Instant Belly Dancer: Hipwork Plus

A Video Review By Shira

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This video is now out of print. Neon has replaced it with a new release titled Instant Bellydancer 1: A Crash Course, which incorporates the material from both Instant Bellydancer: Curves and Instant Bellydancer: Hipwork Plus. Even though Neon no longer sells this video, I have kept this review online for the benefit of people who might be considering buying a used copy.

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

In this sequel to Instant Belly Dancer: Curves, Neon teaches a large variety of sharp, accented belly dance moves for use in social dancing in clubs. She includes suggestions on how to assemble them into combinations and vary them. The video is not intended for people who want to "study" belly dance technique - it is designed for people who want to just learn a few moves for the fun of it.


To purchase this video from Amazon:

Item in U.S. in Canada in United Kingdom

DVD Edition U.S.
All regions
All regions
NTSC (from U.S.)
All Regions

This video has not been released in a VHS tape version (at least, not in the English language.)

(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.)

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What Users Think

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The above poll includes responses submitted since April 15, 2004.

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The Chart

Recommended Level Total Novice
Formats Available NTSC
Overall Rating StarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStar
Packaging StarStarStar
Total Video Length 91:23 minutes
Performance Time 4:24 minutes (5%)
Teaching Time 86:59 minutes (95%)
Amount Of "Other" 0 minutes (0%)
Choreography No
Cultural Information No
Music Education No
Health Issues No
Number Of Models 1
List Price $19.98
Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time 22 cents
Cost For "Other" 0 cents

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This video is the sequel to Instant Belly Dancer: Curves. Using up-to-date computer graphics technology to help illustrate her points, Neon teaches a series of belly dance moves based on accented slides, lifts, drops, and arcs, and shows how to put them together into combinations. The video is designed for people who would like to incorporate some belly dance moves into the social dancing they do at parties, clubs, raves, etc. Neon organizes the moves into families: horizontal slides, vertical slides, lifts & drops, parallel arcs, and perpendicular arcs. I find this structure very well organized and easy to follow.

Although the emphasis of this video is on hip work, it does include a few moves for the rib cage and head. Each of these major instructional ends with a section called "Combinations" in which Neon dances club-style, incorporating the moves just taught. In these sections, there is no discussion of which moves she is doing, she merely demonstrates. It provides a useful way to see the moves in context.

Every time Neon introduces a move, an on-screen diagram next to her shows the outline of a body with arrows indicating how to move.

Throughout the video, Neon wears party clothes. She teaches wearing bright pink hip huggers with matching bra and armbands. For the demos in the "Combinations" sections, she wears blouse/miniskirt outfits similar to what someone might choose for a party. This reinforces the idea that the video is aimed at the needs of clubbers rather than serious belly dance students.

On Instant Belly Dancer: Hipwork Plus, Neon assumes that the viewer has previously mastered the moves that were taught on Instant Belly Dancer: Curves, and she frequently refers back to those moves when showing how to integrate the moves from this sequel into the overall dance. I would definitely recommend working through Curves before tackling Hipwork Plus, even for intermediate dancers who may feel confident they know the basics.

Generally speaking, Neon has excelled at producing a video suitable for the type of audience she intends to reach with it: the club-goer. Her explanations are detailed and clear, and her on-screen graphics augment her descriptions very well. The soundtrack has a strong techno flavor, with occasional breaks of Middle Eastern style drumming. The overall tone of the video is hip, energetic, and fun. This feels very trendy in 2004, but I expect that by 2010 it'll seem more dated than others that may have also been released in 2004.

But what about "serious" belly dancers? I think the video can offer value to that audience as well, but I do have some reservations. Many aspects of this video are perfectly fine for Neon's intended party audience, but less appropriate to those who want to "study" belly dance. If someone showed up in my class after working with this video, I'd probably be correcting her posture and helping her learn how to isolate. Neon's posture and technique are fine, but she doesn't focus on teaching these points on this video. On the other hand, I'd also probably admire such a student's ability to do a diverse collection of moves with variations and put them together into a dance, and I'd encourage her to continue the journey.

Dancers who are new to teaching will find this video to offer helpful ideas in explaining moves to their students. Dancers of all levels who are looking for ideas on layering and combinations will probably gain new inspiration from it.

In the "Extras" section Neon does an impressive 4 ½ minute performance to rapid techno music while balancing a tray of candles on her head. For this performance, she wears a professional belly dance costume. Neon's American Nightclub dance style is very strong and athletic, with deep standing backbends, rapid squats, etc.

