Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Steam Powered Belly dance in Brazil!

Below is our attempt to translate into English a wonderful article by the people at Steampunk, an excellent steampunk blog from Brazil.  It is discussing the emergence of movement and dance as a form of Steampunk as a direct result of Steampunk developing as a musical genre.  It focuses primarily on Tribal Fusion Belly dance, but discusses possible fusion of many styles into that subgenre in ways that create something entirely new alltogether.  See below [items in brackets like these were added by this editor as teh translating program was unable to fully translate, but I should mention that my Portuguese is not that great either, so I am making my best guess in a few areas based on the parts I could clearly make out]


Steampunk culture has spread in various artistic manifestations, leaving the literary and movie niche, and now moving into music and therefore into dance as a result. But different than you might think, the last has nothing to do with the dances that were favored by the Victorian nobility, in halls of gaudy chandeliers and diamond covered candlesticks. No. The biggest and best known of all expressions was eventually found in belly dance in a style called Tribal Fusion.

Tribal was [apparently] established in the years 1970 through 1980, the United States, by Carolena Nericcio, director and lead dancer of the "Fat Chance Belly Dance Group", a leading representative of the style today. Carolena fused classical and traditional elements belly dance with other types of dance, like the Egyptian and folklore styles, and also added new positions, styles, and postures, with arms higher and [something about feet/legs more closely held or possibly sliding against the floor]. The garments have also changed, giving tattoos, flowers, shells, and other more natural and primitive elements [a primary place in costuming] in this style. Carolena called this new style of belly dance the "American Tribal Style", now often known as ATS. The ATS is now essentially a dance group, which gives the characteristic of "tribe" - hence the use of the word "tribal" - and [is often] based on dance improvisation. Some steps are characteristic and the lead dancer often comes out in front [then gives signs to the others] indicating the dance, or the actual movement she will do next, so that the whole group [will be] able to imitate [and follow her movements in a synchronized fashion].

However, over the years with the spread of ATS and other types of dance began to [be] incorporated [into] Tribal. The essential rules of style began to be changed, making the dance more personal and more [expressive] of the personality of the dancer. What was created, then was a  new version of the ATS, known as Tribal Fusion. This style is more popular than the original style developed by Carolena, as it is being seen as more comprehensive [and flexible/adaptable in style and scope]. Although they still maintain much of the original positions, the Tribal Fusion can add in and blend to virtually all types of dance, the most common being hip hop, break dance, Indian dance, flamenco dances, and even cabaret. The songs chosen are varied and there are some used from electronic music, World music fusion, hip hop, trip hop, and even Gothic Heavy Metal. Circus music, vintage, and other types can also be used in this genre.  It all depends on who is creating the dance and choreography.

Because of this, it was very easy for SteamPunk [music] to also manifest in Tribal [Fusion belly dance performances]. In addition to the bands whose influences are essentially [the definitive representations of] the movement, such as Abney Park, Clockwork Quartet, Unextraordinary Gentleman, [Vernian Process], and Dr. Steel, other bands, including those with metallic sounds, reminiscent in some ways to listening to old movies, are also chosen, as is the case of Beats Antique. The clothes as well, across the Tribal Fusion movement, [depend] on your taste, but most fans of the genre will find a way to merge the influences of Victorian, Steampunk, and [Steampunk] accessories into the form of [belly] dance costumes, which should [still] have good mobility and of course show the belly.

In Brazil, the ATS and Tribal Fusion are recent developments. The first workshops and first teachers of the style here, appeared only in 2007. In July 2009 came the first international meeting of Tribal Fusion of Brazil, in Sao Caetano do Sul, and in October the same year, the first event back to the dance of Sao Paulo. Nevertheless, the style is growing every day, and gaining more dancers, who [may or may not have been] involved in  classic belly dance. With this, and also with the growth of the SteamPunk movement in the country [Brazil], [who knows, perhaps soon] we will have national dancers that are {inspired and/or] powered by steam, eh?

[The original article in Portuguese in linked below:]

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