of Goth Fall
Upon Belly Dance
The Darker Side of Fusion
produced by WorldDance New York
When I first
heard about Gothic Belly dance I became curious: what is it? I
tried to find pictures, did a lot of reading about the gothic
culture, but could not picture how Gothic Belly dancing would
look. The costumes look great, but those are only pictures. Consequently,
I was happy that, finally, there was going to be a Gothic Belly
When I received
my DVD, I did what I always do: I browsed quickly through all
the performances to get an overall picture. Among the first things
I noticed, was the beautiful production of this DVD, and its special
effects give it a Gothic atmosphere.
thing I noticed was that sometimes it is hard to see what the
dancers are doing because it was sometimes just too dark to view.
that immediately caught my eye was the controversial music clip
from Jehan, but more about that later…
One must get
used to the menu because it is a bit confusing, but I appreciated
the amount of information one can learn about the music, dancers
and costumes. I had to take more looks at the DVD to get an idea
of what makes these dances particularly Gothic, because a lot
of them seem to me to be Tribal Fusion. Some of the dancers would
not be recognizable to me as Gothic if you took them out of this
video and put them on a stage.
from Washington DC
been heated discussions on several Belly dance forums about this
DVD. One of the things people said was that it was a pity is that
the music used in this DVD is not particularly Gothic. I cannot
comment on that claim because I have no idea how real Gothic music
would sound. However, perhaps this has to do with music licensing.
If Gothic music had been used, some people might not recognize
it as Belly dance music.
in the discussions was that people were a bit annoyed with the
fact that “Goth” is always associated with darkness.
This DVD was filmed mostly in that way (dark stage, less lighting);
some people express the opinion that this was not really exactly
what Gothic Belly dance is about, and that this was in interpretation
made by Neon, who is a dancer from outside the Gothic Belly dance
On the other
hand, the resulting DVD was a good production, and perhaps more
people will follow who will produce more Gothic Belly dance DVDs
because of it.
is very hard to gauge this as an outsider: To know about the gothic
culture (and thus, about Gothic Belly dance) one should to be
part of it.
liked Neon’s dances as well as Ariellah, Asharah,
and Martiya Possession.
The combination of body paint with Neon’s costumes
works well. This DVD presents many different facets of Gothic
Belly dance; some seem to have derived from tribal, some from
cabaret, --and I even noticed some Ballet influences!
I thought Blanca’s
performance is more like a music clip, and I would have liked to
see more dancing. Ayshe’s Kali/Isis performance
is not my taste; there is very little Belly dance in it, but her
other performance is much more interesting. It is not Belly dancing
either, as I understand it; rather, it seemed inspired by modern
Tempest, and Tanna’s dancing did not
appeal to me as much. In my opinion, their technique seemed poor.
I expected much more of Tempest’s dance, because she has an incredibly
beautiful website and her costumes are amazing.
costumes: this DVD is inspiring especially because of its gorgeous
heard complaints that the costumes do not look authentic Gothic,
and that some looked more like they had been inspired by vintage
Mata Hari or tribal fusion and cabaret costumes. (However, that
is not a bad thing!)
I have to comment on the ‘Goddessence’ video clip of Jehan; she
does very little Belly dancing in it. Mostly, it is just a video
clip of a lesbian S&M scene with a few Belly dance movements
here and there, so this clip has nothing about Belly dance to
add to the DVD. Personally, I think it should not have been on
the DVD, as Belly dance is already having problems with its image
and does not need connotations like this. I heard that some people
bought this DVD for their teenage daughters and could not give
it to them because of this. Another person was watching the video
with her 10-year-old son when this suddenly came up on the screen.
Belly dance is a family entertainment, and it should remain
I wanted to
let Neon share her idea about why the ‘Goddessence’ video clip
in the DVD should be included and these were her comments:
whose segment in the GBD DVD to which you refer, is another source
of music that I license regularly. When producing the DVD, I
solicited interpretations of Goth and "dark fusion"
dance, Jehan's contribution, "Goddessence,” had an unexpected
character. However, I did not feel it deserved judgment or censor.
The underlying message is very valid and powerful—seeing divine
will and love even in the violent acts of life. The theme of the
song is, basically, totally theological: God-wrestling plus unconditional
nature of love and acceptance; the imagery Jehan chose for the
music video, I thought, was edgy but quite ingenious for her message.
I certainly understand Jehan when she wants to share her spiritual
experiences in a non-preachy, non-sterile, thought-provoking way.
It is her right.”
this DVD is worth its cost! If you like experimental belly dance,
you should definitely buy it. The amount of dances you get to
see on this DVD is also well worth the price.
question goes unanswered: Exactly what makes a Gothic Belly
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