POST 1: Tribal Belly Dancing

Belly Dance Origins

Most belly dancers tend to believe in at least one of many theories explaining how belly dancing originated. The most popular theory is that it evolved from a religious dance. Some people believe that it descended from early Egyptian dances, or from the migration of Gypsies from India. Another popular theory is that belly dance began as a traditional birthing practice to help ease the pains of childbirth.

Today, belly dance is enjoyed throughout the world and is taught in almost every country. Belly dancing offers an instant community of friends for women of all ages who find joy in music and movement. Belly dance creates self-confidence, as women learning the art often gain a sense of empowerment and self-discovery through artistic self-expression. Although many enthusiasts perform for modest income, the majority of belly dancers find the dance form to be a great source of exercise and a means of socialization.

   Tribal dance forms are rooted  in a movement in the US in the 70’s, mainly driven by “folkloric” groups performing at Renaissance Faires in California.  Drawing it’s movements, costuming, and general inspiration from the tribal cultures of the Near East, Middle East, Northern Africa/Maghreb, and Spain, the then-named “California Tribal” bellydance was, and it’s current incarnations continue to be, a conglomeration of many different influences, not the least of which being what we recognize as traditional bellydance (Raqs Sharki/Danse Orientale…).   The precursor to tribal improvisational bellydance, the Rennaisance Faire groups such as the famous “Bal Anat” (above-left) and lesser known but still pivotal “Bou-Saada”, largely performed cabaret stylings, but in “fake-loric” costuming. It is commonly known that, as unromantic as it sounds to tribal bellydance historians, these dancers who hit the Ren Faires by day simply changed costumes and danced the night away at the restaurants. They were cabaret dancers in Ren Faire drag, if you will.
There were some obvious differences which reveal this style to be stylistic acestors of some styles of tribal we know today, the most obvious of which being the costuming. The idea of using earthy, ethnic textiles, coins, many layers, very full pantaloons, and headwraps/turbans began with this style. Non-synthesized music was also a staple, being that many performances were done outdoors in a themed venue. And the idea of chorus, previously a balletic concept to most, was introduced to the bellydance world. Individual dancers or small groups of dancers would be featured in front, while the other dancers would perform or clap or generally play “moving backdrop” to the featured performers. And lastly, one will find that the terminology of ATS closely resembles that of the Jamilla Salimpour format, though not in its entirety, and the execution of the moves has evolved separately over the years.


post 1:Sub-Culture of Swing Dance


Swing Dance dates back as far as the 1920’s, where the African American community were dancing to up beat contemporary style of Jazz music, they discovered the Charleston and the Lindy Hop.


The three main styles of swing dance are Lindy Hop, West coast swing and East coast swing. Other popular styles are North Dallas push, Huston whip, Carolina shag, Colligan shag, St Louis Shag, Bop, Hand dancing and Swing out. Just to name a few.

Lindy Hop continued into the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s and is featured in many movies of the era featuring Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers with Frankie Manning and Dean Collins (whose style would lead to the creation of West Coast Swing), and Hal Takier and the Ray Rand Dancers. Traditional Lindy Hop in its purest form is found in many US locations and in Sweden. Swedish Lindy Hoppers preserve much of the old-style technique which was passed on to them by Frankie Manning, through various visits in the 1980s and 1990s

East Coast Swing is a simpler 6-count variation of Lindy Hop, that evolved with swing-band music of the 1940s and the work of the Arthur Murry dance studios in the 1940s. It is also known as Six-count Swing, Triple-Step Swing, or Single-Time Swing. East Coast Swing has very simple structure and footwork along with basic moves and styling. It is popular for its simple nature and is often danced to slow, medium, or fast tempo jazz, blues, or rock and roll. Occasionally, Rockabilly, aka Rock-a-billy, is mistaken for East Coast Swing, but Rockabilly is more closely related to Western Swing.

