What The Show Was Like
The first performer in the show is Alexandra King. While most
of her music is classical Egyptian orchestral music (including
songs such as Alf Leyla wa Leyla), her interpretation is strongly
American-style. There is a brief 6/8 section in which she includes
some Persian-style arm movements. The length of her dance is
about 9 minutes.
Next, Jillina and her dance company The Sahlala Dancers perform
for 8 minutes. The group is an excellent choice to appear immediately
after Alexandra King, because the music and dance style are very
different from hers, plus a stage filled with 7 dancers offers
a very different kind of energy than a soloist. The ensemble
dances well as a group, with playful, interesting choreography
that takes advantage of the number of dancers available.
Laurel Victoria Gray performs her own original choreography
to Azerbaijani music traditionally associated with weddings using
traditional Azerbaijani dance moves. The 5-minute performance
uses appropriate costuming designed by Laurel based on a 19th-century
watercolor by Gagarin titled "A Dancer of Shamakha".
In the opening, there are 3 different spotlights trained on her,
from 3 slightly different angles. As she stands still and performs
arm work, the shadows behind present a wonderful illusion, as
if a line of dancers is behind her.
Zahra Zuhair delivers an elegant 9-minute performance. She
wears a very simple chiffon skirt which flows beautifully as
she dances. She clearly knows her music well, and her dance matches
very well with the various accents and flowing sections.
Using New Age style music, Tamalyn Dallal performs an 8-minute
dance of the 7 veils. Although I don't care much for the colors
that she uses together, it's one of the best 7-veil dances I've
seen. Tamalyn employs a variety of different veil sizes and shapes,
and wraps them in assorted ways. As each comes off, she dances
with it in a way that's different from the way she danced with
its predecessor. She deposits each veil in a pile off to one
side of the stage as she finishes with it. At the end of her
show, she kneels in front of the "puddle" of veils,
gathers them up in her arms, and uses a knee walk to make her
way offstage. I don't particularly care for that ending - for
me, it seems like an odd ending to what had otherwise been an
Jindra provides a change of pace with her fusion of ballet
and Oriental dance. To me, the dominant flavor of her dance feels
like ballet which has been adapted with some belly dancing influence.
She does some shimmies and undulations en pointe, and at one
point shimmies down to the floor into the splits. However, ballet
moves such as pirouettes and bourées en pointe, seem to
dominate the choreography. It's well integrated, and enjoyable
Shoshanna dances in a pale blue chiffon ruffled skirt. She
enters with a very long veil, then discards it and does lovely
undulations. Later, when the music speeds up, she picks the veil
back up and does veil work to the faster music. The length of
her show is 7 1/2 minutes.
FatChanceBellyDance presents the only American Tribal style
dance in this show. The group is represented by 3 dancers in
a 7-minute performance. They open to slow music doing snake arms,
undulations, and floor work. As the music gradually speeds up,
they pick up the pace of their movements to match. They are the
only performers I noticed playing finger cymbals in this show.
Hayat El Helwa opens her performance on her knees, with her
back to the audience, in a dramatic arm pose as she holds a veil.
She wears beautiful white satin gloves, and her veil is also
lovely white satin. She dances to a song called "Ask"
from Omar Faruk Tekbilek's "Fire Dance" CD. Her entire
opening song is floor work. As the music transitions to a faster
song, she rises to her feet, discards the veil, and picks up
a sword. She places the sword on her head, then descends slowly
into the splits. She performs a drum solo with the sword on her
head, and spins while balancing it. Hayat El Helwa is very limber,
and incorporates some powerful undulations and vibrations into
her show. Her entire performance lasts 9 minutes.
SeSe and the Cairoettes appear next, with an 8-minute performance.
There are 7 dancers on stage: SeSe herself, in a glittery silver
costume, and six troupe members in silver and black. Unfortunately,
the costuming, placement, and choreography are all designed to
showcase SeSe with the rest of the group serving as "moving
background". Despite that, I particularly enjoy the opening
song with energetic drumming, although the overall performance
was fun to watch.
Laurel Victoria Gray next returns to the stage for a second
performance. The music for this 4:48-minute dance is a Persian
song from Omar Faruk Tekbilek's "Fire Dance" CD. Her
performance is a solo version of "Dance Of The Peri"
from a concert suite called "Remembering The Legends."
In Persian folklore, a peri is a fairy-like creature lured to
earth with joyous music, enchanting everyone with her loveliness.
Together with Uzbekistan State Academic Bolshoi
Theatre of Opera and Ballet, Laurel designed the costume and
hat for this performance. Although I like her earlier number
more than I like this one, it is still nice that the program
included Laurel's Persian dance as a change of pace from the
Oriental style performed by all the other dancers.
Fahtiem blazes onto the stage in a fiery red-orange costume,
carrying a chiffon veil. Her choice of music, dance style, and
costume is very dramatic. Although her overall 8-minute dance
is certainly worth watching, the highlight of her performance
is the segment in which she performs her superb control over
her abdominal muscles. Very few dancers can equal her skill with
The final dancer in the performance was Hadia, who performed
for 9 1/2 minutes. She used modern Egyptian music, and wore a
beautiful heavily beaded costume. She was truly at one with her
music - her dance responded beautifully to every intricate tempo/rhythm
change and every subtle accent.
The video closed with a 14 1/2-minute section that wasn't
worth watching. Titled "Moments From The IAMED Weekend Event",
it showed a series of brief glimpses of people participating
in the weekend. There were people shopping, participating in
classes, posing for pictures, eating, and clowning around. Some
shots featured acceptance speeches by people who received awards.
The camera captured a few people (fully dressed) in the dressing
room backstage before the show, and also portrayed a backstage
view of some of the performances. I suppose if I had been a participant
in the weekend-long event, I probably would have enjoyed this
section as a nice souvenir of the experience. But I wasn't there,
and therefore as I watched it I kept waiting for something worth
seeing to occur.
Following this, the closing credits took about 2 minutes to
roll across the screen.
You Will Probably Like This Video If
- You are a beginning student who would like to view performances
by a variety of talented dancers with very diverse costumes,
music, and dance styles.
- You are a fan of one of the dancers featured in the video,
and you seize every opportunity to see this person dance.
- You're tired of performance videos with blurry images, poor
sound quality, erratic changes in camera angles, and poor lighting,
and just once you'd like to see a video with high-quality production
You Probably Won't Care For This Video If
- You've seen so many belly dance performances that you can
no longer appreciate a show that is just plain good dancing by
talented artists. If you feel the need to see something truly
unique or ground-breaking, this is the wrong show for you.
- Your taste in dancing runs to folkloric performances in historical
garb to traditional music. The only ethnic/historical portrayals
on this show were those done by Laurel Victoria Gray.
- You enjoy watching troupes performing together as a cohesive
group rather than showcasing the director.