It is that time again, folks! Time to list the best videos on Youtube of Oriental Dans for 2012. Which made the list? Let’s see!
This year, I made an effort to narrow the videos down to fewer than the 2011 list. This has made it incredibly hard to choose and some very high quality performances sadly had to be left out. The result was a list that is a little less varied than past lists have been, but that includes performances by male dancers. Often when people think of Oriental Dans they assume it is a form of dance only for females, but traditionally it is performed by both genders. These male dancers show us just what people in general are missing!
Let’s get straight to the videos. Listed in no particular order, they represent the crème of the crop of what is happening in belly dance today. These videos demonstrate the skill, artistry, passion, athleticism, and fun embodied by the dance. They also display at least some of the many subgenres within Oriental Dans and how the art continues to grow and stretch as the dancers experiment more and more with it. Happy shimmies!
1. “Inga Peterman Tribal Prague 2012”, uploaded by tribalPRAGUE: This video shows us the talent that Germany has to offer in a performance of classic Tribal Fusion. Almost everyone who dabbles in the Tribal Fusion form has danced to the music, but Inga’s choreography is flawless and lightly executed. Her bedlah is fabulous and her striking hair makes a performance that is fun and bears up to repeated watching. http://youtu.be/sDfbe6_hjh0
2. “Irina – Tribal Fusion Bellydance improvisation – World Dance New York”, uploaded by StudioEast: I have to admit that Irina is always a favorite with me. I have never seen a performance of hers yet that wasn’t absolutely stellar. This one is no different. Her choreography is always well thought out, subtle, and effortless-looking. I think someone said in the comments section that this is what Angelina Jolie would look like as a belly dancer. At any rate, she is a first class artist and this list would be incomplete without her. http://youtu.be/Az7bzVcLMSM
3. “Zoe Jakes”, uploaded by IvanitaM09: This is classic Zoe Jakes, show-casing her unique style, and as usual, pairing it with the music of Beats Antique. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, this Belly Dance Super Stars Tour veteran has sass and wit. She dances with an edge, putting her personality and humor into every performance. If you want attitude, you got it. As the years go by, this style continues to evolve. She continues to astound and delight a loyal fan base. Watch and see why. http://youtu.be/OUJaJDZV95w
4. الرقص الشرقي علي اصوله uploaded by supersa7ab: For a change of pace away from Tribal Fusion to something traditional, this video shows us how it’s done in the Middle East. Unfortunately, there is no information given as to who the dancer is. Nevertheless, she is a perfect example of the art in its traditional cabaret form. There is not a single step or muscle movement misplaced here. This kind of dancing inspires every other subgenre of Oriental Dans out there. http://youtu.be/IrObpINmg8s
5. “Illan. Solo 1. Berlin 2011.”, uploaded by illanriviere: Here is one of the male dancers on this list. Shot at the 8th Sommer Festival in Berlin, this video is spectacular. While the movements of belly dance seem to be invented with the female form in mind, the naturally superior physical strength of the male body means that male dancers can sometimes perform with more stamina than the female dancer can. The male dancer is often more technically precise. The results can be breathtaking! This particular performance is fantastic. I can’t take my eyes off it. http://youtu.be/vS0xL7jAlP4
6. “Rachel Brice”, uploaded by maja1785: This is my fifth annual list and somehow Rachel Brice always lands a spot. The reason is simple: she is one of the best! This mesmerizing choreography is an example why. Each muscle, each movement, is a graceful work of art. Even the way she places her feet on the floor. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is slack. This woman must literally live in a dance studio in front of those mirrors to have this kind of utter control. Yet it looks so natural, so easy to her! As if she is simply out for a stroll in her neighborhood! How can she not be on this list? http://youtu.be/NpEzfo90L6I
