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A Review of

Belly Dance Television (BD-TV), Volume 2

by Roxalot

 

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Summary

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

Belly Dance Television brings the concept of a television news magazine to the belly dance world in the form of a DVD. It's the belly dance community's equivalent of a television morning talk show consisting of celebrity interviews, glimpses of events, and a bit of how-to information that can be put to use. This episode covers Tribal Fest, Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition 2004, the Bellydance Superstars in Las Vegas, Sadie from Colorado, Habib from Arizona, Suhaila's Scheherazade show, advice from Anaheed on draping skirts, and spotlight on Carolena Nericcio. Cover

 

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What Shira.net Users Think

 
1) How would you rate Belly Dance Television, Volume 2?
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 March 13, 2005.

Note: Shira has a policy against video producers asking their students, family, and friends to pad the votes, or campaigning for favorable votes through their web sites. Click here for detailed information about the policy.

 

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Fact Sheet

Subject Matter Infotainment newsmagazine about belly dance
Overall Rating StarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStar
Total Video Length 147:19 minutes
Time Devoted to Information 117:15 minutes (80%)
Time Devoted to Instruction 27:04 minutes (18%)
Time Devoted to "Other" 3:00 minutes (2%)
List Price as of June 10, 2009* $19.99
Price Per Minute 14 cents
Price For "Other" 41 cents

* Pricing information was current as of the date indicated above, but may have changed since then. Please contact the video producer for the most current pricing information.

 

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Description

This is Volume 2 in the DVD-based newsmagazine Belly Dance Television. Its content and style are those of an "infotainment" television show for belly dancers, with celebrity interviews, a bit of "how-to", and a rundown on entertainment news. In many ways, it's the Entertainment Tonight of the belly dance community. The host of the "show" is Paulina, who introduces the segments and conducts the interviews. As of June 2009, Roxalot has released a total of 3 volumes. This review focuses on Volume 2.

The producers have created this structure for the series:

  • News & Events (mix of news and event glimpses)
  • Rising Star (interview with lesser-known up-and-coming dancer)
  • Feature Story (behind-the-scenes look at an event)
  • Hip Tips (how-to, advice)
  • Spotlight (celebrity interview with a well-known dancer)

On Volume 2, the News & Events section profiles three events, including the 2004 Tribal Fest, Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition 2004, and a Las Vegas performance of the Bellydance Superstars show. Each of the 5-10 minute event profiles consists of brief (15-20 second) scenes from dance performances, close-ups of merchandise on vendor tables, musicians playing, people chatting / shopping, conversations with organizers, and other samples of what the event is like.

The Rising Star segment features two different dancers: Sadie from Denver, Colorado, and Habib from Sedona, Arizona. Each dancer's segment begins with a 3-minute clip showing her doing a performance, followed by an interview section where she talks about her background as a dancer and her work. These interviews are each about 4 minutes in length. Sadie's performance uses a drum solo from the CD The Best of Ya Salaam. Habib's performance uses the song Sahara City.

The Feature Story on this volume takes a behind-the-scenes look at Suhaila's Scheherazade show. It offers extensive interviews with Suhaila, clips showing the dance company in rehearsal, glimpses of her daughter Isabella and husband Andre, bits of the show itself, and some of Suhaila's conversations with Miles Copeland. It's interesting to see the local fire marshall inspecting their intended use of fire in the show, advising them of the rules they need to follow, and then watching the actual show to ensure all goes well with the fire segment.

This installment of Hip Tips, the advice/instruction segment, focuses on various ways to drape full skirts to vary the look. Anaheed instructs Paulina in 8 different ways to tuck a 3-panel circle skirt, 4 ways to tuck one with a ruffled bottom, and 4 ways to tuck the 10-yard multi-tiered skirts that are popular with Tribal dancers. For each drape, Anaheed first demonstrates on herself how to do it. Then Paulina attempts it, and Anaheed corrects or clarifies as needed. They show many interesting skirt variations, but I do wish that the camera would have shown how each finished drape looked from the side and from the back. It showed the differing angles for a few of them, but I wanted to see it for the others too.

This episode closes with the Spotlight section featuring Carolena Nericcio, the director of Fat Chance Belly Dance and founder of American Tribal Style belly dance. This section has so much substance that it should be interesting even for people who don't normally pay much attention to American Tribal Style. Carolena discusses how she herself became involved in belly dance, how her style arose, how she got started in the vending business, and how Fat Chance was received by the belly dance community when it was first starting out. In addition to Carolena herself, interview segments include extensive comments by Jill Parker (director of Ultra Gypsy), Paulette Rees-Denis (director of Gypsy Caravan), and Kajira Djoumahna (author of The Tribal Bible). Mark and Elisabeth Bell of the band Helm talk about their experiences as musicians in working with Carolena.

