Dances from the Heart

A Video Review By Shira

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Summary

Overall Rating: StarStarStar (on a scale of 1 to 5 stars)

On this video, Suzanna Del Vecchio delivers performances to six different songs by various artists such as Desert Wind and Sirocco.

Cover

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

What Shira.net Users Think

Have you actually watched this video yourself? If so, offer your own opinion in the poll below! Otherwise, click the "View Results" button to see what worldwide users of shira.net think of it.

 
1) How would you rate Dances from the Heart, Volume 1 by Suzanna Del Vecchio?
Absolutely fantastic!
Definitely would recommend it.
Good enough to be worth the money, but not special
Disappointing, but had at least a little value
Nothing good about it at all
 

The above poll includes responses submitted since May 11, 2003.

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The Chart

Formats Available NTSC, PAL, SECAM
Overall Rating StarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStar
Packaging StarStarStarStar
Total Video Length 27:30 minutes
Performance Time 24:22 minutes (89%)
Amount Of "Other" 3:08 minutes (11%)
List Price $35.00 for NTSC (North America format)
$50.00 for PAL
$50.00 for SECAM
Cost Per Minute Of Performing Time $1.44 for NTSC
$2.05 for PAL
$2.05 for SECAM
Cost For "Other" $3.99 for NTSC
$5.70 for PAL
$5.70 for SECAM

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Description

On this half-hour video, Suzanna Del Vecchio presents performances to six different songs. Her style as a dancer tends to be a fusion of belly dance with Americanized theater. Her demeanor is very elegant and lifted, and she uses her limbs (especially arms) much more than an Egyptian dancer would do. In all cases, Suzanna demonstrates command of various isolations such as stomach rolls and flutters. In particular, she tends to use stomach rolls frequently in her performances.

The six dances include:

  • Habena. Well-known Arabic medium-speed song performed here by Desert Wind. Performed in studio with black curtain behind Suzanna. Her spins look beautiful with her swirl skirt costume.
  • Taxim Saz. Improvisation from a recording by Sirocco. Filmed outdoors with mountains in the background. Suzanna wears a wonderful red panel skirt of tulle bi telli (assuit) which drapes beautifully as she performs standing undulations.
  • Nelli. Egyptian-flavor music from one of the Cairo By Night recordings. Filmed in a small studio setting with Arabic decor. The space seems a bit too small for the dance. Although the music is Egyptian in flavor, Suzanna's interpretation is American-style.
  • Return to the Goddess. Suzanna dances to an improvised taxim by Desert Wind. The set is a stage with a black curtain behind her. She begins the dance with standing undulations and spins, with the camera at times looking down from above to capture the swirling of the skirt. At one point she spins into a Turkish drop followed by floor work which showcases her flexibility and control.
  • Winter's Light. Suzanna performs flowing veil work with a sheer chiffon veil to a recording of the song Misirlou by Desert Wind. It is filmed outdoors, on what appears to be the patio of a building with columns. Of all the pieces, this one feels the most like Suzanna is letting herself become one with the music. There are a few artsy-fartsy camera effects such as filming Suzanna's shadow instead of her, but they're not done to excess.
  • Sword Dance. Using music by Sirocco, Suzanna performs sword balancing. She begins with standing undulations without the sword, then retrieves the sword, floor work, and as the music picks up speed, she completes it standing. In this piece, she performs an incredible backbend descent to the floor with the sword balanced on her chin.

Immediately after Nelli is a brief slide show of photos with voiceover reciting a poem. This provides a temporary break between the dancing, somewhat like an intermission might do.

Suzanna favors a more covered look for her costuming style, particularly on the torso. In every piece, she wears some kind of a vest over her costume bra, and in one she even wears a long-sleeved leotard under the costume bra.

I have enjoyed watching Suzanna dance in person many times, and I find that this particular video doesn't quite capture her artistry as well as it could. The moves are there, but the passion is missing. The dancing on the video often comes across as rehearsed, and Suzanna's stage presence isn't as compelling on the video as it is in person. Still, her strength and flexibility are impressive, and her technique is beautiful.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • You enjoy watching U.S.-style belly dancing characteristics such as sword balancing, veil work, etc.
  • You enjoy seeing floor work performed by someone with the strength and flexibility to do it well.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You prefer dancers who adhere closely to the style of Egyptian or Lebanese artists.
  • You prefer folkloric forms or U.S. tribal.
  • You're not fond of Desert Wind's New Age style of music.

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What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked

  • Suzanna is an elegant dancer, with choreography that matches the music well.
  • Suzanna is very strong and flexible, enabling her to perform difficult backbends gracefully and with apparent ease.
  • Suzanna wears a different costume for each song and varies the filming locations.

What I Didn't Like

  • On some pieces, Suzanna's dance looked rehearsed rather than looking like response to the music.
  • Suzanna's on-screen stage presence seems a bit aloof, as if she's not comfortable dancing for a camera rather than for a live audience.

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Reviews of Other Videos by this Artist/Instructor

If you'd like to read my reviews of other videos by Suzanna Del Vecchio, choose from the list below:

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In Conclusion

Having enjoyed live performances by Suzanna Del Vecchio, I was a little disappointed by this video because its performances don't quite capture the magic I'm used to seeing when she's in front of a live audience. Still, the production quality is excellent and her dance style is elegant. If you're not familiar with her dancing, Suzanna's performances offer an attractive example of American-style belly dancing.

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Disclosures

I have spoken briefly with Suzanna when seeing her vending at dance festivals, and we have exchanged links to each other's web sites. However, we've never had an opportunity to become better acquainted. Suzanna sent me a complimentary copy of this video to review.

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Contacting The Producer & Ordering The Video

Contact Suzanna Del Vecchio as follows:

P.O. Box 61383
Denver, CO 80206
U.S.A.

Phone: (+1) (303) 399-2622
Web Site: www.suzanna.vecchio.com

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