Into the Past:
On DVD at Last!
by Terry Del Giorno
first of its kind film, “Gameel Gamal,” has been re-released
as “Classic Stars of Belly Dance” in a DVD format.
had originally set out to only purchase the re-release of “Gameel
Gamal” on DVD, but after talking with Amina I
enthusiastically ordered the “Nadia in America” as well as
“The Aswan Dancers 20th Anniversary” to round out
was excited to hear that “Gameel Gamal” had been re-released
as “Classic Stars of Belly Dance” on DVD format. Featured
in the DVD is one of my first teachers, Deann
Adams, and I was anticipating the revisiting of
that footage after the passage of 25 years and her unfortunate
death in 2000.
course I loved seeing Deann in all of her youthful and healthful
glory and was open-mouthed at Amina’s floor work dance. I was
at the first viewing of this many moons ago as I hadn’t any
idea of the potential of my own sensuality in this dance (never
mind anyone else’s) but this time she received my standing
current dancers may find that the sentiment of the 70’s feels
alien and therefore unable to relate to it.
I believe many dancers will be thrilled to see faces attached
to the names of some of our dance legends like Bert
Balladine in Gameel Gamal.
Amina was offering the 1995 show on DVD of “Nadia in America”
that I had enjoyed live--so that it now offered me fond memories.
I was tickled at Nadia Hamdi’s old school
playfulness, charm and sweet disposition, whose sweet smile
to me of Sohair Zaki’s, and the professional
quality production that the Aswan Dancers presented;
it is Hizz-Ya-Wizz that continues to hold my attention.
should be noted that the presentation covers not only 20 years
ago; the last footage shot in 1995 at The
Pasha, which at that time practically was a San Francisco
institution. Additionally I must admit that I had been lucky
to have “grown up” in the San Francisco Bay Area Belly dance
scene and had the privilege of attending a lot of these performances,
was spellbound in a cross of emotions ranging from a brief
melancholy (how quickly time has passed, and whatever happened to___?)
to a fascinated awe at Amina’s accomplishments.
of the 1976 Isis
show at San Francisco State University was of special
interest to me. I recall hearing about this show many times
in the early eighties. Even by today’s somewhat jaded standards
this show was quite a production! It became legendary, for
future dancers to emulate and try to reproduce the magic that
was brewed in that theatre! And despite seeing the Sahara City
presentation many times, I still never tire of it. Gregangelo has
become nearly synonymous with Dervish dancing to me! It is
a delight to see the past in the dance collections against
a backdrop of more current times.
some of the footage in the DVD is of somewhat inferior quality,
in no way does it detract from my enjoyment of the contents.
For me the inferior quality here and there enhances the effect,
it reminds me that I am watching dance history, just as it
was recorded by technology of that period.
has to be rewarding for Amina and the Aswans to have had a
small piece of their collective history archived. I think
it may have more significance and importance for the snapshot
it offers of a portion of the S.F. Bay Area Dance scene and
it’s contributions to the legacy that has become Belly Dance
must be applauded for her efforts in preserving her dances
for posterity. All three of these videos are must-owns for
dance aficionados, and are invaluable tools for current and
future dancers for study, reflection, and enjoyment.
three videos are available here
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BellyPalooza: the Daughters of Rhea Belly Dance Festival by
Elaine, Most photos by Allen J Becker
4, 2007, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland. The weekend
of dance workshops and performances took place once again in Baltimore
on the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus, one of the most elegant venues
imaginable for such an event.
the Language of Belly Dance by Shems
dancer’s path should be the same, moving from technique
to refinement to pure inspiration.
the Veil by Yasmina Ramzy
I excused myself first and then asked her “why on earth would
someone obviously not of Middle Eastern heritage actually choose to wear the
veil?”She smiled knowingly and gave me an answer that still keeps me thinking
Passage of Time by
Her performance brought tears to my eyes; not only was
she technically outstanding, but she had a whole persona, stage
presence and her aura…no younger dancer could be compared
to her. Many times I went to see the show to watch her again