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Thread: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?




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    Ultimate BHUZzer zorba's Avatar
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    Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    As per my (in)famous article on Gilded Serpent, I certainly do not have problems with "innovations" in Belly Dance, well done fusion, alternate visions, etc. I frequently enjoy watching them, and trying a few myself.

    But Goddess Mother! Doesn't anyone do plain ole Belly Dance anymore? Plain AmCab, plain Egyptian, plain "whatever", even plain ATS? Seems like EVERYONE is doing fusion or spin-off styles these days. Jazz fusion, Modern (dance) fusion, hip-hop fusion, Tribal fusion (with "whatever"), and "whatever".

    Again, I don't have problems with people doing what they like - as long as there is "truth in advertising", I've been seen in Tribal fusion classes myself - blah, blah. But it does make it hard to find classes, workshops, etc in plain ole Belly Dance. I'm currently in 4 classes - a 70s AmCab, a "John Compton style" folkloric, an ATS, and a Suhaila format class (which some might argue isn't genuine either). That is the BULK of non-fusion classes available.

    Workshops seem to be even more fused. That's fine - but I personally am looking mostly for Belly Dance only as I figure I need as much help as I can get - especially with ATS where I'm a terrified beginner who, thank Goddess, has found a very good ATS instructor who is drilling the whole concept into my pea-brain.

    Discuss.
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    Master BHUZzer zamora's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by zorba View Post
    As per my (in)famous article on Gilded Serpent, I certainly do not have problems with "innovations" in Belly Dance, well done fusion, alternate visions, etc. I frequently enjoy watching them, and trying a few myself.

    But Goddess Mother! Doesn't anyone do plain ole Belly Dance anymore? Plain AmCab, plain Egyptian, plain "whatever", even plain ATS? Seems like EVERYONE is doing fusion or spin-off styles these days. Jazz fusion, Modern (dance) fusion, hip-hop fusion, Tribal fusion (with "whatever"), and "whatever".

    Again, I don't have problems with people doing what they like - as long as there is "truth in advertising", I've been seen in Tribal fusion classes myself - blah, blah. But it does make it hard to find classes, workshops, etc in plain ole Belly Dance. I'm currently in 4 classes - a 70s AmCab, a "John Compton style" folkloric, an ATS, and a Suhaila format class (which some might argue isn't genuine either). That is the BULK of non-fusion classes available.

    Workshops seem to be even more fused. That's fine - but I personally am looking mostly for Belly Dance only as I figure I need as much help as I can get - especially with ATS where I'm a terrified beginner who, thank Goddess, has found a very good ATS instructor who is drilling the whole concept into my pea-brain.

    Discuss.
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    Official BHUZzer EternalStudent's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    I do and get my nose looked down on because that's all I do. To each his or her own but let's not forget what started the whole thing, and there can't be fushion without bellydance first. Like creationism, there couldn't be an Adam unless first there was dirt to start it all.
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    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    Well ATS is 100 percent fusion and you won't have any difficulty finding classes - there is one way and one way only to do the moves in ATS and you will learn them in classes and workshops.

    As for "belly dance" - it's hybrid. I don't really see why a class that is classified as 70s AmCab or a class that is classified as Egyptian is somehow "fusion" and not "bellydance" though.


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    Ultimate BHUZzer zorba's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zumarrad View Post
    Well ATS is 100 percent fusion and you won't have any difficulty finding classes - there is one way and one way only to do the moves in ATS and you will learn them in classes and workshops.

    As for "belly dance" - it's hybrid. I don't really see why a class that is classified as 70s AmCab or a class that is classified as Egyptian is somehow "fusion" and not "bellydance" though.
    No argument, Zum. I'm not trying to get to that fine a granularity. I'm (trying to) talk in more or less general terms here. Agree with all your points above!

    I'm seeing lots of Jazz/Belly dance workshops, or Hip-hop/Belly Dance workshops, etc, etc, blah, blah. Sometimes such outnumber just plain old "Belly dance" workshops
    Last edited by zorba; 11-16-2011 at 03:49 PM.
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    Ultimate BHUZzer zorba's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    A bit more clarification.

    It took me quite a while to even FIND a class in ATS - as opposed to "Tribal Fusion". The fusion class was fun, but I REALLY need a basis in ATS before I can even think about "fusion" of any kind!
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    Advanced BHUZzer Elibelinde's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    Well c'mon Zorba, there are still a few of us dinosaurs still out here kicking, so to speak!

    Of course people insist on putting labels on us, like dead butterflies in a box, which is entirely contrary to the spirit of art and creativity, especially since we aren't dead yet, and which ruins the joy of just dancing and enjoying the dance; but, whatever.


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    Official BHUZzer EternalStudent's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    I don't understand why people say that vintage has been replaced with modern. That's like saying hip hop has replaced the waltz, the mazurka, etc. No dance is "replaced;" there are just newer ones but that doesn't mean the older ones are put out to pasture either.


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    Established BHUZzer yaalini's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    Er...I'm a little confused by you stating you're in 4 classes of the non-fusion variety, so presumably these are...bellydance classes, no?

