Why is it called "tribal"?

Aisha Azar

New member
tribal, etc.

a'isha!
just visited your site
my very first teacher of formal belly dance in 1970 , studied with diane weber!
also marina..i met all 3 of my coaches at the "fez" in hollywood.
i do have a fine male dancer up in your neck of the woods
wesley gomes, do you know of him?
z


Dear Zamora,
Diane Weber did one fabulous Beledi dance when I used to see her and her group at the Renaissance Fairs in Box Canyon or someplace near there by 1000Oaks, if memory serves. ( I have not been back to those old stomping grounds in many years and I forget the exact location.)
I have not met Wesley Gomes yet, but hope to some day. Does he have a web site?? I think he is probably closer to Seattle than here. I am 3oo miles and a hefty mountain pass or two from the coast. DaVid thinks its like Norway here!!
Regards,
A'isha
 

Gabi

New member
Fair enough - if anything but solo performances are not belly dance - then yeah, ATS is not belly dance. End of discussion.

Just let me add one point as for the performing for an audience vs. for each other: That is a misconception; I am getting really tired of hearing that and watching the instructional tapes by Fat Chance can easily clear that up. Sure, it is a heck of a lot of fun to interact with other danceras; and that's why I love ATS. But it's not masturbatory, and I have heard from audiences that they pick up on the fun we have with each other. Anyways, really, the main purpose of a performance in ATS is to perform for an audience.
Personal opinions are what they are. Mine is that most tribal I've seen is definitely Bellydance.

I think a lot of people forget that Tribal Dancers do not do only group or even only Tribal. Most Tribal dancers I know have a full background in other types of bellydance including Egyptian.
 

sedoniaraqs

New member
Hm, I am not sure I follow this argument why American Tribal Style Belly Dance is not belly dance:

We dance to classic bellydance songs (played by real live musicians), we wear skirts and wrap tops and coins belts, we're working on playing zills, and most importantly, our movement vocubulary is very similar to what is taught in a cabaret classes. -- So, what is not belly dance about that?

Now, I can see that some of the more recent fusion forms are crossing the line into interpretive dance, but that is different from ATS - I am not sure I can come up with a good explanation why good old-fashioned ATS is not belly dance. (I know that it is neither Middle Eastern nor authentic.)
Just jumping in here to reiterate what A'isha and Cory have said -- an ethnic dance is more than the sum of its parts. Just as there is more to speaking French than stringing together a bunch of french words. The words have to work within the boundaries of French grammar and syntax. Not to mention the subtleties of constructing sentences, prose, or poetry in a particular language, or the use of similies, metaphors, and myriad non-literal phrases. THe same is true of dance. Jamila Salimpour's dance wasn't "hooey" (remember, *her* words) because of the movement vocabulary, but because of the inaccurate cultural context in which she placed the dance and the overall product of her dance style.

I'm less enthusiastic about the question/debate of just what can/should be included as "belly dance", but certainly it is obvious that the collection of hip shimmies and drops, circles, figure 8's, and undulations done by ATS dancers is totally, absolutely and completely different than the same movements used by an Egyptian dancer such as Fifi, Samia, Mona, or Sohair.

Sedonia
 

Dunyah

New member
Hi everyone,
Re: Jamila's Goddess Dance - that was based on a poem Jamila wrote. The dance used basic belly dance movements plus gestures to illustrate the meaning of the poem. I was always told Jamila created it, not that it was from any certain Middle Eastern country or tradition.

I salute Jamila for admitting to teaching "hooey" and that some of her dance presentations were not "authentic."

I still say that much of the actual dance technique and steps were sound. The presentation was Americanized. We didn't know anything else then. No internet, satellite TV, etc., only Egyptian movies with dancers were available to those who lived in urban areas with Arabic populations.

In 1980 Jamila brought in teachers from Egypt and as far as I know was the first on the West Coast to do so. So she was obviously open to learning from the Egyptians at a point in her career when she was very successful and established. Many of her students were very taken aback at this change in dance style - they preferred the Bal Anat stuff.

