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On DVD: "American Bellydancer"


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#1 Ed Waffle

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 08:32 AM

"American Bellydancer" is a documentary on the Belly Dance Superstars and Desert Roses, two groups that Miles Copeland created, organized slots to perform at a big anti-violence concert in Bali and at Lollapalooza in Kansas City and put on a bus and truck tour throughout the hinterlands of the US. It could have been have been two very good movies; one about Copeland who had been manager for The Police and for Stewart Copeland's solo career--he and Stewart are brothers. He came across as an indefatigable promoter who knows the music business as well as anyone. There also seemed to be plenty of footage for a film that looked at the tour and the preparation for it from the point of view of the dancers who seems like a very talented and bunch of people that it would be nice to know. There is some conflict between Copeland, who wants tall, young and beautiful dancers and the choreographer and on of the dancers who he relies on to recruit and audition dancers, who are more interested in putting together an artistically cohesive and, by their definition, artistically authentic troupe. As it is American Bellydancer is an OK movie.

One question occurred to me while watching. In a long tour--this was 60 shows in 58 cities--who is responsible for quality control, for making sure that what goes on stage this week in Nashville is the same show that played last month in Wichita? With a play on tour the stage manager and her stopwatch is a great way to keep things in line. If a scene runs long or short then it needs looking at. In a traveling dance troupe is there a dance captain or a stage manager who keeps thing in order from week to week and venue to venue? This is ignoring the differences in space and audiences--from a punk bar, Hairy Mary's, in Des Moines to a proper auditorium in Denver, a Capezio store somewhere else...

#2 dirac

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 09:15 AM

Thanks for telling us about the DVD, Ed. It would stand to reason that a dance company on the road would have a stage manager or the equivalent, but perhaps there are other Ballet Alerters who have more useful observations to make than I.


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