exploring Level Four tribal dancing

Tribal Odyssey has always been a WIP, “Work In Progress”. I began with a handful of combinations and a hazy idea of group floor patterns and leader-changing. Lucky for me I had a troupe to use in real time, so we could try the ideas and see how they worked.

As my original partner Miramar and I taught this format to our students, after several years I noticed that students often had confused or hazy ideas of the basic floor patterns, and how they could change. Other students weren’t sure of what combinations they could use in certain group formations, or how the lead-throwing happened. It appeared that students were studying and dancing this format for a couple of years and still being confused – that was a problem.

So I looked at the work in it entirety and pondered how best to break it down into teachable chunks. Teaching random combinations and staging changes here and there wasn’t working. I knew students needed the most basic concepts first, then they could build onto it – so that’s how Levels One, Two, and Three originated. I shared the ideas with Miramar and she began teaching that way too. Now after almost 10 years of following this plan, I know it works. Starting with the slowest combinations (the only ones used in the Chorus Line backing up Center Dancers), students can learn quickly and in a short amount of time they can even dance in a mixed level group, even if they only dance in the Chorus Line. (See my post, What tribal does best.) I love that!

Having the levels organized like this really helps students grasp the overall concepts better and actually DO “group improv” more quickly.

So we’ve been dancing through all the levels for years, and recently have been exploring Level Four. We’ve always had Sword Combos in mind for this level, as well as Solo Improv (in front of the Chorus Line), which we’ve used in certain situations; now it seems we’ve discovered another concept: adapting to performance venues.

I wrote about how we adapted TOBD in our performances at the sidewalk art event in these two previous posts:

I believe this VERSATILITY in synchronized group bellydance was one of the original concepts Carolena had in mind when she began, as she needed her troupe FatChanceBellydance™  to be able to perform in various spaces in restaurants and at events.

It’s interesting to come around full circle in our journey…or perhaps it’s really more of a spiral!

(End of Post)

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