Gilded Serpent presents...
Dance Super Stars Video
and Directed by Jonathan Brandeis
Executive Producer: Miles
review by Amina
DVD - displays well in HDTV format
Dancers (one page bio of each dancer)
Dance Super Stars and The Desert Roses
(reasonably priced tops, coin belts and Egyptian hip scarves)
Available (videos offered of Belly
Dance Jam with Belly Queen and instruction Belly Dance with
levels 1, 2 and 3 and Capezio
brings you to the beginning of the individual dancer's piece,
introducing you to a beautiful face, body, hair and costume. It
soon becomes evident that this video introduces only skilled and
graceful dancers in wonderful jewel encrusted costumes. What a
delight it is to see a Belly dance video that resembles a fashion
runway show in face, figure, and dress.
perform in a smoke filled room lavishly decorated in rich, lush
carpets and Orientalia. The setting is right, the lights are optimum;
the mood is perfume and romance.
as there is no audience, most of the dancers have a difficult
time conveying the emotions of the dance to the video viewer.
Only Jillina and Dondi seem to overcome
perform short pieces and it is apparent that the songs could have
been "lifted" from the top ten hits on the LBC and ART
Arabic "MTV" shows. The songs mostly are pop and fast
paced, but instead of the quick cutting of the western dressed
Arab singing stars going through the motions of looking, acting
and playing at being western while dancing jazz or other very
western dances, we are treated to western Belly dance stars dressed
in glamorous, traditional Oriental dance costumes and dancing
mostly in a fast paced manner that fits the truly globalized
type of Arabic music they have chosen as their dance pieces.
By the chapter:
1. Amar Gamal:
"Tin Tin" by Oojama
Amar opens the show dancing with
gossamer white pleated Isis veil/wings in a spectacular white
costume that sets off her beautiful complexion. The violin is
hypnotic, the dancer is "womanly" and the dance is well
executed and almost hypnotic, but the dancer's face does not quite
meet the trancelike quality of the dancing and the music.
technique is there, but the "breath" is not quite
Ansuya is the epitome of the all-American
Belly dancer. Although she is probably what America
considers Belly dance, she seems to look like a little girl playing
dress up. The sensuousness of the mature dancer is missing. She
dances like a disco dancer. She does some pretty good dancing
and dances perfectly for the hypnotic rave style song she chose.
some ways she reminds me of a Tribal dancer on speed as she
does too much and changes her movements too often.
technique, skill and agility are quite remarkable, she seems to
lack that inner connection with the music.
Rachel Brice: "Saraab" by Simon Shaheen
The magical mysterious moods of veils and incense gently wafting
conjure up images on Rachel dancing in an old-time belly dance
club in 1960's America. All the senses are aroused. The oud, flute
and violin envelope and caress this very beautiful, mesmerizing
is slow. Rachel is seductive. Rachel is inside the music.
But Rachel needs to draw the viewer inside her soul. It doesn't
quite happen. But almost...
Jillina: with drummers Issam
Houshan and Johnny Elian
The 2 percussionists helped Jillina make her dance ALIVE!
is a true entertainer. She looks good. Her costume is interesting,
flattering to her figure and enhances her movements.
technique is excellent: she has nice muscle control and clean
movements. She is playful with the drummers and has fun while
they mutually inspire each other. What can I say - she truly is
a wonderful dancer.
Sonia: "Ah ya Leil" by Shereen
Sonia must be a rising star. Her dancing is nice, but not
memorable - yet. I can picture her as a Super Star chorus dancer,
but not a soloist. The dance she chose was too pop for her dance
style. She would have looked better with a traditional old style
belly dance song.
"Nebtedi Mnain el Hikaya" composed by
Suhaila has many costumes and choreographies,
and I do not understand why she chose what she did. The costume
was not her most flattering, and the music was really not suited
for her dance style. She did not seem to follow the sentiment
of the music and she changed moves too often, considering the
repetitive "Bolero" type song chosen.
arms were too busy and made her look like she was swimming.
And she looked like she was trying too hard to look "sexy".
"Msafer Wahdek" composed by M.A. Wehab
Tamalyn chose a song that was both
Oriental and Flamenco in feeling. Her dance was a nice blend,
but her dancing remained too Oriental and soft-spoken to fully
carry out the arrogance of the Flamenco sections.
