Susan's Blog

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Going Tribal

Ned’s father and stepmom bought me this DVD for Chanukah. They made an excellent choice! I had just begun to think about Tribal belly dance, because the other night, my teacher was wearing tribal garb and it was very interesting. She had on a metallic coin bra top, heavy eye makeup, and a long fringed and tassled hip belt over leggings. So this is a very different look from the cabaret-style Egyptian belly dance costuming I’ve been into, which is more sequined and beaded and at times a bit garish. The tribal thing is more ethnic and exotic. It fits yet another side of me, because I happen to be rather ethnic myself! Tribal is more focused on drum solos and a bit more infused with Eastern elements of yoga and spiritualism. Okay by me. I can use a little spiritualism/meditation, etc.

I watched the DVD and saw some extreme belly dance, performed by Rachel Brice. She could do things with her different body parts that looked like a Disney nightmare of a belly dancer, almost as if her head were separate and floating above curling fingers, slithering waist, flipping belly.

I had to try it. I took my laptop and DVD up to my bedroom and tried a little of it, but it was a bit uncomfortable because it was so hard to do! So I knew I was hooked.

This morning after everyone had gone I put on black leggings and black bra top and the silver belt made of tiny bells and blue beads that the boys had gotten me for my birthday. Also the matching silver and blue beaded slave bracelets (one I had bought and one Ned had gotten me for Chanukah)

I have ordered my own silver coin top and maybe I’ll get one of those tribal belts with the fringe! But if I don’t, I can wear it with the beautiful green silk scarf or the boys’ belt.

So this morning, clothed in my tribal look, I practiced Rachel Brice’s 30 minute routine. It starts with a whole yoga warmup, which I’ve never done, but I enjoyed and found pleasantly strenuous. Then I learned how to do a hip lock, which is a hip lift that you cut off sharply, no extra movment (and as little jiggling as possible). The non-jiggling is achieved, I realized, by lifting the torso/chest as high as you can and tucking the pelvis so that basically everything remains contracted except for the obliques which are lifting the hip. This lifting also improves the look of everything, especially if you have a more meaty middle due to 1) your age; 2) your Eastern European roots and 3) having eaten like a pig while pregnant three times, and thereafter until you discovered Dr. Atkins.

So all day I’ve been trying to sit and stand like that, to build my core (so that I don’t get grossed out when I watch myself perform). I felt a bit of that high, that belly dance high, when I caught a glimpse of myself doing the interior hip circle correctly — which is done only with ab muscles, not really hips at all!. In a flatter, leaner stomach you can see the muscles switch sides as they expand and contract. It is quite dramatic. In my belly, you can see a shimmer of that happening. Oh well, at least the piercing looks nice. In time, however, I expect it will all look better, and come more easily. And then I will perform.


When are you going to get your saber? I was ambivalent about your new hobby until I found out there were weapons involved!

— added by andrew on Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 7:58 am

My scimitar? I’m glad you asked. My teacher can balance those. Maybe I’ll try it. It might make me feel really strong, like you.

But why were you ambivalent about my new hobby? You can email me privately to answer that.

— added by Susan Senator on Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 8:11 am

I love how passionate you’ve become about your new hobby! I find it fascinating that sometimes people will discover something – like your belly dancing … and now tribal dancing – and realize how perfectly it suits them. I think you’re inspiring me to find a new hobby.

— added by Tamsen on Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 8:50 am

I’ve seen Rachel Brice perform up close and I tell ya, it’s a surreal experience. She’s like this thing that’s not human. It’s a bit freaky yet mesmerizing at the same time.

I’m not really into tribal (I’m more the glamour girl Egyptian Cabaret type), but I enjoy watching tribal fusion dancers do those entrancing snake movements and cool pops and locks.

Good luck!! Sounds like you’re really into it!

— added by Cinthia on Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 8:54 pm

Cinthia –
I’m into Egyptian, too! I want to combine them because I love the absolute muscle control I’m learning from the tribal stuff. But I’ll always love the beads and the colorful sequins of the cabaret!

— added by Susan Senator on Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 8:57 pm