Learn to Belly Dance with Alexandra:
Volume 1, Basic Moves & Combinations

A Video Review By Shira

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Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Summary

Overall Rating: StarStarStarStar (on a scale of 1 to 5 stars)

Alexandra Glover teaches elementary belly dance moves, assembles them into combinations, and leads practice sessions using those combinations.

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Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

What Shira.net Users Think

Have you actually watched this video yourself? If so, offer your own opinion in the poll below! Otherwise, click the "View Results" button to see what worldwide users of shira.net think of it.

 
1) How would you rate Learn to Belly Dance with Alexandra, Volume 1?
Absolutely fantastic!
Definitely would recommend it
Good enough to be worth the money, but not special
Disappointing, but had at least a little value
Nothing good about it at all
 

The above poll includes responses submitted since August 1, 2003.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

The Chart

Recommended Level Total Novice
Formats Available NTSC
Overall Rating StarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStar
Packaging StarStarStarStar
Total Video Length 47:20 minutes
Performance Time 1:27 minutes (3%)
Teaching Time 41:09 minutes (87%)
Amount Of "Other" 4:44 minutes (10%)
Choreography No
Cultural Information No
Music Education No
Health Issues Yes
Number Of Models 1
List Price $19.95
Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time 47 cents
Cost For "Other" $2.00

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Description

On this video, Alexandra Glover offers a basic introduction to belly dancing, appropriate to the level of brand-new beginners who have never belly danced before. In the section where she teaches actual dance moves, Alexandra faces toward a mirror with her back to the camera. Her reflection is shown in the mirror, so it is possible to see each move from both front and back.

After the opening titles, the video shows about 1 1/2 minutes of Alexandra performing, with brief segments of clips taken from several different shows. She is a skilled dancer, and the clips show an interesting variety of costumes.

Alexandra opens the instructional section with some comments on the history of belly dancing and its health benefits. Then she proceeds with a warm-up which consists of various types of stretches and toning: side to side leans, pliés, etc. Before you begin a session with this tape, you may first want to warm up on your own with 5 minutes of walking.

Alexandra takes about a minute to describe correct posture for belly dancing. This is one of the better explanations that I have seen on an instructional video. Then she begins to teach several elementary belly dance moves.

After introducing several beginning moves, Alexandra assembles them into combinations. She teaches one first, then two more, and leads a practice session that uses these combinations repeatedly. Then she teaches several additional combinations, and leads a second practice session based on them. These combinations offer a helpful structure for beginning dancers to learn how to assemble the building blocks into a simple dance.

The video ends with a cool-down based on stretches that are valuable for dancers.

The closing credits identify the help that several of Alexandra's associates have given in producing the video. As each contributor is identified, an inset showing her dancing appears next to her name. The credits clearly identify every song used on the video, and which CD it comes from. All music on the video is performed by the band Light Rain from the San Francisco area. This is not Middle Eastern music, but rather original compositions by Doug Adams. (To determine whether you might like this music, you can listen to clips of some songs in my review of the CD Dark Fire.)

Alexandra wears a mesh-midriff unitard and hip scarf for teaching, which makes it easy to see her legs and body positions. The camera angle stays far enough away to show her full body from head to feet. At times an inset with a close-up appears on-screen next to the full-body shot of Alexandra to demonstrate the detail of particular moves.

The production quality is generally excellent. The lighting is clear, the sound is easy to hear, and the set where Alexandra teaches is beautifully arranged. The camera always shows what I need to see, and the video is free of distracting editing techniques or special effects.

Nearly all of the narration is handled using voiceover. In a few places, the voiceover doesn't quite match up - the voice may be counting one, two, three, four, but isn't synchronized to the corresponding movements. Fortunately, this is rare enough that it doesn't ruin my appreciation for the overall video. I usually prefer live on-screen talking to voiceover because the dancer demonstrating the moves on-screen often looks bored or has a fake smile, but on this video I was comfortable with voiceover because Alexandra demonstrates everything with her back to the camera anyway.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • You have never belly danced at all before, and you would like a video that starts at the very beginning.
  • You are taking a beginner class, and you're looking for a video to help you practice at home.
  • You are new to teaching belly dance, and you'd like a well-explained beginner video to give you ideas on how to teach posture and elementary moves.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You already know how to do elementary belly dance moves, and you're looking for something intended for more experienced dancers.
  • You feel that only Middle Eastern music should be used for belly dancing.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked

  • Alexandra clearly explains and demonstrates correct posture.
  • Explanations for how to do each move are clear and easy to understand.
  • The moves Alexandra has chosen to teach are appropriate to the level of dancer (beginner) that she intends this video for.
  • Generally excellent production quality: well lit, clear sound, attractive set.
  • Alexandra teaches in front of a mirror, making it possible to see both her back and her front at once.
  • In the credits, identifies all the music (artist, CD, song titles) used on the video.

What I Didn't Like

  • The only performances on this video are brief segments which, taken together, are less than 2 minutes. I found myself wishing the video would have had a 3-5 minute segment showing a full continuous performance.
  • Might have been nice if the camera were slightly closer to her and off to one side, so that the view of her front would have been easier to see in the mirror.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Movements Included

  • Warm-Ups: 5 moves (side-to-side stretch, plié, lunge to each side stretch, roll shoulders, pull foot back to stretch thigh)
  • Hip Articulations: 4 moves (hip lift, hip drop, rock step, threes)
  • Hip Fluid Moves: 2 moves (hip circle, hip slide)
  • Traveling Steps: 2 moves (Egyptian walk, basic hip)
  • Rib Cage Articulations: 1 moves (shoulder shimmy)
  • Rib Cage Fluid Moves: 1 moves (rib cage circle)
  • Arms: 3 moves (snake arms, hand circles, arms waving back & forth)

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

In Conclusion

If you have never belly danced at all before, this video can offer you a helpful introduction to elementary moves, as well as assistance in learning how to combine them into a dance. At only 50 minutes in length, it doesn't teach as many moves as some of the longer videos that offer beginning dance instruction, but Alexandra makes good use of the time she has and the low price offers a satisfying value for the money.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Disclosures

Before Alexandra offered me this video to review for my web site, I had not previously had contact with her. She provided me with a complimentary copy to review.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Contacting The Producer & Ordering The Video

Contact Alexandra as follows:

Alexandra Glover
6317 157th Place NE
Redmond, WA 98052
U.S.A.

Phone: (+1) (425) 869-5055
Fax: (+1) (425) 869-5055
Web Site: www.iteachbellydance.com

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

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