by Tracey Farmer
posted January 15, 2010
Here are 2 reviews for more advanced techniques using an extension and addition to the standard 3-yard veil in Belly dance.
Fan Veilz Level II: DVD by Mahsati Janan
I reviewed Mahsati’s 1st Fan Veil DVD and noted that I would be quite interested in seeing what she had in store for Level II; I was not disappointed!
In my review of that 1st DVD, I remember being impressed with how much ground material she covered with the fan veil DVD. I was surprised when it was titled "Level I" because I didn’t know how much more she could cover.
She includes a lot more ground information by using combinations, aptly named tables and turns, and the introduction to a lengthier fan veil that is 3 meters long instead of the standard 1.5 meters.
There is no warm up in this DVD as there was on the first, but Mahsati advises that you should be warmed up, keep proper posture, and that this DVD is for people who already have some knowledge of dancing. She gives advise on costuming concerns, and being mindful of your dance space. You won’t want your fan veil to land in someone’s food–and how the silken veils can easily get caught up on costume beads and coins! Mahsati even goes into how to tuck your veils into your costume without being awkward.
In the 1st DVD, you are advised on how to hold the fan veil, how to make it flutter, etc. This DVD begins with the assumption that the viewer has already seen this DVD or has a basic knowledge of fan veils. Mahsati immediately addresses combinations with one, then two, 1.5 meter veils. The 1.5. meters are the shorter, standard fan veils and the majority of her combinations center around these. With the combinations, Mahsati describes and demonstrates verbally, repeats the combination along with the music, and demonstrates from behind, giving you a different view.
Next, she moves on to 3 meter veils that are roughly 10 feet in length. These combinations are more familiar in their interpretation. Mahsati reminds us that this is a lot of fabric and, again, to watch your costuming and dance space. She reminds us that the steps have to be more open and that you must make your moves bigger in order to accomodate so much yardage. You can drape the 3 meter fan veil as if it were a regular veil, and Mahsati shows us different tucks into the costume. The 3 meter combinations are not as extensive, but she does present a few double 3 meter fan veil combinations and reminds the viewer that there is no limit to them.
Masati next presents a 5 part choreogrpahy called "Lila". She encourages us to use all of the combinations and the choreography in our dances but always advises us to come up with our own moves–all while being mindful of costuming and performance space.
The DVD ends with performances by Masahti and 2 guest artists, Miki Bow and by Lisa Zahiya. All of the music is provided by Desert Mosaic, Miss Rose Lee, and Desert Rain. The tune used for the choreography "Lila" is by Desert Rain. As in the 1st DVD, the performances are an array of Cabaret, Tribal, Tribal Fusion and Egyptian to show you how fan veils can accentuate all types of Bellydancing.
This DVD is produced by Neo Films who did the 1st Fan Veil DVD. It is performed on a stage with a black background, which makes the colors of the fan veils "pop" on screen. It will be intersting to see if Masati comes out with Fan Veilz III.
Rating- 3 zils
Fabulous Four Yard Veils with Shoshanna
This is another quality instruactional DVD from Cheeky Girls Productions.
Shoshanna does an excellent job explaining veil work. She begins with an introduction, explaining what will transpire in the DVD; then she tells of her own dance experience and "coming in to your own" as a dancer–as she has done. Shoshanna is known for dancing with veils so who better to do a veil instructional? Exceptional veil work is her trademark.
With the four yard veil, you work with more material and it does require work on technique. This DVD is useful for all levels, for a beginner to learn, and even more advanced dancers to re-learn from the beginning. The technique and moves become more advanced as Shoshanna goes through her clear instruction.
After her introductions, Shoshanna demonstrates a sampling of veils that are most popular such as silk, rayon chiffon, polyester chiffon, and circular veil. She ends the sampling with a beautifully luminescent 5 yard veil. She explains how each fabric can give off a different flow or ‘fluff’ depending on the material and its shape.
The instructional matter starts off with a warm-up (which is a good idea with all of the flipping and tossing in the upcoming chapters). Shoshanna starts with the basics on how to hold your veil, as well as positioning your arms and fingers. I would have liked her to include information on holding the veil with finger cymbals in your hand since in old-school American Cabaret, I was taught that you never put you zills down. (Perhaps that’s just me being nit-picky.)
The 1st section is basic flipping and tossing and the "around the world" moves. This is great for beginners! From here, Shoshanna progressed into more intermediate and advanced moves that incuded turns, reveal and conceal, tossing and catching the veil, and much more. Shoshanna advised that there can be a good amount of turning with veil work so it is imperative to know how to do turns, to start off slowly and practice so that you won’t get dizzy or bounce up and down. There are a lot of combinations on this DVD with which you may work that might take a couple of viewings. You may want to stop the DVD at points and just practice (and perfect) 2 or 3 combinations at a time. Just a couple of these combinations would give you an acceptable veil choreography for a short taxim or a great entrance–if you are an Egyptian style dancer. The advance moves include more spinning with your veil–and though quite a sight to see–please heed her advice and practice before trying to perform a dazzling Pinwheel. You wouldn’t want to get dizzy after 2 turns.
Shoshanna (and the students accompanying her) use 4 yard veils, but she reminds us that all of these combinations can be accomplished with a standard 3 yard veil. Shoshanna reminds us that four yards of fabric is a bit more material, so you must "step out" or extend your arms more to get that height and fluff and not get tangled and to not be afraid, it does take practice. Shoshanna is 5′ 2" and admits her instructor told her that she only needs 2 1/2 yards for her small frame, and as you can see, she’s not intimidated by the length!