A Marketplace section features a group of advertisers, and is divided into two sections, Dancer's Gallery and Menagerie. The Dancer's Gallery is a slide show of still images which features 14 different dancers or troupes, each shown for about 10-15 seconds. The Menagerie section contains other types of advertisements. It begins with a 1-minute trailer for the documentary Tribal Style: A Documentary About Becoming a Belly Dancer. Next comes a slide show 2 ½ minutes in length featuring ads for musicians, events, magazines, and vendors, each ad staying on the screen about 10-15 seconds before dissolving into the next. The Marketplace section closes with a 45-second ad for videos from the International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance (IAMED) .

The overall program's design offers a choice between watching the entire 2 ¼ hour program from beginning to end intact, or jumping directly to each major segment from a chapters menu.

Although I was very impressed with Bellydance Television Volume 1, I feel that Volume 2 is even better. In Volume 2, Paulina seems to be more comfortable in her role as anchor as she introduces each segment. I'm glad that Volume 2 uses the Rising Star segment to profile two different dancers instead of focusing the full time on just one person - it seems to feel more balanced with the Feature Story and Spotlight segments. Unlike Volume 1, there is no bloopers section because the main features filled all the space on the DVD. For the most part, the amount of time spent on each segment feels right to me.

The editing throughout the video seems perfect to me - dance clips are transitioned at points that feel logical in the music and dance phrasing, the sound is always perfectly synchronized with the on-screen action, the lighting is ideal in every case. The DVD authoring is attractive, with a menu system that is intuitive. My issues with production quality are rather minor, in the greater scheme of things - when watching the entire program from beginning to end it would have been nice to have an on-screen title introducing each segment to help transition my brain to the next topic. As mentioned above, I also wished the Hip Tips section would have shown each finished drape from multiple angles. Despite these very minor issues, the Roxalot team has indeed maintained its excellent standards for production quality, creating what is truly a broadcast-quality product designed for viewers who want to see belly dance well-presented.

 

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Is It Right for You?

 

You Will Probably Enjoy This Video If

  • You would like to see the concept of the television show Entertainment Tonight and its competitors applied to the belly dancing world.
  • You enjoy personality profiles of well-known belly dancers.
  • You have a passion for American Tribal Style of dance.
  • You're a fan of Suhaila Salimpour.
  • You enjoy seeing behind-the-scenes glimpses of what it takes to put a major show together.
  • You're a fan of Sadie from Denver, Colorado.
  • You're a fan of Habib from Sedona, Arizona.
  • You would enjoy learning some ways to vary the look of your circle skirts or multi-tiered skirts.
  • You would enjoy a glimpse of what U.S. West Coast belly dance events are like.
  • You're a fan of the Bellydance Superstars.

 

This Video Probably Isn't Right for You If

  • You've never found celebrity interviews and gossip to be particularly interesting.
  • You're not interested in seeing brief clips of belly dance activities in other cities.
  • You're looking for videos of full-length performances rather than clips.

 

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What I Liked, What I Didn't

 

What I Liked:

  • The program presents a large amount of information.
  • Excellent value for the money.
  • It shows events that many dancers are interested in and come from many miles away to attend.
  • The structure is well organized.
  • The content represents diverse styles of belly dance.
  • The production quality is outstanding.
  • The concept is unique - nobody else has produced anything quite like this for belly dancing.
  • It maintains continuity with the structure established in Volume 1.

 

What I Didn't Like:

  • As I watched the entire 2 1/4-hour program from beginning to end, I found myself wishing for text titles introducing each segment to help my brain transition from one topic to the next.
  • I wished that the Hip Tips segment would have shown more of the drapes it taught from the back and side as well as from the front, especially the first ones.

 

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In Conclusion

If you enjoy reading belly dance magazines with their personality profiles, news stories about events, and advice, then you'll probably enjoy this "magazine on a DVD". I'm particularly impressed with the substance in the interview with Carolena Nericcio, though the entire program is done well.

 

Explore belly dancing! Learn all about bellydance!

Reviews of Other Videos By This Producer

If you'd like to read my reviews of other videos produced by Roxalot, choose from the lists below.

 

Explore belly dancing! Learn all about bellydance!

Disclosure

Roxalot sent me a complimentary copy of this video to review. My only contact with them has been dialogue with executive producer Ann Berna regarding the contents of this DVD and plans for future editions. I should also disclose that I have a background in journalism and therefore I assessed the content of interviews from that perspective. Someone who just wants to be entertained would probably have been more easily satisfied than me with the "chatting" (as opposed to probing for information) format.

 

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To Buy It

 

Contact Information

Roxalot / BD-TV
16930 Marlin Place
Van Nuys, CA 91406
U.S.A.

Phone: (+1) (805) 377-0753

Web Site: www.bd-tv.com
E-Mail: anab@bd-tv.com

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