The new face of “tribaret”
It’s official! Tribal dancers are selling out and doing “cabaret” performances. Me included.
Ahh, yes, it’s true. When the “big names” in the tribal fusion community, such as Zoe Jakes and Rachel Brice, start dancing to classical Arabic music, the deal is sealed. Cabaret is back.
A few years ago, cabaret blended with tribal was called “tribaret”. It sort of went out of fashion for a while, but in the past year or so, it has returned under the moniker of “tribal fusion”. Tribaret was always there, but it was always quiet… it is getting louder all the time.
Cabaret, however, is still a dirty word to many a tribal fusion and tribal style dancer. “Oh, I could never wear those costumes or dance to that kind of music,” they say. “I’m just not a beads and sequins kind of girl”, they say. Well, you don’t have to be, but it seems that the “tribal fusion” community is fusing a lot more classic oriental style raqs sharqi into their performances.
Seriously. Several years ago I was guilty of trying to expunge any hint of oriental from my dancing until I realized that it’s just not possible. I started in primarily oriental-style belly dance, and I started learning American Tribal Style and tribal-inspired styles later. Naturally, oriental started becoming more prominent in my own dancing. It’s always been there, but I am certainly embracing it more than I have in the past. Why hide what is a huge part of my own training, especially if it comes to me instinctively as I dance?
Thank the GAWDS.
Why am I thankful? Maybe younger and newer dancers who are want to learn belly dance because they idolize or look up to these performers will start seeking out Middle Eastern music. Maybe they’ll start to want to learn classical styles of belly dance. Maybe they’ll start to read about Umm Kalthoum, Samia Gamal, and Tahia Karioka. Maybe they’ll actually go take from instructors and dancers who specialize in oriental. Maybe, just maybe, this is the beginning of the end of the artificial and ridiculous separation of the two camps after more than 2 decades of animosity.
Of course, this could just be a dream of mine.
I leave you with a few performances of “tribal” style dancers performing to oriental music with pronounced oriental stylization in their movements. We are the new face of tribaret.
And let me remind you all that without cabaret belly dance, there would be no tribal style belly dance.
Zoe Jakes performs to a classic Egyptian baladi song:
Rachel Brice performs a classic drum solo with an Arab drummer
And in a moment of egotism, me performing to Umm Kalthoum’s “Lissa Fakir” with the Casablanca Band. The video is a little squished from top to bottom, making me look even shorter… I couldn’t figure out how to fix that.