    Because your next statement begins "Workshops are even more fused" which I think you meant to connect with your initial statement and not the one about your classes.

    Not to invalidate your issue, but that is confusing.

    As to your question...I guess it also depends on what's available in your area, and what makes it worth it to those hosting the workshops/teaching the classes.


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    Ultimate BHUZzer zorba's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by yaalini View Post
    Because your next statement begins "Workshops are even more fused" which I think you meant to connect with your initial statement and not the one about your classes.
    You're right, that wasn't exactly well written.

    What yaalini said!
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    Advanced BHUZzer Callistaangel's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    maybe its your area?

    I dont have any probs finding regular belly dance instructors to take workshops and classes from.

    ALso rem for a lot of ppl its biz. if belly-whatever is gunna sell class space then thats what some will do.
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  12. #12
    Master BHUZzer SamiraShuruk's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    I do/teach belly dance.
    But we're SO lucky in this area- Artemis Mourat (Turkish Romani and Vintage Oriental), Yasmin (classic Egyptian), Faten Salama (Egyptian oriental and folklore), Anthea, Antonia all with over 30 years experience each and onstage experience - true master teachers with can't be beat ethics... and then we have a good number of others- also wonderful and teaching straight up belly dance of various styles.
    We ALSO have the gigs (good paying ones) to create the market / need for professional level classes in the more traditional styles and have had them for quite some time. I wonder if this contributes to it.


  13. #13
    Advanced BHUZzer yameyameyame's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    I still belly dance ;)
    I do cross train but I don't fuse belly dance with anything else.
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    Master BHUZzer tigerb's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    People are offering fusion classes because they think that's what students want. Look at your local haflas... does fusion outnumber straight bd?

    In your photos, Zorba, I see lots of fusion costumes alongside your cane numbers -- tambourines, et cetera. Are most of your performances bellydance as opposed to fusion? What is your ratio?
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    Ultimate BHUZzer zorba's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by tigerb View Post
    People are offering fusion classes because they think that's what students want. Look at your local haflas... does fusion outnumber straight bd?
    Yes.
    In your photos, Zorba, I see lots of fusion costumes alongside your cane numbers -- tambourines, et cetera. Are most of your performances bellydance as opposed to fusion? What is your ratio?
    I would say that I'm 99% straight BD - but OTOH, have been taught that the tambourine is a gen-you-wine "belly dance" prop. Which, of course, starts the semantic arguments! As I told Zum, I'm not looking for that fine a granularity - I'm meaning stuff like the afore mentioned "fusion with Jazz", or "fusion with Hip-Hop" or whatever. This is what I'm seeing a lot of - some of it works, and some of it doesn't.

    Or I'm not understanding your question? Either way, you and Callistaangel bring up a valid point that I hadn't thought of - my area is heavily fusion.
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    Official BHUZzer Luna of Cairo's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    Gosh I'm writing a blog post about all this (con)fusion right now. I just got back from Cairo and taught a couple of workshops in NY and was absolutely astounded to see how many of us are doing everything but belly dance--yet calling it belly dance. We're not even dancing to Middle Eastern music anymore... ah... have so much to say about this :/
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    Master BHUZzer sabrinabellydancer's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    Our group does ;) Did an Egyptian wedding tonight. Zeffa and all. Totally normal, traditional, live drummers, bras, belts, skirts...normal as it gets. Wanna come play down here?
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  18. #18
    Ultimate BHUZzer jewelsdances's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    I do! All improvisation bellydance only...Zills, veil, drum solo, sword sometimes, wings sometimes. No fusion for me. Lots of both kinds of dancers here in Portland but many bellydancers. We have lots of live music to dance to also. Come up here and play!


  19. #19
    Advanced BHUZzer ouroboros's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    Pretty much just Egyptian here. I suppose because I'm a dance teacher in other forms (tap, musical theatre, jazz, modern, ballet) I don't care to fuse much. I find that there's enough good stuff in each form on its own that I have yet to exhaust my interest in the uniqueness of any one dance style. PLUS quality fusion is tricky to choreograph and hard to execute with integrity. I prefer to see a kick ass baladi - or - an awesome Charleston, not a tepid mixture of both.

    Having said all this I DO do it occasionally (I just did a bellydance/modern dance solo to dubstep for a burlesque show~ :-O ) if I am super inspired to do so.

    Edit: I also did a tap dance with zils. It was really hard.
    Last edited by ouroboros; 11-17-2011 at 02:11 AM.
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  20. #20
    I could get used to this! Atlantis's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    Come to the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition
    Belly Dancing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! at it's finest!
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  21. #21
    Master BHUZzer ozma's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    ...and kids these days won't stay off my lawn!
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    Advanced BHUZzer SandraDances's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    General statement : it is easier to fuse than to master a pure form.

    That statement shouldn't be true, because you should have to master the two forms first, just like you have to master two movements to layer them well. However, it is more fun and easier for short attention spans to do a little of this and a little of that. Oh, and let's put tiny hats on our heads while we are at it...

    I am not insulting the instructors. This is their business and they are smart to teach for the market.

