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Video Night

As usual, the video night went well. They've got a new dvd & tv at the AL Centre, which had no trouble reading the dvds I've got. (I've had trouble in the past with the old one!). We brought snacks & drink to share, so there was a bit of a party atmosphere.

Although we have a good time, it's still a learning experience, I feel, and helps to round off the year with some review of work that we've done. I don't just throw these evenings together!

I started with Aziza Raqs, because Aziza will be one of the stars of Shimmy in the City. And because she is Adorable! And because she's an interesting mix of Egyptian and American style.

I then went on to show a few Tribal Fusion dancers, as a more extreme version of American style dancing, strongly Suhaila-influenced and yoga-conditioned. There was *some* pursing of lips, *some* pointing & laughing, with regard to *some* of the TF costuming (which you have to admit has as many oddities as Oriental costuming), but generally my students have been exposed to TF at other events, like haflahs and Hipnotic, and so on, so they are open to watching stuff other than what we do in class.

I then went on to show the Turkish dvds I'd gone out of my way to buy earlier this year, of Asena and Didem, because they demonstrate how the American styling that I'd just been making them watch had been strongly influenced by Turkish dance (rather than Egyptian). I think my students shared my view that Asena is fun to watch, because of her attitude! Some more pointing & laughing at her Lotus Jeans mini-skirt costume! And were in awe of the fact that the Turks dance in 4" stilettos.

Back to American, and some Veil dancing, because we've been working with Veils this term. I showed Katia, because she was doing some interesting and different things with her veil. Then some classic FCBD, because we've been working on group improv this term. And then, because it was on the same DVD, I showed them Sa'Elayssa doing Theda Bara as Cleopatra, which is beautifully theatrical, and funny.

And finally, we went on to the Egyptians, via a quick bit of Soraya Drum Solo, because she's entertaining, and shows a different style of drum solo from the drum solos we'd been watching earlier. I pointed out she's Brazilian, so some of her shimmy technique is Samba-influenced, and that one big difference in the drum solo interpretation is that, rather than working with a CD which she has to follow, she's working with a real drummer, who has to follow *her*.

And finally Dina, because she's the star of Shimmy in the City in September! Again, some clutching of handbags, with regard to some of her costuming choices, but admiration of her "abandon", and emotionality. Rounding off with her signature, Taht il Shebbak. Hooray!


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 28th, 2012 01:24 am (UTC)
Tribal Fusion
What is you opinion on TF? I have seen some interesting stuff and also some absolute crap.
Jun. 28th, 2012 02:30 am (UTC)
Like you, I've seen some very well done Tribal Fusion, but I've also seen a lot that's dire. I risk offending a lot of my TF flisties, so I'm going to have to be very careful how I express myself!

Firstly, I generally hate the music that is being used for Tribal Fusion performances. It's not the sort of music I like in Real Life, it's not the sort of music I like in my own dance (which would be Arabic, naturally!). I find it generally jarring and ugly. Sorry all my TF friends, it's just a personal preferences thing. Hardly any of the music I've ever heard being used in those performances makes me feel good. So that puts me off enormously.

Secondly (and this is where I lose all my TF friends!), I don't really believe in my heart of hearts that it's anything to do with Bellydance. For me, bellydance needs to have a significant connection to the music and culture of the Middle East (or Turkey). Tribal Fusion is unlikely to use Middle Eastern music. It doesn't use a Middle Eastern movement vocabulary, or a Middle Eastern stance. It doesn't use a Middle Eastern costuming aesthetic. If you take all the Middle Eastern out of the dance, then what is left cannot be bellydance, in my opinion (in the same way that if you take all the Spanish out of Flamenco, what's left is not Flamenco). I'm not going to argue with anyone who believes differently, because everyone's entitled to their own opinion, and that one's mine.

Thirdly, I simply don't find Tribal Fusion thrilling or exciting to watch. It's not what I love. I just don't gel with it. I can appreciate that the good dancers are highly skilled, technically, because the style requires a lot of precision and strength. But it's not a dance style that has ever moved me. I'm not saying it's unemotional, or anything like that- I'm sure that TF dancers put a lot of emotion into their dancing. I'm just saying that it's not a style of dance that speaks to *my* soul.

But I can respect good Tribal Fusion dancing, even if I don't particularly enjoy it.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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