Posts Tagged tribal

we take care of each other

Tribal wisdom is gained by experience

We help others create good memories when we dance together

Each performance is a chance to create good memories, and build trusted connections between each other.

In Improv Tribal Style each performance is different – anything can happen; often we have a brand new experience with a certain turn, or move, or transition between moves – you never know! That’s one of the reasons I love tribal improv so much. It’s fresh and different every time.

A group choreography works with any dancer, interchangeably – as long as she knows it and performs it correctly; whereas each particular dancer impacts the entire group in “follow the leader” dancing. Each dancer can express her personality freely. She can lead gently, wildly, do the same moves and transitions each time, or put odd combinations together; always include turns, or lead-changes, circles, etc.

So I love the feel of different energies in tribal bellydance, the various looks, faces, bodies, personalities that make up a tribe. We’re recognizable as a group yet each person has their own unique way of going.
In tribal society the older care for the younger, guiding them and showing them how to handle the world – or the performance; protecting them until the younger are strong enough to pull their weight as a leader.

“Elder” is not just a term of age, but signifies someone who “knows much” in a tradition; someone who can answer questions because of their earned knowledge.

This performance trio of widely differing experience levels tickles me because I see Galiyah calmly carrying on and gently leading the other two, who are still “young” in terms of performing. In fact, neither of them are playing cymbals during this performance, yet they’re dancing to ONLY finger cymbals. Only Galiyah and I are playing – this is something new for the others and they seem quite comfortable because they trust the leader.

When I watch these dancers, one very experienced and comfortable in Tribal Odyssey, having danced it for over a decade, with the two others with much less experience, I see an elder taking care of the tribe.

It’s natural, comfortable, and ageless.

I also love the family feel of hearing the kids (and dad) during filming!
Is this like your tribal experience?
by Anthea Kawakib
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tribal skirt combinations… without a skirt!

We all love the thrill of new costuming! When my performing group had two shows coming up featuring TOBD, I wanted to change up our look, just for fun. Basically, I wanted us to wear pants instead of skirts! Well, we always wear pants under our skirts, but I mean costume pants like Melodias or something similar – NOT those blasted “harem pants” that I loathe like the devil. So good, we’ll wear pants.

The problem is, we have lots of Skirt Combinations I wanted us to be able to do when we’re dancing. So the idea came to me to re-purpose some small circular veils I have but don’t use very much. Now, these aren’t any old kind of veil, these are rounded rectangles with gold ribbon trim – similar to the veils we typically use for Tribal Odyssey veil dancing, but smaller. The fabric has a nice weight to it, a bit heavier than chiffon but I’m not sure what it is, perhaps organza.

I had a heck of a time trying to explain this to my dancers – they couldn’t seem to imagine it… so I made a couple sets of these “Skirt Panels” and took photos. Now, here are the details:



veil ready to be cut

1. This “half-circle” veil (really a rounded rectangle) is folded in half on the floor; the extra folded material that’s ‘folded over’ will be removed. The straight edge (with the gold trim) will hang from hip to ankle when finished, so that’s the first measurement. Here’s a close-up view of what I’m cutting:

close up

removing extra 5″ from top edge of fold

After I cut along the fold, the leftover material will make a scarf. The panels  would’ve been too long if I didn’t take those 5 inches off.

2. Can you believe some people don’t know what a casing is? That’s okay! The casing is where the elastic goes. (I always use elastic, I HATE drawstrings!) The edge that I just cut is now folded over and sewn, which forms the casing. Folding over twice will keep the cut edge from fraying.

Here you can see how I’m sewing the casing on my antique sewing machine  (who needs pins!):

sewing is easy – you can do it!

3. See the purple elastic? Just make sure your casing is wide enough for the elastic to fit in easily. Attach a large safety pin to one end of your elastic (which should be cut to fit snugly around your hips) so you can slide it easily through the casing from one end to the other, making sure the “right side” of the material is facing out (so you don’t have one panel inside-out). Sew the ends of the elastic together.

If you’re still not sure what we’re doing here, this photo might help make it clear:

hanging skirt panels

now it’s starting to make sense!

That was easy, right? The straight edge goes in front, and the curved edges go in back, at least – that’s how I like it. I think they rock! What do you think?

PRISM dancing in separate duets

we’re dancing in separate duets here. the duet on the right is getting ready to do skirt combos (and yes they’re wearing finger cymbals)!

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what is Tribelle Chic bellydance?

What is Tribelle Chic bellydance?

My former creative partner Miramar describes Tribelle Chic as “more feminine and more Egyptian-based” than Tribal Odyssey. She’s detailed her new format of group improv in an article adapted from one she wrote previously on Tribal Odyssey, which was printed in Jareeda magazine; the new version is now posted on her website:

Miramar’s article is about her journey in group improv bellydance and how she developed this new style based on Tribal Odyssey.  She’s offering workshops and classes in Tribelle Chic at her studio near Winchester VA. Keep an eye out for this new evolution of the dance!

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out of the box and loving it!

Our June events around town rocked! I love how TOBD is proving to be so versatile, so easy to adapt to fit our needs. I guess I just love it’s USABILITY!

