Miles Copeland, the backbone of the Bellydance Superstars phenomenon, brings belly dance to the spotlight. Several internationally known belly dancers have teamed up to show their talent, while touring many cities. Copeland’s intention was to give the much needed respect to the art of belly dancing by introducing it to the American audience, in a way that is outside the traditional aspects of a belly dance performance.
Of course, many have criticized Copeland for going outside the boundary, but then again, his creation has opened the eyes of those who knew nothing of the dance, especially in a country like the United States. Much has changed, and belly dance is gaining popularity in America, thanks to those such as Copeland.
To my knowledge, only three Bellydance Superstars CDs are available. Each CD comes with a little brief about the dancers who have performed in the show. All CDs have various artists, and for the most part, each piece was selected by the dancers who performed in the show.
Bellydance Superstars Volume II is a great CD, with a variety of music. This volume, along with the others, are popular, and it is not uncommon to hear several of these songs over and over at a belly dance festival or event. For a beginner, not knowing what pieces to pick from when starting your first choreography, this CD will allow you to hear the different rhythms and tempos of Middle Eastern music.
There are thirteen songs on this CD. Timing of each piece ranges from two minutes and fifty seconds to eight minutes and thirty-five seconds. Several songs are lyric free, so no need to worry about answering someone’s question about the song’s meaning.
Take time to feel and listen to the music. After doing several practice DVDs or attending your belly dance class, you have a sense of what the music calls for. Make it your own. Listen to each piece over and over if you have to, so that you can plug in moves that will compliment your interpretation of the piece. These are just my thoughts on each.
Entrance of the Stars by Paul Dinletir: The first one is just so empowering. First thing that comes to mind is shimmy, shimmy, shimmy! Practice your shimmy with this song. Go all the way with the four minutes and thirty-eight seconds of music. My workouts end with doing shimmies to this song. At the end of this song, women just feel the need to applaud themselves for shimmying throughout the entire piece; it never fails.
Rakset Dala’a by Ahmad El Asmar: Lyrics are on this piece. Tempo is slow to medium, depending on how you want to count it. Pay attention to the deep and lighter sounds of the drums. He sings and music immediately follows when he is done with a verse. There are times when the violin and the drums have a solo. Where should you do the hip drops? Where should you do hip lifts?
Raks Bedeya by Ali Mohammed: No lyrics here. This is a slow song, and about two minutes into the song, it slows down just a little more. When it picks up, you may want to try fast shoulder shimmies or hips twists. Plenty of accordion and it feels like the accordion is singing aloud. Use the first fifteen seconds to introduce the music, by dancing in place (mainly arm movements).
Men Idak Di by The Hakim Orchestra: Men’s voices, but not continuous. Violin and some zills in the background. Drums are not that strong.
Aahat by Wael Kfouri: I choreographed a routine to this song. The song just grabs you! Traditional instruments fused with techno sounds. This fusion is referred to as Turbo Tabla, which can also be heard in the first track.
Wala Marra by Khaled Aggag: This song sounds joyous. A man leads and others follow, when he is done singing his verses. The chorus is real strong, as the lead and other men come together in harmony. Pay attention to the crescendos. When there is a crescendo, what move should you do?
Solo Accordion by Cairo Caravan: That’s right! All accordion with other instruments. Accordion overwhelms the other instruments. Snaky movements are all that I can think of when I hear this piece. Use the first thirty seconds as entrance.
Habibi Alli by Miami: A very popular piece. I consider this to be fast in comparison to some of the others. Lyrics are continuous. Five minutes is this song, so you may want to repeat some of your choreography.
Dala’a El Helween by Amed Abdul Fattah: Instrumental until a group of women come towards the end. Plenty of cymbals! There is a slow down about a minute or so into the piece.
Turbo Tabla 3 by Turbo Tabla: Again, the fusion of techno and traditional Arabic sounds. Just instrumental. Feel free to do both slow and fast movements. This song has a seductive feel to it. Pay attention to how the techno part is somewhat slower than the other instruments.
Khayarouni by Woroud: Lyrical and instrumental. This piece is four minutes and thirty seconds. You can try using a veil with your dance.
Entel Hob by Mohammed Abdel Whab featuring Amir Sofi: A long intro. My suggestion is to be very graceful. Practice being on your toes, doing travel steps here and there. Instrumental.
Baladi by Tony Anka: A good drum solo! Experiment with hip pops and chest lifts. The drum rules in this one!