By Dancers For Dancers, Vol 1
By Dancers For Dancers, Vol 1 Compiled By Michelle Joyce.
Overall Zorba Rating:
2007, apparently region free , run time approx. 40 minutes.
Seven Northern California Belly Dancers perform in this collaborative release.
With the title "By Dancers, For Dancers", this DVD sets the expectations rather high. And it delivers! Every performance is wonderfully executed, the costuming is great, the sets are beautiful, the lighting is perfect as is the audio. Camera work is well above par for a performance video. Each dancer is introduced with the name of her song, a touch appreciated by this Belly Dancer. In the credits, each song is identified with what album it came from so we can actually find it to buy it if we want it.
As the dancing is "perfection" in itself, I can briefly discuss the camerawork. We dancers detest so much of the utterly bad camerawork that this video is mostly free of. No "boob cam", no "booty cam", no "face cam", no stupid MTV effects. There is the occasional "midriff cam", but its at least kept short. Best of all, NO MONKEY CAM!
The main menu consists of just two options, "play everything" and chapter selection. Rather than say "wonderful dance, wonderful costume" etc, etc (as they ALL were wonderful), I'll just provide a few brief comments for each dance.
Zaheea, Dina Tata.
Upbeat and lively.
Nana, Tabla of Said.
Drum Solo, skillfully executed. Many times, I'm bored with drum solos - but not this time! It takes skill to keep the audience interested - Nana has it!
Luna, Cleopatra in NY.
Luna is one of my favorites. She performs a wonderful dance here, with hand candles, a sword with flame at its end, and best of all, she steps up on a trio of goblets to show us her skill! The only nit I'll pick here has to do with the editing - the hand candles "suddenly" appear as does the sword in its turn. We cannot see how she obtained her props as this is hidden in a cross-fade. As a dancer, I'd like to see how she handled picking up and putting down her props.
Mira, Abou Ali.
Mira starts her dance with a red veil, which she quickly discards (Can I have it? ). Nice lively routine to a pop song. She does a really cute little shoulder movement at the very end - I'm gonna have to remember that trick!
This routine reminds me of why I fell in love with Belly Dance in the first place: the tight coupling between the music and the dancer. This one is superb! I'm in awe of her isolations.
Zari, Ya Bahiyya.
Starts of as a nice veil number. I generally prefer slower veilwork, but this routine is on the fast side of medium speed - and Zari knows how to keep her veilwork beautiful even with the higher energy music. Very nice indeed. Sometimes the camera is a bit too close considering she has a veil in play...
She eventually discards the veil and continues her dance without it. She has very nice armwork, a real pro. I also love her eye makeup!
Michelle Joyce, Fakerni.
This is a nice classical piece. Very nice and well done! I love her armwork also.
Zaheea, Tabla Solo.
Another skillful and non-boring drum solo. Yay! But what's up with the 70 degree overhead shots?
Nana, Zaman Garib.
Another classical piece. Not a lot to say about it other than its awesome! This is my favorite style. Particularly good camerawork in this segment.
Sandra, Amar El Laily.
A nice relaxing number that starts with beautiful veilwork. Camerawork isn't quite as good in this segment - too much "midriff cam". But Sandra's a superb dancer, well worth watching!
Michelle Joyce, Tabla Solo.
Lastly, we end with a drum solo. Like the others on this DVD, this is a very good one! I like what she does with her hair as a drum solo accent - an idea I think I'm going to have to "steal"!
Credits and Bloopers.
The credits roll with several bloopers and out-takes - always fun! The credits have the afore mentioned music/album list - an appreciated touch. Then each dancer's WebSite address is displayed - another nice touch. This segment ends with "Thank you for supporting the Belly Dance community!". Well, I say "you're welcome!"
What I liked about this video:
Wonderful, wonderful dancing. Well produced, well edited. No goofy MTV camera effects. The dancers were all obviously having a good time. There wasn't a performance that I didn't like. I can't even say that I like one performance better than others, the all were that good!
Its on DVD and its reasonably priced. I actually liked that it is about 40 minutes long. Watching 2 hours of dance in one sitting can be a bit much!
What I didn't like about this video:
There really isn't much to dislike. I can pick some nits with some of the camerawork - for the simple reason that there isn't anything else to criticize! All segments were very well shot and edited, but within the microcosm of nit picking: Some segments had a lot of cross cuts and/or cross fades, while others did not. Some segments had a lot of "midriff cam" or other too-close shots, while others did not. A few of the cuts at the ends of routines were a bit abrupt. Still, within the realm of Belly Dance videos - the camerawork was head and shoulders above most others I've seen. Dancers look at other dancers differently from other viewers - we want to learn something!
You can purchase this video from By Dancers, For Dancers.