What The Show Was Like
Awalim Dance Company is a U.S. tribal style belly dance troupe
based in Georgia. Their flavor of "tribal" comes from
a branch of the Bal Anat tree that is different from the group
improvisation one of American Tribal Style (FatChanceBellyDance).
Like their ancestress troupe Bal Anat, Awalim uses choreography
for their group dances.
The half-hour performance on this video is filmed live at
a Renaissance Faire. The dancers wear Turkish-style vests, fabric
midriff covers, tassel belts, full skirts, and full pantaloons.
The music for the performance consists of pieces by the bands
Solace, Turku, and La Notte.
There are a total of seven different choreographed pieces,
- The video begins with a circle dance to the song Lesge by
the band Turku featuring the entire group of 6 dancers. The choreography
captures the flavor of a folk dance.
- Using the song Crimson by the band Solace, three of the dancers
come forward with flat baskets to perform a balancing piece.
- On the third song, Uskudara Gideriken by Turku, five of the
dancers perform together as a group.
- Two dancers perform an energetic duet to a drum solo, Cybele
- Four troupe members perform a dance with finger cymbals to
Agri Dagindan Uctum by Turku.
- A duet performs sinuous moves to the 6/8 song Dance of the
Dervish by La Notte wearing what appear to be long spikey fingernails.
- For the high-energy finale, the troupe performs to the song
Rebirth by Solace with baskets, sword, and fire. Two of the dancers
even balance fire on their feet and foreheads!
The dancers in this group are strong and flexible. At times,
individual placement isn't quite uniform or moves aren't done
quite precisely the same way, but this is a very minor
point. The overall impression is that the group dances very well
together with the kind of synchronization I rarely see in belly
dance troupes at the festivals I attend. I didn't catch any bloopers
of anyone failing to know the choreography.
Their style of featuring only part of the group for most pieces
creates a varied show to hold audience attention. The choreography
makes use of the fact that multiple people are available, using
formations, roll-offs, and traveling. The individuals not dancing
a particular piece sit on the sidelines and offer encouragement
in the form of clapping, shouts, etc. Overall, the performance
conveys the flavor of a party, and their stage personalities
make the audience feel like invited guests in the living room
rather than voyeurs peering through the window.
The individual units of the performance work well together:
the costumes, the style of the choreography, the music, the props,
and the nature of the performance environment (outdoor, informal
show where some folkloric flavor is expected) all come together
The production quality is generally excellent. The camera
work does exactly what it should: it always shows the dancing
from a view that allows me to see what is happening. Once in
a while a canopy creeps into the top edge of the screen, but
it's rare and really not a problem. The set is attractive and
well lit. The sound quality has some room for improvement. Despite
the minor issues I raised, the quality is definitely solid enough
that I can comfortably watch the dancing without distraction.
You Will Probably Like This Video If
- You would be impressed by dancers who can balance fire on
their feet and foreheads!
- You enjoy watching belly dance troupes that interact well
with each other and dance well as a team.
- You would enjoy a somewhat folkloric interpretation of belly
- You enjoy U.S. tribal style belly dance, including the branches
of tribal that do choreography rather than group improvisation.
- You enjoy the music of the bands Solace and/or Turku.
You Probably Won't Care For This Video If
- You prefer Egyptian-style interpretations of Oriental dance.
- You wouldn't care for belly dancers who embrace a more covered
look in their costuming.
- Your definition of "tribal" includes only
group improvisation and you don't care to watch anything outside
- You believe that Renaissance Faires should feature only authentic
historical garb and folk dances.
I enjoy this video very much. I appreciate skillful troupe
dancing, and Awalim demonstrates the kind of polish and stage
charisma that I enjoy. Their choreography is varied, they are
well-rehearsed, and they look as if they have a great deal of
fun dancing together. If they were dancing at the Renaissance
Faire in my community, I'd make a point of attending it to see