Teach, Reach and Dance
“Hilary Live: Belly Dancing Around the World with Hilary Thacker”,
“Angelika Presents: Oasis at the Races” and
“Belly Dance with Jrisi”
carry with us our own opinions and thoughts about this art
form, its practice and its future direction in which it is
growing. If you are like me, you chat with your dance buddies
about the latest and the greatest…or not so greatest, as
the case may be. However, few are offered a public forum
from which to express those opinions.
I want to say a big thank you to Lynette for inviting me
to serve as a reviewer for Gilded Serpent online magazine.
I am looking forward to talking with you, my new and wider
circle of dance buddies about all the great videos, costumes,
styles and music coming to us in the days ahead.
love and happy reading!
was hard for me to choose what little treasure I should start
with first. The first video I encountered was “Belly
Dance with Jrisi”. This is the first in a (promised)
series of DVDs that features Australian teacher Jrisi
Jusako performing and instructing oriental dance.
The entire video is shot on location at the gorgeous “The Pharaoh’s”
restaurant in Sydney, Australia. This was a beautiful backdrop
for her performances and instruction, all of which were done
to the accompaniment of live music.
production was very professional and of high quality. The DVD
itself, is full to the brim with goodies including instruction
in slow motion; class notes; a behind the scenes Q & A
with Jrisi as well as optional instruction in Japanese! Jrisi
offers roughly, nineteen short, yet detailed lessons beginning
with a warm-up and covering just about every aspect of the
foundations of oriental dance movement from head to toe. The
instruction was clear, well thought out and delivered with
a sharp attention to detail. She took you through posture and
alignment, into basic hip movements, isolations and arm postures
that were then blended into a Beginners Combination. Jrisi
further added onto her original combination creating an Intermediate
also offered performances of Oriental, Baladi, Khaleegy, Saidi
and a Drum Solo. Jrisi is certainly a lovely dancer, and it
is clear to see, even without first reading her bio, that she
has been well educated in the Egyptian style with the “old
school” masters. El Anwar, the four piece
live band that accompanied Jrisi’s performance played beautifully.
How refreshing it was to see both instruction as well as performances
done to live music! Jrisi performed what I would describe as
the Cairo stage versions of folkloric dances such as Baladi,
Saidi, Khaleegy and of course, the Raqs Sharqi. That is to
say, that these dances have been repackaged for the Cairo stage
and as such, they differ, sometimes vastly, from the original
folklore. On this point, it is a matter of personal taste,
I suppose. But then again, I am kind of a stickler when it
comes to folklore.
critique of the video would be with the performances. There
were many incidents where the music seemed sluggish and to
lag behind the dancer and the two did not always mesh well.
I felt that Jrisi was holding her energy back and each step
was measured for technical perfection. This uneven exchange
between music and dancer, I feel, took away from a performance
that had the potential to be much more dynamic.
All in all,
it was an excellent video. I would highly recommend it to beginning
students. Kind of like having a good dictionary on your shelves,
it would be a great reference for your video libraries. One,
that you could turn and return to as needed. Kudos, Jrisi!
Dance with Jrisi” is available for $49.95 through www.hathordancestudio.com.au .
Run time, 148 minutes.
Live: Belly Dancing Around the World with Hilary Thacker” was
up next on our evening’s viewing. “Hilary Live” follows
Edinburgh, Scotland instructor and performer Hilary
Thacker on her travels through the Middle East,
including stops in Marrakesh, Istanbul, Bodrum and Cairo.
Ms. Thacker performs with live musicians, performing in
hotels, parties, clubs, restaurants and even tabletops.
I was unclear as to the message and motivation of this
video. What was Ms. Thacker trying to show us? From the
video’s cover, I was expecting a product that focused on
her performances. However, once inside, I felt the video,
came off less like a professional performance video and
more like a vacation album full of pictures of all the
wonderful and exotic places Ms. Thacker had visited. Still,
I liked very much the idea of having the dances performed
on location. This premise allows the viewers to get a feel
for the local color of the region. The video offered numerous
scenes of the landscape and historic sights of the countries
they were visiting. Still, scenes seemed to move randomly
and did not offer quality footage of her performances.
