Friday, 18 November 2011

Mad, mad props

While looking for clips of famous Greek dancers, I took a wrong turn on YouTube alley and wound up meeting characters I wasn't looking for. I brought one of them home to meet you - everyone, this is Alexandra, who according to her videographer (if no one else) is the "most famous belly dance[r] in Greece".

To which, if this is true, we can only say, "Poor Greece. As if it didn't have enough problems at the moment":

You have got to be kidding me. She can't dance - and I say this as someone who is standing metaphorically naked in a proverbial glass house and hurling massive boulders of "look who's talking, stumble bum". Her snake arms smack of "will this do?" Her chou-chou shimmy is just a tired gesture towards one (probably not aided by the high heels) and her Isis wings evoke not so much an Egyptian goddess as they do a pigeon trapped against the windows of a disused factory.*

However, she is very flexible and strong and she radiates confidence, even if the blonde hair/blue costume combo reminded me of Smurfette. But the sword/wings overload is a classic example of losing the dance in service of the props - you see it all the time at haflas, where people are just really excited to be showing off a new toy. But at the Hilton? From a top-level pro? You may notice that the clip begins with her discarding a veil, so that's veil, double sword AND Isis wings in one hit. Paint me unimpressed in an impressed kind of way.

I was halfway through this post when I thought "Hold up. Give the woman an even break - maybe without props she's awesome." Unfortunately, when Alexandra loses her props, she also loses her costume - if you're at work, just be warned that the camera operator here is looking for a second career in gynaecology:

Give her back her swords, and her clothes reappear. It's like a truly crappy form of magic!

That's a nice costume, and the dance itself was better but ... I don't know that I'm utterly convinced that Alexandra is great. What do you think?

*OK, I know that's not strictly accurate: she wields those things like a ninja, even if it's like a very wired ninja after a speed ball with an espresso chaser. It's just that she looks quite frenetic with them, and to me there's always been something faintly "billowy curtains in a Meatloaf video" about Isis wings anyway. So I guess I'm a bit prejudiced.


  1. That was a mean-spirited post. I was expecting something truly awful but honestly I've seen much worse. I much prefer your positive posts.

  2. Hi Vane - thank you for letting me know what you do and don't want from the blog. For the sake of being honest about my failings, I won't amend or delete the post. However, I have taken your comment on board and will definitely keep it in mind before hitting "publish" in future!

  3. C'mon people: "her Isis wings evoke not so much an Egyptian goddess as they do a pigeon trapped against the windows of a disused factory" - that's funny!

  4. This post made me laugh out loud. Even as I stand in my own little glass house. I believe if a dance is vain enough to post a video like that , complete with a declaration of their own greatness, they are fair game.

  5. I agree. The declaration of their own greatness did it for me.

    A gift to you:

  6. Aw, thanks "anons" and Famous - but Vane made me remember that I had once promised that if I didn't like something I'd just ignore it. And self-promotion is all in the game (sorry - I'm watching season 5 of The Wire at the moment [no spoilers, please]).

    And Famous, thank you so much for that pic! It's fantastic! Though I have no idea what move comes next if you're wearing Isis wings and you have a sword balanced on your hip...

  7. To amend your views of Greek dancers, you might want to check out Maria Aya (leader of Malema's Banat troupe), Marina Of Athens, Aisha and Amira Balkis (especially in Greek songs, where she's a pioneer).