American Tribal Style originated in the 1980's in (where else) America. From what I've read, it started out on the West
Coast, in San Francisco. This is not a traditional, historically linked, Middle Eastern form of the dance - its a mixture of Egyptian and Turkish moves with some Flamenco influence. Its very much a group dance, with the entire troupe (or tribe) on stage together with individual dancers (or pairs or trios of dancers) move to centre stage at various points to perform while the rest act as a backing chorus. There is little strict choreography - the style follows a sort of structured improvisation, using a limited number of moves and a lead & follow method with one dancer leading and communicating the moves to the others in a prearranged way.
|The style of costume is a mix of many eastern styles and looks sort of gypsy-ish, with full harem pants worn under a long, full skirt. Tops are usually a choli or crop top and a coin bra cover. The belts are heavily decorated with embroidery, coins and bells with long fringing and tassels at the edge. In performance, the troupes often wear turbans with jeweled pins in them. And always lots of ethnic looking jewelry. Some of the troupes I've seen use henna tattoos (or perhaps real ones), particularly on their faces. As I've not seen any ATS groups live, I have no pictures...|
|Music for tribal dance is often heavy on the percussion, and quite repetitive (this supports the improvisational qualities of the dance). It seems to vary from very traditional music to more contemporary musicians such as Solace.|
|I've got a few videos from Fat Chance Belly dance, one of the better known ATS troupes and I like the style a lot - I recently attended a beginners level workshop for ATS with Lorelei as part of the Spring 2003 Fantasia, and enjoyed it a lot. But unless I can find a teacher in my area (unlikely) and a group of like minded dancers who want to form a tribe I doubt I'll be taking it much further..|