Weakest of the DVDs
Shantell Powell | Kitchener, ON, Canada | 11/24/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I received my copy of Bellydance Superstars - Solos Monte Carlo this week, and over all, I must say I'm disappointed with it. I think it's the weakest of the three DVDs. The Paris DVD had the benefit of being performed live, and I think that most dancers do their best work in front of an appreciative audience. The Monte Carlo DVD was recorded in a studio, and for the most part, the dancing seems to be done by the numbers. The dancers just look tired in many of the performances, which is likely the case. I'd be tired, too, if I lived out of a tour bus, eating food at truck stops, and doing the same dance routines night after night. The dancers liven up the most when they dance to Issam Houshan's drumming (probably because they have an appreciative audience).
The video suffers further from the camera work. Once again, I think they chose a camera-man with ADD. Please let the camera linger on a dancer for more than three seconds before switching views. And as for all those clever view changes done during musical transitions, well, guess what? Those are often the most interesting parts of the dance, and we're losing it! Gah!
I am disappointed with Rachel Brice's dancing in this one. Her shoulders are often very high and tense, obscuring the line of her neck in a way I find unappealing. She is lit terribly, too, looking wholly washed-out in both sets. I know what colour her tattoo is, and it's not grey. Her make-up makes her look tired, and her eyes sunken deep into her skull. It's a shame, because she's a gorgeous woman and an excellent dancer.
The stand-out performance on this DVD is Bozenka, who I've never had the opportunity to watch before. Her technique is flawless and she dances seemingly without effort. Her dancing floats from one move to another with mellifluous grace. If she ever makes it up around these parts, I'm going to have to check her out! Live dancing is always better than recorded dancing.
Adoré has the most baffling performance on the disc. She forgot to wear pants, and sashays around in showgirl fringed bra and panties, doing some sort of samba/belly dance/club dance fusion. I don't understand why she chose to go bottomless, but I still maintain that Egyptian-style shimmies look far better when you can't see the legs pumping away like pistons.
The worst make-up award goes to Saida, whose face is made up to look like a 70s porn star. Maybe this makeup looks good on a big stage, but for close studio work, it's garish, whorish, and unfortunate. That being said, I'm not won over by her dancing. Although I like her spins, and she uses a little kick which I enjoy, her backbends look forced and painful (especially during the shimmying backbend sequence. Ow, ow, ow!), and if she doesn't have back pain yet, she soon will. I find her raqs assaya performance is the stronger of the two pieces. And indeed, it is nice to see more traditional-styled Egyptian dancing in the Bellydance Superstars repertoire.
Petite Jamilla does a dance which I could barely stand to watch--not because she's a bad dancer, oh no. I quite like her dancing, actually. It's because of the zilling. The finger cymbals appear to have been overdubbed, and they don't quite sync up with what I see on my video screen. Also, they don't sound right with the music, which was driving me crazy! Zilling has to be perfect, or else it's up there in the musical hell room with badly played bagpipes and violins.
One of the extra features on the DVD is a series of vignettes featuring each of the performers. Most of these aren't terribly interesting, aside from the sections on Sharon Kihara and Rachel Brice. It is nice to get a behind-the-scenes look at these women, and to see what they go through to get ready for a show. It's also interesting to get an idea of how Issam Houshan goes about crafting drum solos for each of the dancers.
All in all, I don't recommend buying this DVD, but it is worth checking out."
I liked it!
C. Young | Edmonton, AB | 08/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I really did enjoy this DVD... I have to agree with the person who said it was a bit cold, but watching preformances on tv will never be the same as watching live prefromances. I got this DVD the day after I saw the Bellydance Superstars prefom live on stage and they were amazing, but I still wasn't disappointed watching them on the DVD.
I'd also like to reiterate that the DVD was filmed with 2 different camera angles... one with close ups, and one with full body frames. All of the people who are complaining that the constant changing of camera angles gives them a headache need to change the camera angle on their DVD player (mine is a button on the remote that looks like a movie camera) and try watching it with the full body camera angles. You won't be disappointed.
I think this DVD was very well done and worth every penny."
Good dancing - lousy camera work
Farah | Davy Jones' Locker | 07/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nice follow up dvd to The Belly Dance Superstars Live at the Folies Bergere although not quite as enjoyable. The performances seem a little lackluster without the benefit of a live audience.
All genres of bellydance from cabaret to tribal are shown on this dvd. The only routine that didn't belong is s "pseudo-samba" number performed by a barely clothed Adore. In fact, her outfit would have been more suited for a burlesque show. Next time she should wear some harem pants or a skirt. Besides, I agree with the Shan Monster, being able to see Adores knees frantically pumping back and forth as she shimmied was NOT pretty! UGH!!!
I also agree with other reviewers who couldn't stand the "MTV" film style of this dvd. Either the camera man - OR THE EDITOR - must have the attention span of a gnat and should be fired. The cuts every two to three seconds are blinding and distracting. I must say that I do appreciate the "dancer's cut" feature, it makes it easy to study and make notes on the moves in each dance and is much easier on the eyes."
Thank you for dancers angle
Anarchy | Norman, OK | 07/08/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The only way to watch this DVD is to change the angle setting to angle 2, the "dancer's" angle. Otherwise you get an over-cut mess of head closeups and funny angles that make it impossible to see what the dancer is doing. I wouldn't want this DVD if I was missing the remote to my DVD player. Rachel and Shannon are AWESOME!!!!"