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Overall Rating: (on a scale of 1 to 5 stars)
On this video produced by the International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance (IAMED), Paulina teaches several elementary belly dance moves, then assembles them into a follow-me practice format. In addition, Jindra teaches a half-hour workout based on beginner-level belly dance moves. Amara and Paulina each then do a performance.
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|Recommended Level||Total Novice|
|Total Video Length||1:31:49 minutes (i.e., 91:49 minutes)|
|Performance Time||11:34 minutes (13%)|
|Teaching Time||43:59 minutes (48%)|
|Workout Time||31:41 minutes (34%)|
|Amount Of "Other"||4:35 minutes (5%)|
|Number Of Models||1 for instruction, 3 for workout|
|Cost Per Minute Of Teaching, Workout, & Performing Time||34 cents|
|Cost For "Other"||$1.50|
This video consists of three major sections: an instructional section taught by Paulina, a practice/workout section led by Jindra, and a performance section with performances by Paulina and Amara. Like its companion videos, Art of Belly Dance - