The ‘Remix’ element of Tribal Remix really can’t be emphasised enough. Instead of the typical Eastern, jangling, sensual, narrative-based performance I was expecting, the show was a constant showcase of varying dance styles. Every performance had an element of surprise: ‘Oh so this is traditional belly dancing, no wait, I’ve seen that before, that’s called body popping... Are they salsa-ing now!?’
I left Sallis Benney theatre in no doubt that bellies are most certainly for shaking!
This impressive fusion highlighted just how much influence and interchangeability there is between these dance styles. But this isn’t to say that you won’t get to see ‘tribal’ in its purest form. Traditional belly dancing made an appearance in the show but the most engaging performances of the night came from more unusual dancers, namely Italy’s Violet Scrap and Slovakia’s Rustiqua.
Miss Violet Scrap performed three times but her first performance, the second of the evening, was utterly enrapturing. With no movement across the stage and just a spotlight to keep her company, the moody, understated performance seemed closer to slow, very controlled body-popping than anything else. Her track, ‘Andrew’ by Jonwayne, wouldn’t have been out of place in the seafront clubs on a Friday night and slow, contemporary electronic/trip-hop music permeated the entire evening.
Rustiqua were faultless in their energy and humour; for their final performance the pair even had the confidence to throw themselves into Die Antwoord’s ‘I Fink You Freeky’, mastering the fine line between humour, skill and genuine fun. Despite the international variety of dancers they all seemed to understand the versatility of tribal fusion. The foundational moves of belly dancing, those impressive stomach ripples, slow controlled gestures and hip drops for example, not only work with other dance styles and music genres but are actually enhanced by experimentation.
If you’re not a dancer or much of an aficionado, you will require some stamina for the full 2 hour performance. At times the showcase format of the evening is reminiscent of seeing school dance recitals, but the fusion of styles is undoubtedly impressive as is the skill of most of the dancers. I left Sallis Benney theatre in no doubt that bellies are most certainly for shaking!