Belly dancers go tribal

Director of the Barefoot Gypsy Dancers Danielle Sansom (centre) with dancers Rakella Moro (right).
Director of the Barefoot Gypsy Dancers Danielle Sansom (centre) with dancers Rakella Moro (right). Jay Cronan

TRIBAL-style belly dancing is attracting devoted female followers around the world.

It's a relatively new dance style which started about 35 years ago in the US and incorporates traditional gypsy, Indian and flamenco dancing.

However, tribal-style belly dancing has some unique characteristics.

"The main difference is that it's a group-improvised dance," The Barefoot Gypsies director Danielle Sansom said.

"You learn the dance language and every movement has an in-built queue and you can lead or follow when that changes in the dance."

Dancers also wear eccentric costumes made from Indian textiles and jewellery from Middle-Eastern countries, such as Afghanistan.

"It (tribal-style belly dancing) started out with a lot of women who were tattooed and pierced and who didn't feel as comfortable doing traditional oriental belly dancing," Ms Sansom said.

"It's a little bit more glamorous and sequined and a lot more earthy and feminine."

Ms Sansom teaches tribal-style belly dancing in Lismore and she said it has been a wonderful way to connect with different people.

"I love the connection with the other dancers," she said.

"You learn to know the other dancing girls really well because you have to watch what they're doing and communicate with your eyes. It's meant that I've gotten to know so many people of so many different ages."

Ms Sansom leads a troupe who performs at festivals, charities, weddings and parties.

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Topics:  dancing flamenco gypsy indian

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