Hahbi 'Ru Basics "Level One"

A Video Review By Shira

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

Using folkloric music, Rita Alderucci and John Compton teach a series of step combinations and assemble them together into a "dance exercise" choreography for practice. The level of instruction is suitable for beginners who have outgrown elementary videos and are looking for new challenges.


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The Chart

Recommended Level Intermediate
Formats Available NTSC
Overall Rating StarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStar
Packaging StarStarStarStarStar
Total Video Length 68:19 minutes
Performance Time None
Teaching Time 67:35 minutes (99%)
Amount Of "Other" 44 seconds (1%)
Choreography Yes
Cultural Information No
Music Education No
Health Issues No
Number Of Models 5 warm-up, 2 teaching
List Price $35.00
Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time 52 cents
Cost For "Other" 38 cents

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This is the first in a series of three instructional videos featuring John Compton and Rita Alderucci, the co-directors of the folkloric dance company Hahbi 'Ru based in San Francisco. Although it is named "Level One", this video's instruction is not intended for brand-new beginners. Its target user is an experienced beginner or early intermediate who has mastered such basics as hip circles, hip lifts, and other elementary moves and is now ready to learn how to put them together into a dance.

Rita opens the video leading four of her students (Amanda Baer, Kristen Schiro, Barbara Towner, and Peter White) in a well-designed 16-minute warm-up. For the instructional section of the video, Rita and John team-teach assorted step combinations, including some traveling moves, some different types of shimmies, and a couple of spins. Although arm positions are demonstrated that coordinate with the combinations, the instruction doesn't focus on arms. The format for teaching each combination consists of clearly explaining the building blocks, including where to put the weight, then repetition a few times at slow speed, then repetition several times to music at full speed.

Following the instruction, John and Rita teach a 2 ½ minute choreographed "dance exercise" that can be used for practicing the moves that were taught. For this, they have separated the choreography into several segments. They teach the moves used in one segment, then practice it, then the next segment, then practice that, etc. until all the segments have been taught. They end with putting it all together. The video comes with written choreography notes for the dance exercise, which I find helpful in learning it. This instruction runs rather quickly, and will probably require a bit of rewinding.

This video does not have a performance segment.

The set is simple but attractive, with Oriental rugs hung behind the instructors. The camera always shows what I want to see, offering close-ups of the most helpful body parts when appropriate, but usually staying back allowing me to see the complete move. Unfortunately, the gap between the background rugs is too dark as a background, especially since the instructors wear black.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • You have outgrown elementary videos and you'd like one designed to help you assemble those basic moves into a dance.
  • You appreciate folkloric music played on the mizmar.
  • You would enjoy a video with a male dancer as one of the instructors.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You're brand new to belly dancing and need to start at the very beginning.

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What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked

  • The warm-up is helpful.
  • The detailed explanations of how to do the moves are clear and easy to understand.
  • The camera work shows exactly what it should - close-ups when appropriate, otherwise staying back to see the full body.
  • John and Rita's methodology for teaching the choreography is easy to follow.

What I Didn't Like

  • It doesn't have a performance segment.
  • It doesn't identify what music was used for the practice choreography.

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Movements Included

  • Hip Articulations: 7 moves (one two three and, one and six, ¾ shimmy, ¾ with feet forward & back, the five shimmy, five shimmy with full turn, basic Egyptian "nailed")
  • Hip Undulations: 1 move (circle step)
  • Traveling Steps: 10 moves (basic Egyptian, chooch straight, chooch forward & back, Arabic 1, Arabic 2, Arabic 3, Raqia 1, Raqia 2, backwalk figure 8, side-to-side spins)

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Reviews of Other Videos by this Artist/Instructor

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

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In Conclusion

This video could be helpful for intermediate belly dancers who have outgrown the elementary videos that teach basics like hip circles and want something that will build on what they already know. This one assumes knowledge of these basics and puts them together into combinations. At the end, it teaches a choreographed 2 ½ minute "dance exercise" that puts them together.

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John Compton, one of the co-directors of Hahbi 'Ru, has been a friend of mine for many years. Although I've met his co-director Rita Alderucci, I don't know her very well. They provided me a complimentary copy of this video to use for review purposes.

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Contacting The Producer & Ordering The Video

Contact Hahbi 'Ru as follows:

Hahbi 'Ru
220 Esmeralda Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94110

Phone: (+1) (415) 641-4510
E-Mail: hahbiru@earthlink.net
Web Site: www.hahbiru.com

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