Fusion is taking over the world of bellydance in a big way. We see Spanish fusion, ballet fusion and now even gothic fusion. I really love fusion and think that it’s a good way to expand your repertoire without excluding bellydance. I DO, however, feel that it’s important to remain firmly rooted in bellydance while BORROWING from other styles of dance to make a fusion style. Fusion dance is reflected in the costuming, music and a few movements taken from which ever style. I think that in a big way (with the exception of a few) the DVD, Gothic Bellydance: Revelations failed to do so. Some of the dancers got so involved with the Gothic side of it that they completely abandoned the bellydance side – which seems rather stupid calling it “bellydance” then. I never expected the DVD to contain classic ME (Middle Eastern) music and traditional costuming, because those are the things that would change in a fusion style dance. But for example, one of the dancers dressed like a mummy with bloodshot eyes and writhed on the floor for about a minute, got up and did a few hip circles, chest circles, some sideways bellyrolls (which I’ve never seen!) and then lay on the floor and writhed some more. I didn’t understand where the bellydance was? It was only the second dance so I thought I wouldn’t judge too soon. The dance after that was full of promise! It was a group of girls dressed in plain Egyptian looking black dresses with gold coin belts over that. They were dancing on the sides and the main dancer was wearing the most gorgeous skirt. They did some nice combos and then the main dancer took her skirt off!! She was dressed in a full body stocking and lay on the floor writhing (see a pattern yet?). At this point I was ready to turn it off and try to forget the abomination. The DVD continues on in this way – I really was NOT impressed.
The DVD consists of people NOT dancing with dramatic looks on their face. Obviously there were a few dancers who did something, but it they were few and far between. One woman danced with butterfly shaped Isis wings, which were beautiful, but she didn’t really DANCE either – she just waved them around and looked serious. I do have to single out two dancers/groups that did a good job on this DVD. Sera Solstice & Ariellah. While Sera’s style is way more robotic and isolated, she kept it VERY bellydance, no writhing on the floor, no weird props, no smoke and mirrors – just good old bellydance moves. After this DVD I got new respect for Ariellah. I don’t like Gothic bellydance, but I think that Ariellah does it the way that it’s supposed to be done. She looks friendly and happy while she dances, she does nice flowy moves and the only thing that really changes is her costuming and the music choices. Even so, Ariellah’s music choices are industrial and more FUSION than gothic, I think.
To be completely honest, I think the whole “gothic” thing with regards to belly dance is a purely aesthetic fusion and should be (or attempts to be) based in tribal fusion belly dance. I did speak to a fellow dancer who is goth and I told her that I don’t understand the whole “goth culture” thing. She explained that Goths “dress like music” or something to that effect. (I wouldn’t quote me on that!) I guess I just don’t “get” it?
I am probably the biggest belly dance snob out there, but as a fusion dancer, I have to have some form of open-mindedness. I understand and accept that the dance form is evolving and constantly changing, it’s good for the dance form – we can’t be stuck in a rut! However, I am a complete quality snob, and I’m openly admitting that. When a fusion is done, it should be done correctly or at least tastefully with respect to the original dance forms that you are fusing.
From watching this DVD, I’ve gotten a rather bad first impression of Gothic Bellydance. With the exception of a few dancers on the DVD, I was incredibly disappointed with the skill level and general performances. Definitely a DVD I would say would be a complete waste of money to buy.
I’ve tried to word this review/my opinion in such a way as not to offend anybody, but if I did, please comment and argue with me. 🙂 Also, if you have any gothic belly dance videos you’d like to share that could change my mind about it – leave a link & description in the comments.