Teaching Belly Dance 2.0 | Phnom Penh Post

Tribal fusion is a style of belly dancing based on Arabic belly dancing but with a modern twist, incorporating moves from a diverse range of contemporary and folk styles from around the world.

Today, 34-year-old Venezuelan Dayana Ocanto – a modern-day gypsy who has spent the past 10 years traveling the world with her husband, a jeweler and tattoo artist – has brought tribal fusion to Siem Reap.

The couple took a break from Siem Reap in May this year and have since set up a stall at the Angkor Night Market, and now Ocanto, under the name Navilus, offers dance lessons and shows at Mezze, as well as At her place.

“I discovered [tribal fusion] when I started traveling to Mexico 10 years ago, she said. “When I saw it, I loved it, so I started learning on my own.”

The dance will sound familiar to anyone who has seen Arabic belly dancing, but the basic style can be fused with anything from Hindi, electronic or tribal music to hip hop.

Ocanto describes her own favorite style as slow and flowing, and when she moves it’s easy to see the muscular sensuality that underpins her being. She points out that it is not the same as sexuality.

“It’s not about making a proposal of anything. It’s about community among women, cooperation, not competition, celebration and sharing of female energy.

“It’s more connected, and there’s more than the physical experience. The mental and spiritual elements are equally strong.”

Ocanto’s classes at Mezze at 6 p.m. on Tuesday evenings are free, while those at her home near Taphul Road on Mondays and Wednesdays will cost $5. Ocanto will also hold regular performances at the Mezze and other venues in Siem Reap.

For more information, see Ocanto’s Facebook page: Navilu’s Fusions.

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