Reviews of Three Theatrical Shows and Technique DVDs
“Fantasy Bellydance-Desire”, “Outi Wa Bas”, “Bellyqueen: Ultimate Fusion”
by Elianae Stone
posted January 17, 2014
This segment of three DVDs was fascinating to research. I am comparing Fantasy Bellydance-Desire, Outi Wa Bas, and Bellyqueen, Bellydance NYC-the Ultimate Fusion Experience. Although each DVD was very different from the other, all had an aspect of theatrics or stage performance to them. It is safe to say that there is a style of Bellydance for everyone.
Fantasy Bellydance-Desire from World Dance New York is Part two in a 3 part choreography series for Intermediate/Advanced dancers. This DVD features the talents of 3 dancers, Blanca, Naraya, and Darshan. Blanca teaches a Cabaret-Fusion Choreography, and Naraya and Darshan teach tribal fusion pieces. All are talented dancers, with beautiful costuming, masterful choreography, and great lighting and sound. The DVD is very well-produced, with a main menu featuring each dancer and performances and credits. If you click on each dancer, however, you are directed to a separate menu where the dancer describes the “character” you will be playing, thoughts or tips for your practice, or rituals to prepare yourself spiritually for the dancing. Each dancer then launches into a full performance of the dance, then a thorough breakdown. In short, there are about 35 buttons that you can click on for different features of the DVD.
I think this DVD is definitely geared towards more advanced dancers, as it claims, but it also is very fusion and tribal-orientated, which could encourage or discourage some dancers.
Also, in each dancer’s section, much of the intricate choreography is learned without repetition and without music, although there is a music practice segment at the end. There is a separate music menu in the credits section, as well, so that one learning the choreography could purchase the music.
I think that this is a very creative offering, and that fans of World Dance New York will appreciate the talent of the Instructors. However, this DVD encompasses so many styles of bellydance and western dance, it would take a strong, patient dancer to get the most out of this DVD. A great study-buddy for the advanced dancer wanting some fusion choreographies.
Rating: 3 Zills
Outi Wa Bas
This DVD was a live full Egyptian bellydance show by Outi in Cairo. Outi is a popular Egyptian-style bellydancer, and this DVD was very well-produced. This show, by comparison, was a live full Egyptian cabaret show, and the theatrics presented were traditional to Egyptian culture and dance.
The show had excellent sound and video quality and featured a live 9-piece band and several singers, as well as Outi and two male dancers. There were 8 songs performed and I liked how each was introduced on the screen by name, and even the style was designated, such as Shaabi, Saidi, or Khalegy.
Outi has always included musical and historical knowledge to her dance DVDs, which I think is a boon for anyone who appreciate the art of Oriental dance.
Outi achieved an astounding 8 costume changes during the show, one for each song, and had very professional costuming for the modern Egyptian style, which typically is a lycra skirt/bra combo. She performed two songs with male dancers, and it was interesting to see them work together and to see their differing styles of movement, and the play-acting and costuming.
Outi is very experienced and talented at Modern Egyptian style bellydance, and I would like to see more offerings by her defining the modern Egyptian style to Western audiences. Her loose style, combined with gestures that coorespond to the song and singing along with the band demonstate her knowledge of Egyptian music and culture. I think for any affectionado of Egyptian-style bellydance, they would enjoy Outi’s friendly, organic style.
Rating: 3 Zills
Bellyqueen: Bellydance NYC The Ultimate Fusion Experience
I watched the performance DVD, Bellyqueen, Bellydance NYC the Ultimate Fusion Experience, and it is all that it claims to be. The show, which was wonderfully produced, featured a lot of fun, funky New York flair, and more fusion than I can imagine packed into almost every number.
The video and sound quality were fantastic, and the DVD had a great title and chapter menu. As far as the dancing goes, Bellyqueen has a very strong, synched-together troupe.
The dancers were very physically fit and well-versed in not only bellydance, but modern dance, hip-hop dance, theatrical dance, African dance, and many other modalities. Each piece was very different from the last, and the dancers were given chances to express themselves as individuals as well as part of a group.
There were several more traditional pieces, such as Rakset Al Asaya, and Betwannes Beek, intersperced with very fusion-styled pieces, such as Afro Funk and the Drum Battle. Many theatrical techniques were used, such as dance fighting, mime, usage of dancers in the background as props,etc. One huge highlight of the show was having the live band Djinn come out and perform, as well.
The finale Drum Battle was a bit much for me personally, as the dancers were doing a “dance-off” in Hip Hop gear, bellydancing, breakdancing, fight-dancing, using Modern dance, Grande Battement kicks, handstands, splits, acrobatics, etc. It was truly fusion! But, throughout, the energy was great, the dancers worked very well together, and I think this would be a really fun and uplifting live show. In the end after bows, the dancers even run into the audience and start dancing! There was definitely a global party atmosphere.
Rating: 3.5 zills
It is obvious that much has changed in belly dance over the decades, and now fusion is everywhere. Anything and almost everything can be incorporated and integrated into belly dance, and productions and tutorial choreographies like the ones in "Desire" and "Bellyqueen" make that point apparent. But there is also still a demand for the more traditional styles of belly dance done well, also, and productions like "Outi Wa Bas" offer these as well to the belly dance aficionado. Whatever your taste may be at any given time, there will be a show or choreography to suit your taste.
Outi Wa Bas
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