Tribal Belly Dance and my evolution within it – by Darkstar

Rachael #1My first experience of belly dance was, like many of us, attending a traditional Egyptian class with friends for fun back in around 2003/4. Although i loved Egyptian belly dance i was not entirely comfortable dancing it myself, the music and costuming just didn’t seem to resonate with me and my personal cultural background. I did enjoy the freedom that belly dance gave me, I could keep fit and forget about the days woes so I decided to do some research into the many different styles of belly dance in the hope that I may find a style a little more suited to myself, little did I know that through on line searches I would come across a belly dance style know as tribal. I came across fusion dancers such as Rachel Brice, The Indigo and Jill Parker and Ultra Gypsy as well as American Tribal Style groups such as Fat Chance and Black Sheep. Through the costuming and music alone I knew this would be the style of belly dance I would commit myself too.

Before the popularity of Facebook and YouTube it was hard to find out more, but I managed to find contacts via an online forum with other london based dancers looking for tribal classes. We managed to find a beautiful dancer called Hannah who had just started to teach tribal fusion classes and alongside this several of us decided to hire a studio weekly to form a practise ATS group where I met some of my closest friends and eventually started Luma Tribal which focused on Fat Chance format. From here I decided to explore solo dancing and having discovered gothic belly dance I really found my calling.


gothic belly dance dvdAlthough I would have never seen myself as a solo dancer, when I started exploring the dance form and combining with the dark electronic and gothic music I loved so much something clicked. I remember when the first Gothic Belly Dance DVD came out which I couldn’t wait to get my hands on and shortly after was the fist ever Gothla UK event. It was at Gothla I found my biggest inspirations. Ariellah was the dancer I had ultimately gone to see and study with. At that time I had never seen a gothic belly dancer other than on YouTube but to see the performers first hand took my breath away. The power and artistry on stage was like nothing I had seen before. The American dancers at Gothla where very impressive and it was clear to see that gothic belly dance was making its mark in the States but I was also very impressed with some of the UK talent that until that point I had not seen. Dawn Obrian was very much a pioneer here in the UK for gothic belly dance creating her cyber fusion and I am not sure what bracket she would like to put herself in but I have always seen her as an artist, a true performer ever evolving always inspiring, thinking outside the box and taking her audience by surprise. On top of that Dawn also had her group Kalganie and I will never forget the year I saw them at Gothla dressed as red devils in PVC and dancing to the Prodigy, they tore the place up! And I wanted to get up there dancing with them :)


I studied intensively with Ariellah who taught me the importance of both strong technique, theatrical presence and creativity on stage. I’ve studied with many teachers which are listed on my website but it is fair to say that Ariellah has been my main teacher and I have much to thank her for, I would not be the dancer I am today without her support.


2 and a half menSince then and In order to create more of my own style I have taken influence from street and urban dance forms and have been studying popping intensively to the point it has most defiantly become my “other” dance style. I train regularly with my popping teacher Shak and his crew the GoodFoot, training with them is not only great fun but truly inspirational! I love the idea of merging cool and exciting urban styles with a dark aesthetic to create exciting ideas and routines and to push the boundaries of what we can fuse in order to express ourselves through dance. Aside from developing my own dance i love teaching and i am passionate about developing my student group Team Darkstar and helping to give them the teaching and guidance my teachers have done for me. What would I call myself? A Dark Fusion dancer, a Tribal dancer, a Popper, a Belly Popper, a Belly dancer.. In short, I’m a Dancer.

Author – Darkstar Dance
Copywright of Darkstar Dance

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