choreographing her/his performances?

I realize these questions may seem to be going over ground already covered, but although I've read in many articles etc ABOUT GC or FC, or improv etc...the exact relation of them and their true importance has not been made clear to me.

Newbie = stupid :(

I appeal to all Tribal style dancers for their help!
:)
AT
 
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