7. “Bellydance Superstars Tribal Fusions – L’art exotique du Bellydance – Moria Chapell”, uploaded by gothla: This video made it into the list for several reasons. Primarily, it is one of the best performances by Belly Dance Superstar Tour veteran Moria Chapell that I’ve seen. Secondly, I was enchanted by the idea of Oriental Dans to bagpipes. Thirdly, it features the ever-smiling Issam Houshan on the tabla, who is well known and beloved in the belly dance world. The combination of these three things made it irresistible. http://youtu.be/ALa8TaSxKIY
8. “Belly Dancing Drum solo Festival Del Mar 2011 Melaque, Jalisco Mexico”, uploaded by Uought2BeinPictures: A high-energy traditional cabaret solo performance that will leave you out of breath and a little in awe. Alida shows her dance troupe how it is done and is clearly a crowd favorite. I am almost exhausted by the end of this one and impressed with Mexico’s Oriental Dans scene. http://youtu.be/87-dHI9OOiY
9. “Kami Liddle at Tribal Fusion Faire 2008”, uploaded by Kami Liddle: Kami Liddle is one of my favorite dancers. Her choreography here is relaxed and not fully representative of her skills, but that’s not to say that it is sloppy. By no means! She just chose to withhold a little for this performance, to understate. The music, however, is delightfully fun and sexy. Kami’s facial expressions are as much a part of this dance as her body – and who can resist the humor of wearing hieroglyphics on her skirt? Yep, that’s Kami! http://youtu.be/zur9fEl7yh4
10. “Beats Antiques8”, uploaded by mustangdeet: A dance troupe that includes Zoe Jakes, Kami Liddle, and a pregnant Mira Betz rocks this dark stage in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve 2012 (by which I assume is meant December 31, 2011). Once again, this is epic belly dance with attitude. Mira skirts the edges of what is safe choreography for mothers-to-be with fearlessness. The troupe supports her so beautifully that one has to know what to look for to notice how that situation is worked with and incorporated. This is magic. What can possibly be better than a Belly Dance Super Stars Tour veteran dancer? A whole troupe of them! http://youtu.be/UAlt6_sjLnM
11. “AL RACHID DOBLE VELO VIOLIN”, uploaded by semidiosdragon: This is the second of the male dancers on this list. Al Rachid is one of the most famous Oriental Dans performers in the world and this video is ample proof why. Think a man can’t handle a veil? Think again. His spins are outrageously amazing. This iconic music is challenging for any dancer to choreograph, but he does so with seeming ease. He makes dancing a double veil look like child’s play and yet retains a very definite masculinity throughout. If I had a top five, this would be in it. http://youtu.be/t_JTdEN0uC8
12. “Sadie Marquardt Belly Dance”, uploaded by avihass: World famous and truly lovely, Sadie Marquardt demonstrates Egyptian style cabaret in this video. Drum solos are perhaps her forte and especially her wide variety of shimmies. Everything she does is classy, from her choreography to her bedlahs. She is belly dancing’s sweetheart. http://youtu.be/vPRySHJZOtQ
13. “Kami Liddle & Zoe Jakes perform at The Massive Spectacular! 2011”, uploaded by DaughtersofDurga: Shot in Las Vegas, March 2011, Kami Liddle and Zoe Jakes continue to redefine Tribal Fusion with a duet that highlights their personalities even as they dance together. This performance is quirky, fun, and serious at the same time – everything that Tribal Fusion is. Basically, I get the feeling of a couple of friends who are just enjoying being with each other. The fact that the dance turned out incredible- well, that’s just frosting on the cake! http://youtu.be/K97Wjs4DUdM
14. “Angelina @ Ya Helwa”, uploaded by badkittylulu: This is a performance of gypsy dance and it is a fun one! Angelina is so bouncy. It’s easy to see she’s enjoying herself and the music. She has clearly put some real research into her gestures. The repetition of movement is perfect. The bedlah is beautiful. In all, this is a performance to make the heart happy! http://youtu.be/yoyFq8ectw4
15. “Strung Out por Joline Andrade | João Pessoa – Brasil”, uploaded by Egyptianpb: This video would also be in the top five if I had that. Recorded on August 27, 2011 at the Egyptian Show in Brazil, Joline Andrade delivers a performance that is so strong that its imagery gets stuck in the mind. Her bedlah is lovely, not overdone. Her lines are strong. Everything about this is well done. I’ve never been able to watch this just once! http://youtu.be/qUIlOflOgzo