Ok… so this post is going to be opinionated and probably offensive to some, so if you’re easily offended – step away from the computer! Also, I am going to continually contradict myself, but I see this post more as a soliloquy or an internal monologue of sorts.
Lately I have been depressed, or rather… unsettled by the direction Tribal Fusion seems to be moving in. To me, TF is a fusion of ATS, and the muscle controlled way of bellydance. You will probably argue with me on the validity of that statement, but it is just how I see it, or as I have come to understand it in my research. After seeing some performances lately (online and in real life) I just feel that we, in the Tribal community, are getting so desperate for “something new and different” that we might we going too far. I’m sure that this problem is not just restricted to the Tribal community, but I don’t frequent cabaret performances as much as I do TF. I think our “desperation” (for lack of a better word) started out with using different types of props and seeing what we could do with those props that was “wow”. The next route we took was different types of music – I think perhaps first not straying too far with Arabic pop music, to Western pop music, rock music, heavy metal, alternative, the list goes on, really. We added theatrics, making it more of a show and less of a dance. We fused dances… slowly but surely forgetting where we started.
That really makes me sad. It’s a juvenile statement, but I find it expresses exactly what I feel. Just sadness for it. I think Fusion is doing all this in a big way – we’re moving away from the earthy feel of ATS which I love so much and more to the contemporary style of things. (As a side note, I must just add that I quite dislike contemporary dance, I honestly think that I just don’t get it.) The problem you see, comes with asking “When does it stop being belly dance?”. According to some cabaret dancers, Tribal Fusion isn’t belly dancing. This opinion makes me very angry because traditional Egyptian dancers from back in the day would probably say American Cabaret isn’t belly dance either. Ok, I’m going to stop having a little heart attack about that now. You see… this post is contradictory because I don’t like the direction that TF is going in, but in reply to the people who think that TF isn’t belly dance I say that art needs to evolve – it needs to change and suit whatever is going on in the world at that time.
Dancing is an art – and I fully accept that art needs to evolve. I think that my problem or issue comes in with the direction that it’s heading. There are of course some dancers who are still grounded strongly in their ATS roots, but I am seeing a lot of bizarre and “out there” performances. I can only hope it’s some kind of fad that’ll pass with time.
I could give you YouTube links to some examples, but I don’t want to attack individuals, so Facebook or Twitter or E-mail me and I’ll tell you if you’re interested. (Info on my contact page)
But you see, the contradiction in this post comes from my next statement: I want to do a fusion dance. And not just a tribal fusion dance, a fun “Caribbean/reggaeton fusion” dance. Honestly, something more to choreograph for fun, to flex my newly found choreography muscles, to do at a Hafla around people who can appreciate me doing it “just for the hell of it.” I don’t want to take it seriously, I don’t even want to label it belly dance. But I DO want to have fun and do something a little different.
However, therein comes the difference. I’m not pardoning myself from what I frown upon, but I have honestly and openly said “What I want to do is NOT belly dance, although inspired by it. I don’t want anybody to take this as a serious overview for what the art form is. This is NOT an accurate representation of belly dance. I’m doing this for me.”
Does that excuse me? Maybe not. But I’m not claiming that what I want to do is belly dance.
I’ve found this post very difficult to put into words, so there are lots of things I haven’t said and lots of things I still want to say. It might come to me one day when I’m washing the dishes or editing some photos… but we’ll see. There might or might not be a “Part 2”. So I end with this question:
Where is the line, for you? There is no right and wrong answer, so please don’t attack other comments, but answer for yourself. (And of course, my own interest.) I can easily be swayed by a good argument or a good point – so please, go ahead and try! 🙂
I’m sorry that there are no pretty pictures in this post, but my next post has about a billion, so I’ll make up for it! 😀