TribalCon 2010

Another TribalCon successfully completed, and damn am I inspired. For me, this TribalCon was also a great reminder about my love of music, or really, my love of PLAYING music. I took a big step this year and performed a piece on violin for the student troupe’s performance of Veselba. It’s been a great path getting back into playing violin and Saturday’s performance felt great along side the musicians Darbuka Dave, August Hoerr, and Teejei to bring the piece to life for the students. Thanks guys, that really meant a lot to play with you!

This year’s Friday night hafla was a great chance to play with some of my favorite musicians. I loved range of music everyone brought to the party, including Balkan, Middle Eastern, and even the Tetris song (Thanks Joachim!). Of course, no hafla would be complete with out a total jam out with our davul line led by the amazing Nevik. That really gets everyone on their feet. ATS fun was had by all, and Denys led and taught folk line dances around the ballroom, yet another basis of dance that belly dancers rarely are able to access.

Every year at TribalCon I am regenerated by the drive, thoughts, knowledge, and artistic expression of the teachers AND attendees. It’s great to see so many dancers and musicians taking care of our art form. TribalCon really isn’t just about dance, but what the artist needs to complete their training and further their own expression of the art, whether its dance or music. I felt this firsthand for the first time this year through the classes, and it was truly an experience.

Donna’s lecture on Thursday evening was invigorating. I love how she is not afraid to cover topics we as dancers need to address to overcome our still existing misnomers of the art form. The lecture bounced from hyper-sexuality, to religion, to history, and back to our practice in the industry today. She challenged us to be informed and take these matters to deep thought so we can be prepared to respond to these issues informed and well spoken to our audiences. Oh, and her reading list is absolutely a must for any aspiring belly dancer. Period.

I loved Asharah’s presentation on the history of tribal belly dance, diving into the roots of from Jamilar Salimpour to Carolena to our modern interpretations. I think it’s so important to know your history as tribal fusion dancers, and this was presented in such a way that was succinct, and very well thought out. Asharah’s workshop made my inner history dork giddy with joy talking about my favorite subject of belly dance in the 60’s and 70’s in the U.S. She then took us through a series of particular dance moves of the Jamila Salimpour method and how those basics were changed overtime to morph into today’s American Tribal Stye vocabulary.

Jen Speiden’s anatomy for dancers class has been a TribalCon staple for a few years now. This year was the first time I was able to attend the class – and it was AMAZING. As dancers we need to take care of our bodies to elongate our ability to dance. Jen showed us proactive examples of ways to protect areas that tribal belly dancers use very often, namely our rotator cuffs, abdominals, iliopsoas, and our spine and how they correlate to dance movement. She also explained how our bodies move so that we can avoid injury from trying to torque our body in unsafe ways. It was a great class, and I truly look forward to next year’s class.

Sunday also held the music and dance discussions. Both discussions centered around inspiration in music. The dance discussion also touched on the practice regimen of our teachers, how to handle burn out, and how to handle the post-event ‘blah’s. Across the board, the teachers agreed that cross training, finding new inspiration in and out of the dance form, and knowing your own tolerance limit was paramount to overcoming your dance obstacles, oh and yoga.

Its Sunday night, I’m home, and the hustle and bustle of classes, vendors, and music is still echoing in my head. I’ll try not to get the post-event blues, but it’ll be hard after this weekend. Gulf Wars is in two weeks, that is something to definitely look forward to. I plan to play music every night with my friends and exchange more inspiration and ideas, so I guess I should go practice now…

Oh, and if you want to know more of what happened this weekend, check out Aziza Nawal’s Note on FB