Monday, February 24, 2014

Tribal Notes and Tribalcon thoughts and recap

Notes on Tribal for Intermediates

Tribalcon Thoughts.......

Tribalcon is one of the largest tribal bellydance festivals in the US. These festivals/workshops are multi-day events where you have a number of teachers teaching, multiple shows, lots of shopping and tons of dancers to meet. Some are sold as total packages, some as individual class. I actually had not planned to go to Tribalcon this year, but changed my mind during snowpocalypse and found someone who was trying to sell their Saturday and Sunday passes.

I took two classes and a lecture from Maria Hamer of Pittsburgh (who used to be with Zafira). She reminds me of Mira Betz in that she wants to push dancers to be themselves - not copies of her or anyone else. I also love that she openly acknowledges her influences and seems ego-less. She has not problem sharing the spotlight with anyone else. She also lives and preaches the idea of a work/life/dance balance. Looking forward to a dancer's challenge she is doing in a few weeks for those of us in her lecture.

Mardi Love has always been one of my faves. Uber fluid, with moves like melted chocolate. She reminded me to "finish my sentences" instead of dancing a combo. When ever I take notes on her combos, I find my self using the word "melting" quite a bit. She doesn't just transition from a shoulder roll forward into an undulation, she melts them together seamlessly. Her arms have the same fluidity and are extensions of her body and energy, not just as a frame.

Christine Andrews is Maria's sister and introduced me to the world of Kalbelia Rajasthan dance. I've seen dances with these influences before, but never knew where in India they came from or the story behind them. Maria is one of the US experts in this and wanted to make sure we understand where these people are coming from culturally. She also was ego-less and really embraces the idea that she is sharing this dance but isn't truly authentic because she hasn't had the life experiences that has create these dancers. Here is a sample of the dance form (and the description tells you more about the people who do it)

Finally I got to take 2 classes with the amazing Paulette Rees-Denis. Not only do I like Paulette's Gypsy Caravan format and combos, I adore her. She oozes happiness and joy from her pores. Paulette sees tribal dance (of any format) as a way of bringing people together not just creating a dance, but also creating a feeling. Like Maria, Paulette sees dance as an integral part of her life - not a separate entity you take out to play every now and again. There are no words that describe that magical moment when improv clicks. I had a unique experience in her class. She taught a couple of combos that I learned about 6 years ago the befuddled me to no end and I never got them. This time around they came seemlessly - just reminded me of how we learn when we are ready to learn.

The show was to all live music and were all gorgeous performances. It was nice to sit back and see the interaction between the musicians and dancers and each other. Afterwards, a small group of musicians came out on the floor and a "conga" line of over 100 people started doing middle eastern line dances. It was a happy, serpentine line of happiness that got everyone dancing. Maybe it was the darkened room, the wine or the adrenaline, but people were dancing out of pure joy. No worries about what other people thought of your dancing or what was the "right" move, just moving and smiling (there's a lesson in all of that for me....). Here's a pic

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