It would have greatly helped the storyline to have some
narration or possibly titles for the various scenes. I
hope that Ms. Thacker will have the opportunity to revisit
the concept and give us a better chance to view her as
Live: Belly Dancing Around the World with Hilary Thacker” is
available for $17.99 through Amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. Run
time, 60 minutes.
we come to “Oasis at the Races” presented
by Angelika Nemeth. “Oasis at the Races” is the concert that
was created by Nemeth for the 2006 Cairo Carnivale. The video
is set at the outdoor stage at the historic Santa Anita racetrack
in Southern California.
begins with the entire company in full regalia entering the
arena to a stately Zeffa procession. I can only imagine that,
having seen this live, the combination of the powerful music
and impressive sight of numerous dancers in colorful thobes,
winding in a long parade must have been truly exciting for
the Races” offers performances of Oriental, Khaleegy, Flamenco
and Persian dances. The entire production was beautifully
done. The videography was very well done despite having to
compete with the outdoors and faulty lighting. In a strange
way, the combination managed to give a grainy quality to the
film giving some pieces, like “The Moroccan Tray Dance”, performed
by Lee Ali, the feeling of having been captured
in the field, at a unique moment in history. This particular
performance had its own unique character and could have been
ripped directly from old field tapes. Some other performances
really caught my attention. “The Moorish Duet” featuring Jose
Rios and Janelle Bel Isle is what
I would call a “MEOW” performance.
new word to add to your vocabulary.... “MEOW” is an entirely
sensual expression that captures a particular energy. It is
that which fully expresses the lushness of a particular sensation,
capturing its dimension; power and fluidity all at once. For
me, the first bite of a piece of dark chocolate is “MEOW”.
Jose and Janelle were very “MEOW”. Their energy and engagement
of each other was excellent. A truly beautiful choreography.
did suffer due to a lighting mishap. However, Angelika offered,
as a bonus, footage, an earlier stage version of “Fire On Ice”.
I must say that this earlier version of the choreography did
the piece greater justice. Angelika is a dancer with great
depth and subtly. These were displayed much better on the larger
stage with benefit of lighting to enhance mood and videography
that was able to capture Angelika’s detailed movements and
facial expressions. An inspired performance.
Rating: 3 1/2
at the Races” is available for $25.00 through www.angelikanemeth.com .
Run time 80 minutes.
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Check the "Letters to the Editor" for
other possible viewpoints!
Report on the First International Bellydance Conference of Canada
Part 2 - Sunday Club Party Photos by Denise Marino and Lynette
orchestra, Randa, Amir, a packed house and very festive mood.
How could it be any better? Amani
included in photos!
ATS Charm in Taipei: Devi Mamak by Lisa Chen
both of us are not based in San Francisco, we share many common
factors in terms of learning ATS and developing our own visions
for it back in our own home venues.
With Fire with Leslie Rosen Reviewed by Rebecca
gets an "A" on fire safety. Her safety section is a great
overview, covers just about everything, and has clear visual demonstrations
of fuel handling, dipping, and shaking out the excess fuel.
reviewed by Two- Pop, Lock and Shimmy! Belly Dance
with Michelle, by Yasmin and John
Clow with Introduction by Shira
the current titling issues of Pop, Lock and Shimmy and IAMED’s
upcoming Kaya and Sadie release however, I decided to pull out
my notes and give the original drill DVD its due.
Big Picture Book Review: Martha Burns' "Belly
Dance, Celebrating the Sacred Feminine" Reviewed
page is a work of art, a truly astonishing array of images. The
content is very inclusive and features all age ranges, body types
and styles. You will see yourself, your best self, in these pages.
Bellydance: Level One DVD Review by Eugenia
by Temple of Jehan. This is followed by a “body prayer”performed
by a number of women in similar garb. While this segment is graceful
and calming, I found it at the same time somewhat creepy, perhaps
due to the haunting background music and repeating vocals.