Gilded Serpent presents...
Prince of Darkness!
of the Night performing Pandora's Legend
Review by Said
April 27, 2005
I am pleased
to write again about the exceptional troupe called "The Sultans
of the Night." Their new work has been produced under the
direction of the renowned director and actor Rufus Beck.
I sat there in the sold out Olympia-Hall in Munich,
full of expectation and painfully strained like a torn elbow.
I was with my friend, Gabriele Schartel,
for moral support. I was glad about my choice of companions because
she is also a dancer and I expected that we would be able to discuss
the performance. The last show of the "Sultans of the Dance"
in June of 2002 seemed a delight to the eyes, although it was
reported that the characters in it were not cast well. Dance
and dancers continuing to develop is a beautiful process, and
this troupe seems to have made a sensational jump in quality-unbelievable!
Nevertheless, the troupe was already obsessively
synchronized in its movements.
I take my hat off to the troupe when I see such precision in
dance and wish we had such quality as part of our usual Belly
announcements were restrained this time in the comparison to
the first tour: "Experiencing the charm of 1001 Nights
in a breath-taking dance show! Almost heavenly as beautiful
young dancers, princesses, and Sultans conquer the enormous
stage! With their masterly, acrobatically charming blend they
kindle at the same time euphoric enthusiasm among their fans!
Each dance develops a legend and each dance embodies passion,
ambition, vitality and peace!" What can I say? I agree!
The passage "dance embodies passion" should have been
underlined. All of these dancers have dedicated their lives
to the dance-as seen in each step, each posture, each hip kick.
some issues about this show should be critically considered-aside
from all of my enthusiasm. The casting
was balanced this time; both the good and the bad were equal.
However, many members of the cast were impossibly costumed,
or had their dances set to unfavorable positions in the production
or presented with what I thought was bloodcurdling dance technique.
that the dramatic content and the film script of their previous
tour piece were better. I was amazed and astonished to see
that, this time, a director who should have known better was
responsible. The same story presented in the first tour was
treated from a different perspective. I felt that the dances
were `wrongly´ positioned because of their content. Possibly,
my impression of unfavorable positioning in the program may
have come about because of the missing programs guide, in which
one might have read, making the director's train of thought
more comprehensible. Some of the audience members did not catch
the drift until the end the of the
At least the
director didn't show any reserve in his use of multimedia effects,
but unfortunately, only with moderate success. The different scenes
were announced via computer-animated video stream and/or beamer
on a projection screen, but it was really unclear. Yes, the missing
programs guide: I would like to still like to harp on the missing
program guide: As an Mid-Eastern and contemporary dancer, it is
incomprehensible to me how one could be able to miss such an opportunity
in which one could make statements to the audience concerning
the history and origin of the different dances.
that would have been the opportunity in Munich
to inform at least, six thousand German visitors about Turkish
folklore, Sufism and Sufi dances, 9/8 rhythm and also Belly dance-had
such a program guide been distributed! Consciously, I use the
term "Belly dance" here because it was announced as
such... Oh, how it still gives me shudders! Must belly dance/mid-eastern
dances be rendered into something so gross? Why do choreographers,
who obviously come from the ballet, seem to believe that if one
makes the movements of Belly dance as large and hard as possible,
the effect or the movements will also become larger?
my dear ladies and gentlemen choreographers, you have such talented
dancers in your troupe who could have looked substantially better-especially
in the Belly dance portion of your show. Do you believe honestly
that it is beautiful when dancers try to wiggle their hips with
stick-rigid legs so that only cramped trembles emerge rendering
their shimmies pitiful? I found it unbelievable!
