Interesting performances featuring a variety of dance styles
Beth Cholette | Upstate NY USA | 08/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is a release from Natural Journeys, makers of many dance-type fitness videos. Although Natural Journeys includes their standard exercise disclaimer at the start of the video, it is NOT a workout; rather, it is a performance video featuring a variety of dance styles. The performances are short (2.5 to 6 minutes), and many appear as bonus features on other Natural Journeys DVDs. This DVDs is well-chaptered, so I have provided detailed breakdowns according to the chapter listings below:
1. Yanna Yanna. Bellydance featuring Suhaila and company; 3.5 minutes. Here, Suhaila and her dancers perform using hand cymbals.
2. Bolera Salsa. Latin dance featuring Joby 'Brava' and Paco Evangelista, 3m. This is a couples dance and was included in Joby's Latin Heat video.
3. Move Like You Should. Street dance featuring MaDonna Grimes and 3 other women, 2 minutes.
4. Egyptian Style Drum Solo. Bellydance featuring Rania, 2 minutes. Rania is probably my favorite bellydancer; she moves so well and has such an alluring smile.
5. Alegria. Flamenco dance featuring Batiste Gremaud (dancer) and Sergey Tarana (guitarist), 6 minutes. I don't know much about this style, so it's difficult for me to comment.
6. Mata Hari. Bellydance featuring Jayna, 4 minutes. Sultry Jayna is perfect in the Mata Hari role, and she dances here using a scarf.
7. The Hot Springs Shuffle. Country line dance featuring Joann Bailey, 3 minutes. Although this is described on the DVD cover as a "line dance," Joanne is alone in her cowboy hat and jeans, and I found that it quickly became repetitive and boring to watch.
8. Salsa Merengue. Latin dance featuring Joby 'Brava' and four other women, 2.5 minutes. Here Joby and company dance as a group, but each dancer has a brief solo as well.
9. Saidi Cane Dance from Upper Egypt. Bellydance featuring Rania, 4 minutes. Here Rania dances solo using a cane as a prop.
10. Take Me Back. Street dance featuring MaDonna Grimes and 2 men, 4 women, 3 minutes. This segment was kind of funny--the men and the women kept splitting up and pretending that they were actually on the street playing dice, etc. It includes some brief solo performances.
11. El Baile De Luis Alonso. Flamenco dance featuring Batiste Gremaud (dancer) and Sergey Tarana (guitarist), 3 minutes. Similar to the first performance; I couldn't really get into this.
12. Sword Dance. Bellydance featuring Suhaila and company; 4 minutes. This was probably the most interesting performance to watch. Suhaila and company utilize swords as props, and many of the moves are performed on the floor in kneeling and other positions. The often balance the swords on their bodies (using the blade edge, NOT the flat edge); seeing the group balance their swords on their heads while performing many different gyrating movements is pretty amazing!
This DVD also features a photo gallery of all performers plus trailers from 11 other Natural Journeys releases (mostly dance videos, but also 2 yoga videos featuring Rainbeau Mars). If you've enjoyed watching the bonus performances on other Natural Journeys DVD or simply are a fan of various dance styles, you are likely to enjoy this video."
Worth watching for Jayna
Nadira Jamal of the Improvisation T | Massachusetts | 04/23/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Disclaimer: I was only interested in the bellydance content on this DVD. The other pieces were fine (and Madonna Grimes was very good), but not good enough to hold my attention for longer than a minute.
Jayna's piece was absolutely fantastic. She is one of the few dancers who can pull off the mysterious and sensual effect without crossing the line into "I want to look sultry". She was feminine, skilled, graceful, musical, and tasteful. I was very impressed. This piece opens with veilwork, then transitions into slow moves and then floorwork. She has only one piece on this disk, which is a shame.
Suhaila's two pieces both featured her troupe. They were very entertaining, and are a great example of what a troupe can accomplish when they take their ensemble seriously. The first piece features some excellent zill (finger cymbal) playing, and is highly jazz-inspired (lots of kick-ball-change in this one). The second piece uses sword balancing, and includes some nice floorwork.
Rania, as always, was stiff, and unskilled. Her choreography was pretty good, but her poor execution, lack of musicality, and awkward expression ruined it. Give the same choreography to another dancer, and it would look much, much better. Her workouts are very popular, so she must be a good instructor, but she is not a good performer."