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Honesty in dancing…a RLJ

posted in: ethics, fusion, musings | 0

Can someone Re-LiveJounral, like we ReTweet? And can we RLJ ourselves?

I am building up some content over here on Blogger, and thought I would grab some recent posts from my LiveJournal that might be of interest here, where I plan to talk mostly about dance (that is the PLAN anyway). So here it is:

Asharah posted in her journal last year about “honesty” in dancing. And it just got me postin’, so I thought I would post a bit over here.

I see a lot of contrived performances–in aesthetic and execution. I see a lot of inauthentic dancers. Dancers who are not being their authentic selves on stage. They are clawing and grasping at trying to be or do the next big thing. I remember one gal at a workshop I taught not too long ago saying she was going to take a hula class because she was excited about the possibilities of fusing it with her bellydance, but then she found out Unmata was already pretty famous for that, so she was going to try and find something else to study to fuse. I was stunned into silence.

That, to me, is the quintessential problem these days: reverse engineering fusion. So many dancers are shoehorning things into bellydance just to try and be new and different–rather than pursuing your bliss and letting that fusion organically flow in the process. The best of all worlds of classical or fusion bellydance forms is when someone is just dancing their own being and that which grows out of their experiences organically. Isn’t that what we are always saying is a primary root of bellydance as we know it? Honestly and openly revealing something of ourselves in the dance, rather than trying to gauge what will get the best reaction or the most buzz, and chasing after that? Is not “dancing our stories” the very essence of bellydance?

This is part of why my troupe has taken a very conscious step back from the entire tribal “scene” in the last year. We were frankly exhausted with the frantic “lookatmeeee!”/”wannabeeee!” energy that flows through it so much any more. We really missed that familial warmth, the genuine baring of souls through dance, the meeting of like-minds, unaffected groove behind the community that drew us to it in the first place. We wanted to get back to our own roots and remind ourselves what we stand for, what we dance for, and what we want to communicate in our work; separate from the grasping expectations of tribal audiences who lately seem too easily bored and jaded by anything that has “been done”. We didn’t want to stay on that train of constantly trying to go to the creative well, and becoming artistically contrived when the genuine inspiration dried up.

So we slowed down, and it feels good. Really good. And our work feels more honest, more pure. We honestly haven’t had any big new things come of it yet. We are on our own creative schedule. We turned our energy inward toward one another and the voice we want to speak with. We have been honing our most basic technique and revisiting our foundations to make ourselves stronger overall. And when we come back out “on the scene”, if we have something new and amazing to show for it, great. And if not, we can at least be assured we are stronger, better, and being true to ourselves.

Asharah also posted a link to a blog post by Amy of Kallisti Tribal which explores her thoughts on “Fusion, Performance, and Skill,” which I really enjoyed. Hope you do, too!

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Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

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