What The Performances Were Like
This video's purpose is to showcase the dancing of the late
De Ann Adams, the dancer who inspired the music of Light Rain.
The material included represents De Ann's performances from 1970
through 1985. Unfortunately, during the years that De Ann was
at her peak, the cost of purchasing and developing film for home
movies was very expensive. Home video technology was on the bleeding
edge, which meant that it too was expensive and cumbersome at
the time. Because of these issues with equipment availability
and cost, there weren't many video records made of De Ann's performances
during that era and consequently there wasn't much material to
draw from in creating this video. The total length is less than
25 minutes. Most of that is accomplished through showing clips
of partial performances. All music on this video comes from the
recordings of Light Rain.
Throughout the video, the lighting is better than what I'm
used to seeing on home movies/videos shot during live performances,
particularly when you consider that this footage was shot during
the 1970's and early 1980's. Although the lighting and focus
are admittedly not broadcast quality, I was still pleasantly
surprised that they were as good as they were. They were definitely
better than the quality of many performance segments included
on new instructional videos being produced today!
The video opens with a 2 1/4-minute recitation of a poem titled
"De Ann", which is about De Ann and her dancing, with
the song Tar Marmalade softly underlying it. For about the first
minute, the video shows a series of still photos of De Ann. For
the rest, there is a series of short clips of De Ann dancing.
This section was beautifully organized. The music was very effective
at setting the mood, and was soft enough that it didn't interfere
with my ability to hear the words of the poem.
The next section is about 3 1/2 minutes of clips from various
performances by De Ann in a variety of costumes, set against
the song De Ann's Dream.
Following this is the song Dark Fire, which is about 5 minutes
long. It begins with about a minute's worth of still photos of
De Ann, then leads into a series of clips of De Ann performing
with a sword for the remainder of the song.
Next is one of the two full-length performances on this video.
This one, using the song Rabekin which is about 3 1/4 minutes
long, opens with members of De Ann's troupe, The Dream Dancers,
performing veil choreography. Then the group moves to one side
of the stage and the camera captures DeAnn's entrance. De Ann
performs a long, continuous spin sequence while framing herself
in a variety of ways with her veil. It's a wonderful sequence
to watch, partly because of her skill at spinning for such a
long period of time, and partly because her veil work brings
sufficient variety to the overall look to maintain continuous
interest. At the end of the solo segment, the ensemble surrounds
De Ann and they all dance together as a group to the end of the
The 5-minute song Sword Dance is next, and appropriately it
features a full-length sword work performance by De Ann. The
song is a sensuous chiftetelli, and provides dramatic background
to De Ann's dancing. In her day, De Ann was known for her sword
work, and in this performance segment she shows why, doing a
number of difficult moves.
The final performance segment on this video is another mosaic
of still photos interwoven with brief clips of performances.
The song used is The Gypsies, which is one of the more widely-used
Light Rain songs. This section lasts for about 4 minutes.
The video ends with about 1 1/2 minutes of closing titles,
with the song City of Dreams playing in the background.
I liked this video, partly for sentimental reasons (see Disclosures),
and partly because I appreciated the artistry that went into
crafting a collection of short video snippets into a collage
of dance. However, it's not for everybody.
You Will Probably Like This Video If
- You were either personally acquainted with De Ann or a fan
of her work, and you'd like something to remember her by.
- You're a fan of the music of Light Rain, and you'd like to
see performances by the dancer who inspired Doug to compose it.
- You have a strong interest in the history of the San Francisco
belly dancing scene, and you'd appreciate having archival footage
of one of the dancers who was a prominent part of it.
- You are intrigued by artistic presentations that successfully
combine poetry with music and dance, still photos interwoven
You Probably Won't Care For This Video If
- You're looking for belly dance videos that show a series
of "typical" performances from beginning to end.
- A 25-minute video with only two full-length performances
(for a combined length of 8 minutes) on it would be disappointing
to you. (Everything else is short clips and still photos.)
- You're shopping for a video that offers a low price-per-minute
(i.e., generous amount of performing time in exchange for the