Thursday, February 23, 2012

21 of 30: Tribal Belly Dancing - Finding my Inner Gypsy

I've tried “normal” or traditional belly dancing a few years ago, and I really enjoyed it. My teacher used to say I was a natural, and even asked if I would consider choreographing their “children’s belly dance class.” (insert blush here)
I dunno… I’ve always been pretty rhythmic, but I guess when you’re holding a bit of fat in your belly, it makes the movements you make in belly dancing look really good. Haha!

Okay, so I found this deal on living social (or groupon, or one of those websites) that featured this place called Live Arts LA. Take 3 classes for 15 bucks or something… And they had a pretty wide array of classes to choose from. One in particular that stood out was their Tribal Belly Dancing class. It sounded cool, so I went and tried it.

It was brand new – I think the day that I came was their first EVER tribal class. And there were only 2 students. Me, and one of their Zumba choreographers. I loved it. More personal attention! It was like a one on one lesson for 5 bucks!

Doesn't she look like a cool gypsy?
I asked Heather, the instructor, what the difference was between Tribal Belly Dance and traditional belly dancing. She said Tribal is more like American Tribal Fusion… It’s a mix of different styles, from African to Middle Eastern to Spanish to Indian dancing. People refer to it as ATS or African Tribal Style or California Tribal, since the whole ‘movement’ started here in California. At least the bulk of it did…
They also improvised their use of costumes, by using more earthy materials… headwraps/turbans, coins, ethnic textile, many layers, etc.

I don’t have any pictures or videos of me doing the class (thank goodness), but from what I remember about the lesson, it felt like tribal belly dance was more controlled. The movements are shorter and more abrupt (compared to traditional) and your feet are planted firmly on the ground instead of having your heels up a little. I liked it, because it was like belly dancing and popping and locking at the same time! Haha!

I found a video of my teacher dancing Tribal Belly Fusion. See what you think.