West Coast Swing was developed in the 1940s, as a stylistic variation on Lindy Hop. It is a slotted and danced to a wide variety of music including: blues, rock and roll, country western, smooth and cool jazz. It is popular throughout the United States and Canada but was uncommon in Europe and most of Asia until the 21st Century. West-coast-swing communities are growing in Australia, Brazil, France, India, New Zealand, Ukraine, Romania and the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.

The Savoy Ballroom in New York was an immediate success opening in 1926. With its block-long dance floor and raised double bandstand intact. Nightly dancing attracted New Yorks best dancers. Stimulated by the presence of great dancers and the best swinging bands, The night life was swinging from then on.






Although these photographs show models with high heals, the truth is to really dance you’ll find it painfully impossible to perform wearing high heals like these.

Read more: Swing History origins of Swing Dance

Dance Fitness Sports

Post 1 – Subculture “rock and roll”

rock and roll

Rock and Roll originated in the late 1940’s to early 1950’s from the phrase “rocking and rolling” (describing the dancing movement to the new rock music).  Rock and roll was more than just music, it influenced lifestyles, fashion, attitudes, and language.  It is thought that rock and roll may have helped the cause of the civil rights movement because both African American teens and white American teens shared the enjoyment of the music.


Before the 1940’s teenagers were seen but not heard, their time was spent working to in money to help the family.  After the war teenagers were able to stay at school and work part time.  This money was not needed by the family and was spending money.  The teenagers began to have a voice.  The music of the era gave them this.  They finally had music that interested them.

USA - Elvis Presley 30th Death Anniversary Memorials

Teenagers of the time found rhythm of the backbeat suited older dance styles. The jitterbug was reborn and gym dances, home basement dance parties and “sock hops” became the rage.  American teens were kept up to date with the latest dance and fashion styles with the now famous “American Bandstand” TV show.


After the war silks and wools were again available which allowed the designers more freedom.  The fashion was also influenced by the dance style to highlight the skirts/dresses and men’s decorated shoes.  The fashion was very female/male orientated, female’s wore big skirts and tight tops which accentuated the female form, while male’s wore tailored suits and skinny ties and bow ties .  A lot of care was taken in presentation, grooming and styling.

fashion bow tie suit and tie

hip hop subculture

The Hip Hop culture revolves around four key activities: rapping, graffiti art, breakdancing and DJing. It originated in the South Bronx area of New York City during the early 1970s, and articulated the values and attitudes of the urban inner-city youth (Rose 1994).

During the 1980s, Hip Hop became more than just a culture, but also a profitable commodity, with Hip Hop music, fashion, and entertainment consumed across the world.

some clothing is very much related to the hip hop culture, the biggest being the base ball cap, fat shoe laces, baggy jeans, oversized tops and gold and diamonds.

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Hip Hop culture is more segregated than ever and that is truly reflective of the way things are in this country currently. You have your commercial pop acts, and then there are your grimy underground acts, moving from there to the more “organic” poetic sound and so forth and so on. Each particular sound has a built in niche audience and there has been little reason to galvanize all of the forces for one. It is amazing to read how in Brazil, England and other countries how whole Hip Hop concerts are built about political movement and resistance but here in the states, we’re doing summer jams for Pepsi and Budweiser. Yes, these large companies reportedly give back to urban areas and youth charities, but it is replete with the looming specter of commercialism and consumerism.

in a metaphorical sense, hip-hop culture has become a global language largely because of its ability to speak both to and through youth, creating a cultural free space that heads around the world have sought as a site of identification, a place where they can be(come) themselves by fashioning their languages, styles, attitudes, and both physical and political stances in ways that often challenge dominant cultures.


POST 1: Subculture: Elegant Gothic Aristocrat- lily


Is a subset of the Lolita fashion also referred to as EGA.

The style imitates the mature decadence of the late Neogothic era, with emphasis on elegance & simplicity. The idea is to dress in a manner that captures a certain old-world class blended with modern, gothic sensibilities.

This term & style of fashion was originally coined by fashion designer MANA, former band leader of ‘Malice Mizer’. EGA became popular in the Japanese fashion streets in the late 1990’s when Mana’s onstage rock-idol attire spread among his fans. His clothing designs can be found in his online shop ‘Moi-meme-moitie’.


Many EGA designs derive from a basic suit silhouette with eccentric Victorian inspired elements such as top hats, cravats, bustles, platform shoes with accessories such as gloves, waistcoats, stockings, bows & conspicuous pocket books.

It is an androgynous style mainly consisting of black & white, or darker colours, which capture a more elegant & mature look.


The Lolita fashion has evolved into several different sub styles and has a subculture that is present in many parts of the world. Elegant Gothic Aristocrat is considered to be the male counterpart of the Gothic Loilta, which is influenced from the Rococo period, and is characterized by darker make-up and clothing with the focus being on cross jewellery, religious symbols, bags and purses in shapes like bats, coffins, and crucifixes.


The female version of Aristocrat is referred to as Madam, and is more influenced by 19th century fashion. The fashion includes, dresses with feminine but not usually frilly styling in a variety of colours. Makeup, when worn, is usually mature and on the slightly heavier side, though not excessive.

In my conclusion the highlight in EGA is elegance and is often associated with vampires and an old-worldly upper class.

Sub-Culture: Decora

Subcultures are responsive sociological occurrences that emerge & transform over time depending on the impacts of location, mainstream culture & changes in society to one or more individuals.
Milton Gordon in 1947 defined subculture as:

“…A subdivision of a national culture, composed of a combination of factorable social situation such as class status, ethnic background, regional and rural or urban residence, and religious affilitation, but forming in their combination a functional unity which has an integrated impact on the participating individual.”

Decora Fashion & Accessories

Decora is a Japanese street fashion which is identifiable through display of bright, fluffy & innocent clothing along with excessive toys & accessories that are worn to create a characteristic of playfulness & childhood. Decora translates to “decorative” in Japanese, which ultimately means to dress up decoratively in order to show the kawaii (cuteness) aspect of self-expression in fashion. Outside Japan the fashion trend is presented primarily a costume (for cosplay).

Decora Fashion & Accessories

Decora Fashion & Accessories

An innocent, child-like appearance is achieved by wearing an assortment of babydoll dresses, Mary Jane shoes, bows, barrettes, ribbons & colourful stockings, all of which are heavily layered. The toys exhibited by individuals are often plastic or stuffed character products which are very colourful, blink, make noises & are closely related to young children. Hair is usually worn in pigtails or extremely curled, along with being dyed pink, blonde or auburn.

Decora Fashion & Accessories

In 1997 the first issue of a Japanese street fashion magazine known as FRUiTS was published.  Cover model, Aki Kobayashi, wrote articles about her style & her own hand crafted accessories. As a result of FRUiTS magazine girls began making their own eccentric accessories & the style became known as Decora.  Decora girls (aka “Decora-chan”) would trade & sell their accessories in the Harajuku & Shibuya districts in Tokyo during the late 90’s, with the subculture peaking in the mid 2000’s. The trend has now divided itself into 4 sub-categories which are referred to as: ‘Original/Casual Decora’, ‘Pink Decora’, ‘Dark Decora/Koteosa’ & ‘Decololi/Decora-Lolita’.

Decora Fashion Accessories

Information Sources:
–  Decora chan: Japanese fashion subculture
–  20 Tokyo Subculture Fashions Explained

Decora Communities:
–  Decora World
–  Decora Fashion Facebook
–  Decora Outing Facebook

Skinniwini Kawaii (Decora & Sweet Lolita Fashion Store):
–  Skinniwini Kawaii Community
–  Skinniwini Kawaii Facebook

Hawaii Kawaii (Cute Accessories, Merchandise, Recipes & Designs):
Hawaii Kawaii Blog
Hawaii Kawaii Facebook