Part IV

How do you fuse seemingly two separate genres without obscuring their intrinsic characteristics, without one eclipsing the other? For example, oriental dance/belly dance and metal music.

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Using interdisciplinary creative movement

I am a classical oriental dancer from Istanbul’s oriental dance scene. I do have some comtemporary dance and classical ballet background, however technique is not enough for creating a new blended aesthetic.

I have been practising to Heavy Metal music since I was a dance student. As a dance teacher, I sometimes get my advanced students dance to metal music in order for them to experience adapting themselves to an uncommon music style to dance to. Though, I saw one problem fusing Oriental Dance and Heavy Metal:

Oriental Dance is a tradition in the Middle East; dancing in oriental dance style to a kind of music which is not “oriental enough”, and movements casually adapted will not be perceived as anything more than a far-fetched gimmick, and it will distance this cultural dance form from its very roots.

While I believe in freedom of expression in arts as well as everywhere else, I don’t want to eviscerate my own cultural dance. I want Oriental Metal to become a proper dance form, to be passed to new students with a reliable system, because I find it so suitable for Turkey’s identity. I have been carefully thinking about how to structure it, while keeping it “oryantal”.

Then again, when there are no resources to stage it, how can we make this happen in a studio, in a country like Turkey where some of the people who are able to understand the value of Heavy Metal as an art form are also the same people who are quick to laugh off “Oryantal Dans”?

I am a classical oriental dancer from Istanbul’s oriental dance scene. I do have some comtemporary dance and classical ballet background, however technique is not enough for creating a new blended aesthetic.

I have been practising to Heavy Metal music since I was a dance student. As a dance teacher, I sometimes get my advanced students dance to metal music in order for them to experience adapting themselves to an uncommon music style to dance to. Though, I saw one problem fusing Oriental Dance and Heavy Metal:

Oriental Dance is a tradition in the Middle East; dancing in oriental dance style to a kind of music which is not “oriental enough”, and movements casually adapted will not be perceived as anything more than a far-fetched gimmick, and it will distance this cultural dance form from its very roots.

While I believe in freedom of expression in arts as well as everywhere else, I don’t want to eviscerate my own cultural dance. I want Oriental Metal to become a proper dance form, to be passed to new students with a reliable system, because I find it so suitable for Turkey’s identity. I have been carefully thinking about how to structure it, while keeping it “oryantal”.

Then again, when there are no resources to stage it, how can we make this happen in a studio, in a country like Turkey where some of the people who are able to understand the value of Heavy Metal as an art form are also the same people who are quick to laugh off “Oryantal Dans”?

Then came the opportunity to perform with beloved Moonspell on an excellently orchestrated Oriental Metal song; “Breathe – Until We’re No More.”

Moonspell is a poetic, intense Gothic Metal band I have been ardently listening to for many years; a kind of dark music that oxymoronically shone on my aesthetic perception since adolescence.

Where to start? I started off from the symbolism of Gothic Metal for inspiration.

Raven and wolf symbols often show up in Moonspell lyrics; both of the animals are well-known archetypes in Gothic literature. As my work was to be a fusion of Oriental Dance and Heavy Metal, I wanted to brainstorm about taking two separate beings and bringing them together. Raven and Wolf… Movement and Music… Oriental dancer and Gothic Metal band… A oriental dancer with a raven tattoo on her head and a metal band who is known as the wolfpack.

  1. Playing with these ideas back and forth;
  2. – I imagined an unearthly, gynandromorphous creature, half-wolf, half-raven.
    – Inspired by the Hebrew term “heilel ben shakhar – Lucifer, son of the dawn”, I made up a new name adding Hilal (Turkish/Arabic for crescent moon), Alpha, a character I created in the past, Sahar/seher = twilight, aurora, and coined the name Hilalphasahar for this imaginary Muse for Breathe’s choreography.

I started to write stories about Hilalphasahar. Where did it come from? Who is it?

I visualized it. I drew pictures of it. I experimented with movements. I moved in the shapes of the paint strokes to feel this creature in my own body. I walked like Hilalphasahar would walk. I fell over and got up like Hilalphasahar would fall over and get up. Seriously, what would a half raven half wolf creature move like?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having raven and wolf characteristics fifty fifty?

This Muse – my creative source Hilalphasahar, sometimes represented the stages of a dancer intermingling with music, sometimes stimulated the alchemical process masculine metal fusing with feminine oriental dance.

Hilalphasahar gradually became a better integrated creature through the course of dance, which, then, the melifulous Middle Eastern outro represented.

Idylleve & Fernando Ribeiro

the Raven and the Wolf

Raven and Wolf, Oriental and Metal, the Feminine and the Masculine are so breathed in, that they are no more, they are breathed out anew.

In brief, this dance was a journey into a bi-polarity. It materializes the probability of two polarities existing in peace. It speaks for the hidden abundance polarities have to offer. It speaks of my own character; one root from Oriental Dance, one root from Heavy Metal; one root from the Middle East, one root from Europe; both of them strengthening one other, realizing, honouring, celebrating their individualities and their togetherness.

 

 

 

 

 

Existence is movement. Action is movement. Existence is defined by the rhythm of forces in natural balance. (…) It is our appreciation for dance that allows us to see clearly the rhythms of nature and to take natural rhythm to a plane of well-organised art and culture.” – Rudolf Laban

 

raven and wolves from the fog

The raven and the wolves from the fog

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