    Done well, fusion is awesome. It just isn't always done well.


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    Official BHUZzer Safran's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    We have plenty of bellydance around here, so you are welcome to move over to this side of the planet

    But really, considering the small size of Estonia, I am astonished and happy about the popularity of bellydance (the main indicator being the amount of students), and the number of foreign instructors we get here for shows and workshops.


  24. #24
    Advanced BHUZzer caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luna of Cairo View Post
    Gosh I'm writing a blog post about all this (con)fusion right now. I just got back from Cairo and taught a couple of workshops in NY and was absolutely astounded to see how many of us are doing everything but belly dance--yet calling it belly dance. We're not even dancing to Middle Eastern music anymore... ah... have so much to say about this :/
    Oh yes!! spend long enough in Cairo then travel out and you do see everything very differently. The lack of connection to it's roots becomes blaringly obvious.

    I reached the conclusion that many people do not actually know what belly dance is or is supposed to be.. vocalising that leads to labels being slapped on your head right left and centre. Shame really.


  25. #25
    Official BHUZzer lplmuk's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    One of the most popular, attractive and well-danced numbers at our very recent performance platform was a Goth fusion act. My bellydance class raved about them. They also praised a wonderful local bellydancing duo(sisters) but it goes to show how the keen members of my bellydance class can be attracted by the dark side and this must happen elsewhere. People aren't always attracted to fusion because it seems an easy option. They appreciate it when it is done well and it can be very appealing with its' "Westerness" and accessability. Let's face it not all students are that dedicated and will move on to other activities, not just in the way 6 weekers do but after 2 years to a new interest.
    I also think there is such a lot of mediocre belly dance around..what Bea mentioned in the "Bollywood" thread..people tripping around badly rehearsed to Shakira and Holly Vallence and even those who were initially captured by the music and dance of the mE will find them entranced by well danced novelty. Tribal and fusion is often danced in small groups not classes and this also appeals to individuals who attend year after year small local classes with a regular turn-over of beginners and sometimes with teachers who themselves are not developing by carrying on learning. And on the opposite very solid teachers , dedicated to their ME style are hampered by students who demand nothing more than a light hearted social escape from everyday.
    Out of 8 more dedicated and regular students, I have at present 4 are young and I am so pleased to have that mix and dancers who will dance this dance for many years. One however is destined for tribal..she has joined the class because she feels being a good belly dancer will make her a good tribal dancer. One of the older students began because her daughter reccomended the dance. Her daughter goes to a class at her university where 100 students signed up! That's the way to go..get in to a community looking fr activities and get 'em young
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  26. #26
    I could get used to this! Starmouth's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    I have felt the same recently. The line up for this year's Fantasia festival in London looks fun and entertaining as always, but the classes are very heavily fusion based.

    http://www.jwaad.com/fantasia_timetable_2011.pdf

    I'm still a student, but I would like to get a solid knowledge of belly dance before I attempt any fusions, if I ever do. I find it very hard to find middling level workshops in oriental style - any workshops that are at my skill level seem to be fusion.
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    Established BHUZzer Emma's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by Starmouth View Post
    I have felt the same recently. The line up for this year's Fantasia festival in London looks fun and entertaining as always, but the classes are very heavily fusion based.

    http://www.jwaad.com/fantasia_timetable_2011.pdf

    I'm still a student, but I would like to get a solid knowledge of belly dance before I attempt any fusions, if I ever do. I find it very hard to find middling level workshops in oriental style - any workshops that are at my skill level seem to be fusion.
    Pssssst....my workshop is using remixed (Arabic) music but the technique and interpretation is all Egyptian. I don't know what you consider middling level but it's a very adaptable choreography so it can be as complex or simple as you like.

    Self promotion over!


  28. #28
    I could get used to this! Starmouth's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?



    Thank you Emma!


  29. #29
    Ultimate BHUZzer zorba's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by sabrinabellydancer View Post
    Our group does ;) Did an Egyptian wedding tonight. Zeffa and all. Totally normal, traditional, live drummers, bras, belts, skirts...normal as it gets. Wanna come play down here?
    Nuts - I'd love to find someone who could TEACH the Zeffa up here - and then a venue where I could perform it! Yes, I do a "Shemadan" dance - a pretty good one if I say so myself. But a real Zeffa it ain't.
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  30. #30
    Official BHUZzer EternalStudent's Avatar
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    Re: Doesn't ANYONE Belly Dance anymore?

    Where I live it's overrun with ATS, tribal fushion, goth and just about fuse whatever the hell you want. Traditional bellydance style is in the majority. While I say to each his/her own, it's not unusual for event organizers to have haflas/events that specify goth only, tribal only, tribal fushion only, but when traditional bellydancers evern hosted an event that said traditional bellydance only, they get the attitude directed at them.

    It's amazing how an event which is specified "bellydance only" gets incredibly infiltrated with fushion more than anything else. I've even spoken to patrons who said what I did was what they thought bellydance was, and also what they came to see. And then fushion dancers wonder why people won't come out to see them because they they refuse to understand what it is that patrons want to see.
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