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Gilded Serpent presents...Two Reviews of the Same Product
By Dancers, For Dancers

New Video Project Showcases SF Bay Area Talents
DVD Review by Dawn Devine

This cooperative video project spearheaded by Michelle Joyce presents six top San Francisco Bay Area professional dancers doing what they do best – dancing!

Filmed with a dancer’s eye, the video offers clear clean views of the body in motion. Though occasionally a hand or foot may be out of the frame, this video patently avoids the “bust shot” in favor of tasteful 3/4 and full body views of the dancer. There are also no floating birds-eye views or harsh racking foot-light angles to distort their physiques or distract form the moves. Just clean and clearly captured video of beautiful dancers.

All of these dancers are solid performers, dancing in the American Cabaret style wearing costumes that run the gamut from hand-made to high-end import. From Michelle and Sandra’s exquisite Bellas to Mira’s perfectly fit self-made ensemble, the video showcases dancers. Their costumes are as inspiring as their performances.

As working professionals, these dancers present the style of performance you would see in an intimate restaurant or at a house party. As the viewer, you feel like each dancer is performing just for you and with the bright lights, you can see the nuances of each dancer, the angle of a hand, the lift of an eyebrow. For the student of dance, these performances offer valuable lessons on how to present your dance professionally.

Each dancer contributed more than just their performance to their project . From the design of the cover of the DVD to the marketing and PR, each performer is taking an active role in the success of this communal venture. More information about this project, the dancers involved and other details are available on the video website.

By Dancers, For Dancers:
How Our World of Dance Should Be!

DVD Review by Eleyda

“By Dancers, for Dancers: A Collaborative Video Project” is a DVD focused on Belly dancers from the San Francisco Bay Area who perform a more traditional style of Middle Eastern Dance. This unique DVD, as the title implies, is from these fabulous performers: Mira Betz, Nanna Candelaria, Zaheea, Luna, Sandra, Michelle Joyce, and Zari. Each one of them donated a skill to create this DVD. Still photography was by talented and renowned photographer, Michael Baxter.

On the DVD, each dancer performed two dances, except Luna, who just had one. Luna’s piece was the longest and was composed of traditional dancing, as well dancing with props (little lanterns), and a dance on glass cups while balancing a sword. (It was as outstanding as it sounds.)

Their dances represented a school of cabaret styling. Although some of the dancers used props, the DVD did not seem overloaded with them, and I had an excellent opportunity to watch top-notch performers showing the essence of Belly dancing.

The style of their costumes was traditional cabaret and the dancers themselves made some of their own costumes. Nanna was the only dancer with no second wardrobe, which was a shame, but her blue costume is one of my favorites, so I did not mind seeing it again. I heard that some people did not like some of the simple costumes, but I did like them! In fact, I liked them more than the elaborate ones. All the costumes were exceptional and appropriate for each dancer, giving each her own charm, which can be difficult when the dance style is more traditional, and therefore, similar. However, these dance names are familiar to most of us and although they are similar, each one adds her own charm and personality.

This DVD is a living example of the saying, “simple does it"! The dancers performed on three ordinary stages. The camera angle was usually wide open, allowing one to appreciate the dance completely. I appreciated the editing, especially for Luna’s piece. Even if she had to change props, Luna’s song played without interruption and her dance was a long, smooth interpretation. (I loved the ending credits with bloopers included.)

I think they kept the presentation to the minimum precisely because they produced it, and consequently, they meant to “play it safe”. I might have enjoyed more risk with the camera or maybe a couple of the stages could have been a bit more elaborate.

Perhaps because the group had formed a family feeling, I noticed that sometimes the dancers interacted more with the people behind the camera, than they danced for the camera. I think that, in a sense, this DVD sets the standard of what it is to get a diverse group of dancers together to perform, each remaining solo. Even the title is appealing in that regard, showing we are a big community of dancers who are able to support each other in performance.

This product is available through each of the individual dancer's websites as well as here-

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Ready for more?
3-10-07 Belly Dance Workshops: Realistic Expectations by Eleyda Negrón
The difference between a Christmas gift and a workshop though, is that in the worse case scenario, you can always return your gift and change it for something else, but… What do you do with a workshop that didn’t suit you? It can become a waste of time and money for both ends.

9-22-06 Kohl: Drawing the Line by Dawn Devine
Along with henna, kohl has been part of the beauty regimens of women since the dawn of history, and an unbroken line connects the eyes of today with those of the ancients.

5-1-07 How We Got our Video Groove On by Zari
Ultimately however, it seemed that getting a video is like getting a gig: sometimes, you have to create your own opportunities.

5-6-07 How to Charge What You Are Worth by Michelle Joyce
The first step to becoming an effective negotiator is to emotionally detach yourself from the outcome. If you can’t walk away from the deal, you have already lost.

2-7-07 Sunday Photos PAGE 2-Carnival of Stars Photos by Michael Baxter
Event Sponsors Alexandria and Latifa November 11 & 12, 2006 Centennial Hall, Hayward, California

2-5-07 Tips on Getting Tips by Zaheea
Some audiences don’t know that they are expected to tip. Don’t take it personally.

1-13-05 The Grand International Bellydance Tour or How We Fled India at Midnight, Eluding Our Captors and Evading our Go-Go-Dance Responsibilities. or What Would Fifi Do? by Sandra and Michelle
It may not have been such a problem for us had the prostitutes not been posing as bellydancers!

7-27-05 Calling all professional dancers! How much do you charge? by Nanna Candelaria
Over the years, we dancers have unwittingly kept the general rate ridiculously low in restaurants and nightclubs.



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