Judge David Johnson's instructions for an Insta-Harem: (1) Play disc on a big screen, (2) position your recliner in front of the screen, (3) sit and eat grapes.
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Hey, belly dancing fans! Have I got a disc for you!
What exactly is belly dancing? Well, in layman's terms it's that sexy gyration that scantily clad Arabian women do for their sultans in desert movies. Oh, and that blue girl from Jabba's palace may have employed some belly dancing before becoming grade-A Rancor chow.
See, The Golden Apple: Bellydance Stars of New York dispenses with any kind of history or mythos of belly dancing. I have no idea where it originated, how culturally significant it is, where it got its logically improbable name from, how popular it is these days, or any other significant facts about the dance. The only nuggets of info the disc offers are nestled in the text-only biographies of the dancers.
This is a performance DVD. It's not instructional; the only way you'll learn these movies is by repeated emulation. Once the program starts, it's just straight-up belly dancing. That's it. No voice-over narration, no interview with the stars. Dancing, dancing, and more dancing.
The disc focuses on the talents of three bellydancers: Jenna, Blanca, and Neon. Apparently these three ladies are some of the top performers in the New York belly dancing scene. I had no idea there was a bellydancing scene in New York; that information would have been nice to have on the DVD.
As the feature rolls on, the girls' performances are intermingled with each other. Each of the dances—some improvised, some choreographed—take place at different venues.
If you are in fact a big fan of the New York bellydancing scene, you might be pleased to discover that the famed Jehan makes a special guest appearance on the disc. (For those of you not in the know, Jehan is a "master teacher").
That's all I've got for you kids on The Golden Apple: Bellydance Stars of New York. Belly dance fans will surely take more from this production than me. As someone new to the belly dance scene, I didn't really have my world rocked. There were a couple of interesting, athletic movements involved, but my ignorant two cents can be boiled down to this: It all kinda looks the same to me.
As a DVD, this presentation is bare bones. The aforementioned lack of any kind of historical grounding ostracizes the casual viewer, and a meager assortment of special features—biographies, a still gallery, and a dancer-specific scene selection—hurts the release.
The women may have the moves, but the DVD is a minimalist experience; if you want 55 minutes of uninterrupted belly dancing and nothing else, you'll get your fill.
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