Belly Dance to Sleigh Bells

American Tribal Dance SalonMelanie, our 20 yr old grand daughter is a Junior at the University of Wisconsin – MIlwaukee. Last summer when she announced that one of her fall term classes would be American Tribal Belly Dance we weren’t quite sure what to expect.

American Tribal Dance SalonIt turns out that American Tribal dance is a newish (+/-25 yrs old) dance discipline that is a fusion of African, Egyptian Cabaret, Turkish, Balkan, Flamenco and I guess that’s all… The style consist of between 70 and 100 defined movements that are normally danced in ensemble (2-4) as an improvised dance using visual clues from leader to other dancers.  American Tribal Dance SalonThe class is lead by a youngish woman who’s “day job” is as an IT Project Manager and she teaches at the Uni during evenings.  This wasn’t exactly a recital, more like a salon including demos and learning for the family and friends who chose to attend.

Mel was gaga over that burgundy dance dress that she’s wearing — begging mom and dad for an early Christmas present.  Containing 25 yds of fabric it sure swirls and swishes!  But, she looks cute in it and she was all aglaze with joy last night showing off her shimmy and her hip bump.

Costume EgyptianFor anyone unfamiliar with the idea that belly dancing might have various “styles” as I was I was glad to know that as they are seen in these images — that’s about all the skin they bare.  The Egyptian Cabaret Style (Image to left) is a bit more risque — but then in a day when woman walk down the street wearing skirts expose what used to be hidden I guess these dance costumes are actually “relatively” modest.

I was intrigued to hear that their style (the one the students are being taught) draws heavily upon Spanish Flamenco.  I have never been big on dance in the first place and Flamenco in particular sort of baffles me, but after listening to the description by the instructor I found I was actually able to identify some of the elements she spoke about. The classes are open to male and female students, and Michael (in the photos) is a 3rd yr student.

If you’re interested in what the style really looks like, here is a video from the troupe the instructor belongs to.

All I know for sure is that if I tried to do some of those moves I’d break something.  My hips are notas fluid or movable as what I was watching.

The highlight of the evening was the final dance number:  belly dance to Sleigh Bells.
In the spirit of the season, I guess I’m getting in the mood…..