Crystal’s choreography puts the dancer into continuous, strong and direct motion. Not a instant of music is unmarked, as if every pulse is worthy of attention. I suspect that’s exactly how she lives her life, as well…actively embracing every moment.
On the ground, Crystal works between flat feet and with the heels raised slightly off the floor. The flat-footed steps give an attitude of firmness, authority, and conviction. The heels-raised position provides technical flexibility and speed with an attitude of intentionality, a force driving into the future. Foot work is often rapid fire and complicated with folkloric elements and syncopated rhythms.
The fusion of hip hop and jazz elements allow her to utilize the entire kinesphere—the spherical range of motion available to a body. Legs and arms actively extend away from the centrality of the torso where the heart of the motion is generated. The hip hop or street-dance elements also create sudden and dramatic breaks from the usual range bellydance material: small leaps, hitch kicks, booty shakes.
I’m not sure where Crystal falls in current spate of defined bellydance styles, variations, or forms. Although she began as a student of ATS, it no longer informs her work, so I wouldn’t classify her as Tribal Fusion. The deep foundations of her dancing are grounded in Suhaila Salimpour’s techniques with Crystal’s stylistic elements layered on top. Still, tribal or not, she is indisputably a fusion bellydancer and she’s been invited to teach at Tribal Fest 12 next May.