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Overall Rating: (on a scale of 1 to 5 stars)
This is a documentary by Morocco on the folkloric dances of Egypt, Nubia, and the Sudan. It consists of footage shot in several performances that she attended between 1979 and 1983. Although the picture and sound quality are poor due to the limitations of the technology that existed at the time, this video offers an opportunity to view folkloric dances from southern Egypt - dances that are slowly vanishing due to changing cultural conditions. It's a valuable learning tool for anybody with a serious interest in the dance traditions of the region.
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|Total Video Length||60:15 minutes|
|Documentary/Performance Time||57:57 minutes (96%)|
|Amount Of "Other"||2:18 minutes (4%)|
|Cost Per Minute of Documentary Time||60 cents|
|Cost For "Other"||$1.40|
This video consists of a series of folkloric dance performances that Morocco filmed on her trips to Egypt from 1979 through 1983. It includes footage of some performances that it is no longer possible to see today, such as the Banat Maazin Ghawazee. For a dancer interested in learning about traditional dances from Egypt, Nubia, and the Sudan, this video offers a rare opportunity to see some vintage dances from before Islamist fundamentalism, urbanization, and other cultural changes led to the near extinction that exists today.
I praise this video because of the educational value the video offers regarding traditional dance forms. If you don't share my interest in studying ethnic and historical dances, then you may not share my enthusiasm for it. Because of the rugged production quality, it is not a good match for people who simply want entertainment. But for someone who wants accurate information about the rich dance legacy of the region, or for someone who wants to understand Middle Eastern culture more fully, it's valuable.
In all cases, Morocco makes a concerted effort to capture the best possible footage of the dancing itself. However, "home movie" technology back around 1980 when she filmed these performances was very primitive compared to what is possible today, and the environmental conditions were beyond her control. Therefore, throughout this video the lighting and sound quality are poor. The very first "camcorder" appeared in the market in 1982, so the performances on this video were filmed using pre-camcorder technology known as Super 8, which was light-sensitive film similar to the type used in photographic cameras, but designed to capture moving pictures. A canister of film was threaded into the machine, exposed, then removed and sent off for development. Typically, such films were only 3 minutes in length, so every 3 minutes the camera operator would need to rewind the exposed film inside the camera, remove it, and replace it with a fresh one. As a result, shows like the ones on this video that were filmed on Super 8 consist of scenes that end about every 3 minutes, with a gap in the action before the next segment.
Morocco introduces each dance segment on this video with voiceover comments explaining its ethnic context. She identifies which ones portray real folk dances, versus which are theatrical creations. These comments provide valuable education into understanding the dances seen on-screen.
The performances on this video include:
At the end, the closing credits are superimposed over Morocco in full bedleh (bra/belt/skirt costume) performing Oriental dance.
|I definitely recommend this video for people who are interested in learning more about the folkloric dances of Egypt, Nubia, and the Sudan, some which are nearly extinct in their original communities due to changing cultural conditions in Egypt. It offers a valuable educational opportunity, despite the difficult production quality. If you're looking for performances of Oriental dance (the performing art that many people call "belly dancing"), this is not the right video for you, because it has very little of that. Its focus for the content is folklore rather than nightclub.|
If you'd like to read my reviews of other videos produced by Morocco, choose from the list below:
|Morocco and I have been friends since about 1998, and I have been an admirer of her dance research work since the mid-1980's.|
Contact Morocco as follows:
Casbah Dance Experience
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