Nadia Gamal, The Legend
Nadia Gamal, The Legend by Hollywood Music Center
Shira's poll page for this video.
2004, all region , run time 60 minutes.
The late Nadia Gamal was one of the most famous Belly Dancers in history! This DVD covers one of her performances from years past. Neither the time, nor the place is indicated. I've heard several theories regarding the time period, anywhere from the very late 60's through the mid-80's. Probably closer to the latter.
Location? It couldn't have been performed/filmed in Egypt, as Nadia is wearing a Bedlah without tummy cover at one point, and she also does floorwork, both illegal there. I've had it on good authority that it was filmed at a "top cabaret in Lebanon", which is probably the reality as Nadia was raised there, and the orchestra in this DVD is also Lebanese.
Regardless, the video and sound quality is very good - surprisingly so considering its age (regardless of what that actually is!). It was probably washed through a computer a few times; it could have been filmed in 2003 by the video quality!
Nadia performs on a circular stage which is well lit. In the first part she is wearing a Bedlah, later she dons a more folkloric costume (Sai'idi perhaps?) to finish her performance. A real surprise is the (short) section when she is dancing to a middle eastern rendition of "Bonanza"!
I had purchased this video as I was interested in Nadia Gamal since I now own one of her dance canes and wanted to see it in action. Oh. My. Goddess.(!) The hype surrounding this dancer is understated! Her technique is flawless, her rapport with the audience is surpurb, and her energy seems boundless. I cannot say I've seen a lot of cane dancing, but I've never seen cane like this! Wow!
The video technique overall is quite good - it has some MTV-esq camera work which I always find annoying, but acceptable in a performance video as long as it isn't over done. It isn't over done here, although it comes close a couple of times.
What I liked about the video:
What can I say, Nadia is a spectacular dancer. She is one of those that is so flexable that you start thinking she doesn't have a backbone - her backbends have a high WOW! factor. She's "right there" with the music, her dancing is very precise, and she's full of joy! If you like good Belly Dance, this video cannot be beat!
The video is on DVD. YAY!
What I didn't like about the video:
MTV style camera work. Shooting Nadia through the drum at one point. Not bad, just annoying. During her cane dance, she danced into the audience. The camera did a very good job following her, but this sequence was just too long - she was so short that for much of this, you can only see her hands waving the cane overhead. But on the other hand, it's not like we could re-film it!
I wish we had some indication of where/when this footage was shot. We're not told on the DVD, nor on the package.
There is a "HMC" badge near the upper left corner throughout the entire video - not a subtle "watermark", but a badge. This, coupled with the occasional "www.hollywoodmusiccenter.com" marquee that scrolls across the bottom of the screen is a bit much. I have no problem with a subtle watermark - it helps protect the video against pirating, but I find this level of mark up excessive.
You can purchase this video from Maqam Music.