New York City belly dancer Carol Tandava Henning’s new stage production Blood on the Veil muses on one women’s journey into having better self-esteem through the ancient roots of the misunderstood dance form Raqs Sharqui, or better known to the Western world as “belly dancing.”
This promotional trailer for Blood on the Veil features lots of enticing performances from Henning herself as well as belly dance greats such as Nourhan Sharif and Sharon Zaslaw. However, it’s Henning’s personal story and how she relates it to belly dancing’s roots that are truly compelling. The long-haired dancer admits that before she hurt her back, she wrote belly dance off as “Princess Leia sexy slave-girl dancing” and not a legitimate art form. After all, how could a dance that was mainly done by women for the pleasure of men even be on the same level as ballet or jazz?
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Tuesday, February 17th, 2015||No Comments »|
The documentary Beneath the Veil takes viewers on a glitter-filled journey through the art of belly dance, also known as Raks Sharqui. From the origins of this beautiful dance form to exploring how Raks Sharqui can empower women of all ages, after watching this documentary you’ll walk away with a new appreciation for belly dancers everywhere.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, November 10th, 2014||No Comments »|
During the 2010 Venus Uprising belly dance show, Sira performed a slinky choreography called Captive Tigress that honored the big cats of the world and evoked the feeling of being watched by a caged predator in the zoo. Unlike the cheesiness of the costumes for the musical Cats, Sira wore a burgundy and gold costume with no face paint. Despite the normal-looking belly dance attire, her dance movements made the audience believe that she was a tiger in a cage, pacing back and forth in a zoo.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, September 29th, 2014||No Comments »|
World famous belly dancer Tempest performed a stunning fusion belly dance piece at Rakkasah East 2010 and dedicated her performance to the Greek goddess Hecate, who was known as the lady of the crossroads and the Queen of witchery.
The performance begins with Tempest undulating on the ground wearing a a long, white shawl and a crown emblazoned with the goddess’s face. As the music escalates, she tosses the shawl back and reveals her costume: long red hair, black harem pants, and a gold-fringed top. The dance explores the boundaries between traditional belly dancing and the more modern fusion styles and honors the lady of the crossroads by exploring the meeting place between light and dark, which can be seen in Tempest’s choice of costume.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Friday, September 12th, 2014||No Comments »|
At Tribal Fest 2012, world-famous belly dancers Rachel Brice and Illan wowed the crows with their tribal fusion duet. Hip locking, undulating, and even dropping to the floor in fan-favorite move “the Turkish drop,” where you get into a controlled back bend all the way down to the ground, the audience hooted, hollered, and zaghareeted to show their appreciation for Brice and Illan’s talent. While some belly dance purists may scoff at tribal fusion for not being one hundred percent authentic Raks Sharqui, no one who watches Illan and Brice move like there’s no bones in their body can deny that they are incredibly talented.
Even if tribal fusion isn’t your cup of tea, makes sure you take five minutes out of your day to watch some of today’s best belly dancers slink and shimmy their way around the stage.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, August 4th, 2014||No Comments »|
World famous belly dancer Sarah Skinner performed a rather interesting interpretation of Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairy tale The Little Mermaid at the 2011 Venus Uprising show, which will leave viewers captivated by how Skinner and her backup dancers can show every emotional nuance with just a flick of a hip or a light shimmy.
There’s also nods to both the original fairy tale and the Disney film adaption—unlike the latter’s happy ending, Skinner is given wings by an air sprite and rises up out of the water, joyfully dancing to celebrate her new life. Meanwhile, Skinner’s seashell bra, tight green skirt, and auburn hair are sly nods to Disney’s famous heroine. The only downside to the performance is the goofy actor Venus Uprising hired to play the prince. His acting is far too stiff and frankly, he looks far too old to play the part of the young Prince that the little mermaid falls in love with.
Aside from the terrible acting of the Prince, Sarah Skinner and Venus Uprising’s production of The Little Mermaid puts a Middle Eastern spin on a beloved fairy tale.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Friday, July 11th, 2014||No Comments »|
The First Woman Who Danced: A Tribute to an Ancient Art is dancer and poet Evie Ivy’s loving tribute to the ancient and mysterious art of belly dancing. Ivy has been performing Raks Sharqui for more than 20 years and has been on the poetry circuit for just as long. Just as in Ivy’s Dance of the Word open mic poetry events, The First Woman Who Danced will lure you in with veils, zills, and a haunting beat. Although her use of meter and rhyme can often be traditional, Ivy has a unique sense of style and word choice that will draw you in.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Friday, April 18th, 2014||No Comments »|