… About 10 years ago, the staff of Sakkara wondered, if "the new oriental dance style from the States“ would find any followers in Germany. So far German dancers were hooked on glitter and glamour and this (for us) new style, called Tribal, looked rather gloomy in direct comparison - grunge/grufti - dark and menacing - Indian influence could be seen in the decorations, lumpy jewellery in antique silver...
But inspite - or maybe because of - this difference the new movement fascinated us right away. Or was it the fact that we rule-happy Germans were shown a dance style basing entirely on improvisation (but let's face it: the pulsing energy only catches and interacts with the audience when the dancers know their metier.) So 10 years ago Sakkara went to the trouble to do a German synchronization of the newly published tape by Carolina Nericchio (FatChanceBellyDance). As this was a new style, we did not have German terminology for the Tribal movements yet which added a certain spice to translating. Unfortunately the American recording was done with music and wording on the same tape, as the script was read while recording the dance movements. So all we could do - because we couldn't separate the two - was to reduce the original sound to the lowest setting possible and to put the German translation on top – let's say it's not something for fans of the digital millennium. But nevertheless the translation proved to be a real success and the staff of SAKKARA were looking wonderingly at the Tsunami that moved across the Germany belly dance scene. „Nea’s Tribe“ from Dillenburg was one of the frist German tribal troups – in the Norther corner of Germany their teaching caught several dancers and new troups formed.
Typical for Tribal-Dance – it didn't stay the same - all dancers added to the dance style - the costume didn't remain strictly dark: the skirts became colorful, the tops and deocrations evolved differently in Germany than they did in the States. After a while new "fusions" with other dance styles were made. Now there was a modern Fusion style and shortly after a new cross-road was opened when the Gothic style with the "cults" instead of the tribes added its flair to the dance. Ever since Tribal dance in Germany has been moving fast and evolving faster than we can keep track. More and more dance schools offer classes - and still there is no end to the "chowder" that's being cooked: Burlesque dance adds some spice, but also Urban-Tribal, Bavarian-Tribal, Balkan-Fusion, Hip-Hop elements and even Yoga movements found their way into the dances that in Germany are perceived to belong to the Tribal scene (which is why we differ between the original ATS and the newer styles) ... For some years now Germany also experienced a symbiosis between various Medieval Groups that gladly invite Tribal dancers to their gatherings and festivals. It will prove interesting to take a look at the developments again in, lets say 10 years.
So it happened that Tribal Style Dance conquered all of Germany.... All of Germany? Nope, there is a minority in the very south-west corner that's valiantly fighting against being usurpated:
Germany's southwest is a Tribal-Diaspora. Not that workshops aren't being offered - highly renowned instructors are available for the workshops - but it rarely happens that sufficient students register for a week-end. So it happens that many dance studios give up on encorporating Tribal Dance into their weekly schedule. In big cities like Hannover, Berlin and Frankfurt Tribal style is well part of the repertoire - even Stuttgart can be counted amont the Tribal-Cities, the teachers there mostly are professional dancers. But in the western part of Baden-Wurttemberg it's hard to find lessons held by professionals, no matter if you're looking for American Tribal style or one of the newer sidelines . It may happen that a student has to drive 50-80 km (one-way!) for a weekly lesson, which makes it hard to get instructed on a regular basis for the "normal" mother, secretary or whatever the main income may be ...
So for many of us interested in learning this type of dance the distance to the next renowned teacher might prove a hindrance. Still we're intrigued: make-up ideas that only can be called strange, high body control - and let's not forget the many tattoos (in each of us there not only is the sparkly princess, but also the witch or the bad girl). Instructional DVDs and week-end workshops are helpful to learn Tribal Dance in such parts of the country where professional teachers can't be found. But also much loved are the German Tribal Festivals like the annual one held in Oberwesel (Bommel-Burg-und-Bäuche is the German name, English translation would be like: tassels-castle and bellies) or the big events in Hannover and Berlin that usually also allow us to get into contact with the big names from the States. Other, newer festivals still are looking for their clientel, like the one in Knechtsteden. And it happened this year that the Southwest of Germany had its own Tribal-Show in Offenburg - that's alike to a sensation!
We (the German speaking nations participating in Tribal dance) now have the first online magazine (link at the end of the text) that caters especially to Tribal, Fusion and Gothic dance, so that we don't have to rely upon friends telling us about what's happening in the other parts of Europe, what's new on the market a.s.o. But once you've fixated on a certain dance style more and more information is available on where to get the outfit and lesson.
In a nutshell: Tribal has arrived in Germany and has become a fix part of the oriental dance culture here, our European neighbours had similar developments in this sector. Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria or the United Kingdom: tribal Dance and Fusion/Gothic resp. Dark Fusion are firmly established and festivals are sprouting and there is an all-around cultural exchange. A positive development - let's take another look in 10 years!
Tribal-Festival Hannover Bilder
Pictures of the Tribal-Meeting World Of Orient 2009
Hagalla Online-Magazine (bilingual!)