Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Rania Bossonis, Suhaila Salimpour, Jillina
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Educational
Shot in high definition for super visual effect of the highest quality, this DVD showcases the exceptional "Raks Sharki" dance form known as bellydance by some of America's greatest bellydancers. Each Superstar performs t... more »
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Belly dance on crack?
E. L. White | New England, USA | 06/04/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First, let me say that most of the dancing is good. Jillina and Amar Gamal do a wonderful job, and the overall dancing is pretty decent. The costumes for the most part are lovely, although I didn't care for Jillina's pink snake (I liked her other one, it was very pretty and sassy!) and Suhaila's costumes were rather strange looking in my opinion. The set was pretty, although crowded and a bit too smokey. The price was VERY reasonable for a belly dance video. Even a regular movie is more expensive. Some of the camera angles were nice, such as the slightly overhead shot during veil work.However... The camera work over all is extremely annoying. The camera person used constant close-ups and sometimes the dancer danced out of the shot. At a few points, the camera jerked violently when the camera man made an obvious mistake and lost the dancer. The camera work seemed very amateur. The close-ups made the dancing seems vulgar, despite the fact that all these dancers are very classy. The props such as candle holders were sometimes used in the foreground, which covered the dancer up. Several times you had to watch the dancer through shier fabric. Either the camera man was on crack, or they thought the dancing wasn't interesting enough to go without annoying camera tricks. Rachel's skill was not shown to its full potential. Her drum solo was so cut-up by CONSTANT camera changes that it's very hard to follow. It seemed to be the worse chopped up of all the segments. I could tell it was amazing, but I couldn't follow it. Ansuya and Rania's performances didn't show their full potential either. They just weren't on the ball. I think they may have been limited to music from Mile's company, instead of music they were most comfortable with. Ansuya's breasts had constant close-ups. Sonia seemed to repeat the same movements over and over. The camera man was obsessed with her face and tummy. Her dance segments were obviously edited to put moves in places where they were not, so her dance is not fluid. She may be a nice dancer, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't have the ability to be using veil, then make it disappear for a hip shot, then retrieve it again in a split second. This was also done with other dances. Suhaila looked like she was having an epileptic attack. I don't even watch her dance segments anymore. I haven't even watched the violin one all the way through. During one of Ansuya's segments, it was obvious they taped someone using zils over her playing, so you don't get to hear HER play while dancing.Overall, the DVD isn't expensive and the dancing is pretty good. The camera man may be on crack, but the video is OK if you can get past it.Also, my version has both of Tamalyn Dallal's dance segments. Someone said one was missing on their DVD. Perhaps this has been fixed."
Not as bad as I had thought
L. Weaver | Troy, Oh | 11/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I didn't buy this DVD right away due to the negative feedback, but I wasn't going to pass it up on that alone. When I watched I kept thinking, 'Okay whens it going to get as bad as people say it is? Sure theres the occasional irratating camera angle, but nothing out of the ordinary for bellydance performance videos. Us dancers are hard to capture on film! Overall the most annoying things to me were when they had some object in the foreground (move stupid lamp!!) My guess is they wanted it to seem like we were 'spying' on the dancer (roll-eyes) and that gigantic overhead light that when they shot low looking up at the dancer it looked like they were being beamed up into a UFO. The smoke wasn't too big a deal to me. What I did like about this video is the variety. There are several different dance styles, different costumes designs, for the most part different music, and I like that they had a variety of entrances and exits. I think its a pretty good deal for the money. I took 1 star off cause there are some imperfections and nothing for bellydance is 5 stars except for IAMED.
Now, the dancers. Disclaimer that this is strictly my own opionion. Amar-I really liked her, it was my first time seeing her dance and I liked both of her performances. Ansuya-I have several videos featuring her and I almost think this represented her better, save for the times when she had too many crash closeups. Rachel-I've never seen her dance(though I will soon at a workshop, another reason I bought the DVD) and just from what I've seen in still pictures I can tell they cut her short. The camera angles bugged me the most on hers as I really wanted to watch her. I liked her more 'taximy' drum solo. Jillina- I thought both her dances were good. I liked the interaction with the drummers during her drum solo, she really showed how your dancing 'with' the drummers that you don't overshadow them with your dancing. Sonya- first time seeing her dance and I didn't take much from it. She is pretty and dances well, she just didn't stand out too much to me. Maybe blame it on too many face close ups. Suhalia- I really didn't care for either of her performances, her costumes were weird(I thought her hair looked a bit ungroomed too) and it seemed like she was jazzed on caffiene and was just shaking all over. And the rotating camera with the violin was irratating cause there were several times when we would be looking at the back of the violinist and he's totally blocking what she's doing. I also give the violinist credit for not blushing while she was dancing. Tamalyn- I love Tam, her dances are great, but really she's so much more awesome in person! She has awesome arms, fantastic zills, and extremely unique veilwork. Rania- I'm not too big a fan of Rania but I liked her performances on this video better than others I had seen.
Overall I think its worth the price and the content to add it to your collection."
