Nadia Gamal, Dance Workshop
Nadia Gamal, Dance Workshop by Nadia Gamal/Hollywood Music Center
2007, all region , run time 90 minutes.
The late Nadia Gamal was one of the most famous Belly Dancers in history! This DVD is the only Nadia Gamal workshop that was ever videotaped. Set your WayBack machine to 1981; the place, New York City.
This video is divided into two parts, an Oriental dance choreography is taught in the first part, which is approximately 75 minutes long. A very folkloric Bedouin routine is taught in the short second part, which is about 15 minutes long.
This is a videotaping of a live workshop that was winnowed down from about six hours. Like most live workshop tapings, this one is sub-optimal, definitely not as good as a purpose-taped workshop would be. It takes place in a large dance studio which is crowded with students. The lighting isn't the best, the floor is black, and so is Nadia's practice outfit. It is shot from a diagonal vantage point at the side of the studio in the "front row" area.
However, it isn't nearly as abysmal in viewablity as the above description might indicate. What really saves it is: A) Nadia is wearing a bright silver coin scarf, B) The cameraman shot large portions of the video into the mirrors where Nadia's costume offers better contrast against all the students behind her, C) Even more video shows us both the mirror and direct views, D) Nadia goes over things many times, and E) The cameraman was pretty darn good!
I had little problem following Nadia in the first (Oriental choreography) section, in fact I'm hoping to convince my teacher to adopt this choreography for our class. Typical of a live class, Nadia goes over the choreography multiple times, adding a bit to it each time until its complete. Great for live class, not as good for video - but it works well enough and is utterly precious as Nadia is lost to us forever.
The short folkloric Bedouin number is very simple, and it should be possible to learn it in the short time allotted to it on this DVD although it didn't seem as organized as the first section. I'm actually more interested in some of the shoulder-work for my own routines - I've never seen one particular move before.
Production values are fine considering this is transcribed video tape that is 26 years old. The main menu has 4 options, the Oriental choreography, the Bedouin number, a text bio of Nadia, and a word from Ibrahim "Bobby" Farrah who was the original producer of the video. Editing is quite good - there is one rough spot in the Bedouin number, and another spot that was glued into the Oriental section that was obviously from a different shot (from the background), but overall is great. Audio is decent, you can hear Nadia quite well, but do be aware she has a fairly heavy accent - which I find lovely, but may make her a bit harder to understand at times.
What I liked about the video:
The opportunity to see Nadia once again. She was a spectacular dancer, and a good teacher. I'm not one for choreographies, but I *really* like this one. Like most Lebanese dancers, Nadia (and most of the students) are wearing heels - always impressive.
The video is on DVD. YAY! Thank you VERY MUCH to Hollywood Music Center for bringing this back for us. And thank them again for NOT putting a "HMC" badge or scrolling Marquee on this video like they have done in the past on some. Top job guys!
What I didn't like about the video:
If it were shot of a teacher who was still alive, I'd have plenty to complain about. As it is not, there isn't much purpose in kavetching. All things considered, the cameraman at that time did a superlative job shooting under less than ideal conditions - the result, while not optimal, is quite viewable and useful. Kudos to this unknown cameraman of yore!
You can purchase this video from Artemis Imports.