Hahbi 'Ru "Level Two"

A Video Review By Shira

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

Rita Alderucci (formerly known as Rebaba) teaches an intermediate-level choreographed dance to orchestral Egyptian music.


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The Chart

Recommended Level Intermediate
Formats Available NTSC
Overall Rating StarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStar
Packaging StarStarStarStar
Total Video Length 48:00 minutes
Performance Time 0:00 minutes (0%)
Teaching Time 46:23 minutes (97%)
Amount Of "Other" 1:37 minutes (3%)
Choreography Yes
Cultural Information No
Music Education No
Health Issues No
Number Of Models 5 in warm-up, 3 in instruction
List Price $35.00
Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time 75 cents
Cost For "Other" $1.18

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Rita Alderucci, co-director of Hahbi 'Ru, teaches a five-minute choreographed dance to modern Egyptian orchestral music. The video opens with a 16 ½ minute warm-up led by Rita which uses a series of ballistic stretches. Four of her students, Amanda Baer, Kristen Schiro, Barbara Towner, and Peter White do the warm-up with her.

Once the warm-up is complete, Rita moves into teaching the choreography. Two people, Jill Bottomley and Peter White, help her demonstrate throughout. Male belly dance students or teachers who have male students may find it useful to see how Rita's moves look on Peter.

Rita assumes that the viewer has previously worked with the video Hahbi 'Ru Basics "Level One". Many of the combinations used in this choreography are explained in detail on that earlier video. Consequently, when introducing a combination that was taught on Level One, Rita doesn't repeat the detailed explanation. Instead, she offers a brief review of how to do it. Intermediate-level viewers may find it challenging to keep up with this if they haven't first mastered the earlier video, while advanced-level viewers would probably find the review sufficient.

Rita's methodology for teaching the choreography is one of the better approaches I have seen used on an instructional video. Her structure makes it easy to learn it. She has divided the overall dance into three sections which are numbered Section 1, Section 2, and Section 3. For each section, she first teaches 2-3 moves in a row, then leads a run-through of putting them together. Next come another 2-3 moves, which Rita then puts together. This continues until she reaches the end of the section, at which point she leads a run-through of the entire section to music, calling out which move to do next each step along the way. She proceeds to teach the second section in the same way, then the third. At this stage, she talks about how one of the moves can be modified when done by a group, and leads a run-through to music that puts all three sections together with the group modification. Finally, she appends repeats of two of the sections to the end of what has been learned so far and shows how to transition into it. The only room for improvement is that it might have been helpful to have on-screen text identifying which move comes next in addition to having Rita call it out.

The video label offers a list of the combinations in each section, which can help with memorizing choreography. It isn't as specific as I would prefer. For example, it says simply "Turns" rather than "Side to side turn with lunge finish". But for those who like notes with more detail, it's enough to help jog the memory when making your own detailed notes.

Throughout the video, Rita and her assistants face directly toward the camera, so it is necessary to adjust for this when learning the moves.

There is no costumed performance segment, only demos of the choreography in classroom clothing.
The production quality is very good. The video is well lit, and it's always easy to hear what Rita is saying, even when there is music in the background. The camera always shows exactly what I want to see, usually showing a full-length view of Rita's entire body.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • You would like to learn some fresh step combinations.
  • You would like to learn a 5-minute choreography you can perform, either as a soloist or as a troupe.
  • You would find it informative to see a male dancer assisting Rita in demonstrating the moves.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You have been studying belly dance less than a year.
  • You don't care for Egyptian orchestral music.
  • You're not interested in choreography with an American "accent".

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked

  • Rita has two assistants with body types different from her own helping her illustrate the moves.
  • The production quality is very good. It is well lit, and always easy to hear what Rita is saying, even when she has turned on the music in the background.
  • The camera always shows what it should.
  • The format for teaching the choreography is structured well to make it easy to learn.

What I Didn't Like

  • The video doesn't identify music used for the choreography.
  • There is no costumed performance segment to show what Rita looks like as a performer or to show how the choreography looks in full costume.

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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

Rita is a skilled dancer who explains moves clearly. Intermediate students should probably first master the video Hahbi 'Ru Basics "Level One" before tackling this one because Rita assumes the viewer knows many of those combinations and covers them only briefly as a review. Advanced-level dancers would probably find the reviews sufficient to figure out the moves even if they haven't previously watched Level One. The choreography is best suited to dancers who enjoy Egyptian orchestral music but don't mind an American-style "accent" to the dance.

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Although I've met Rita, I don't know her very well. Her co-director of Hahbi 'Ru, John Compton, has been a friend of mine for many years. 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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