Modern American Belly Dance

Zivah Saphirah performing a traditional Saudi Gulf Dance
Traditional Kaleeji Dance
From Left: Kassie, Sibylle, Kim, Sumaya, Selma, Illya
Virginia Samford Theater, 2013

Since I started dancing with the Zivah Saphirah Middle Eastern Dance Troupe (as a guest in 2011 and as a member in 2013)  they have exposed me to a myriad of dance styles that I had yet to try out on my own. Modern Belly Dance, Tribal Fusion, American Tribal Style (ATS), Latin Samba, and Gypsy to name a few. I had flirted with Tribal Fusion during the Ansuya Cabaribalusion Certification workshop, and I have seen Devyani performing for years, at the time I didn’t see how movements from these dances could be used in my performances.

After months of rehearsing choreographies in these styles for upcoming troupe shows I have much better appreciation of them and found that some resonate with me and my personal dance style. I can see the roots of the modern American belly dance scene. I have even picked out a few gems to add to my personal repertoire. Most of all I have further proof that our bodies can do amazing things when we allow them to.

For those that know and love my personal dance style, do not fear, after more than 10 years dancing “my” way I am thoroughly grounded. As a soloist I still love sensual movements and fluid transitions with a good dose drama.

Broadening you understanding of the dance, both traditional styles from across the ocean to the modern American variations that were generated across the states is a great way to increase a your flexibility and increase your repertoire. Sharp or fluid, fast or sensual, bold or soft. Each form of dance brings its own unique flavor to the table, it is up to each dancer to sample that table and choose what you like. After all, you don’t know what you love until you try it.

– Sumaya


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