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Gilded Serpent presents...
Fabulous Fan Veilzz w/ Mahsati Janan
Review by Tracey Farmer

Straight and to the point…. I will be reviewing a number of instructional and performance DVD's in the near future and I would like everyone to get acquainted with my reviewing style:  First of all, I LOVE the Middle East; its people, its dance, its food, its music, you name it. From my very first class with Lynne Tepper (A'lana) from The Jewels of the Nile out of Simi Valley, CA, I have enjoyed learning all I can. I have found that over the years my awareness has only increased and can not imagine my life without its influence.  My reviews will be made purely out of honesty, integrity and constructive criticism, as I see it.   I cannot promise that I will like every product that I review, but just know that any criticism is not out of malicious intent.  

 I will do my best to word any criticism in a constructive manner.  When we, as reviewers, put our reviews in print, we run the risk of not all agreeing with our opinion, or the readers taking it personally.  I have no hidden agenda or any secret vendettas.  If something is not to my liking or my standards, I may make suggestions as to how I would change certain things to give a better look or context to the reviewed material: as well as explain my justification for those changes.  How a writer phrases their words can make all the difference in it’s perception.  However, if you charge $40 for a bunch of festival clips done with personal camcorders or cell phones that are unstable or blurry, well...I might be more blunt (I've actually seen this, unfortunately).  

My 1st Review….. Fabulous Fan Veilzz w/ Mahsati Janan
Right at the beginning you should be aware that this is not an instructional video on how to belly dance. No warm ups or cool downs, it’s advised that this is for dancers who already have prior experience with the dance form; as well as being aware of using proper posture, consult a doctor, etc. before using the moves described.

This video is for artists who want to use fan veils in their act.  I appreciate this….Let’s get right to it.  Some will disagree and say warm up before doing anything, but I’m not here to debate health and warm up techniques.   Pretend you’re in class, you’ve already warmed up, done a few basic combinations, then your instructor says, “Now we’re going to have Mahsati show us how to use fan veils since you saw them at the Carnival last year and expressed interest in doing a routine.” Fair? 

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.  I saw my first pair of veil fans, last year in The Carnival festival held in 2007.  Mahsati does an extremely good job in teaching us how to incorporate it into our dance and even mentions that this will join in the ranks of the more recent addition of new props for Middle Eastern dance such as the popularity of Isis wings.

Mahsati explains the basics of the fan veil, how to hold, open and close the fan.  This may seem trivial, but people drop props all the time and the way it is held is important.  She also explains this for people who are left handed.  We begin with Basic Moves, and then we move on to Flutters, Waves, Sweeps, Figure 8’s, etc.  All of that with using just one fan,  which by itself is very pretty.  Then we move onto double fans where Mahsati demonstrates all of these new and different moves which showcast how they can be done for an even greater effect. Within each chapter of the video regarding use of either single or double fan; Mahsati shows techniques on how to drape fan veils and use them for framing just like you would a regular rectangular veil in a cabaret performance.  Mahsati also demonstrates ways to tuck them while dancing before you get to the ‘fan’ part, etc.  You are encouraged to experiment on your own.

After this, there is a section on combos.  Mahsati gives you various fan veil combinations that you can use in your dance which would work well with a soloist, duo or troupe.

Mahsati keeps reminding us to experiment with the fans on our own to come up with more ideas, but she gives a good head start with all of the moves and combos she demonstrates.  There are a lot of turns with the fan veils, just like with a regular veil. Mahsati shows us a variety of turns to use, such as; 3-step, continuous, barrel turns, etc. completed while adding a flutter and flourish or two.  I don’t want to give it all away; I’ll let you get the DVD to see what I’m talking about.

At the end, we are treated to 5 different performances using the fan veils from tribal to cabaret.  The performers are Rising Sun Tribe, Show’leh, Ra’eesah Ra’naa and 2 performances by Mahsati Janan herself. She does tribal fusion w/ 1 fan and cabaret w/ 2, re-iterating how fan veils can be used to accent any dance style.  I enjoyed all of the performances, which showcase techniques you just learned. 

click for larger imageThis DVD was produced by Neo Films Productions ( web name is different from production name? ) It appears to have been filmed on a theatre stage rather than a big studio sound stage. I can tell it wasn’t produced on the same budget as an IAMED or Hollywood Music Center DVD, but that does not make it any less worthy of your time.  The use of fan veils is a new trend. I feel that Fan Veils used in a dance performance should be used to enhance a dance performance, not replace dance skills.  And this DVD has enough substance to fulfill the needs of anyone wanting to add this new skill to their repertoire.

Mahsati’s instructions on the DVD are very well done with clear audible editing as well as including great views of her with her excellent choice of attire and brightly colored fan veils. Most of the music used is by Falik (  He specializes in alternative rock with a Middle Eastern/Celtic flavor.  The DVD main menu is very user friendly and each sub menu and chapter has a title page with professional quality graphics.

I’ve never heard of Mahsati Janan until now. I decided to visit her website to learn more about her. From what I have seen on this DVD, she is a good dancer and from what I read, she loves and cares about this art form.  I feel it was a good move on her part to be the first veil fan dancer to come out with this DVD.  Personally, I’ve never been one to utilize dance props, but this DVD makes me want to give fan veils a try. And this is just Level 1!!  Mahsati seems to cover all the instruction and ideas of how to use Fan Veils with this DVD.   It will be very interesting to see what else she can inspire us with in using the Fan Veil.  I guess we’ll have to stay tuned for Level 2!

Available on producer's website-

Zill Rating: 3

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