Why I don't call myself 'tribal'

Okay, this post is entirely open to change over my journey as a dancer, so I don't want to make it sound like this is a static opinion of myself and that I'm not open to floating up and down the fusion spectrum. As of right now, this is how I describe what I do.

I get a lot of people quoting me as 'goth fusion,' 'tribal fusion,' or some mixture of that. I've seen tribal fusion, and I've been to goth fusion events. Totally unique art forms and legitimate styles of belly dance that while I can appreciate from a spectator perspective, but I do not believe apply to me directly. Here's my detailed dance background:

I took ballet as a child for maybe like, 6 months, and then I quit because I was terrible and uncoordinated. I took cheer leading for 2 years in middle school, and quit because I joined a different clique of friends and went through my silly gothling phase. I took hip hop intermittently throughout middle and high school, usually over the summer. I started American cabaret belly dance in July of 2008. I have taken ballet since 2012. I took ATS at Wild Sky Studio for 6 months. I take samba, hip hop, and West African classes semi-regularly. I've also dabbled in modern, pole dance, tap and jazz. Aside from that, I abuse my Datura account and instructional DVDs.

I only call myself a 'belly dancer' because when music plays, that's what I do. My fusion fluctuates depending on the music. If dubstep comes on, it's pop-lock hip hop fusion. If I hear that saidi, my cabaret fusion shows. If we've got a super heavy bass, my African/Samba shows. Above all, these things are accents. I am absolutely not well-versed enough in any of these dance forms to choreograph anything for one of their cultural events. I take whatever elements I want of those and throw it into my belly dance sack, shake it up, and then dump it out onstage. 

My whole life I have been a busybody with crafts and hobbies. Sketching, jewelry making, costuming, cosplaying, beading, poly clay, dance, etc. 'Jack of all trades, master of none.' I'm not always proud of that fact, because if you can't tell from the beginning of this post, I have a habit of quitting a lot. The only thing I haven't quit is belly dance. Where this mindset benefits me, however, is I don't feel like I get stuck in a 'fusion box.' I always feel very differently about each piece I put together, and I think you can see the fusion variety amongst my work.

So when my fusion is debated, I don't like to claim one discipline or another. I'm not a tribal fusion dancer, or an Afro-fusion dancer, or any one thing specifically all the time. I try to always address myself as Draconis, fusion belly dancer. This is also why I call my class 'eclectic fusion' instead of 'tribal.'

There's nothing wrong with being a belly dance purist, or specifically only being one flavor of fusion, or cross-training in 500 different styles. If I'm interpreting my music well, then I don't worry too much about what type of fusion I'm projecting. I, personally, am always authentically myself onstage.

Posted on February 25, 2014 .