Gilded Serpent presents...

“Objects of Desire”

Photos from "Venus Uprisings" April Fantasy Production

text by Tanna Valentine, photos by Brian Lin
posted August 26, 2011

The 7th fantasy bellydance concert produced by the New York City artistic salon Venus Uprising took place at the Merce Cunningham Studio on April 15th and 16th, 2011. Invited dancers were asked to create new works based upon the theme "Objects of Desire". The performers responded with an interesting array of interpretations, ranging from the literal to the highly abstract.

Sisters of Salome

The most narrative piece was was Sarah Skinner and the Sisters of Salome‘s "Little Mermaid", who desired the handsome prince so much she eventually sacrificed her earthly life for him. This was the largest ensemble in the show, including an evil sea-witch, a competitive princess, a helpful sea-witch and of course a handsome prince.


Sisters of Salome

Autumn Ward in "Eve"

Another familiar tale was Autumn Ward‘s innocent yet beguiling "Eve" having the flames of her desire for the apple fanned by the darkly seductive serpent (Amador S. Juarez).



Still more literal (at least visually) was Layla‘s campy, crowd-pleasing "Cruella de Vil", complete with baskets of stuffed puppies and a dalmation-accented costume.

Tanna Valentine

Tanna Valentine‘s "Duty or Desire" portrayed the infamous object of desire Helen of Troy, whose personal desires remain unknown.


Shazad Dancers

Other variations on the desirable female theme included Dena & the Shazadi Dancers‘ playful "Inside the Haram", Neon‘s intriguing "Odalisque" and Elisheva‘s booty-kicking "Dominatrix (D)".




Elisheva‘s booty-kicking "Dominatrix (D)"


In "Le Papillon de Nuit" Zobeida utilized double veils to embody a wistful butterfly desiring light.

Ayshe and Zobeida

Elena Lentini‘s ensemble (Alanah, Andrea Anwar, Bashirah, Kerri O’Neill, Yoshina) filled the stage with color and movement and huge silk wings in "The Genesis of the Butterfly". Utilizing black and white wings respectively, Ayshe and Zobeida gave a nod to contemporary film culture with their version of the good versus bad desires found in "The Black Swan".


Neon, Angelys, and Jenna Rey

A more abstract interpretation was offered by Neon with Angelys and Jenna Rey in their ultra-modern "In Love With a Time Bomb", enhanced by amazing couture costumes from Gamila Elmasri.


Fayzah‘s minimalist "Love Line" and Alchemy Dance Theater’s dreamy and poetic "Sadhana" evoked less tangible objects of desire – love, enlightenment and peace.

Alchemy Dance Theater

Alchemy Dance Theater


Big Spender

That universal object of desire (money!) was celebrated in the final number with a sassy and rousing version of "Big Spender".


Big Spender

As always, Venus Uprising was fortunate to have photographer Brian Lin on hand to capture many moments from the show.



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