Gilded Serpent

"Festival of the Nile XXI" from Beledi Productions
Featuring Shoshanna of California
and the music of The Dick Barsamian Ensemble (2001)

Video Review by Sadira

Shoshanna is an incredible dancer who is an "up and coming" favorite of both dancers and audiences. Her style is unique, charismatic, fluid and mesmerizing. She combines a graceful blend of many styles that highlight a Flamenco/Spanish influence. Her veil work is fluid and trance-like. She is a captivating dancer and merits a place among the other well-known American dance instructors.

Watching her perform is a delight to the senses for me. She seems a dancer's who captivates the attention of other dancers and keeps them spellbound.

Unfortunately, this video is not the right showcase for properly showing Shoshanna's talents. In fact, the title is misleading, and could cause the potential buyer to believe that most of the dancing and the focus of the video is upon Shoshanna and her performance. This is not the case. This video is very poorly produced, videotaped and edited. I can not recommend this video because it is amateurish in quality and substance. It appears to have been made for preserving an evening's show. Because of the endless lineup of student level dancers that appear on this tape, it appears to be a video made by one of the dancer's friends in the audience. The videographer's lights are entirely too bright, and they wash out any definition in costuming or dancers' faces. The location of the videographer was too far away to get a good close-up of expressions or stage presence. The dancers showcased on the video (90% of the video) are, by no means, professional quality dancers.

This production is more like a souvenir video of an event, with familiar dancers from an area who are enjoying themselves at dancing at a festival's evening show. Shoshanna's performance is the last dance on the video, and by the time you endure the first fourteen dancers before her, you are likely to have pressed the stop button. The music on the video is good and it is great to hear an Armenian band playing live music for dancers, but the musicians, too, have their off moments. There are some jarring interludes during the musical portions.

In my opinion, this is not a video of a professional caliber, nor does it represent the best of Shoshanna's work, and therefore, I cannot recommend this video as a must-have for your video collection.

It is a sad disappointment to me and a poor commentary to the world of belly dance to see this attempt to sell such a poorly made video as a viable product. We all have our private video libraries of the events in which we have have performed! These are strictly for private memories and viewing. To market such a video for profit is a travisty, in my opinion.

If you want to see a truly great video of Shoshanna, I recommend contacting her directly to see if she has her own professionally developed line of videos. While sometimes videos like a festival video are all that is available of a dancer in a certain time of her development, and have an historic value, there are better videos of Shoshanna!

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