What is the difference between Tribal Improvisation, Fusion Choreography, and Egyptian Style Belly Dance?
Tribal Improvisation is derived from the original format of American Tribal Style or ATS dance, created by Carolena Nericcio of Fat Chance Belly Dance. In this style, all dancers of a group are working with the same vocabulary of movements and combinations but stringing them together in the moment to create an improvised group dance. The group has a leader position, which can change often, and the leader provides visual cues to tell the follower dancers what the next movement or combination will be. Every performance is different because it is created in the moment by the dancers working together.
Fusion Choreography shares many of the stylings and movements of Tribal Improvisation, but works within the framework of choreographed routines. This does allow for more variety of movement outside of the Improv strucutre and it also treats the music differently, being able to work with the nuances of melody and syncopated timing. There are many examples of Fusion Choreography artists, the best known of which is The Indigo, whose style is just one of many that fall into the category of Fusion.
Egyptian Belly Dance is a more authentic style of movement, passed down through the years from teacher to student. Egyptian style has many facets. It can be bouncy and folkloric, dramatic and enchanting, rhythmic and hard-driving, and just about anything in between. It is usually performed to classical Egyptian music or modern pop songs and techno variations on the classics. Some Egyptian dance is done through choreography and some is improvised. An excellent local example of Egyptian style is Jasmin Jahal.
Who can take classes?
Anyone sixteen years of age or older can register for classes regardless of age, sex, or fitness level. Belly dance tends to be gentler on the body than most other dance forms, yet it is an excellent way to improve posture, increase flexibility, strengthen muscles, and enhance your mind/body connection. If you have a medical concern that you feel might be worsened by dancing, please consult with your doctor before registering for classes or workshops.
What should I wear? What should I bring?
Class attire is comfortable, fitted clothing that you can move in. Ideally, students should wear yoga pants or leggings with a close-fitting tank top or tee shirt. Because Christina needs to be able to see your movement clearly, baggy clothing and skirts are not considered appropriate class attire. We dance barefoot or wearing a soft-soled dance shoe like a ballet slipper or jazz flat. If you wish to not be barefoot and do not have dance shoes, socks are fine. If you want to feel more like a belly dancer, you may wear a quiet hip scarf or mini accent skirt, but it is not required that you do so. Please refrain from wearing clothing or jewelry with noisy bells or coins on them.
Beginner students need not bring anything but themselves, perhaps a bottle of water, and a desire to learn this beautiful and fun dance form. As you progress through the levels, you will be told what supplies you will need to acquire.
How quickly can I "move up in the ranks" and perform?
Each level of study takes some time to master well enough to progress to the next level. Genearally speaking it will take at least two sessions of a beginner level course to move to intermediate and at least four sessions of an intermediate level course to move into advanced. Some students take longer to progress. This is mostly dependent on the number of classes you take per week and how much you practice on your own time. Student performance opportunities in the bellydance community are available for anyone in the intermediate levels or higher and Christina hosts a biannual Student Salon for dancers of any level to perform in.
Attainment of professional level skills takes more time and dedication to the art form. Rarely does a dancer meet professional level standards with less than five years of study with a regular teacher plus attendance in workshops offered by several other teachers and private coaching or mentoring under a professional performer. It may feel like a slow climb, but patience and dedication are the keys to a successful professional dance career.
Christina King : Christina@RaksChristina.com : 773-454-6498
All contents of this website copyright 2010 Christina King. All images have been used with permission.