"Ice Queen" by Dinletir
Rania starts her dance on the floor
and the camera suggests feelings of almost erotic passion. She
then rises and her dance transforms into a whirling spinning dance.
seemed like "When in doubt - turn". Her dance was
graceful, but she didn't seem to be able to fully interpret
It seems to
me that she is a very beautiful new dancer. She looks the exotic,
but she hasn't yet learned to build a dance. She seems like a
very nice person and probably a very good chorus dancer.
Saidi" by Gamal Gommaa
Ansuya performed to quite different
music - drumming, but her dance and dance dynamics did not seem
to change much from her other dance piece. She wears a belly dance
costume, but there is no sensuality in her dance. It is all technique
and borders on the "busy".
"Talakik" by Hakim
Amar seems to be more comfortable
translating her movements and choreography with this style song.
She is a beautiful dancer and her personality is more in tune
with the song, however the dance steps are a little mechanical.
Jillina: "El Salam"
Jillina does not have the drummers
to inspire her with this dance, but her personality still shines.
It is so clear that she enjoys what she is doing.
is very well connected with the music and her movements are
very clear and well executed.
Rachel Brice: with Drummers Tobias Roberson and Faisal Zedan
Why does Rachel have to start with her back to the audience?
It is not necessary. The drumming is ok, but it overpowers her
dancing. She should stick to what she does best - her trance dancing.
"Warda" by Warda
Tamalyn warms immediately to dancing
with straightforward, traditional Oriental music. She has very
nice personality changes with the music and rhythm changes, especially
the Zar section. She performs a beautiful
with violinist Fathi al Jarrah
Suhaila wears a very beautiful silver
assuite dance costume as she performs a nice taqsim type dance of the 1960's-70's American night clubs.
with Fathi on a rotating turntable was very distracting and her
dance emotion looked a bit insincere or contrived.
Rania: "Habibi ya
Alb" by Ihab Tewfik
Rania, with long dark hair flowing and ravishing in her golden
jewel encrusted dress, does a spirited choreography to the driving
disco beat of her song. It is a dance straight out of LBC (Lebanese
Broadcasting Company available on satelite TV). But, although
dance is there, the feeling is not. It must be very difficult
to dance without an audience in a studio (no matter how beautiful
the environment seems.) This is a skill that needs to be learned.
Sonia: "Elli Tmanetoh" by
Nawal al Zoghbi
While "she walks in beauty, like the night"
resplendent with her beautiful hair, her sweet face, her glowing
complexion and more, her dance seems too soft for the song she
is like listening to a fast paced Top Ten from the Middle East while watching a gentle image float
by. I wish she had chosen a more evocative song to fit her
Dondi: "Ritm solo" by Asena
Dondi is refreshing and talented. Her sense of humor was a
nice end to this video.
This is a
pleasant DVD to view due to the consistency of the visual presentation.
However, the camera director is overly busy and further distracts
from the atmospheric effect. Does a Belly dance video really need
a moving overhead camera to succeed? I think not. The dance is
and remains exactly as it is.
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Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
2-4-05 Comments On American
Bellydancer Film Review by Gregory Burke
documentary film or video is made up of "real" images
constructed in such a way to reflect the point of view of its
maker. So a documentary film is a fiction, especially when financed
by its key subject.
DVD Review of Bellyqueen’s
Bellydance Jam by
is still excellent, even in the darkened club setting,...
An American Belly
Dancer: The Significance of Jillina, Review by Arabia, Photos
by Carl Sermon
workshop sponsored by Amina Goodyear, at Dance Mission, San Francisco,
California, January 25, 2004
seems quite evident that it wasn't Jillina's motivation to become
the Superstar title which now precedes her -- that she is, in
fact, just doing what she loves, being who she truly is, working
hard at it -- and the rest sort of fell into her hands.
comic by Lynette
dare they pollute our pond!"
"I'd Rather Stay
Home with my Kids" by Amina Goodyear (chapter
asked her how to take it off, and she told me to figure it out
when I was on stage. Then I heard - "Our "guest"
dancer, Amina, all the way from upstairs!"