The other day I read an article written by on the subject on fusion and confusion and whether it was deemed to be belly dance or not.
There are some very strong feelings on this matter and while I will share my own on the subject, there is no right or wrong, and all thoughts are respected.
That being said, there are a few schools of thought on fusion. Fusion is where you combine the art and discipline of belly dance with another dance style.
In this blog I will be referring to three main belly dance styles: American belly dance, Egyptian style, and tribal. These three will serve as the base point in my logic.
Let us begin by discussing Egyptian belly dance briefly. In this particular style the dancer attempts to emulate the Egyptian belly dancers from the golden era and a little beyond. Dancers such as Dina, Nagwa Fouad and others come to mind. This style can be inward at times and pleasing the audience is not the main concern. This is probably the strictest in its view of fusion. Because this style tries to maintain the traditions and integrity of its original form, fusing it with anything else is deemed as making it “not belly dance” by many.
American cabaret by its very development is a style that combines a mixture of various belly dance styles such as Egyptian, Turkish, Lebanese, and audience driven entertainment concepts to formulate something unique and pleasing to a wide audience.
This is the style that I adhere to the most with the exception that I also include Tribal belly dance movements and concepts as I take a comprehensive approach to my belly dance. I also take snippets of Latin styling such as a flamenco arm thrown in every now and then, and whatever other genre the modern music I choose calls for.
Many traditional minded dancers deem American belly dance as not being belly dance surprisingly, even though the typical American dancer uses the same movement vocabulary, just executed in a different way.
American tribal style has been around for a few decades and is an American creation with a very earthy, muscular, and group/tribe emphasis. It is deemed by many in the Egyptian belly dance style and even other belly dancers as not being considered belly dance because of its heavy incorporation of other world dances.
In this I must wholeheartedly disagree! Tribal and tribal fusion belly dance still has all the basic vocabulary of traditional belly dance just as American style, it is just executed with a different stylization to make it unique and different.
My feelings on fusion is this:
-if it heavily utilizes belly dance vocabulary then it is belly dance
-if the other dance genres infused into belly dance are not overtaking the amount of belly dance, then it is still belly dance. A 60:40 ratio is the max amount in my opinion to still label something as still being belly dance. By this I mean, that if 60% is belly dance vocabulary and 30% is a completely different non belly dance style that is done keeping in mind the class and intention of the dance, then it is still belly dance in my opinion.
What I do not consider belly dance in fusion:
-when the majority of the dance is non-belly dance vocabulary
-dancers who are not well trained in the art and wear the costume for beautification purposes and dance with no knowledge of the culture or class in this art form.
Ok I h ave written a lot so will stop here but enlighten me please. What do you consider to be belly dance or not and why? What metric do you use? How do you feel about fusion?