An Evening of Experimental Middle Eastern Dance
EEMED Audition

by Mezdulene

Jareeda July/Aug 2002: 17+.

I LOVED THIS VIDEO! I've never seen anything like it, and I can only hope that Amara does another one and another one, treating us to more such shows.

I met Amara this year at Rakkasah where she gave me a copy of her video and asked me to review it. My sense of Amara was a sweet and gracious person, but watching this show gives me the sense that she has a complex and multi-dimensional depth and a powerful vision of the dance and its expression beyond that which most of us have experienced thus far.

The Soul of a Dancer is performed by Marula with entrancing arms, multiple veils and sinewy movements, clearly expressing the soul of a dancer.

Grandmother: The darkness is pierced by a candle and the beautiful face of Sa 'Elayssa. As the lights come up, she begins her dance with a 4 yard gossamer veil, sensual and mystical leading into a loving tribute to one who has passed on to the next realm.

Dream of Tara. performed by Marguerite and Art, starts out with the appearance of an ancient one leaning on a staff as he slowly makes his way to his sleeping pallet. As he falls asleep, he dreams the vision of the Goddess Tara as she dances out of the mists entrancing us with her dance and leaving the weary traveler a gift.

The Lotus and the Cross with Anaheed and Sigfried Heep is an unusual but riveting piece involving a man, a woman, weapons, the dance and even crucifixion. It is a powerful and provocative statement.

Strength by Tatianna is an interpretive performance involving huge pieces of fabric sometimes trapping, sometimes caressing the dancer as she weaves her spell.

Face It Jheri St. James enters the stage as a masked dancer. As she dances, she removes her mask only to reveal another one underneath, then finally revealing her true self.

Ditama is a piece done by Ya Helawa! created by Amara. These three dancers are covered in velvet body suits with gauzy head coverings doing an interesting blend of drama and dance. Fantastic!

Envenomation started with a collage of photos followed by Sa'Elaysaa posed as a scorpion. She and her partner, Djahari did an intriguing dance involving daggers and danger. This piece toys with your emotions as its dramatic intensity flows from harsh to sensual, hate to love and back again.

The Harem starts out with a light-hearted discussion of what a harem is perceived to be followed by a graceful, Persian-inspired scarf and fan dance

The Letter is a thought provoking monologue.

Bare Essences by Anaheed and Amara is a beautiful shadow. play between two nude dancers. With no costuming and only a sheer curtain between them and the audience, their movements were clean and fluid, a beautiful display femininity.

Take a Tip Jheri St. James does a more traditional basket dance balancing it with ease and then sharing it's contents with the audience.

Undulating Through the Cacti with Desert Sin started with the winds of the desert and howl of a coyote to set the mood. In struts the group of dancers complete with chaps and cowboy hats doing a playful routine. As their dance progresses, off come the hats and chaps and out come the fans and parasols. And, it doesn't stop there. Two of the dancers end up entirely naked at first seeming to be a sexual display as they stripped out of their costumes, but for me ending up being an almost innocent display. The contrast between the nudity and costuming showed a purity of movement. The undulations of a nude body are entirely different then the undulations of a costumed body. To me, it wasn't sexual but rather women willing to express the dance on another level, it's most basic level. The dance ended with their sister dancers veiling them and bringing them into the community.

I am going through an emotionally trying time in my life, and this video lifted me up and gave me some reminders that I need right now. It touched me deeply and will be something that stays with me for the long run. I had mixed feelings about the display of nudity in conjunction with Middle Eastern dance but it was beautifully done and is a powerful message. We are women. We must claim our bodies, embrace ourselves, lose the shame and love our own essence. I love dancing naked when I am alone. I love dancing to alternative music. I love expressing myself outside the boundaries of tradition. This video is an audio and visual expression of so many of my own personal feelings. I. love it. You'll love it. Don't miss it.