The art of American belly dancing was born in San Francisco, in the liberated 60’s and 70’s. Here, in rare footage, are the masters of the dance, the great San Francisco belly dancing pioneers shown at the height of their powers.
At the heart of the film are four classic interpretations of the dance. Two young dancers, Katarina and Taia, help each other through a first nightclub performance and deal with some of the social problems Belly Dancers must face to practice their art form.
We see the dancers becoming craftswomen, designing and manufacturing their own elaborate costumes and body jewelry. The go on to study finger cymbal technique, choreography and Middle Eastern music under the guidance of Bert Balladine, the world famous male bellydance instructor. We see Balladine actually teaching a class, filled with enthusiastic dancers.
The great DeAnn performs outside at San Francisco’s historic Ferry Building, an unforgettable moment. She manages to balance—and rotate—a sword on her head, while keeping perfect time. Her choreography and presence keeps the crowd spellbound.
The film concludes with an electrifying appearance by the incomparable Amina, the guru of San Francisco belly dancing. First we see her in conference with two student dancers, guiding them through the initial stages of their careers. Then, finally, Amina herself performs, in a live club setting. Exquisitely poised and utterly compelling to watch, she is the consummate bellydancer.