Gilded Serpent presents...
Evening of Experimental
Middle Eastern Dance
Video Review by Dhyanis
As the title suggests,
this genre encourages performers to intermingle other dance forms with
belly dance, to develop a theme or make a statement. Some of the resulting
dances address controversial issues: e.g. sexuality, spirituality, stereotyping,
cultural appropriation, etc. Many of the 13 pieces, presented by a talented
group of women in Los Angeles on that evening in 2002, proved that this
concept can succeed as a valid and sometimes moving theatrical experience.
I will mention only a few here, for brevity's sake.
a stunning duet by Desert Sin, "Sacramental Skins".
described in a subtitle as "the absence of guilt and sin".
The pair of blue-painted Shiva-esque bodies with bejeweled nipples move
as one in a flawlessly danced portrayal of cosmic lovemaking, struggle
and resolution, incorporating erotic Kama Sutra poses and strong MED
technique. Also performed by another two members of Desert Sin, draped
in sheer black veils over apparently lovely beledy dresses, is a synchronized
candle dance which hints of guedra trance but which morphs into pure
sensuality when they turn to reveal bare backs and bottoms adorned only
with gold coin hip sash and tattoos. They continue with some tandem
floor work taken to its animalistic extreme, proclaiming as they walk
off, "I just want to be a woman!".
Humor is expertly
interjected by Anaheed who appears with a totally '50s
look (poodle skirt, hairstyle and earrings) and belly dances her way
through "Rock Around the Clock" and into "Wipe Out"
when she sheds the skirt for red strips of material (reminiscent
of Tahitian with loads of "amis") and generally a stellar drum
solo with perfectly timed single "glute" clenches. She reappears
later as a hawker in the satirical scenario "Hoochy Kootchy Dancers"
about the stereotyping of Little Egypt at the ChicagoWorld's
Fair. On the serious side is a piece by Tandemonium, "Is
It Safe To Dance?", dedicated to Mohammed Khordadian of
Iran who was recently convicted for corruption of public morals for teaching
dance. "Cry of the Heart", along a similar theme, is a slow
lament for women's freedom choreographed by Laurel
Victoria Gray for eight women dressed in chadors. In the
piece "Inverse", Amara and Cassandra dance
on stage nude and happy, but are dressed by other disapproving women
by various degrees until fully covered, finally dancing their pain at
their oppression by their own sex. In contrast, there are also the very
modern cyborg effects in "Hypothermia" (Sa'Elyassa wearing
blue lights, portraying the chilled and chilling experience after a break-up)
and "Even" (Ya Helewa! troupe members representing
the disruption of nature by mankind around
"The Goddess" - a television screen transmitting a dancer throughout
Since I too have
provided a forum for this type of creative hybrid dance/theater (11
years now) with my annual Summer Solstice "Living Goddess Show"
in Marin, I appreciate the form and this, Amara's second annual
production. The video quality is good, with well-edited multiple camera
work. Something I have learned though is that "less is more" and
dancers should learn to edit the music, since we can get our essential
point across usually in less time than a whole song, avoiding "filler"
(which happened here in a few instances). I also crave seeing
more than just a typical belly dance with a new name, and most of these
pieces fulfill that requisite, with plenty of intention and inspiration
behind well-executed performances.
This video is
available for purchase here: http://www.eemed.com/videos.html
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Bible Reviewed by Shelley Muzzy/Yasmela
And I suppose to some dancers, it is a way of life. There is
repeated emphasis placed on the concepts of bonding, healing, empowering,
and connecting throughout the book. From the sound of it, American women
are desperate to connect, to be part of a tribe, to belong.
and Rating of 2002’S MIDDLE EASTERN DRUM CD/TAPES by Sierra/Sadira
This is a review of eight of the most popular Middle Eastern
Drum recordings produced this year. Incuding works by Reda, Susu, H Ramsy,
Zaid, Mafufo, and more...
Artwork of Scott Arguette
essence, a good dancer owns the stage; she requires it and manipulates
it as a fighter dominates the field.
& the Bus or What happened to Baraka? by Baraka/Beth
By now, having lost my home, my studio, my library, my recordings,
and my database, you would think I would start to get the hint that it
might be time to move away from dance. Having been a dancer literally
all of my life, I simply couldn't give it up!
from the Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival, The Opening Night Gala by Tahseen
Alkoudsi and Shira
at the Mena House Oberoi Hotel on June 10-17, Cairo, Egypt. More