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Avantgard in belly dancing: Interview with Krisztina Téglás

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Krisztina Téglás (Haalima)  is an emerging talent in modern dance from the younger generation in the lesser-known style of belly dancing— Tribal Fusion— in Hungary. The aim in interviewing her to get a clearer picture about the often misunderstood Tribal Fusion Belly Dance style and her workshops.

Papillon: What are the origins and which technical elements build up this style? Which other sorts of dance styles are used in Tribal Fusion Belly Dance? Which kind of music is used in productions?

Krisztina Téglás: Another style of the oriental dances is growing up nowadays, which based on the American Tribal Style (ATS), which isn’t an authentic dance form, much more a fusion of classic belly dance and folk dances of the Middle-East region, spiced with Indian folk elements. Actually, this is the  forerunner of Tribal Fusion Belly Dance. ATS  is quite rigid however Tribal Fusion doesn’t fit any rule. There are no conventions about music, costume or even the style. It includes both classic and tribal belly dance elements, lifts them to the next level, and integrates hip-hop, burlesque, ballet and contemporary dance movements. Typical tribal fusion motions are mystical waves, unique “snake charmer” arm technique, lots of isolations. Costume decorations are various, such as the style, influenced by some popular subcultures like steampunk, gothic or vintage.

P.: Could you tell us exactly when you began to deal with the Tribal Fusion Belly Dance?

K.T.: At the first time, I was watching some videos on this theme in 2007. Afterwards in the same summer I went to ATS lessons to study the basics.

P.: Martha Graham, an American dancer and choreographer, said that dance was the hidden language of the soul of the body. What is it that dancing expresses to you? What are your feelings when you dance? What would you like to express by dancing?

K.T.: In my opinion, dance means true body language. We obtain much more information about people throughout movements, posture and gaze on the stage. In the beginning, we learn the basics, but we cannot to explain ourselves on the stage; however over the years, we (hopefully) will come closer step by step in our own minds. Therefore we can use dance much more easily to explain ourselves than at first. Usually, I plan my workshops and the music at the last moment, because it depends on my  current mood and actually this is the reason that it is quite difficult to make plans in my productions. However, when everything works well and gets through my conceptions on the stage as I imagined, I can feel and see people’s facial expression and also the reactions, so this is compensates me. I’ve been struggling to get more attention for this type of dance from people who are open to new stuff like Tribal Fusion Belly Dance and are able to accept the changes and the more complicated levels in belly dance.

P.: What places you won at competitions in the last few years? In your point of view, which show was the most significant in your life?

K.T.: In my part, I didn’t get anything because I haven’t been on competitions in many years. My last competition (I Tribal Belly Dance) was in 2008 where I received the 3rd place individually and with my group, as well. In the last few years, I was usually a member of jury on the competitions instead. Anyway, my students placed in competitions, like Tóth Réka and Végh Adrienn.

My most significant productions in Budapest are Tribal Festivals, Sziget Festival and Watch my Dying concert. My most significant productions abroad are Caravanseray, Vienna 2010; Tribal Fest, Split 2010; Pressburg Tribal Event, Bratislava 2011; Rachel Brice Hafla, Slovenia 2011 and Tribal Prague – a Gala show with Kami Liddle and Martina Crowe-Hewett in 2012.

P.: Although we are talking about a contemporary style in dance, could you tell us other dancers whom  you admire, who inspire you? Which dancers did you  study a lot?

K.T.: On the one hand, my inspirations and people whom I respect always connect to a period of my life, a mood or a conversation, so I say thanks to them because they didn’t teach me dance, rather life. For instance, Andrea Lőrincz, Gergő Havasi, Gabriella Máthé, Judit Virág, Judit Joós, Krisztina Németh (Amira), Bernadett Viosz, Ilona Lovász, Beáta Baranyai, Szilvia Koltai, Fanni Pónus, Zita Kondora, Franciska Gál, Gábor Bakó, Kami Liddle, Tjarda van Straten, Illan Riviere, Samantha Emanuel, Eliran Edri Amar .

On the other hand, some people who taught me dance: Judit Virág, Judit Joós (the basics of Tribal Belly Dance), Krisztina Németh (Amira), Kami Liddle, Manca Pavli, Samantha Emanuel, Eliran Edri Amar, Gabriella Máthé, Andrea Lőricz, Gábor Bakó.

P.: Recently, I read a negative comment below your video but the commenter wasn’t too competent in belly dance styles. How do you cope with negative criticisms?

K.T.: In fact, few years ago I was very susceptible. Nowadays, I try to laugh at people who criticize me even though sometimes I don’t like their criticisms but I learnt over the years that for example I don’t care about a truck driver’s point of view. Luckily, I know frank people around me whom I ask tell me their true opinion about my weak and strong points in my productions (what they saw and felt) on the stage. I like those comments which developing me and my technique. I know already my abilities, so I am really not interested in those criticisms which haven’t based on reality.

P.: In your opinion, has the popularity of belly dance been increasing or decreasing in the last few years in Hungary? Do you have more students?

K.T.: It’s quite difficult to tell because there were a few years when I didn’t organize group lessons, I just had  private students. In my opinion, the financial situation isn’t too perfect in Hungary, so fewer people spend money for dancing. I think this style of belly dance is becoming more and more popular even though a lot of people still don’t have a clue about Tribal Fusion Belly Dance.

P.: You aren’t just a tribal fusion belly dancer, but a choreographer as well. You even plan every tiny detail in your productions including make-up, hair and clothes. I’m impressed! Anyway, we all know that your next show, with both your own and foreign dancers will be on 28 April. Who will appear on your stage?

K.T.: Thanks a lot:)! Well, yes, Szilvi Tóth (Szisz) and I are planning both the Gala show and workshops. The theme of the night will be the 60s and 70s, which means rockabilly and pinup girls, which is slightly funny and colorful style. The night offers make-up teaching with Vesna Zorman from Slovenia; she always creates amazing and beautiful make-up and hair on every Gala show. Szisz will hold a rockabilly workshop and I will hold a burlesque with fan. If somebody is curious we will have an earlier show at Red Hell on 14th of April, but this show offers more gothic, steampunk and electronic styles for  lovers of other subcultures. Still, these productions will be various so I recommend them to everybody!

P.: If somebody would like to get contact with you, how is this possible?

K.T.: You can contact to me on Facebook, on my website and in e-mail:

https://www.facebook.com/people/Krisztina-Teglas/774807369

https://www.facebook.com/people/Haalima-TheatricalFusion-Bellydance/100003466085987

https://haalima.p8.hu

You can also check these websites about the events in April:

http://fusionsonthespot.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003558900341