I'm not a big fan of much of the current "tribal fusion" scene but I don't think it can be blamed on Jamila. It's just a new generation determined to express the dance in their own way. It's too bad so much of it seems poorly done to techno music. Some of it seems to have lost much of what has made belly dance beautiful to me all these years. But no doubt some excellent dancing will come out of it, too. And today we have a real craze for authentic Egyptian dance, so that isn't going away. Never mind what some of the Egyptians themselves are doing with it.... people have different tastes in costumes and music!:)
 

steffib

New member
Just jumping in here to reiterate what A'isha and Cory have said -- an ethnic dance is more than the sum of its parts. Just as there is more to speaking French than stringing together a bunch of french words. The words have to work within the boundaries of French grammar and syntax. Not to mention the subtleties of constructing sentences, prose, or poetry in a particular language, or the use of similies, metaphors, and myriad non-literal phrases. THe same is true of dance. Jamila Salimpour's dance wasn't "hooey" (remember, *her* words) because of the movement vocabulary, but because of the inaccurate cultural context in which she placed the dance and the overall product of her dance style.

I'm less enthusiastic about the question/debate of just what can/should be included as "belly dance", but certainly it is obvious that the collection of hip shimmies and drops, circles, figure 8's, and undulations done by ATS dancers is totally, absolutely and completely different than the same movements used by an Egyptian dancer such as Fifi, Samia, Mona, or Sohair.

Sedonia
Certainly, ATS does not have the same expression as a solo performance, and certainly not like the greats (but then, who does?).

However, at least when done well, ATS does work quite a bit with Middle Eastern music. It does not have to be a fairly mechanical repetition of moves to electronic music. It can be a whole lot more than just counting 1-2-3-4 (it's hard, but not impossible). One can do a group improv performance to real ME music - assuming that one knows the music, and, based on experience, one has to know the music better than for an oriental solo. Sure, the group improv imposes a lot of limitations in the use of the moves, but a good dancer can still do a lot to interpret the music.

I won't be able to express the full emotional depth of Enta Omri in an ATS performance, that is undeniably true - but capturing the excitement of tunes like Shisheler or Hadouni, Hadouni is possible - tempo changes, rhythm changes, musical phrases, call-and-answer in the music - all that matters and can be used in dance.

To be politically incorrect, after having seen quite a few solo performers at Rakkasah dance right over those songs, I think that our fairly new ATS troupe would have done that music at least as much justice.
 

zamora

New member
I have not been back to those old stomping grounds in many years and I forget the exact location.)i grew up in culver city, in the studio system
ahgura..paramount ranch, westerns were shot there!thats where southern faire was..on the pleasure faire circut
laura best was her student, then i worked with the senior rathor, and ms.aram.i found them all at the fez, learned alot about this process of formalizing this dance.
wes gomes...www.gypsyfireproductions.com
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
Don't know about the rest but the "camel tassel" is made of acrylic wool ;~) - at least that's what's recommended for making them.
No, no. What she meant was that anything worn on an animal would not be seen as fit to be worn on a human. It would be degreding. The camel tassels are the tassels that are hung on a camel as decoration.

As for the Indian good luck door hangings being worn as belts. I think this is a good example that before we pick things up, we should learn what the item is and what its real purpose is. Imagine how some christians would feel if someone from a non Christian culture hung crucifixes on their hips and went dancing around.
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
Tarik here,(which is pre-neolithic Chaldean for the instigator);)
So....A'isha....Exactly wadda ya think about folks like the National Folklore troupe claiming that what they do is folklore? (There really is a method to my madness here).
 

Gabi

New member
No, no. What she meant was that anything worn on an animal would not be seen as fit to be worn on a human. It would be degreding. The camel tassels are the tassels that are hung on a camel as decoration.

As for the Indian good luck door hangings being worn as belts. I think this is a good example that before we pick things up, we should learn what the item is and what its real purpose is. Imagine how some christians would feel if someone from a non Christian culture hung crucifixes on their hips and went dancing around.
OMG ROTF - thank you for the clarification :eek: - I had just come off of reading about how to make tassels and honestly, wasn't paying proper attention. I get a kick out of those silly things, then again I am one of the most irreverant people I know and I adore silly *snork*.

