Wow, but its been an age since I posted anything…..my bad! I think I spend more time trawling other peoples Blog’s and thinking how great they are at it….and how regularly they post, instead of doing my own. Hey, what can I say Pinterest is addictive…lol, so here is a little news from me.
Well, since my last post quite a lot has happened, so I thought I’d give you all a little insight into my mad world over the last couple of months. If you can recall, I have a small Belly Dance studio in Rustenburg, NW, South Africa. As much as it has been my Life Saver over the last couple of years, it has also been a source of stress too. We have been open for about 5 years now and over the 5 years I have never really had any more than 10 dancers at any one time and I look at other studios in similar sized towns with 30 odd dancers and I think, what am I doing wrong….which is a major frustration I might add. I had gotten to the point where advertising no longer worked, word-of-mouth had all but dried up and then the inevitable ‘haters’….okay, maybe that is a bit strong. I should rather say the ‘hugely misinformed’….women in our small town that look at Belly / Oriental Dance as something akin to stripping, parading ourselves for male amusement (not knocking those that do this…whatever pays your bills), wouldn’t been seen dead at a class or event, and the Husbands that will not allow those that want to come and try a class, to even mention it in polite company. Its a never ending battle that I sure many Belly Dancers through the ages have had to deal with. So after contemplating closing the Studio, which only lasted a short while because I couldn’t abandon my wonderful dancers, I addressed the possibility of re-branding the Studio with said ‘wonderful dancers’….and to my utter amazement they were 100% behind my decision. It was so nice to know that it wasn’t just me that thought that what we had created was worth fighting for and that we needed to make these misinformed women aware of the beauty of this ancient dance form.
And so the search for a new Studio Name began. Something that would embody our style, our mission, ethos and studio standard. After a short list of 5, the majority vote was for:
MiTribe Oriental Dance Collective
So on 1st August 2016, Rusty Belly Dance officially became MiTribe Oriental Dance Collective.
Our reasoning behind this move was to clearly define what we do as an Oriental Dance Studio. Although we still firmly base our foundation, and especially that of our Beginners in the fundamentals of Belly Dance, we have steadily become more Fusion orientated over the past three years. We aim to combine different dance forms, such as Tribal Fusion, ATS (American Tribal Style), Ballet, Contemporary, Cabaret, Kathak Indian, Bollywood and Spanish Fusion into our unique choreography and technique classes. We still feature Classical Egyptian and Turkish Belly Dance, but it is not our main focus.
Most importantly, we have to rebrand to suit the conditions of the extremely conservative, predominantly Afrikaans, “small town” mentality we face in our city. Rustenburg is growing and evolving, but it is not as cosmopolitan as the larger cities in the country and if we hope to sustain our growth, we will have to move away from the “Belly Dance” reference. It is a sad state of affairs that, even in this day and age, women are still led to believe that Belly Dance is something akin to stripping. In our town, this radical step is needed to change the attitude towards our dance form so that women would no longer be afraid to be associated with Belly Dance. We understand that we run the risk of being seen as taking a cop-out by Traditionalists, but we daily face comments from unenlightened women asking “Don’t you only dance for men?” or “What does your husband think?”, not to mention the negative body image issues that are associated with our costuming. This lack of education and exposure is harming the dance form, not helping.
The rebranding of our studio was therefore not a move away from spreading the knowledge and joys of Oriental Dance, but an action to strengthen it. Our studio ethos and mission statement had and will always be that of a tribe of women who collectively share the same standards and values and who embody the power and passion to motivate each other to be the best they can be. We strive to always represent Belly Dance in all its associated forms with the reverence and respect it deserves.
Our new Mission Statement:
And we kicked the re-branding off with a wonderful event to celebrate everything about being a Woman…….but more about that in the next post.
Have a Blessed day!