Fortunately for Appellate Judge Rob Lineberger, this was not an instructional video. He was free to sit this one out and just watch the waving arms and abs. And the fire, of course.
Neither Neon nor WorldDance New York shall be responsible for any liability for any risk, bodily injury, physical or other disability, or property damage which results or may result from the use of this DVD or the program depicted therein, whether caused by negligence or otherwise.
Pretty threatening disclaimer up there, isn't it…and puzzling, given the innocuous nature of this DVD. Stellar Body: Bellydance with Fire is simple to summarize: Popular dance instructor Neon performs eight bellydance numbers set to soothing techno music. No talking, no instruction, no voiceover explaining the health and spiritual benefits of India's enduring dance legacy—just 35 minutes of Neon, flowing costumes, and tasteful CGI backgrounds. Why the dire warning?
It must be because of the fire. See, Neon is famous for performing bellydance routines with a full candelabra balanced on her head. You're watching her magnificent abdomen ripple and sway, but at the same time you're thinking "hey, she is balancing fire on her head!" Then you might get to thinking "Well, I've watched this DVD a few times, I think I'm ready to try the fire thing." Next thing you know you've mounted 32 candles on your head, started shimmying your hips, thrown out your back and landed on the floor, writhing in pain while all of your earthly possessions burn around you. This may be the scenario that WorldDance New York is trying to prevent.
Assuming you avoid that unlikely occurrence, you can just sit back and enjoy Neon's energetically mellow flow as she shimmies and glides to the music. Unlike Instant Belly Dancer: A Crash Course in Bellydance, Vol.1 and Vol. 2 and Belly Dance Party, Stellar Body offers no instruction. You are welcome to pick up some of Neon's moves, but in this DVD she simply bellydances…with fire. If you want to get a perfectly clear idea of what this DVD offers, the official site (linked at right) is highly informative. I can't imagine a more pure or evocative DVD presentation of modern bellydance. As Richard Fogler says, "it is what it is."
To be candid, I'm among the most poorly suited DVD reviewers in the world to faithfully evaluate Stellar Body. It has been years since I've set foot in a dance club, and the last time I did so I embarrassed myself with unfluid hip spasms (which were loosely coordinated with awkward arm flappings). As a typical guy, it is highly unlikely that I will ever take bellydance lessons. About the only thing I'm qualified for is commenting on Neon's impressive physique, but we all know that such insights are beside the point and uncouth to boot. Nonetheless, I was suitably impressed with Neon's command of the form, and I appreciated the frequent costume and tempo changes. Decently handled CGI effects enhance Neon's mystical energy, making this a cosmic exploration of dance rhythm.
The DVD is presented in full-frame, with predominantly black backgrounds to set off Neon's fair complexion and warm-hued outfits. The backgrounds tended to be low contrast, but they were well integrated and displayed little haloing. The PCM 2.0 soundtrack is robust and free of distortion, highlighting the world-heavy techno track. There are no extras aside from some weblinks and the aforementioned disclaimer.
Stellar Body: Bellydance with Fire offers a pleasant and sensual half hour that will pique your sense of style and grace. It will interest bellydance enthusiasts much more than the average moviegoer. One thing is for sure: Neon and WorldDance New York are innocent on the charge of misrepresentation. This DVD offers exactly what it promises.
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