Veil & Arm Dancing By Amaya

A Video Review By Shira

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

An intermediate-level video with arm and veil instruction designed for dancers who already know the fundamentals of American-style veil work and are now ready to expand their repertoire of moves. (If you're not sure what American-style veil work is, please read Styles Of Belly Dance In The United States elsewhere on this web site.)

Why I gave it 4 stars:

I liked this video a lot. Amaya had a clear vision of what level of dancer she wanted to reach with it, and the video was right on target for that level. The information began with warm-up and arm/hand moves, then made a natural progression to veil drapes and moves. Production values (video & sound quality) were excellent. I deducted 1 star because throughout the entire video Amaya wore a black outfit against a background of a black curtain, so it was fatiguing on my eyes to watch. It was possible to see what she was doing, but only if I concentrated.


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What Users Think

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The Chart

Recommended Level Intermediate, with prior veil experience
Formats Available NTSC, PAL
Overall Rating StarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStar
Packaging StarStarStarStar
Total Video Length 49 minutes
Performance Time 11 minutes (22%)
Teaching Time 36 minutes (73%)
Amount Of "Other" 2 minutes (5%)
Choreography No
Cultural Information No
Music Education No
Health Issues No
Number Of Models 1
List Price (As Of April 27, 2001) $35.00 for NTSC
$45.00 for PAL
Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time 74 cents for NTSC
96 cents for PAL
Cost For "Other" $1.43 for NTSC
$1.84 for PAL

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This video is intended for intermediate-level dancers who have at least a little prior exposure to American-style veil work. (For information about what American-style veil work is, see Styles Of Belly Dance In The United States elsewhere on this web site.) It opens with a number of graceful arm and hand moves, then teaches several options for draping the veil, followed by several veil moves. It includes 3 different performance segments depicting Amaya dancing with a veil.

All the instructional information is handled through voice-over while Amaya demonstrates the move rather than featuring a talking head looking at the camera. I liked this very much. It demonstrated immediately what she meant by her descriptions, and it meant that there was no dead space on the video consisting of someone standing still talking. It made effective use of the video format.

Amaya chose a structure in which each move is demonstrated only a couple of times before moving on to the next. I liked it because it meant that she could fit a large amount of information into a limited amount of time. However, other dancers might wish for more repetitions of each move so that they don't have to rewind when they need to see a more difficult move multiple times.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • You'd like some instruction on how to do elegant arm and hand movements, even without a veil.
  • You love American-style veil work as much as I do.
  • You're an intermediate-level dancer looking for some new challenges.
  • You're already a fan of Amaya.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You've never had any prior instruction in veil work.
  • You don't care for American-style veil work. You'd rather either do Egyptian style, or forget veil work altogether.

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What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked

  • Amaya clearly explained the moves in a logical progression. She teaches well.
  • Amaya's description of the moves came across as polished, professional, and well-organized.
  • Content was exactly appropriate for the level of dance skill that the video was aimed at.
  • Production values were excellent. Picture and sound quality were both clear. Effects like voice-over narration and screen titles made it easy to follow.
  • Many moves were demonstrated first without a veil, then with the veil, so it was possible to see what the arms were doing.
  • Amaya used different colors of silk veils when demonstrating the various moves. This variety made it easier to continue watching the video for a longer period of time.
  • Amaya's practice/teaching outfits were distinctive and attractive. They offer some nice costume ideas.
  • At the end, the closing credits identified music, veil, and costume sources for items used on the video along with information on how to contact the vendors.
  • It contained a number of veil ideas that were new to me, that I'm now looking forward to trying for myself.
  • The performance sections were artfully delivered, and a pleasure to watch.
  • She used a variety of music from assorted artists throughout the video. This variety was good for a couple of reasons: 1) It may help some dancers identify new tapes/CD's that they'd like to add to their collections, and 2) It makes it easy to watch the video multiple times without getting too tired of the music.

What I Didn't Like

  • I rapidly grew tired of watching Amaya's black outfit against a black background. The brightly-colored veils provided some relief, but not enough.

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Movements Included

  • Warm-Ups: 13 moves (explore space with hands & wrists, snake arms, energy ripples, directional energy, figure 8 [also called candle hands or lotus hands], windshield wipers, scoops, reach, butterfly, caress, body wave scoop, Pharonic, and s-shape.)
  • Arms: 13 moves (all the warm-ups used were also suitable for beautiful arm movements while dancing)
  • Veil Drapes: 7 wraps (butterfly, Grecian goddess, bustle, Madonna, Mish-Mish, Arabian fantasy, jacket drape)
  • Veil Moves: 7 move combinations (open catch, cocoon, tent, blessing, Mish-Mish, rainbow, and imagery)

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Reviews of Other Videos by this Artist/Instructor

If you'd like to read my reviews of other videos by Amaya, choose from the list below:

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My first exposure to Amaya came in the 1980's when I attended a workshop in San Jose, California that she taught. I very much enjoyed the class, but there was no opportunity to have a conversation with her at the time. More recently, I met her in person once as I was dealing with a flat tire on my car outside a belly dance festival. We exchanged introductions, but it wasn't exactly an ideal time to chat! We have also had some e-mail contact, but not extensive. So, I would describe our relationship as pleasant acquaintances, but not more than that.

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Contacting The Producer & Ordering The Video

Contact Amaya as follows:

Amaya Productions
P.O. Box 205
Cedar Crest, NM 87008-0205

Phone & Fax: (+1) (505) 281-4492
Mobile: (+1) (505) 480-6221

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