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Sharon Kihara, Tribal Fusion Belly Dance Star
Most belly dancers have heard of Rachel Brice. Rachel is a wonderful Tribal Fusion dancer from Bellydance Superstars. Her aloof, "look don't touch" vibe is characteristic of her particular brand of alternative tribal - but for me, it's a bit too ice maiden! It's an attitude that's expected in classical flamenco, and one I always had trouble emulating when I was performing - the joy of dance kept bubbling up and lifting the corners of my mouth!
That's probably why my attention was drawn to the sinuous dancer next to Rachel, one with warmth and a hint of cheekiness. I discovered her name was Sharon Kihara, a former member of Rachel's Indigo dance troupe.
I was thrilled to discover she had released her own Tribal Fusion belly dancing DVD (right). Like most Tribal class formats, it starts with a yoga warm-up then goes on to isolation drills. I like this DVD better than Rachel's drills DVD, because it's more active - you will work up a sweat as well as improving your muscle control.
One of the things I admire about tribal dancers is their awesome technique. No one can undulate like a tribal dancer! Sharon is no exception, as you can see from the excerpt above.
That's one reason why I feel it's worthwhile for any bellydancer to do some tribal classes, even if they never want to dance in that style - it's great for improving your technique and widening your perspective.
Yoga is practised by many tribal style belly dancers, and clearly, it works - you can see the strength, flexibility and control coming through in their dancing. Sharon is a devotee of Anusara Yoga.
Note: It's impossible to look at a photo or video of Sharon without noticing Those Tattoos. I'm not a huge fan of tattoos but even I have to admit these twin peacocks are simply gorgeous!
Sharon tours internationally with Bellydance Superstars all year round, which prevents her running her own school in her home base in Oakland LA. However she maintains a busy schedule of teaching all around the world: her 2009 schedule included workshops and seminars in England, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, South Africa, Brazil and Venezuela.
You'll find a current calendar on her website. If she's coming to your area, I recommend you book!