Prenatal Bellydance

A Video Review By Shira

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

In her seventh month of pregnancy, Naia leads a gentle exercise routine suitable for pregnant women who would like to use belly dancing to stay in shape. Throughout the workout there are comments explaining why each move used is beneficial to prenatal health. Cover

To purchase this video from Amazon:

Item in U.S. in Canada in United Kingdom

DVD Edition U.S.
Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Not offered Not offered

To my knowledge, this video has not been released on VHS tape.

(Amazon's claim that the DVD version is Region 1 is wrong. 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 have personally tested this DVD and found it to enable all regions except region 9 for cruise ships and airplanes.)

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

What Users Think

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The Chart

Recommended Level Beginner
Formats Available NTSC
Overall Rating StarStarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStarStar
Packaging StarStarStar
Total Video Length 28:24 minutes
Workout Time  24:28 minutes (86%)
Teaching Time 3:36 minutes (13%)
Amount Of "Other" 0:20 minutes (1%)
Cultural Information No
Health Issues Yes
Number Of Models 1
List Price $14.98
Cost Per Minute Of Fitness, Performance, & Instruction 53 cents
Cost For "Other" 18 cents

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers


Naia from New York leads a 25-minute workout routine based on belly dance moves that is especially designed for the health care needs of a pregnant woman. It considers issues such as the lower back pain, changing sense of balance, swelling in the joints, development of the pelvic floor muscles, and other challenges that pregnant women face, and offers movements that are friendly to these concerns. At the time this video was filmed, Naia was seven months pregnant, which makes her an excellent role model as workout leader.

The first choice on the DVD's root menu is a "Welcome" section that contains 3 ½ minutes of detailed information on how to safely enjoy belly dancing while pregnant. It offers tips such as exercising in a cool environment to avoid overheating the baby, drinking plenty of water, symptoms to beware of, etc. This information is so important that I think it could have been better to give this section a more compelling title. This is must-viewing for anyone who wants guidance on the special exercise safety considerations of pregnancy.

The second and third choices on the DVD's root menu are the workout itself. Both lead to exactly the same workout, but one has the voiceover cueing, while the other is music-only. The workout consists of six sections, including:

  • Water (Warmup). About 5 ½ minutes long. Includes some hand and arm moves with comments on why it's beneficial to work the wrists during pregnancy. Offers some foot/ankle moves to promote circulation. Also head circles and shoulder rolls.
  • Earth (Lower Body). About 5 minutes long. Consists of the hip-oriented belly dance moves such as hip slides, hip circles, step hip, vertical figure 8's.
  • Air (Upper Body). About 4 ½ minutes long. Consists of rib cage and arm moves, such as snake arms, with hip sways and lunges added to the snake arms, undulations, and stepping with a chest lift.
  • Fire (Travel Steps). About 3 minutes long. Although these steps involve footwork, they don't require much space and could still be done in the living room without too much trouble. There's the rocking step (what Jamila Salimpour calls Arabic IV), the hip rollover (what some people call the Saidi step), some subdued Arabesques, and other moves that help burn calories but don't overheat the body too much for the baby.
  • Dance. About 2 ½ minutes long. In each of the previous four sections, specific steps are taught, then assembled into a combination representing that section. In the "Dance" segment, those four combinations taught earlier are assembled into a simple choreographed dance that could be done separately outside of the workout.
  • Light (Cooldown). About 4 minutes long. This includes some of the softer moves that were done earlier, such as hip circles, head circles, flowing arm moves, sways, etc.

The "Chapters" choice on the top menu makes it easy to skip directly to any of the six segments above. A "Disclaimer" choice leads to a slide that contains the customary health disclaimer found on most exercise-oriented videos. A "Credits" choice leads to a submenu of the primary contributors to this video (Naia, Katherine Contento, Neon, and the music), with choices leading to slides with background on each.