the choreographers would have been better advised to look for
a a capable assistant for this part of the performance. The Belly
dances were rather unprofessional in technique, and apart from
the other relatively high-quality dances, they did not, in actuality,
carry any weight. I would have to admit, though, that I overheard
some ladies seated in the row behind us who were constantly euphoric
about the Belly dances! What does this say about the knowledge
of history, and quality of dance in general-especially when you
consider that these same people were critically abusive about
the Bellydance Superstars
and their dance technique? In a recent a show given by the group
"Nesimah" with the guests Raksan,
and Meissoun on the following weekend in Unterschleissheim
near Munich, Gabriele Schartel and I
saw much better quality in dance techniques. Nevertheless, the
choreographies by the same head choreographer were substantially
more suitable to the music this time than they were in the first
I cannot resist
adding another word about the Multimedia-show: Nowadays, this
is surely a good possibility for blinding the public. Videostream, beamer, live drums, and fireworks are certainly
effects rarely found in a "normal" mid-eastern dance
show-not only for reasons of cost! What sense do all these expensive
effects make, if by using them everything gets a touch of kitsch?
The computer-animated videostream with its recurring book of the "Legend of
the Pandora" reminded of the "Never ending Story"
and contained something from a fairy tale film, but I don't think
that this was the intention-"experiencing the charm of 1001 nights"? I can only
conclude that it is a matter of taste!
I still haven't mentioned the matter of "taste"
in costume choices that were made!
was to create Pandora on behalf of Zeus in order to entice Prometheus
and finally punish him-to make a very long story short) was wearing
a costume that fatally reminded us of a mixture of Batman and
Darth Vader. Shameful! I had the impression that he did not
feel comfortable in this masquerade, either. The finale had hardly
begun when he got rid of his cape and helmet, and he was such
a class dancer, the poor fellow! In the comparison to the first
tour, the costumes of the Belly dancers were in good taste. Some
dancers were costumed in one-piece black dresses-transparent,
but at least one-piece, and the dear ladies were actually dressed!
progress it is to see Belly dance as something more than a flesh
show! Even the drum-solo for the second Belly dance was performed
in relatively decent costumes. Radical complements
to the German studio, Marabout, which sketched the
costumes and did a good job!
Unfortunately, nothing has changed from the
first tour: Once again, the Belly dance has been set at "The
Palace of The Evil." Once again, it was the Belly dance, which
brought wrong and spoilage! I still ask myself whether that
ladies behind me were at all clear with statements that were
made such as: The seduced one (Prometheus) only needs to sit
down to watch, in the manner of a pasha, in order to lose his
mind thereafter? Is that a matter of taste, or may I, just
as a Mid-eastern dancer, investigate whether it is the consequence
of the influence of the prevailing misunderstanding of Belly
dance by the gentlemen and ladies choreographers and directors?
I wonder if, in these times in which men and women are written
of in terms of equality, and in which the emancipation of the
women's rights is no longer an issue, and in which men decide
to do housework, are such statements still workable at all?
Might I inquire with complete irritation: How women can be so
excited into storms of applause after such sexist statements?
Surely I cannot have been the only one to observe that phenomenon!
For the rehabilitation of both the choreographers and the director,
I must certainly mention the fact that Belly dance, from my
point of view, is seductive, naturally sensual, sexy, feminine,
and charming. Seen in this way, it does not fit better anywhere
else; however, we Mid-eastern dancers
should not consider ourselves lucky with this statement!
Finally, I would like to mention the dancers with
whom I was impressed and their roles:
must be mentioned! The almost boneless Mehtap Fidan
danced this role with an ease that was nearly uncanny. Her
"twin colleague," Hlushuak, could
barely hold a candle to this portrayal, and it was impossible
to separate the two main actresses and interpreters of Pandora
through to the finale.
- Musa Goekhan Ayatar embodied the Prometheus and up-lifted all who
were present with his quality in dance and his expressions of
- The Prince
of Darkness was embodied, as in the first tour, by Hasan
Yalnızoğlu-in the most realistic sense of
the word. His impressively tall appearance, quality of dance,
and nearly lunatic interpretation of his role made it an unforgettable
of the dancers would have to be mentioned in particular, because
all were "full blooded artists." I had a pleasant evening that
produced many emotions and impressions, and the show was surely
worth its entrance fee. With the knowledge about the chilling
dance technique in the Belly dance sections, and a little good
will, one could enjoy the evening and over look its flaws. I
would award this show eight out of ten
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