E. L. White | 03/14/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Although this dvd has a line-up of the best names in the world of bellydance, it was clear to me after viewing it that
1. The main camera man is obsessed with close-ups
2. The video editor has a serial vendetta against dancers with tan skin and long dark hair.Point #1 is obvious.
Let me explain point #2: It you watch the editing on most of the dancers, like Amar, Tamylin, Rachel, it was fairly normal, but one would argue that there were a lot of close-ups. When it came to Sonya, Rania, and Ansuya, the editor went way overboard inserting close-up after close-up, making it impossible to follow the dancing at all. I even wondered if those three girls had a different editor altogether, the difference was so huge. There were far too many close-ups of Ansuya's chest, Sonya's face, and Rania's stomach. I think Rania had it the worst, since she spins alot, no matter what move she happened to be doing, the editor kept superimposing or cutting to shots of her spinning, so it was really impossible to see her dancing. I hardly ever got to see Sonya or Rania's hip movements or combinations, it always flashed to a close-up.The three stars I did give went to the performances where the Serial Killer Editor did not have cut-happy impulses. I was able to watch Amar and Tamylin dance, and had a good grasp of their choreography, which was very nice.So, I would say that this is an okay video ..."
Victor Tommy | Beirut, Lebanon | 12/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"well, since bellydance is a middle eastern dance, there has been a lot of bashing from the arab side against american bellydancers, but i think they're just being ridiculous. so i as an arab, will give my review on this dvd.
i liked the overall setting, it was nice with all the persian carpets and arab decor but at some point, it seemed too much like a museum, but it was better than bellydance divas dvd setting. it looked like a talk show. hehe. i thought the lighting was very well done. it gave me the feeling of intimacy and romance, it was perfect, and the smoke didn't affect me too much, it seemed pretty moderate. sound and angles... thats another story i will get to after i review the dancers...
AMAR GAMAL: the girl looks like a supermodel and the way she dances really shows you how dedicated she is to her craft. she was great in every way! it was the first time for me to watch a bellydance on techno (oojami song). and i liked it quite a lot, it was really innovative. and when she performed to talakik, i was happy to see that she looked like she was having a good time and she showed a lot of comfort with herself while dancing. good job amar!
ANSUYA: a next beauty! but aside from her looks, she is also a terrific dancer as well! i think she is by far the most agile and swift dancers out of this dvd! her performances are energetic and very uplifitng. they were excellent, and her costumes are interesting as well.
RACHEL BRICE: like most arabs, i wasnt a big fan of the "tribal" movement. but rachel brice shut me up really good! though i thought her costume was freaky, i was soooooo incredibly mesmerized by her fluency of the music. and the control she has over her abdominals is absolutely astonishing! i thought both of her performances were superb, and the simon shaheen song she danced to could have brought anyone to tears.
JILLINA: who doesnt love jillina? just because she is on this dvd, you know you have to get it! her drum solo was sooo entertaining to watch, i can watch it over and over. and her interactions with issam and elian are very professional of her i must add. her dancing is very well done. but... what is up with her costumes?? a pink snake and animal print? wtf? does dina design her costumes? hehe. but anyhow, jillina was great nonetheless.
SONIA: superstar? what? who the hell let her in? i am soooo sorry to say. but she looks like she only learned to bellydance a month prior to the filming of this dvd. she has the basic idea of the dance, but i felt no energy from her. her performance lead me to believe her experience was very young and now beginning. they should have had veena and neena instead of her. i mean... Nawal Al Zoughbi? Nawal al Zoughbi?! who bellydances to her music? i grew up listening to nawal, and i love her music, but nobody i know ever got the urge to bellydance to her songs! especially a song like elli tmanetoh, which is supposed to be an upbeat pop song.
SUHAILA SALIMPOUR: i love suhaila a lot. ive seen her perform before and i am always captivated by her style. but this dvd honestly didn't show suhaila at her best. the abdel halim song she danced to was an okay performance, i felt her energy pretty well and it wasn't so bad. the violin taqaseem could have been better if it wasn't for the bad sound production and camera work. grrrr. but like i said.... i'll get to that later. but to get suhaila in her best action, go to her website and buy some of her solo dvds. you will think again after watching them.
TAMALYN DALLAL: i enjoy her a lot. though she wasn't anything special on my list, she was not in bad eye. she was quite good. she shows that with age and experience you become better at your craft. good dancer!
RANIA: rania, i love her but there is this flaw about her that i cant quite put my finger on. as a greek girl i can tell she understands the whole mediterannean/middle eastern vibe. but though she has everything needed: good body, good music etc. she kind of lacks a type of grace. i think she should learn the kind of grace im talking about from ansuya and rachel brice. like, rania has all the moves and she knows what shes doing, but she seems to technical and it doesnt look to me like she always feels the music right. but she is still worth looking at.
SOUND & ANGLES: this pissed me off. this is why i took off one star. firstly, i have no need to hear the beads on the dancers costumes hitting each other and making jingly sounds, it makes everything sound drowned out. why couldn't they dub the music? it would make the viewing experience sound so much better. it sounded too much like a stupid stereo was playing in the back (which it probably was) and i could understand not dubbing the performances with the zills like ansuya and tamalyn, but jeesh. and i think suhaila's violin taqaseem was screwed up because of the sound. fathi's violin was honestly not loud enough for me to enjoy the performance, they could have at least given him a microphone for his violin. and the camera angles were screwed up as many reviewers will agree. patrick stewart did the cameras, and i know his name is big in cinematography. but he obviously doesnt have a clue on taping bellydance. i know that cinematography is an art. but i have noo honest need to see close ups of rachel brice's face every four seconds, i have no need to see fathi and his violin while only one quarter of suhaila is shown, i have no need to get an ant's eye view of ansuya dancing, i have no need to feel like a child hiding behind some room object trying to see jillina doing a drum solo. when filming a bellydancer, the camera should capture her body for the most part because thats where the magic takes place. grrrrrrr.
anyhow, all in all, this dvd is worth it! i do recommend it to anyone who enjoys bellydance performances!