Part of the richness of this video is the abundant health-related information it contains. There is not only the introductory 3 ½ minutes of tips for safe dancing, but throughout the video as Naia leads the routine there are many comments explaining what role each move plays in assisting with prenatal health. I would encourage any belly dance teacher with pregnant students to listen to it several times. World Dance New York recruited a Nurse Practitioner named Katherine Contento who has extensive experience in ob-gyn practice to serve as a consultant to this program. Although Contento doesn't appear on-camera, she has advised the people involved in this project on how to create a routine that would follow the guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Naia's attire includes exercise pants, hip scarf, coin belt, and a crop top with bell sleeves. Her midriff is fully bared. Her clothing makes it easy to see what her body is doing. However, I find those floppy sleeves distracting.

Most of the music consists of compositions by Jehan, which have a very New Age flavor.

Although I normally think it's fine if a fitness-oriented belly dance video doesn't include a performance segment, I wish Naia would have done a performance on this one because there aren't many commercial videos showing professional-level performances by pregnant belly dancers. From how she moves in the workout, it's clear that Naia is an experienced dancer, and a performance by her could have served as a positive, inspiring role model to others.

The belly dance moves used in this workout are basic-level moves that a beginner should be able to do with confidence. Naia assumes that you already know how to do hip circles, figure 8's (infinity loops), snake arms, etc. and doesn't explain how to do them. If you already know these moves from a beginning belly dance class or other video, you'll find that her pacing is simple enough to keep up.

The production quality is excellent. The set is beautifully decorated with draped fabric, a potted plant, and Oriental rugs. The wall next to Naia is fully mirrored. From the angle, it's possible to see her moves in the mirror, but more intuitive to look directly at her. The camera angle always shows exactly what it should, so it's always possible to see the necessary body parts. There is plenty of lighting, and the sound is easy to hear.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • You're looking for a prenatal belly dance exercise routine which is based on actual medical guidelines for pregnancy.
  • You are a belly dance student who wants to keep practicing during your pregnancy.
  • You want to know which belly dance moves can help with prenatal health and why.
  • You are a belly dance teacher who would like to better understand the needs of your pregnant students.
  • You would appreciate a dance workout led by someone with a large belly even though you're not pregnant yourself.
  • You're looking for a gift to give a pregnant belly dancer.
  • You enjoy music by Jehan.
  • You would find it inspiring to see a woman in her third trimester of pregnancy unashamedly baring her belly.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You have no interest in how belly dancing could be used for prenatal exercise.
  • You don't care for music with a New Age flavor.
  • You prefer Middle Eastern music to be used with belly dancing.

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What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked

  • The workout leader is seven months pregnant.
  • The video offers extensive health information throughout.
  • The structure of the workout follows guidelines from American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists.
  • The workout in general feels like dancing throughout.
  • The credits identify the music used.

What I Didn't Like

  • Naia's floppy sleeves are distracting.

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In Conclusion

This video is excellent for any belly dancer or student who wants to keep belly dancing during pregnancy and wants ideas on how to do so safely. It helps identify which moves might be particularly beneficial to the unique requirements the body has at this time.

Belly dance teachers often wonder what special needs their pregnant students might have, such as which moves to avoid or which are especially beneficial, and this video can help with that.

Because Naia was seven months pregnant at the time this was filmed, this video might also be attractive to full-figured women who would prefer a workout leader whose body is large like theirs.

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I have never had any contact with Naia, the workout leader on this video.

The video was produced by World Dance New York, and I received a complimentary copy of this video from Neon (the producer) to review.

Katherine Contento, the Nurse Practitioner who consulted on this video (but never appeared on-camera) has been a close friend of mine for many years.

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Contacting The Producer & Ordering The Video

To purchase this video from Amazon:

Item in U.S. in Canada in United Kingdom

DVD Edition U.S.
Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Not offered Not offered

To my knowledge, this video has not been released on VHS tape.

(Amazon's claim that the DVD version is Region 1 is wrong. 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 have personally tested this DVD and found it to enable all regions except region 9 for cruise ships and airplanes.)

Or, contact World Dance New York as follows:

Web Site:

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

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