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Overall Rating: (on a scale of 1 to 5 stars)
On this video, Shareen el Safy teaches choreography to a song by Mohammed Abdel Wahab titled Weadirt Tohgor. She has been careful to keep the style very close to that used by dancers from the Golden Age of Egyptian cinema, and in particular performance clips of Samia Gamal have served as the source of many of the moves used.
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|Formats Available||NTSC, PAL|
|Total Video Length||154 minutes|
|Performance Time||5:21 minutes (3%)|
|Teaching Time||147:18 minutes (96%)|
|Amount Of "Other"||1:01 minutes (1%)|
|Number Of Models||1|
|List Price||$50 for NTSC, $60 for PAL|
|Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time||33 cents for NTSC
39 cents for PAL
|Cost For "Other"||9 cents|
On this video, Shareen el Safy teaches technique and a 5 1/2-minute choreography in the style of Oriental dance from the Golden Age of Egyptian cinema, the era of Tahia Carioca, Samia Gamal, Naima Akef, etc. Shareen worked as a dancer in Cairo herself in 1988 through 1991, and immersed herself at the time in analyzing the essence of Egyptian style dance. She has also studied video footage of Golden Age dancers to learn specific combinations that they used.
Shareen focuses particularly on moves and combinations used by Samia Gamal, but she also incorporates ideas from later dancers such as Mahmoud Reda, Nadia Gamal, Dina, Nagwa Fouad, and others. For her music, she uses the song Weadirt Tohgor ("You Are Able to Desert Me"), composed by Mohammed Abdel Wahab, which is quite appropriate to the style of dance featured in this video. Due to the many challenging moves taught, this video would best be suited to an advanced-level dancer.
Shareen opens the video with a studio performance in full professional costume of the choreography which she will be teaching. Her performance is technically precise, but her stage presence is somewhat detached. (This is common for videos like this one in which there is no live audience to inspire the dancer.) This is the only performance on this video.
Following the performance, Shareen opens with a 6 1/2-minute discussion of the types of moves in Egyptian dance: Oriental versus folkloric, etc. She then takes about 13 minutes to describe in detail the appropriate posture for producing the distinctive look of Egyptian dance. Although this may seem like a large amount of time to spend on posture, Shareen states that it plays a major role in dancing like an Egyptian.
From here, Shareen plunges into the "meat" of the video: 2 hours of teaching the step combinations used in the choreography, with detailed background information about each combination. She introduces each by discussing which dancer she has seen do the move, compares how the Oriental version used in the choreography differs from its folkloric counterpart (where applicable), and demonstrates from more than one angle - usually front and back, but in some cases also from the side.
Shareen offers very detailed descriptions of the proper technique for executing each move in the style of an Egyptian. She talks about which muscles to use to produce the move, and how to direct your energy. People who want to acquire an Egyptian "accent" in the way they move will find plenty here to keep themselves busy. Quite busy.
Frequently, when delivering her explanations Shareen digresses and talks about a different topic, then brings herself back to the subject at hand. These digressions could be frustrating if you simply want the video to teach you the choreography itself, but they can be fascinating if your purpose in working with this video is to deepen your knowledge of Oriental dance from Egypt, including cultural and historical perspectives. Speaking for myself personally, I enjoyed it very much, but I have a passion for learning about the intellectual side of the dance as well as actually dancing. Your preference may be different.
I find myself able to learn the step combinations taught without too much difficulty. However, assembling them into the choreography is a different matter, because the video's structure doesn't lend itself very well to remembering what comes next. Shareen takes a section of the dance, teaches the combinations in it one at a time until they have all been taught, then leads a practice of that section. Then she puts it aside and teaches the next section similarly. She never practices putting the sections together until the very end. The packaging does not contain any choreography notes to help with memorization, no on-screen lists of the steps that are used in each section, and no on-screen titles announcing what to do next while going through the practice for the section. With the lengthy background explanations (that I like so much) accompanying each move, I find that by the time I learn one combination I've forgotten the earlier ones.
Shareen seems to be uncomfortable on camera, especially when she is explaining something with words instead of demonstrating a move. She frequently casts her eyes down or looks aside. This doesn't bother me, but people who prefer high-energy instructors might not appreciate her on-camera personality.
|I enjoy this video very much, but it's not for everybody. It appeals to the intellectual side of my brain, the side of me that loves soaking up factual knowledge. Shareen offers many valuable insights into the technique of how Egyptian Oriental-style dancers produce the moves: which muscles to use, how to manage the energy flow, etc. But for people who just want to learn a choreography, this video probably isn't the right choice because the flow of the instruction isn't designed for that purpose.|
|I have attended one workshop that Shareen taught, which I enjoyed, but I have not had the opportunity to become acquainted with her.|
Contact Shareen el Safy as follows:
Shareen el Safy
Phone: (+1) (805) 962-9639
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