What is Tribal Bellydance?

My interest in Tribal style Bellydance began when I saw Rachel Brice perform in a Bellydance Superstars DVD.

As far as I can tell there can't be an “exact” classification, because it is a fusionary Dance.

It all began with American Tribal Style – an improvisational style where the group learn sets of movements with musical, verbal or physical cues. This creates a language of dance were any leader can cue her troupe as to which sequence will follow and ta da they all perform like a school of fish. The troupe is called a tribe as they move as one, they take turns to lead, and they all speak the same dance language. This style was developed in the late 70's by Bal Anat, Fat Chance Bellydance and Gypsy Caravan.

Following on from ATS is Tribal Fusion – with soloist and troupes – these movements are based on those of middle eastern dance be that ATS, Cabaret or Traditional or folk. Added to that will be movements from other dance styles (this is the fusion part) like Indian, Hip Hop, Gothic, Flamenco, Hula, African...... or movements that are all her own. In addition to the fusionary style, the emphasis is on isolations, with much attention to arm and upper body movements.

The Tribal dancers costume is what sets her apart at first glace!

Here there is also a wide spectrum of possibilities – ATS costuming leans toward many layers of Gypsy like skirts over full harem pants with coin bra's and Indian style crop tops called choli's, lots of ethnic jewelry and sometimes a highly decorated turban or head dress. An ATS troupe will wear costumes that have a similar look – so whilst colours and details between dancers may differ the overall look will be the same – each tribe my also share a distinct facial tattoo that each dancer will wear.

Tribal Fusion has a whole host of costuming options available – a dancer might wear something like and ATS costume as described above but with her own personal twist. A typical tribal fusion costume consists of Wide Bell Bottom pants and belts made with American Indian bead mandala's, coins, chains and cowrie shells with coloured dread yarn fringes, accessorized with silk flowers in their hair and LOTS of Kuchi jewelry. In creating your costume for Tribal Fusion allow your imagination to run free. Your costume can be as ornate or as simple as you like – reflecting the mood of your dance and your own personal style.

As with your costume your musical choices are vast. You could go for a straight traditional Drum Solo, an electronic piece, or perhaps something more ethereal. Or your favorite Bollywood,Goth, Industrial, metal, gypsy, flamenco or Rock track. Here your choice should reflect the mood you are expressing and tie in with your costume as much as possible.