All of these moves are accomplished while facing the viewer with the 2 students in the background. When we get to the combination choreography, it is done in front of a mirror with her back facing the audience, giving you the feeling of being part of the class. The choregraphy is then performed in a group but would work also with a solo dancer.
At the end, we are treated to a satisfying Shoshanna performance with a 4 yard veil, which is featured on the By Dancers by Dancers Vol. IV DVD. All of the music provided is by Qadim featuring Eliyahu Sills.
Shoshanna covers a lot of basic information concerning veil work on this DVD. She even has a "troubleshooting" section in which she talks about getting caught in your costume or hair piece and how to get out of it (which is helpful for me because veil has never been my forte and getting "caught" in my veil is one of my nightmares).
Shoshanna also reminds us that when using a 4 yard veil, you should try to have plenty of space around and above you because you don’t want to get caught in the chandelier above or toss your silk veil in someone’s food. This DVD is recommended for anyone interested in veil, 4 yards, shorter or longer, intermediate students or anyone interested in new ideas for dancing with a veil. I believe the brief appearance of that incredible 5 yard veil is a hint concerning Shoshanna’s next level of veil instruction via DVD.
Rating- 4 zils
- Instructional Skill: Both ladies are qualified and give clear instruction and explanations.
- Quality of Production: Mahsati–medium quality, similar to the same used in her 1st Fan Veil DVD.
Shoshanna–exceptional, professional quality.
- Level of Instruction: All levels on both DVDs
- Ratings: Mahsati–3 zills,
- Shoshanna’s Four Yard Veil DVD
Cheeky Girls Productions , Shoshanna’s site
- Mahsati’s Fan Veils II DVD
Ready for more?
- 12-18-08 Fabulous Fan Veilzz w/ Mahsati Janan
Like I said before, this video is for those who are familiar with belly dance already. The fan veil is a new concept and performance skill , as well as a new prop in Middle Eastern dance.
- 5-9-09 3 Instructional DVDs for Beginners:Wide Range in Quality: A Course in Belly Dance by Galit Mersand, Aziza’s Ultimate Practice Companion, 1-2-3- Belly Dance with Bahaia
I am going to review 3 videos that are mainly for beginners or practice. They are from 3 vastly different dancers who each have unique styles.
- 5-3-09 Sensual not Sexual:Exploring Sensuality in Bellydance, DVD Reviews of “Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca”, and “Sensual Passion with Tamalyn Dallal”
“Sensual Passion” (the DVD) is not about sensuality! Again, like Blanca’s “Sensual Belly Dance”, this DVD is not another “charm your man and get him to fall in love with you” instructional DVD.
- 3-7-09 Thrillin’ Zillin"; DVD Review of "Belly Dance with Zills "
This is helpful for dancers who have a problem playing zills while dancing, or who are OK with just a drum playing the rhythm but get confused when playing to a song. Elsa uses some familiar songs in this DVD which will give you the feeling of "Oh, I’ve danced to this before; maybe next time I’ll add my zills".
- 8-2-09 Gigbag Check with Mahsati
- 11-30-05 Paradise Found at Habibi Hawaii 2005
Azure skies and sun-kissed palms provided the perfect backdrop for Habibi Hawaii, Honolulu’s Premier Bellydance Festival and Celebration. Shoshanna featured
- 3-31-09 Mina’s 1001 Arabian Nights,
1001 Arabian Nights started with asking several of the community troupe directors and teachers I’ve known over the year if they would like to create a show with me. They all seemed very excited about the prospect of doing something "different" in the dance community.
- 5-23-02 "Festival of the Nile XXI" from Beledi Productions Featuring Shoshanna,
To market such a video for profit is a travisty, in my opinion. Shoshanna featured
- Carnival of Stars 2008 by Carl Sermon November 9, 2008, Event Sponsors- Pepper Alexandria and Latifa. 1-28-09 Sunday, Page 3: M-R Mahsati featured
- 1-13-10 Galit Mersand Teaches the Shisha Dance
This is a unique dvd for the performer who wants to widen her horizons.
- 1-8-10 Jillina Advances Dance Theatre, A Review of Jillina’s Bellydance Evolution
Bellydance Evolution is a full-length theatrical event directed by dancer and choreographer Jillina, ushering belly dance into the world of dance theater. The production is a melding of narrative with a wide variety of traditional and cutting-edge Middle Eastern dance and music. I saw the dress rehearsal of Bellydance Evolution when it debuted in Glendale, California in August, 2009.
- 12-13-09 Two Finger Cymbal Products reviewed: Belly Dancing Book & Kit Zill Speak, CD and Booklet by Artemis
The finger cymbals: The cheapest money can buy, likely made by orphaned children in a third world country, yet an exceptional value for $9 at Borders books.
- 12-4-09 Drum Solos: 3 Masterful Approaches, 1-2-3 Drum Solo with Bahaia, Arabic Rhythms Combinations with Tamra-henna, Dynamic Drum Solo: Technique & Choreography with Sadie Overall, if I were an advanced beginner through advanced intermediate student with only enough money for one of these videos, I’d purchase Arabic Rhythms and Combination with Tamra-henna.