I started taking Unmata ITS classes with Doro some time ago.
It makes me look like this:
I made a belt a while ago but did not wear it to perform because it did not match the others’ outfits. It is made from two layers of sturdy cotton, with a belt pattern that is slightly curved. I layered velvet, tablet weaving trimming I made some time ago, obsidian shinies and black fringe. And I made lace flowers that cover the belt closure.
May I present an outfit I made for a show in April: pants, red skirt (bought), a fabric belt, a black bra, and a shrug (bought). The self-made items are the interesting ones, so:
It’s my first tribal bra, so I hope the next one will be better. I found many good tips here, and I browsed a lot of dancers’ pictures to decide how I wanted it to look, and to glean their little secrets. The before:
I cut off the straps and promptly doubled the remaining back/horizontal straps with pretty velvet because they were very stretchy. I also added some fabric to the sides of the cups to keep everything under control there.
I then added D rings and new shoulder straps made from soft batiste (4cm wide, so they would be comfortable, and 110cm long to leave enough for tying in the back) and tried it on to see how the straps tied in the back – this is the look I was going for.
When I was satisfied with the fit, I started sewing on stuff (below: some examples of stuff).
And more stuff. And some metal pieces I got from Melwen.
And some more. And then some. Until:
The belt I made did not match the others’ outfits, so I borrowed one for the show, and I made a set that’s more oldschool later.
The pants that are worn underneath are made from 2m of teal fabric with a diamond pattern. I managed to picture it like its sister fabric, in the lightest shade of blue:
but it’s very teal, really.
The making of is easy: take fabric, cut two rectangles – if the pattern allows for it, the fabric width is leg width, so the height is determined by leg length. Fold rectangles in half and cut quarter circle to accommodate your buttocks. Sew leg seams, then sew legs together. Attach waistband and add elastic band. Tada!
I blacked my shins during Floorwork Reloaded with Doro, but I learned quite a few things too. Mostly that my triceps should be trained more, and that it’s never as easy as professional dancers make it look like :)
But I was pretty content the next day to see that I had not hurt any bones or muscles which means I did the movements correctly.
In the evening we were at the party and enjoyed great performances. It amazes me every time how much creativity and versatility is brought to the table by the members of the tribal family.
After seeing the others dance so gracefully, it felt weird to do impro on the same stage but hey – one has to start somewhere.
The last workshop of this year’s CarVie was Dynamic Duels with Nakari. We learned a short slow duo choreo which morphs into impro. I realised again that I am slow when it comes to take in new choreos; but I assume one can only stubbornly continue to dance until body memory improves.
On the plus side: I learned two new slow moves, wrap around turn, and turkish point for two :)
Yay, I have been invited to join an impro group performance at the CarVie party :) I know most of the other dancers, but still – we’ll have only one rehearsal next week. This will be fuuuun!
Let’s dance some more :)
I’ll attend three courses (Tribal Impro II, III, and Fusion).
And I’ve chosen some workshops to obtain additional food for thought and training, such as Slide and lock with Mab.
CarVie is back; and I’ll attend four workshops, Fluid & Strong with Alexis Southall, Dancefloor Battle: Bellydance vs. Hip Hop with April Rose, Floorwork Reloaded with Doro, and Dynamic Duells with Nakari.
And we have bought tickets for the show on Friday, wheeee!
For inspiration: I like this outfit a lot.
From pieces of a metal belt I ordered online (and donations from Melwen) I made a black-and-silver metal belt
I love how the disks sit at the hip bones.
I continued to sew stuff onto my first tribal bra until it looked like this:
Melwen gifted me with a lace bolero!
And I fixed a bunch of flowers to adorn the hair by sewing them on hair clips
Finally, I added the missing few centimeters to my black tribal skirt. I think that skirt’s the very first item I bought when I started to dance, and washing shrunk it a bit. So now here’s my third tribal skirt:
I pursued all three summer semester courses and learned new moves, including skirt moves, and some easy zill patterns. No shimmy so far, though :/
We had a wonderful garden hafla last Saturday with perfect weather and perfect hosts.
During summer I’ll attend summer classes on Mondays, and meet with Melwen for dynamic duells on Tuesdays :)
After a one week break, the new semester started this week. I’m being brave and will do three classes a week; this should give my progress some boost (that’s the theory).
Winter semester ended with a hafla where all of the pupils of the Wüstenrosen performed. I did, too, showing the choreography we worked on during the semester, and later in a huge group doing improvisation. After the official performances, percussionists played and about 30 tribal ladies improvised – so much fun :)
I enjoyed spring classes with Doro from Nakari a lot, but dropped out mid-term due to personal reasons. But I resumed classes this autumn and changed classes, from Tribal Style I to II. The fusion class works on Doro’s choreo to Modeselektor’s “Let your love grow” again, so I can catch up on the stuff I missed in spring.
