Authentic Haggalah in a great showcase!
Amanda Niehaus | Indiana | 11/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hossam Ramzy's new DVD Bedouin Tribal Dance gives you full choreographies for 5 different Bedouin "Haggallah" wedding dances, and shows you about 14 different steps and step combinations that make up the dances demonstrated on the dvd.
The DVD is 2-sided, PAL on one side, NTSC on the other, so if you're like me and you stick it in your player and get mad because it doesn't work, try flipping it over and playing the other side :)
There are choreography notes available as a separate download (no charge). The notes are VERY handy if you want to break down the individual dances and if you want to see how the steps shown on the dvd fit the sections of the music. The DVD comes with an insert that has a very brief description of the kind of dances on the dvd, a description of the songs, and a transcript of what Serena says when she's teaching.
FIRST -- this is NOT a dvd for beginners. Basically it's assumed that you know how to a 3/4 shimmy on the down, hip drops and lifts, one-hip hip circles, and you're able to turn around yourself in a circle and do very simple traveling steps like flat-ball.
ALSO -- It's not "Tribal" in the ATS way, or Tribal Fusion way. It's simply ethnic dances of the Bedouin. No turbans or flying skirts or Melodia pants.
The performances are in full costume, with a live band (Gypsies of the Nile) and feature Serena soloing, group dances, and Serena and Group. There are 2 basic costumes, but I don't know anything more about them. That's one thing I wish he had covered more of, cause I'm a culture geek.
Performances are lovely, professionally filmed on a stage dressed up to look like a wedding tent. Very clear filming, with occasional closeups. Very well lit. One performance features a men's "chorus" of dancers. I wish I knew more about this dance, and poured through the booklet hoping for some more info, but no. I think the dvd would have been more informative if he had included some cultural information. As it is, the dances are presented in the context of a wedding, but that's about it. As always, I WANT TO KNOW MORE!!!
BTW -- this is not Reda style Hagallah and there are no peplum dresses here. Although the dances are choreographed and involve a lot of group dynamics on stage, there's no sweeping ballet footwork, or a lot of grandiose traveling around. It's really sort of down-and-dirty earthy
dancing, with a delicate touch.
The instructional section is in 2 parts, Slow speed and full speed, and each little step and combo has its own chapter. I wish there was a way to "play all" but I couldn't figure out how to do it, if there was.
I'd start with the SLOW speed first, because that's where Serena explains the step and breaks it down. The slow speed instructional is slowed down to about half of the normal speed. This section is NOT taught to music.
The first step and its 2 variations are simply stylistic variations on
something most of us call the 3/4 shimmy on the down, or the Haggalah
shimmy. I'm not 100% clear with the difference is between the first
version presented and the B variation, other than one seems to have
the characteristic twist forward and the other doesn't. ??? That
seems consistent with what I've learned from other instructors, but I
might be missing some nuances.
A couple of the "steps" taught are really short combinations of steps.
Nothing too difficult, but they move quickly. Another step just about
killed me -- they're sort of a single hip circle with a snap, and you
do them lowering yourself the ground. It seems like they're performed
at lightning speed, and I can't get to ground with NEAR enough grace
as Serena. Start working those quads, ladies!
The instruction, like I said, assumes you know certain things already,
but I was surprised at how confused I got trying to figure out even
just the first step from her description. Once I realized it was what
I learned as a 3/4 shimmy down, it was easier to adapt their
descriptions. If you get the dvd and get hung up on the first step,
switch to variation B and see if that makes more sense. Then you
should be able to figure out the diff between 1 and 1b. I don't think
there were really any other steps that were that confusing, but it
always seemed to help to also watch the variation step and compare them.
The full speed / normal speed instruction is really more a
demonstration, since she doesn't talk through it, but the steps are
put to music and you can see why she chose certain steps to illustrate
certain sections of the music. Plus, on the slow speed section she
will say things like "we do this to introduce this instrument" or "We
do this to transition to the singer" -- and it makes no sense until
you see it put to music.
The choreography notes are GREAT! Provided as pdf files, they are very
easy to read, and organized very well. You can print these notes and follow along.
The notes are broken into columns:
How many bars
Part in music (chorus, verse, impovised solo, call and answer) etc.
Steps by Serena (as opposed to steps by the chorus dancers)
The notes however, are useless without the dvd because the "Steps by
Serena" section lists the notes as "Basic Step 4, hagallah step, basic
step 6 with double speed Hagallah" etc. (Quite a clever way of
making sure people actually BUY the dvd!)
The notes are very nice too because they show you what's going on in
the music: Rhythm Into, Magrouna solo, melody question, melody answer"
etc. Last night I sat and listened to the music for the performances
and followed along with the notes, and I think this would be a GREAT
tool in helping you understand this kind of music.
In short, I think this was a GREAT value!!! My only complaint
was that I would like to know more about the costuming and how the
dances fit in the culture, but there's a lot of cultural information
available on line."
Lovely folkloric dancing & costuming with Serena
Ramona | Atlanta, Georgia USA | 11/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nice DVD with several folkloric performances featuring Serena Ramzy, along with Bedouin dancers, musicians and Hossam Ramzy on percussion. Serena also included a section of succinct how-to's for 11 steps, including slow-motion demonstrations with voiceovers detailing the techniques. The how-to section also includes the same steps shown in real time. The DVD is well indexed so that you can easily select individual performances, or go to a specific step in the how-to section and see it in slow-mo or real time. It is helpful that the booklet which comes with the DVD also spells out the steps and gives further info about the background of the dances. If you like the music on this DVD it is available seperately on CD Bedouin Tribal Dance"