Question though - would the people offended by that image not be offended by dancing in a bedleh, or just Bellydancing in general, i.e., in terms of orthodoxy? I mean, I know Muslims who have dogs, as house pets and they aren't Saluki's. Another question - I've been looking and looking for a video clip of Morocco - any suggestions? I love your clips - thanks :D
 

Zumarrad

Member
(on gilded serpent, one can read about 2 chapters of some aussie tribal dancers tour with am american band...who cares?)
Much as I think Gilded Serpent is a highly dubious publication with an unfortunate tendency to stir the sh*t, I really don't think that's fair. Maybe Australians care? It's probably more relevant to them than some article about some random bunch of belly dancers having a hafla in Iowa. Sure, it's tribal, but GS isn't exactly Ethnic Police Central (as the North Beach Memoirs, the only bit of the site I enjoy, make clear!), and just because you don't like tribal or Australians or camel tassels doesn't mean GS shouldn't accept any articles about them.
 

Aziyade

Well-known member
As for the Indian good luck door hangings being worn as belts. I think this is a good example that before we pick things up, we should learn what the item is and what its real purpose is.
Could somebody please link to a picture of what these are? I don't think I've seen them, or if I have, I didn't recognize them. Thanks!
 

Aisha Azar

New member
Tribal, etc.

Hi everyone,
Re: Jamila's Goddess Dance - that was based on a poem Jamila wrote. The dance used basic belly dance movements plus gestures to illustrate the meaning of the poem. I was always told Jamila created it, not that it was from any certain Middle Eastern country or tradition.

I salute Jamila for admitting to teaching "hooey" and that some of her dance presentations were not "authentic."

I still say that much of the actual dance technique and steps were sound. The presentation was Americanized. We didn't know anything else then. No internet, satellite TV, etc., only Egyptian movies with dancers were available to those who lived in urban areas with Arabic populations.

In 1980 Jamila brought in teachers from Egypt and as far as I know was the first on the West Coast to do so. So she was obviously open to learning from the Egyptians at a point in her career when she was very successful and established. Many of her students were very taken aback at this change in dance style - they preferred the Bal Anat stuff.

I'm not a big fan of much of the current "tribal fusion" scene but I don't think it can be blamed on Jamila. It's just a new generation determined to express the dance in their own way. It's too bad so much of it seems poorly done to techno music. Some of it seems to have lost much of what has made belly dance beautiful to me all these years. But no doubt some excellent dancing will come out of it, too. And today we have a real craze for authentic Egyptian dance, so that isn't going away. Never mind what some of the Egyptians themselves are doing with it.... people have different tastes in costumes and music!:)


Dear Dunya,
Actually, there were people around teaching ethnic belly dance and Beledi then, such as Diane Weber, and Jodette. Jodette and Jamila had some bad blood between them, but I do not know her relationships with others mentioned here, but I know she also was not fond of Bert Baladine. There were power struggles like you can't believe back then. American cabaret was not the only game in town, really, but it was the most well known and most people did not know there was a difference, because no one told them.

I would not say that Jamila can be directly "blamed" for the tribal dance, if blame is even the word, here, but she can be pointed out as one who set a precedent for not being clear about what in heck she was presenting.


Dear Steffi,
I once saw a tribal dance group in Vancouver, Washington in performance with Nadia Hamdi. I was very impressed with their over all show and especially impressed with one dance where they appeared to be making living, breathing mandalas with their dance. It was awesome. Was it belly dance? No. Was it incredible and worthy of being on the stage? YES!!!!!!!!! (This MAY have been Americanistan.... I am not sure. It was some years ago, now.)
One can be working with Middle Eastern music and still not proudce anything that is the least bit Middle Eastern....


Dear Tarik,
From what I have seen on video of their stuff, I would say that it is DEFINATELY NOT folkloric!!! Usually, however, they do retain a feeling of approaching their dance with "Egyptianness", but it bears little resemblance to actual folkloric dance. It reminds me very much of Reda's attempts to capture ballet within the boundaries of Egytian thinking and feeling. They are two different things.

Dear Zamora,
I am off to look at Wesley Gomes' site now. Thanks for the link.

