Floor Work Made Simple, by Mahisha

A Video Review By Shira

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

On this video, Mahisha teaches the fundamentals of floor work. The instruction is aimed at the level of an intermediate dancer who already knows basic belly dancing moves and now wants to learn floor work. It includes both simple moves suitable for beginning dancers and more advanced moves for dancers who already have floor work experience. At the end, there is a second floor work performance by Mahisha.

Why I gave it 4 stars:

  • Generally speaking, Mahisha does a nice job of introducing a variety of floor work moves and explaining them well.
  • Although the lighting on the instructional part of the video was quite good, the lighting for the two performances was not. It was hard to see Mahisha's lovely dancing on those performances.
  • Mahisha chose appropriate moves to teach, and offered some good variety.

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The Chart

Recommended Level Intermediate
Formats Available NTSC, PAL, SECAM
Overall Rating StarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStar
Packaging StarStarStarStar
Total Video Length 40:12 minutes
Performance Time 9:33 minutes (24%)
Teaching Time 29:18 minutes (73%)
Amount Of "Other" 1:21 minutes (3%)
Choreography No
Cultural Information No
Music Education No
Health Issues Yes
Number Of Models 1
List Price $18.95 for NTSC
$22.95 for PAL or SECAM
Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time 49 cents for NTSC
59 cents for PAL or SECAM
Cost For "Other" 57 cents for NTSC
69 cents for PAL or SECAM

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This video starts with the assumption that you have already mastered the basics of belly dancing, but you're a newcomer to floor work. I would recommend it for an intermediate level dancer (18 months more of belly dancing instruction).

The video opens with a 3 1/2-minute floor work performance by Mahisha. The dancing is lovely, but unfortunately the lighting is poor so it's somewhat hard to see what she's doing. Her costume is beautiful, and her arm movements are very graceful. She includes some rather difficult moves in the performance. It's clear from this introductory dance that Mahisha is quite skilled at floor work.

Next comes a half hour of floor work instruction. Mahisha teaches several methods for transitioning from a standing position to the floor, as well as a good variety of moves to do once you get to the floor. She also demonstrates a couple of methods for returning to a standing position. Some of the moves are fairly easy to do, and others are more challenging.

Many of the more challenging ones involve going into a backbend from a kneeling position. Some of these were taught in about the middle of the instructional section, followed by some much easier moves. So don't let the backbends intimidate you if you're working with this tape - keep going past them, and you'll find some easier moves to do.

At the end, Mahisha does another floor work performance, this one nearly 6 minutes long. Again, her dancing is good, but the lighting is so poor that it's difficult to appreciate. She includes several of the moves that were taught in the instructional section of the tape, so it provides an opportunity to see how the moves look in the context of a real show.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • You've never before done floor work, and you'd like to learn it. This tape will give you a nice place to start.
  • You already have some experience with floor work, and now you're looking for some new moves to do.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You want to do only Egyptian style, and you're not interested in anything else. (Floor work was banned in Egypt in the 1950's, so Egyptian-style dancers no longer do it.)
  • You're not interested in learning floor work.

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What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked

  • Mahisha discussed warm-ups and correct posture.
  • Periodically throughout the tape, she interjects useful little side comments that contain great advice for dancers, such as "You really need to love your music."
  • In the performance segments, her dancing was skillful and she performed some difficult moves quite artistically.
  • The lighting was quite good on the instructional segments, and her clothing contrasted appropriately with the background. This made it easy to see what she was doing.
  • Mahisha taught some nice arm moves that would be good not only for floor work, but also dancing when standing up.
  • Mahisha selected a nice variety of moves to teach. Some were quite easy, and would be suitable for people who have never done floor work before. Others were more difficult, and could offer a good challenge to a dancer with some floor work experience.

What I Didn't Like

  • I wished Mahisha would have discussed the risks that floor work poses to knees and offered suggestions on how to minimize that risk.
  • The lighting quality was poor on the two performance segments. It was difficult to see what she was doing.
  • Some rather difficult moves (backbends) were introduced about midway through the tape, then followed by easier moves. The more difficult moves should have been placed near the end of the tape so that a newcomer to floor work could master the easier moves first and build the courage to tackle the harder ones.

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Movements Included

  • Exercises: 1 move (lean back from knees to strengthen quads)
  • Descents: 5 moves (maya to floor, undulate/body wave to floor, sway from side to side into backbend, step forward & down, modified Turkish drop)
  • Rises: 2 moves (undulation, pull forward)
  • Traveling Steps: 2 moves (berber floor walk/knee crawl, Cleopatra crawl)
  • Other Moves: 14 moves (maya on knees, arms frame face while on knees, head slides while on knees, sit-arounds, Cleopatra's bridge with figure 8, Cleopatra's bridge with undulations, roll, swirl through backbend, backbend arch, figure 8 in circle on knees, undulation on knees, roll down into backbend from knees and roll back up, snake arms on knees, figure 8 with arm)
  • Poses: 4 moves (Cleopatra's bridge, kneel, lunge with back foot raised, one hip & hand on floor)

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In Conclusion

Mahisha packs a lot of good dance moves into just a half hour of instruction and she explains them well. Although I wish she would have offered more information about which floor work moves are risky to knees and how to minimize such risks, she did offer some good advice about posture and the value of warm-ups. The performance segments were danced beautifully, although poorly lit. If you're interested in learning floor work, I would definitely recommend this video. Although not perfect, it contains a lot of good material, and is taught by someone who clearly is skilled at doing it.

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Reviews of Other Videos by this Artist/Instructor

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

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Mahisha mailed me a complimentary copy of this video to review for my web site, and she submitted a listing for herself to my teacher and performer directory. We exchanged a few e-mail messages when I was working on the review of one of her other videos and I had some questions for her. I've had no other contact with her.

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Contacting The Producer & Ordering The Video

Contact Mahisha as follows:

Mahisha Alail
1055 Elkton Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80907

Phone: (+1) (719) 531-6311
E-Mail: Mahisha22@aol.com

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