Cabaret VS Tribal

Tribal VS Cabaret – this is a long and involved debate, with purists and experimental types bashing heads over this argument. Since this is my blog, I am going to give my opinion, so prepare yourself!

To start off with, I am a Tribal dancer, so I am obviously inclined to Tribal and Fusion belly dance. However, I do love to do the occasional cabaret piece and of course, watch great cabaret dancers. We can all agree (I hope) that good dancing is in the end exactly that – good dancing. Just because it may be a different style doesn’t mean that it’s not good. I am not a fan of contemporary style dance. At all. But I can appreciate the skill and dedication that the dancers have. I think we should always strive to do that – appreciate a dancer, be polite and clap at the end of their performance even if it’s not our personal style.

Art is like religion (yes, I said it!) it’s a very personal thing and our life experiences and emotions will drive our receptiveness of a piece.

I don’t believe the “versus” argument. I have seen a world of belly dance where, at a Tribal Hafla, a cabaret performer was cheered on and zagareeted to. I have seen a world of belly dance where dancers from all over the country dance together at festivals, regardless of shape, size, age and dance style.

I have (and always will) believe that there is no versus is dance – people create those arguments based on their own insecurities, their need for validation and are fueled by a lack of education in dance and dance history.

I have compiled a few videos that I think illustrate my thoughts on this segregation in the society.

I wanted to start with a clip of Rachel Brice dancing at Cairo Caravan, but it seems that the video has been removed from YouTube. How odd.

Here is one I have always loved, called “It’s All Bellydance” – I love dances where we get a taste of a bit of everything!

The Bellydance Superstars – I think always good at keeping the balance of Tribal and Cabaret dancers. Here they are, each doing the same thing, at the same time but it looks so different because they have stylized it to suit the style they dance. *YIP!*

Last but not least, this is Zoe Jakes and Kami Liddle at Massive Spectacular. They are dressed slightly cabaret, and do a lot of cabaret inspired moves but they still manage to keep it Tribal! 🙂

Let me know your thoughts – I’d love to see a reply post or “proof” that one is better than the other. Go ahead. Try me. 🙂



  1. aaah.. thanks Alex… great post! I AGREE with you! At Tribal Massive this year we had a number of “Cabaret” style dancers travelling really far to train and dance at a “Tribal” Event… and this was because they knew the training they got was going to be as useful to them as it was to “Tribal” dancers! I was actually surprised by this as I didn’t expect it! We actually had some interesting discussions about how we are all just “bellydancers” and labels on styles can sometimes prevent us from learning more and improving ourselves! So I just thought i would provide you with some more evidence that we CAN all appreciate each-other as dancers even if we don’t dance that particular style! 😀

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