Saturday, 2 July 2011

Belly dance/burlesque fusion: the issue that will not die

I am indebted to Mahin of The Daily Belly Dance Quickie, purveyor of fine tips for practising at home, for tweeting this (you can and should follow her: @DailyBDQuickie or sign up for her e-mailing list), with the question: "Does this belly dance fusion cross the line for you?"

Perhaps a better question would be: "Does this count as 'fusion' at all?" I only see a belly dancer in a burlesque costume.

^Holds laptop upside down and sideways in case the angles reveal something new^

Nope, I still just see belly dancing in the wrong outfit. Hm. At least starting out in your knickers negates the chances of this happening:

Sooner forget your skirt than your smalls, eh?


  1. Ooh, you beat me to a fusion post! Spooky. I have a slight bee in my bonnet about bellynesian at the minute, so this might come off more snarky than intended.

    If you watch this without the music first, it's just a woman dancing (actually, mainly walking) in her knickers. There's nothing that makes me go "Oh, yep, bellydance"; bumps, grinds, shimmies, shoulder rolls...all basic burlesque moves since time immemorial. If you add the music it doesn't seem to be inspiring the interpretation.
    Is it even burlesque? She's already revealed and there doesn't seem to be any satire or story? Apart from showcasing an absolutely stunning costume, why was this piece created? Not that there's anything wrong if that was the intent, it just seems a bit...superficial.

    That second one is just O_O cold-sweat-inducing!

  2. I'm inclined to agree with Hula UK; there's not really much of anything going on in this piece. Perhaps if she'd chosen a bustle that hid more of her legs (and one that fastened at the waist, for a more elegant strip) it would have made it appear more of a BD fusion piece, but as it is she just looked like a showgirl doing camels.

    Odd music choice as well. Shame, because she's got lovely stage presence and is clearly very talented.

  3. Ah ... something odd happened with the video the first time I watched it and it started at the mid-way point, so when I read these comments I was wondering if we were all talking about the same thing. Yes, I'm that technologically savvy.
    Having now seen the first two and a half minutes I'm bound to say that this is more like (A) Part one: burlesque. (B) Part two: belly dance.
    And yes, HulaUK, I'm sure that burlesque purists will also be looking for the satire/social commentary/humour. I was a bit of a fan of the short-lived TV show 'Carnivale', set in a 1930s travelling circus, and there was a scene where one of the veteran strippers was teaching the newcomers about the importance of building up to the 'blow off'. There was no build-up here, just straight into it. To me, this had the unpleasant effect of creating the impression that even more clothing was going to come off.
    I'm with both you and Lilith on the music, too. Natacha Atlas does a wonderful version of 'I Put a Spell on You' that the Johara company used to great effect with their burlesque fusion piece a couple of years ago.
    The summation of this as 'superficial' is fair, but at least her audience were plainly having a whale of a time!