What's in a name (or picture)?
To me, tribal fusion belly dance has always been as much about honouring where your dance comes from as it is about being true to your own story, your own heritage, and the particular creative gift you wish to share.
As such, I’ve always anticipated that one of the greatest stresses I would have to deal with in my dance life would be coming up with any sort of labeling for myself or my troupe: How do you find a name or image that you truly identify with? How do you decide what elements or traits really represent you? How do you do all this while navigating today’s debates and arguments over cultural appreciation vs. appropriation? And lastly, for me, how do I respect and represent both the dance’s and my own story? This is why I can’t express enough thanks to the wonderful Jennica for working through all these types of questions and concerns with me when I asked her to help design a logo for Mascarié.
Mascarié: a word that took me months to find, but that means “bewitching” or “enchantment” in Provencal, a word that captured the place of my most cherished childhood memories of summer, part of my roots, and my love for the arcane, while leaving a mysterious something in the air to be discovered… but how does that get translated into a logo?
Jennica and I searched far and wide, but settled on the symbols and meanings from Alchemy, the obdurate tradition practiced from the time of Hellenistic Egypt to the Renaissance, and performed from India, across the Middle East, and all the way to Western Europe. Alchemy’s aims were many, from transforming metals into gold, seeking perfection of the human body and spirit, and of course attaining immortality. What better way to capture Mascarié than through an esoteric and timeliness art, one that sought physical and mental enlightenment, and was practiced across the lands from which tribal fusion belly dance was derived?
Jennica designed the logo you find here from two alchemical symbols we found particularly suited to the glamoury behind the word Mascarié:
1) Antimony: antimony is a metalloid that physically resembles metal but does not chemically react like one. In elemental alchemy, it represents the bridge between the wild animal spirit and the tameness of the human intellect. Touching on the meaning of “tribal” in tribal fusion belly dance, antimony is derived from the Greek “anti-monos”, which means "not alone". As a protective stone, it represents wisdom, adaptability, and transformation - all fundamental traits to our dance.
2) Peacock tail: aside from the natural grace and nobility of the peacock, to the alchemist, the peacock’s tail held double meaning. On the one hand, the tail’s iridescent colours represented white light, aka. the attainment of purification and perfection. On the other, the peacock represents the falseness and the failure or alchemical process. The logic here was that “things aren’t always what they seem”, that you sometime think you’ve reached a new height but that you are only being tricked by flashes of colour and sparkle… like being under a spell.
Finally, the 5 dots at the top pay homage to the markings usually worn on the face in ATS to represent your tribe, and sometimes, your lineage. Here, they represent the five dancers of Mascarié.
We hope you find this logo as fitting as we do as we prepare to launch it as our official logo! And if you’re history nerds like us, feel free to ask or comment with any thoughts!
P.S. If you ever need anything designed, Jennica always does stellar work and is helpful through every step of your creative process. You can find her here.