Dancing With Veils

A Video Review By Shira

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Summary



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

Cory Zamora teaches an introduction to U.S.-style veil work. She begins with one way to wrap the veil, shows how to dance it off, and how to work with it after removing it. Cory is skilled at veil work, but with only about 15-20 minutes devoted to teaching moves the video' content seems a bit skimpy. Sadly, the horrid production quality butchers what could have been an informative video.

Cover

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NTSC
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Canada
NTSC
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VHS Tape Edition Not offered Not offered Not offered

(If my DVD region information above differs from Amazon, trust me, not Amazon. Amazon doesn't offer a way for sellers to indicate that their DVD's support multiple regions, so they're forced to pick just one. I ask sellers which region codes they support, and if I have my own copy of the DVD I use software to to verify the region codes.)

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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 Dancing with Veils by Cory Zamora?
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 November 23, 2003.

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The Chart

Recommended Level Intermediate
Formats Available NTSC
Overall Rating StarStar
Production Quality Star
Content Value StarStarStar
Packaging StarStar
Total Video Length 52:27 minutes
Performance Time 8:05 minutes (16%)
Teaching Time 28:26 minutes (73%)
Amount Of "Other" 5:56 minutes (11%)
Choreography No
Cultural Information No
Music Education No
Health Issues No
Number Of Models 2
List Price $24.95
Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time 54 cents
Cost For "Other" $2.82

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Description

I love American-style veil work. So when my friend Lavonne offered to loan me this video, I looked forward to seeing what Cory would teach. Although Cory does perform beautiful veil work and teaches many of her moves on this video, I found the video disappointing. The sound quality is awful, truly awful, and only 15-20 of the 52 minutes are devoted to teaching moves. The rest is practice session and performance. Cory team-teaches this video with assistance from one of her students named Amanda.

The video opens with some man interviewing Cory and Amanda. The sloppy editing cuts off the beginning of his opening sentence, presumably where he has introduced himself, so I have no idea who he is. He asks Cory and Amanda some questions about veil work and what will be taught on the video. I find this interview format interesting as a way of presenting information, but on this video his questions don't seem very insightful and the responses to them not particularly informative. Altogether, the interview lasts about 4 minutes.

The 15-minute instructional segment of the video where Cory teaches moves comes next. She begins with teaching a way to wrap the veil known as a "bib tie", then shows how to dance it off a bit at a time in the context of a performance. Her choice of wrap is one that I too enjoy using, and her instructions on how to dance it off gave me some new ideas that I look forward to trying. In this segment, Cory also talks about how to do veil work without removing your finger cymbals - a notion that I applaud. She offers specific tips on how to manipulate the veil in the hands even though the finger cymbals are in place.

Cory herself teaches wearing just leotard and tights, while her assistant Amanda demonstrates in full costume. This is useful, because Amanda shows how the veil is tucked into the costume's bra/belt set, while Cory shows how to approximate the effect when wearing exercise clothes.

Cory teaches several moves in this section. Some can be used while the veil is still partly tucked, while others are used after it has been fully removed. There's sufficient variety to fill a 3-5 minute song. Cory's style of veil work emphasizes moves in which the veil is wrapped around the head or the body, then unwrapped. Once the unwrapping is done, Cory doesn't spend much time on explanation - she moves from one move to the next at full speed, talking as she goes. Someone who is already comfortable with veil work could probably keep up with this, but a newcomer to veil would probably be confused and wish for more of a step-by-step approach.

Next Cory and Amanda review the moves just taught in a practice session to the song "Salla Sana" from the Brothers of the Baladi CD titled "Hope", which has a rhumba rhythm. Cory calls out each move as they prepare to do it, which enables someone practicing with the video to follow along. This can be useful for learning how the moves can flow from one to another.

Following this practice session, Cory teaches an alternate way to remove the veil from its "bib tie" wrap, then proceeds to a second practice session, this one to a song using the chiftetelli rhythm from the Brothers of the Baladi CD titled "Further Journeys". This practice session is very similar to the earlier one, except that Cory uses the second method of removing the veil and inserts a couple of additional veil poses.

This concludes the instructional section. The video next shows an 8-minute performance by Cory in full costume on a stage. The lighting isn't great, but it's acceptable. The performance begins with Cory doing veil work to the song "Jemilleh" from John Bilezikjian's CD "Magic of John Bilezikjian". She performs many of the moves that were taught earlier, providing an excellent opportunity to observe how they look in the context of a real show. At the end of the performance, she discards the veil and dances to a high-energy piece with strong percussion accents. Cory is a skilled dancer, but sadly this performance segment is ruined by a noticeable gap in the music every time the scene switches from one camera's angle to another. Sometimes there's a blink of silence; other times the song sounds like the needle skipped on an old vinyl record. The miserable sound quality and editing ruins what could have been a beautiful performance.

After the performance, the camera shifts to a scene where Cory's students are milling about her classroom. After a bit of banter that should have been cut, Cory begins teaching a class in veil work. The format is very much like that of the two practice sessions earlier - using the song "Bir Demet Yasemen", Cory takes them through a veil practice session, calling out the names of moves to use. It serves as an unnecessary third practice session of the same material taught earlier. The camera work is annoying and distracting, showing faces instead of showing what to do. Instead of including this 11-minute segment, the video should have taken more time in the instructional section. There are many better ways that 11 minutes could have been used: showing how a veil is made, showing different fabrics and discussing the pros and cons of each, talking about rectangular versus semicircular, devoting more time to step-by-step descriptions of how to do the moves, etc.

