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New DVD's and Videos on Amazon to try:

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Catalogue Number: I377331 Goddess Workout: Introduction To...

Catalogue Number: I377383 Goddess Workout: Introduction To... on Video

 

   
   

 

 

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Jacqueline Chapman "Belly Fit" Cat no. CHV2235; also CHV2228.
DVD Catalogue Number: GUDVD5044

Buy it now! Belly Dancing [1997] on Video or Dancing Series - Belly Dancing on DVD

This video has had a number of different releases and I think a few different titles too. It is the easiest to find and the cheapest "introduction to belly dance" video you can buy, actually it is the cheapest belly dance video you can buy full stop (that I know of...). It is also of (comparatively) superb professional quality. All too often with these "special interest" video's you find that they are done on a small budget in a very amateurish way, and are usually of appalling quality but still carry a hefty price tag! I personally thought that this was a really good inspirational introduction video. O.K. my main reasons for really liking it so much was 1) the high production quality 2) the fact that Jacqueline wears a vast and dazzling array of sparkly cabaret costumes, (I'm such a clothes/costume junky) and 3) it's cheap price. But that's not all it has to offer. The teaching is of a very high standard too, the video gives you the basic moves, so as a reference this is very good, which is I think, all a beginner's video can ever achieve. - (They are never all that good at making you really want to learn though. I find that you usually feel quite scared of this remote and cold figure. It is very rare to really feel connected and encouraged by a teacher on tape so I worry that beginners will be put off wanting to learn - please don't be this dance is wonderful!)

Teaching video's (as with choice of any teacher) is a very subjective issue, one person's "greatest ever teacher" is another person's "teacher from hell," some people may find some of Jacqueline's imagery a bit distasteful, (i.e. References to tampons!) but well, us teachers have got to find ways of getting the message over to you - some imagery makes perfect sense to some people while the same description means nothing to another. And as I'm sure a lot of you have realized, this dance uses muscles that you didn't even know you had before - ones that you didn't know were possible to move, let alone know that you could move them independently from everything else. So we need lots of comparisons for you and some well, they aren't as pretty as others.

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Hillary Thacker "Egyptian Belly Dancing vol. 1"

Buy it now ! Egyptian Belly Dancing 1 cat no. YBP9305 for video

Egyptian Belly Dancing For Intermediates... Catalogue Number: HTD9776 for DVD

The production quality of this was quite dark, dingy and amateurish so I wasn't happy from the start, but things got better! Again a good reference introductory video that is widely available. But again the teaching feels remote, and having been to one of Hillary's workshops, I do feel that this video really does not do her fabulous teaching any justice.

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Egyptian Belly Dancing For Intermediates... Cat no. YBP9298

Egyptian Belly Dancing For Beginners... Catalogue Number: HTD9975 for DVD

 

Egyptian Belly Dancing For Intermediates... Cat no. YBP9298

Catalogue Number: HTD9975 for DVD

There is a growing trend amongst instructional/performance videos to be £25 and less than 30 mins in length. While this video doesn't quite fit into that really nasty category it's on it's way there. It actually clocks in at 31 mins, but if you decided to buy it elsewhere it could come in at as much as £20 (including P&P.) JUST SAY NO KIDS! If you buy it from Amazon the value for money is better obviously, as it's far cheaper. The quality is a lot better than the first video in the series and the instruction is O.K. not brilliant, not terrifically inspiring but her explanations of certain moves may make sense to you. I personally don't think they are particularly in-depth. She says that these moves are "baledi, the urban folk dance" but doesn't say anything else about it or why these moves are "baledi" and not something else. They could be "Salsa" or "Flamenco" for all an uninformed student knows. For heavens sake what can a dancer know about the different styles of dance if no one ever tells them? It seems to be a very guarded secret in this country, could it be that most teachers don't know themselves? Sorry Hillary this is turning into a rant not specifically aimed at you. It seems to me that in any area of the arts people grab technical terms and use them because they sound good, put them on the spot and ask them what they mean and they will baffle you with more terms that you don't understand and make you feel the size of a small mushy pea. IF THEY DO THAT THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT MEANS THEMSELVES. I am not saying that Hillary doesn't know she just never tells you, in 31 mins she doesn't have much time to tell you anything.

 

 cover  Egyptian Dancing With Hilary Thacker... Cat no. YBP9399 for video Egyptian Belly Dancing - Advanced - With... Catalogue Number: HTD9777 on DVD

If you were following this series as your only method of instruction by now you would have certainly given up completely. To be fair they don't pretend to be a complete instruction course, as an addition to a class these videos are fine but I think they miss out so many vital pieces of info. I suppose the only way to get the whole story is to open yourself to as many influences as you can and make up your own mind. If you were looking for in-depth instruction of advanced moves forget it, this is more of a performance video. They look at four common rhythms used in Arabic dance but there is no great info on how to recognize them. It's all very well saying Maqsom is in 4/4 but what does that mean to someone who has never been told what 4/4 is and why is that diferent to felehi which is 2/4? Also how is a student meant to recognize these rhythms if she/he ever hear them again? There are no explanations of how to hear it in drum syllable's (i.e. dums, teks, and kas) just a couple of guys playing it over and over again and getting a bit faster each time. Someone with no musical training, even perhaps someone with musical training but no drumming background just hears a couple of drums playing something that sounds like well drums... Why do people forget what it's like not to know something? And why is it assumed by all that have learned something that if someone else doesn't know it yet they must be thick? But maybe that's just my personal experience of the learning environment.

Oh yeah, this one's about 1 hour long much better than the previous effort.

 

Belly Dancing For Health, Fitness & The Ultimate Feminine Figure - By Nuala
Nuala's Website Email Nuala to Buy the Video (£15)

At nearly two hours long with only a £15 price tag this video makes a refreshing change from most belly dance video's on the market. Not only does it look like if offers good value for money on paper, when you actually get it home and play it you soon realize that it actually delivers the goods as well. You get a very professional production where you can actually see the dancer clearly (I've seen many a video where the dancer is in semi-darkness and very hard to pick out) and the camera actually points at the right bits of the dancers body when she is describing the move - there are far too many of what I call "Top Of The Pops" style camera work where the camera-(wo)man is too busy being "arty" or "hip" to bother about showing the important visual of say, the hip for a hip drop, as he/she would rather focus on her breasts or tilting the camera to make her look like she is vertically climbing a wall !!?
There is something here for virtually every level of dancer. Nuala clearly breaks down the movements in a very easy to understand way, she also does a few performance choreography's - complete with fabulous outfits - to show how she puts the moves together. A must for any belly dancer's video collection.

 

 

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