Generally speaking, I preferred the prior Instant Belly Dancer: Curves. I find that Hipwork Plus doesn't use quite as many graphics as the earlier video to illustrate key points, and doesn't offer as much help as Curves did in explaining how to create combinations. Hipwork Plus is still well suited to its intended purpose, just not quite as strong as its predecessor.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • You don't want to "study" belly dance, just learn some cool moves for partying.
  • You would find it helpful to see computer graphics on screen to help illustrate how the body produces each move.
  • You have learned isolated moves in the past such as hip circles, and you're looking for a video that guides you through putting them together and varying them.
  • You're new to teaching belly dance and you'd like ideas on how to describe moves to students.
  • You prefer to learn from a video that feels hip, young, and fun rather than one that looks like it was made in the 1980's.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You want a video that will emphasize proper posture and technique for producing each move.
  • You believe belly dancing should be done only to Middle Eastern music.
  • You'd like a video that duplicates a typical belly dance classroom experience with warm-up, etc.
  • You take belly dancing quite seriously.
  • You are offended by the use of the word "Instant" in the title because you believe it belittles the art form.

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What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked

  • Neon's explanations for doing moves are clear.
  • The video makes helpful use of computer graphics for showing how to do moves.
  • The camera always focuses exactly where it should, showing me close-ups when they might help, but usually letting me see Neon's full body.
  • The production quality is excellent.
  • Neon's perky on-screen personality is spirited and playful, making this video fun to use.
  • Neon demonstrates how to put moves together into combinations and vary them.
  • The video teaches a large collection of moves.
  • At times, the video shows 2 on-screen images of Neon at once, one from the front and one from the back, showing the move from two angles at once. At other times, she changes her own position with respect to the camera to show the move from multiple angles.

What I Didn't Like

  • The overall tone of the video would probably annoy Oriental dance purists who focus on technique and culture.
  • Neon's bright pink lipstick distracts me a bit.

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Movements Included

  • Hip Articulations: 35 moves (horizontal hip slide, hip push, hip push diagonal, hip twist, swivel shimmy, up/down hip slide, vertical hip slide with step like Soheir Zaki's chonks, vertical hip slide in triangle, up/down hip shimmy, step-front-step-in-place-step-back-step-in-place like what Jamila Salimpour named Arabic IV, running shimmy like what some people call choo-choo shimmy, up/down hip slides with a twist, downward arc hip slides, upward arc hip slides, side hip lift/drop, drop & kick, one-hip twist, one-hip twist with lift, one-hip twist with drop, front hip lift/drop, back hip lift/drop, pelvic lock, front/back upward hip arc, front/side upward one-hip arc like what Delilah Flynn calls the "n", side-back upward one-hip arc, combine front and back arcs in one move like what Delilah Flynn calls the "m", front/back/downward one-hip arc, front/side downward one-hip arc, front/side/back downward & hip arc combination, side upward one-hip perpendicular arc, front upward one-hip perpendicular one-hip arc, back upward one-hip arc, side downward one-hip arc, front downward one-hip arc, back downward one-hip arc)
  • Traveling Steps: 14 moves (travel forward with hip push, hip push traveling to side, walk with head slide, walking hip shimmy, shimmy traveling sideways, step lift with crossover traveling forward & backward, step-drop, step lift like what Jamila Salimpour named basic Egyptian, drop & kick traveling sideways, one-hip twist traveling, travel with chest lift on each step, front/back upward arc traveling, travel backward with side-back upward one-hip arc)
  • Rib Cage Articulations: 5 moves (chest slide, shoulder push, shoulder shimmy, chest lift, chest drop)
  • Abdominal Moves: 1 move (stomach pulse)
  • Head: 1 move (head slide)

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Reviews of Other Videos by this Artist/Instructor

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




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In Conclusion

This is the kind of video that's perfect for some people and entirely wrong for others. It is designed for teens and twenty-somethings who want to incorporate belly dance moves into their party/club dancing. For this audience, it's very well designed, and should deliver exactly what they are looking for. Because of its very trendy flavor, this video will probably start looking passé earlier than others that were made at the same time as it.

A serious student of belly dance might prefer a different video, since Hipwork Plus doesn't cover technique, music, dance history, or culture. However, it is so rich with suggestions for varying and embellishing moves that even a serious student of belly dance will probably gain some new ideas if she can put her prejudices aside long enough to try it. People who are new to teaching belly dance will find some excellent ideas on this video for explaining how to do the moves.

If you haven't previously worked with Neon's earlier DVD, Instant Belly Dancer: Curves, you might want to master that one first before trying this one, since Hipwork Plus assumes you already know everything from the earlier one.

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I have chatted with Neon through e-mail, but I don't know her very well. She sent me a complimentary copy of this video to review.

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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.
All regions
All regions
NTSC (from U.S.)
All Regions

This video has not been released in a VHS tape version (at least, not in the English language.)

(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.)

Or, contact Neon as follows:

Web Site:

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