You can think of Tribal Fusion belly dance as a cool and though form of belly dance. It originated in the 1990s and grew out of the American Tribal Style (ATS). In ATS, people dance in a group (a "tribe") and follow one leader who improvises. ATS uses influences from all over the world. From that, Tribal Fusion eventually emerged. It combines belly dance with modern dance styles, such as contemporary dance, hip hop, street dance and popping. The possibilities are endless. Typical of the Tribal Fusion style is the tight posture and isolations, combos and flowy snake arms.
The Tribal style was introduced in the US in the 1960s by Jamila Salimpour. She is also the first to establish a list of terminology which is still being used to this day. That Tribal style inspired the creation of ATS, better known now as Fat Chance Belly Dance Style. Carolena founded the group FatChanceBellyDance in 1987 and immediately caught the attention of audiences worldwide with stunning dance performances featuring majestic costumes and layers of ornate jewellery. The music, a carefully chosen collection of both traditional sounds and modern fusion, adds to the effect.
In short: first there was Tribal, then there was American Tribal and from that came Tribal Fusion. There are similarities, but also many differences compared to traditional Oriental belly dance. The movements are often similar, but involve different technique. The costumes in oriental belly dance are also brighter in colour and more bling or glitter is used. Tribal costumes are often in dark colours combined with a lot of ethnic jewellery and flowers. Depending on the specific style, and there are many, harem trousers, leggings or wide skirts are chosen. The Gypsy or Gitana style, for example, is characterised by lots of colour and lots of flowers, while Gothic or Dark Tribal Fusion calls for only black.