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At the „Tribal Star“ contest this June at the 4th Tribal Festival in the German city of Hanover, they made it right to the top. Although this was there first performance in Germany … Reason enough for “Hagalla” to take a look at this tribe. In the following interview they tell us, how they became “Berill Tribal Bellydance Group” and how things are in the Hungarian tribal community.
Who are the members and what kind of dance and belly dance training do you have?

The Berill Tribal Bellydance Group was founded in 2010 in Békéscsaba, in Southeast Hungary. Before taht we danced together (with so many other dancers) in another local tribal group. Last year we decided that we should create an independent group which is based on friendship. That’s Berill. The group members are Csilla Pribojszki, Erika Major, Ildikó Novák, Kamilla Cservenák, Kitti Seeberger, and Krisztina Csukás.

We don’t have group leader and make all decision as a group what we will do in the future. Csilla is the choreographer and teacher, Kriszti is the „warm-up” girl.  If we have the chance we learn in master teacher workshops in Hungary.

We’re dancing tribal and tribal fusion bellydance. Csilla learned bollywood and a little bit raks sharki. Ildikó is dancing Hungarian folk dance since her childhood, Kamilla danced ballet, modern dance earlier.
Berill Tribal Bellydance - Ildikó Novák, Kamilla Cservenák, Csilla Pribojszki,
Kitti Seeberger and Krisztina Csukás
We are also doing yoga before and after the dance classes. In the beginnings we learned from our first teacher show (what we called traditional) bellydance. It was not raqs sharqi and not tribal but it included elements of both. The costumes weren’t shinny and glittering. Actually it was a mix: Arabic music with a basic tribal costume and Moroccan belly dance movements. A few years later we started tribal (ethnic) belly dance. Nowadays our main line is tribal (ATS) and tribal fusion belly dance.

Do you have (or did you have in your first years) role models?

When we started to dance with our first teacher there were a beginner and advanced group in the dance studio. But we haven’t followed role models. If somebody started to belly dance she joined into the first group. Soon we learned the basics. If somebody was talented or hard-working she moved up into the advanced group.

Nowadays when we train and teach we have a special pattern: we do short but useful yoga and streching for warm-up. Next we start to practise the basics. After that combos, drills, shimmies, step combinations and finally the choreographies. At the end of the training we finish with some yoga asanas.

Your style mixes new (tribal) with old (drum solo). How did you invent this?

In Hungary if you speak to someone on the street of "tribal belly dance" they don’t know what that is. And after they saw us performing sometimes they ask us what was that? Everybody believes belly dance is a shiny glittering performance. So because of this at most of our performances on the countryside (where we are living) we have to do classic belly dance. Which doesn’t mean that we are raqs sharqi dancers, just our costumes are not so heavy as the ATS dancers’ or as dark as the fusion dancers’, and we’re using softer tribal and fusion music.

But the movements are tribal and tribal fusion movements. Our main concept is to stay belly dancers because over here the audience want belly dance and not contemporary fusion or Gothic. We’re dancing audience-friendly tribal and fusion which involves modern ATS, drum solos, classic ATS, and tribal fusion. Of course if we have bigger galas, events we’ll switch to alternative music and wear “bolder” costumes. But the usual costumes we wear at home performances are more moderate.
When creating a new dance piece, how do you proceed, what comes first, a music track, a move, a costume, anything else?

Mostly Csilla is making the new pieces. She looks into music archives and if she finds something useful we’ll listen to it together. If everybody say okay to the music she creates the choreography. Sometimes she brings in costume ideas as well. Sometimes a good music inspires her and sometimes a move, everything what  kindles her creativity. But sometimes we have a theme at first and then search the for the best music. If everything else is settled we work together on the costume design.

How often do you work out, dance, rehearse ... you seemed to be perfectly synchronuos, when you performed, and this doesn't come by dancing only for one hour a week.

Actually we are dancing together for almost 5-6 years now. Krisztina and Ildikó even a little bit longer. All Berill dancers started to dance in the same belly dance group some years ago. This new formation started last year but we have a long standing common dance group experience. Nowadays we practise once or twice almost 2 hours a week. And everybody practises at home, too. If we have bigger performances we dance more. Now Ildikó and Csilla are making a new Balkan duo and they practise twice a week besides to the group's practise. So in a quiet week we dance only 2 hours. But mostly up to 6 hours.

Who creates your lovely costumes?

The headpieces and bras are made by us. Our current belts come from India. But usually we make we our own belts, too. We always have a unique basic idea and everybody creates her own pieces which have to be fitting to the original concept. The main pieces (skirt, pants) made by Kamilla’s aunt and Csilla’s seamstress. Sometimes Krisztina creates something for us …

Photos © Konstanze Winkler
Graphic design: Konstanze Winkler
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Ildikó and Krisztina
Interview with the
Berill Tribal Bellydance Group
by Marcel Bieger