Before leaving Beijing in May last year, I was able to experience only the beginnings of the Lunatic Moires. Over the past few months, the tribe has grown and introduced something fresh and powerful to the Beijing underground cultural scene – American Tribal Fusion Bellydance.
It is Saturday night in Sanlitun, Beijing. The Lunatic Moires are preparing themselves for their performance in the adjacent room of the popular bar Parlor. We are chatting in Russian, Chinese, German and French. English is the commonality. Situations like these are the source of my fascination with China and continue to inspire me. An employee of Parlor walks into the room. The time has come. The Lunatic Moires start their ritual. They stand in a circle and meditate. The door opens. Inko goes ahead, “Enjoy!“
I saw Inko and Dahiba’s first performance in 2014, also at Parlor. That was the first time I came into contact with Tribal Bellydance. I knew right away: I’m in. And so I began learning from Inko and Dahiba.
“Go through the fire of your muscles.”
Tribal Bellydance is about body control, and isolating different muscles. “Feel the tension.”. Inko is very motivating and she is able to challenge her students to their next level. I can feel muscles I surely never moved before, and it feels awesome.
How did Inko and you met?
After I finished the theoretical part of my Masters degree, I wanted to do an internship in China and start to dance again. I had taken a two year break. That was not very good neither for my body nor for my brain. When I was still in Germany, I searched for ATS and tribal fusion teachers in Beijing online and I found Inko. It was love at first sight and an overwhelming experience for me. Her way of teaching is exactly what I am looking for. Her classes are ambitious and well planned. She is a fantastic teacher and we became very good friends.
Can you introduce all the other members?
Inko di Ö is from France, Hatar from Russia, Soleil Noire from South-Africa, Evelyn from Armenia and me. Besides me everyone has live in China for quite a while. Our shared characteristics is dancing and being open and willing to create something new.
How did you guys find each other?
The Lunatic Moires were founded in October of 2014. Inko was the key figure and initiator. She knew each of us, but we did not yet know each other. Inko had wanted to create a tribe for quite some time but she waited until she found the right people for it.
How did you discover American Tribal Style Bellydance for yourself?
That was a long time ago. I already did some basic dance and at a ball they showed classical oriental dance. Then I started a beginners‘ course. After some time my then-teacher asked me to join her ATS classes. I did workshops and made up choreographies and held some courses for oriental dance by myself. But as my studies became more stressful and I had to move several times, I had to take a break. Since March 2014 a new area of dance has begun for me.
What is the difference between tribal and oriental bellydance?
For outsiders, the difference is not very big but in reality, the difference is enormous. Classical Oriental dance is very old and is linked to culture and tradition. ATS has developed in the 80/90’s. ATS combines elements from Oriental dance, Flamenco and Indian dance. Regarding the lifestyle of people today, the proceeding globalization and the curiosity for new things, this is a very natural development in my opinion. From the different oceans of dance rise different streams which create new forms of dance. Oriental dance is happiness, glitter, passion, aesthetics and the art of seduction. ATS is proud, feminine, wild, free, show how you are and how you want to be, dangerous, about being unapproachable yet bound to your tribe and the audience. When we go on stage we are not princesses trying to look pretty. We are animals. For me this is an expression of my personality.
Can you tell me something about your costumes?
The costumes of the Lunatic Moires are individual but we have a common idea we follow. One costume has a piece of fur. The material is the same for everyone but each sister can integrate that piece into her costume whichever way she wants. Each costume develops and grows piece by piece. There are no limits. In the last minutes before a performance it gets exciting backstage: “Damn it! How did I want to put my costume together again? Has anyone got a safety pin?“ You were able to experience that live on Saturday.
Do you guys have idols?
Everyone has her own. Recently we were able to get to know a great artist. Moria Chappell was visiting Beijing and did some workshops and honoured us with two dances at one of our performance nights. She has become an idol for me because I was able to see her live and experience the depth of her knowledge and her passion. And of course Inko is my absolute icon. Her talent, creativity and her enthusiasm is what will make me return to Beijing.
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