Also I attended workshops at this year’s Caravanserey, and Melwen presented me with a spot in Kami Liddle‘s excellent layering workshop in October. Kami has a nice attitude towards layering: try anything together. She made us name eight moves, then we started with the first, layered with the second, dropped the first move, layered the second move with the third,… fun and confusion in my brain :)
Caravanserey is back! I attended last year and it was amazing, so this year I booked two workshops again: one with Doro from Nakari, where we looked at some figures to be performed with a partner (partner floorwork, lifting each other).
The second workshop, “Spin it around” with Alexis Southall was awesome as well, but it quickly turned out that even a few turns simply make me sick and give me a headache. So I tried to write down as much information as I could whilst waiting that my head stopped to torture me.
In any case: most of you will know spotting. But, according to Alexis, even simply continuing blinking naturally or just closing your eyes while turning should do the trick of not getting dizzy.
After having some problems with my back, getting better and being lazy again in winter, I enrolled in two classes (Tribal Level I, and Tribal Fusion) which take place practically ON my way home from work. So no excuses for not attending them :)
I also made a training plan and a playlist to go with it – it is easiest not to have to think to much, just go through a predefined sequence of steps (warmup, isolations, some impro stuff and those blasted shimmies :) )
After being a bit lazy in winter, I (Yesirah Tribal lead by Eva Savonith, that is) participated in the Caravanseray show 2012, and I attended a workshop by the amazing Sharon Kihara where we worked on a fantastic, funny and sometimes dorky choreo. Sharon is pure energy and we had a great time.
I realised I need to do a lot of muscle building in my legs to manage level changes but slowly, slowly I manage to be able to move my body AND listen to the music at the same time, which makes dancing a lot easier :)
Some pieces of music I’d like to make a choreography for, sorted by expected difficulty –
Massive Attack – Inertia Creeps (from their album Mezzanine, 1998)
comes with built-in bellydance percussion and and emotional lyrics.
Juno Reactor – War dogs (Labyrinth, 2004)
rather orchestral eletronic, with Flamenco influences. I think one needs a lot of dancers on stage for this one to reflect its abundance.
How to destroy Angels – The space in between (How to destroy angels, 2010)
A calm, dark piece from Trent Reznors new project HTDA, lyrics courtesy of his wife Maryqueen.
Hocico – Grito de Las Entranas (Disidencia Inquebrantable, 2003)
Dark fusion stuff – brooding and aggressive Industrial
And now I go and practice (everything, and locks and pops).
Should I ever succed, I’ll keep you posted :)
I’m happy – it seems I finally found a sport that combines some things I like: work-out, music, and cool outfits. – Well, obviously bellydance is much more than that, it has history, and dialects, and lots of other aspects; but since I just started, I’ll learn more about them in time.
For now, I’ll just explain in layman’s terms (since I am a layman, er, laywoman) what (and who) drew my attention to this unique kind of dance. Through “goth” music I found gothic bellydance, and learned of the existence of Ariellah Aflalo, one of the best dancers you will find*. The style she helped create, dark fusion bellydance, is a “darker” interpretation of tribal fusion.
Tribal fusion in turn is a special form of American tribal style (ATS) , a modern form of bellydance – whereas ATS (aka Tribal) dancers focus on group improvisation (facilitated by a system of visual and audible cues to combine a common repertoire of moves), fusion artists like Rachel Brice, Sharon Kihara and Zoe Jakes include solo performances and incorporate other styles of dance in their repertoire (e.g. goth influences, as mentioned before). If you are interested, you may want to read on about the history of ATS and bellydance.
Now to the personal stuff:
What fascinates me most is the incredible body control tribal fusion dancers are capable of, and I admire the ability of tribal dancers to create a choreograpy by using a common language of cues. Then there are the different types of music that can be used for dancing – from Cabaret to Industrial, from World Music to Electro; it’s like being a child in the musical candy store :)
Apart from being careful when performing certain movements, bellydancing is one of the most dangerless activities (ranking directly after reading books and playing chess).
In term of props, bellydancing is a really undemanding sport: some music, comfortable clothing, and off you go. But yes; of course I also love how dancers style for performances – the skirts, the flared pants, the tops, the hair, the bling.
So yay! for every aspect, but: if you watched some of the videos I linked to above, you’ll have noticed how deceptively easy every movement looks.
Trust me – it is not. If you start (and I suppose most dancers will agree) most of the time your body is just not capable of performing the things your head tells it to do. First of all, you need to be able isolate each part of your body and to work on moves particular to each body part. And then you have to learn to combine these movements to achieve a confident, relaxed and fluid impression when you dance.
The first steps I took:
It’s a long way, and I just started. But I’m looking forward to see how I progress.
*also I am not quite sure if those artists are fully human. At times their movements look more like those of a biomechanical being => <3