Regards to all,
A'isha
 

zamora

New member
gilded serpent has a mission statement that it does not follow.
we have nothing against aussies. lol
we object to the the mission statement not being held in respect
it was not that they "were aussies"
is was that it was not about middle eastern dance or music!
"no one likes their culture messed with"
 

sedoniaraqs

New member
Steffib: Let me clarify, I'm not saying that ATS doesn't work with ME music or that it doesn't interpret the music, only that it does so in a way that is completely different from the traditional dances of the Middle East.

And all of this has nothing to do with with bad raqs sharqi performances one might see at Rakkassah:rolleyes: (I'll take your word for it -- I've never been to Rakkassah but have seen plenty of bad performances of every dance style).

Sedonia


Certainly, ATS does not have the same expression as a solo performance, and certainly not like the greats (but then, who does?).

However, at least when done well, ATS does work quite a bit with Middle Eastern music. It does not have to be a fairly mechanical repetition of moves to electronic music. It can be a whole lot more than just counting 1-2-3-4 (it's hard, but not impossible). One can do a group improv performance to real ME music - assuming that one knows the music, and, based on experience, one has to know the music better than for an oriental solo. Sure, the group improv imposes a lot of limitations in the use of the moves, but a good dancer can still do a lot to interpret the music.

I won't be able to express the full emotional depth of Enta Omri in an ATS performance, that is undeniably true - but capturing the excitement of tunes like Shisheler or Hadouni, Hadouni is possible - tempo changes, rhythm changes, musical phrases, call-and-answer in the music - all that matters and can be used in dance.

To be politically incorrect, after having seen quite a few solo performers at Rakkasah dance right over those songs, I think that our fairly new ATS troupe would have done that music at least as much justice.
 

sedoniaraqs

New member
Just so everyone is talking about the same thing: here are some clips of that I would say are very representative of American Tribal Style (ATS) by FatChance BellyDance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BheWoMmd5kM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S52T9Zq2fYU

And ATS is very different from what Jamila Salimpour was doing that she called "tribal style". Anyone know of any online clips of Jamila's Bal Anat, or something similar?

Sedonia



so, you are telling us, that this is all local, ah..eeh..bs ?
ha ha
it all fits, and somehow has completed a circle of question,no wonder no one can help us ..this is not "tribal" rule of thumb! ??
btw, i understand your tassels are not real, but what uit represents to a middle eastern person, is not kosher
they do not know they did not come off the animal!
z
 

Aniseteph

New member
Yes but you iz one of those irreverant types who would probably wear a peacock feather bra while doing a Lebanese shimmy in high heels :D
Only if you ask very, very nicely!:p

No Camel tassels have a definate construction. They are very different from curtain tiebacks.
I am intrigued. Can you post a picture? I just googled and yahoo'd it and got nothing helpful. Plenty unhelpful :eek: , but such is the Internet...:rolleyes:
 

TribalDancer

New member
Might I suggest that if one wants to continue to beat the long-dead horse topic of "Tribal is/isn't bellydance", that it be under a new topic? This thread, regarding the origins of the term "tribal" with regard to bellydance, has been asked and answered.
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
OMG ROTF - thank you for the clarification :eek: - I had just come off of reading about how to make tassels and honestly, wasn't paying proper attention. I get a kick out of those silly things, then again I am one of the most irreverant people I know and I adore silly *snork*.

Question though - would the people offended by that image not be offended by dancing in a bedleh, or just Bellydancing in general, i.e., in terms of orthodoxy? I mean, I know Muslims who have dogs, as house pets and they aren't Saluki's. Another question - I've been looking and looking for a video clip of Morocco - any suggestions? I love your clips - thanks :D
The people who are offended by bedlah are not the type of people who watch dance generally speaking. The type of people that Zamora's talking about are the people who love and identify with the dance as a part of their culture. That's why they get offended when they see things that they perceive as distorting the reality of their culture.

As for Morocco's clips. She's working on it but it most likely wont happen till after Christmass because she's out of the country till then and will have to catch up on all her business when she gets back. You could go to her website and buy her DVDS. I'm glad you like my clips. I'll be adding some new ones soon.
 
Top