Once I realized we’re not locked into always looking “Tribal” and don’t always have to use our typical tribal music, my eyes really opened to the possibilities. I guess that’s funny coming from me since it’s my baby – you’d think I’d know TOBD inside and out – but I guess I had to see it with new eyes, so to speak.

During my solo career I danced at hundreds of parties – in homes, offices, various workplaces, event halls, pool parties, nightclubs, you name it. I know how to work an event, deal with pretty much any performance space, no matter how the audience is arranged or how the space is set up. As a soloist you learn to walk into a place, evaluate it quickly and decide how best to showcase your performance. What invaluable experience!

For our short 3-song set at the Bridal Show hosted by the FXBG & Stafford Wedding & Event Pros our quartet entered with Tribal Veil:

group improv veil dancing

veil spins

So here we are doing tribal improv, looking very “cabaret-flavor”… dancing with veils to a shortened version of Ragheb Alama’s Saharony Ellil. Next we banged out some cymbal action to Nancy Ajram’s Baddala Aleik, also taking turns at with solo improv during the taqsim of this lovely song. Finally, pulling out the old favorite Habibi Ya Albi by Ihab Tawfik, we went out for audience participation. That song is gold and had the expected effect on certain folk in our audience who couldn’t resist dancing and even singing along. Yes, the PRISM Dancers know how to work it!

One of the hosts of the event graciously invited me to share a demo at the group’s next networking event in Fredericksburg. PRISM has done bridal showers in the past and we know it’s a great alternative to the stripclub scene. Having a “how to bellydance” party for the bride and her friends is appropriate for all ages – it’s just good, clean fun! So three of us PRISM Dancers put on our basic dance class wear, with a few extra sparklies on top. We used the long fringe skirts to tie our look together:

a "how to bellydance" party demo

fringe skirts over class wear

We only did two song’s worth of dancing for the demo. The first number let us dance together as a tribal trio, then we each went out among the audience, having a lot of fun with the brave participants, then we returned to our TOBD trio to finish the song.  We used one of our favorite swing electronica songs, Come Dance With Me (Shirley Horn/Sugardaddy remix). For the “how to” part of the demo we used Solace’s Beledi Drum (from Rhythms of the Dance), inviting audience members up to join us – including one sweet little girl! It was a blast!

What I love about my PRISM Dancers is that they’re game for new adventures, and go with the flow. They keep it happy and share the joy. All this and TOBD too – what a blessing!

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looooove chiftitelli!

Doesn’t everyone love the chiftitelli rhythm? It’s so mysterious and sensual…

I dropped “Chiftitelli” – a four and a half minute percussion piece – right in the middle of the short Solace music set I put together recently. So that’s a 12-minute set of Solace music for tribal.

This drum piece gives us more “slow time” for tribal veil, slow arms, etc. Also, we’ve played with taking turns doing very short SOLO improv moments just for the lower level students to get more experience with that. It’s a little challenging but not too much since I timed them for only 30 seconds each. I don’t think we’ll follow that necessarily in a performance, but it’s a good drill for class. I really love how they always step up to challenges. They’re a great bunch!

But typically I only add solo improv sections into the higher level performances, just for a different feel inside a long group improv set.

Also, recently I combined the Level 2 and Level 3 classes together into one big class, as the Level 2’s are really doing well learning all the combinations, turn options, lead throwing and even finger cymbals in their syllabus. Large groups are more fun! I’m really looking forward to seeing them work with this new music.

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teaching tribal at Pennsic

It was 10:30 in the morning, but still blazing heat & humidity for the Tribal Odyssey class at Pennsic this year. Walking up to the Middle Eastern tent from Orluk Oasis (not far away but definitely a lot “lower”) it didn’t take me long to become completely damp under my garb. That never changes, I’ve always been like that – so don’t tell me, “you’ll get used to it!”
Anyway it was a blast, with about 20 or so dancers of various levels, with maybe even one or two absolute newbies I think.
Not only did I have Rajni of Georgia there to help, but a couple of ATS dancers came and they caught on so well it actually helped when demonstrating lead-changing.
We were able to have several quartets dance at the same time so everyone had an opportunity to lead and follow. Cramming so much into one hour is hard, but overall I’m happy I got to share it at Pennsic.

Rajni getting her Teaching Certificate

Last but not least, Congratulations to Rajni who got her Teacher Certificate for Level One Tribal Odyssey. She does good work, and, she’s fun. I know her students appreciate her dedication and no-drama personality. Best wishes to her!

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going to the Village

I’ll be on my way to Pennsic tomorrow, inshallah, for just a short while this year; it’ll be my 21st Pennsic – I think? have to count my medallions! Friday morning, again inshallah, I’m doing an Intro to Tribal Odyssey class at the Middle Eastern tent, assisted by Rajni, another T.O. teacher from Georgia and my Orluk Oasis camp mate. Getting away from the modern world will be very refreshing… and if I can keep my phone charged I’ll upload from there; but if not, see you on the flip side –
Orluk Oasis partial LIST of classes

Anthea (Kawakib)

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