The background for the video appears to be a studio hung with a mish-mash of veils or costume pieces. They are distracting, and Cory's body in its black leotard is sometimes difficult to discern against this background.

The production quality is poor, especially the horrid sound quality and editing. I can live with homemade quality of video, but I've seen other homemade videos that were much easier on the eye and ear than this one. There is irritating buzzing background noise associated with a particular camera angle in the instructional section. The person who edited the transition between camera angles made a mess of things - there are gaps in the sound, sometimes the beginning or end of a spoken sentence is cut off, and at the end of a song the music is often chopped off abruptly. It would have been better to use a single camera and forego the fancy angle switches. At times the camera zooms in for close-ups on either Cory's or Amanda's face, making it impossible to determine which move is being demonstrated. The lighting is a bit dimmer than I would have preferred and sometimes washes out the color, but it is "good enough". Cory seems to be a skilled dancer, a warm person, and an informative teacher, but the production quality delivered by Dialogue International butchers her work. It's a shame.

At the beginning, the video says the music used is by Brothers of the Baladi. While it's true that some of their music is used, Cory's performance segment includes music by John Bilezikjian (the song "Jemilleh" from his CD "The Magic of John Bilezikjian") and another artist whom I didn't recognize.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • You love the American Nightclub style of belly dancing that arose in the U.S. over the 1960's and 1970's.
  • You already enjoy doing veil work and you're interested in adding some new moves to your repertoire.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You're only interested in Egyptian style dancing or American Tribal Style dancing.
  • You've never had any previous introduction to veil work and you need detailed explanations of how to do moves.
  • You want more than 15-20 minutes devoted to teaching moves.
  • You are hoping for detailed exploration of technique - how to hold the veil, how to keep it aloft, how to spin, etc.

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What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked

  • Cory's warm on-screen personality.
  • Cory teaches how to deal with doing veil work while wearing (but not playing) finger cymbals.
  • I learned some interesting moves that I hadn't seen before.
  • Cory does dance beautifully when performing the moves taught on this video.

What I Didn't Like

  • Sloppy, incompetent editing. At times, the voice is cut off at the beginning of a statement so that you miss the first few words. At other times, music is chopped off abruptly.
  • The awful sound quality. For a while, there's an annoying buzzing noise. Periodically there are blank spots in the music, usually when cutting from one camera angle to another, which is just plain sloppy, incompetent editing. The volume and sound quality also change noticeably when cutting from one camera angle to another.
  • Only about 20 minutes of teaching how to do moves. The remaining 18 minutes of instruction time are spent practicing what was taught. While practice is helpful, there was much more than necessary.
  • The opening titles say that the music on the video comes from Brothers of the Baladi. While it's true that some of their music is used, the video also features music by other artists without ever identifying them.
  • Cory's explanations don't offer much detail. A newcomer to veil would feel lost.

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Movements Included

  • Veil Wraps: 1 wrap (bib tie)
  • Spins: 3 moves (lame bird, whirly bird, can-can skirt)
  • Frames: 5 moves (shadow box, picture frame, Rosemary's baby, Dracula, bridal veil, and a couple of others that weren't named)
  • Footwork: 3 moves (basic cross step, cross-pivot, one-sided hip circle)

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Reviews of Other Videos by this Instructor

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

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In Conclusion

Cory is a talented dancer whose veil work is attractive. It's worth learning. But it's a shame that her talent is wasted on a video produced by Dialogue International. With only about 15-20 minutes devoted to teaching actual moves and the rest of the video spent on review or performance, it feels skimpy, and the sound quality is awful. Just awful. In the portion of the video where she teaches the moves, Cory indeed shares her secrets, but her instruction is at the level of an intermediate dancer, so a beginner may wish for more detail in the explanations. As an experienced dancer who loves veil work, I gained some new ideas from watching this video, so I could definitely recommend it for someone who already knows basics of veil work and wishes to learn some new moves. But I wouldn't recommend it as your very first veil instructional video.

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Disclosures

I've never had any kind of interaction with either Cory Zamora or her assistant Amanda. I borrowed the copy of the video used for this review from a fellow dancer.

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Acknowledgements

I'd like to thank Lavonne for loaning me this copy of her video to review.

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Contacting The Producer & Ordering The Video

To purchase this video from Amazon:

Item

Amazon.com in U.S.

Amazon.ca in Canada

Amazon.co.uk in United Kingdom

DVD Edition U.S.
NTSC
All Regions
Canada
NTSC
All Regions
U.K.
NTSC (from U.S.)
All Regions
VHS Tape Edition Not offered Not offered Not offered

(If my DVD region information above differs from Amazon, trust me, not Amazon. Amazon doesn't offer a way for sellers to indicate that their DVD's support multiple regions, so they're forced to pick just one. I ask sellers which region codes they support, and if I have my own copy of the DVD I use software to to verify the region codes.)

Contact Cory Zamora as follows:

Dialogue International
408 West Indianapolis Avenue
Fresno, CA 93705
U.S.A.

Phone: (+1) (559) 241-0421
Fax: (+1) (559) 221-6323
Web Site: www.bellydancingonvideo.com
E-Mail: greatdialogue@yahoo.com

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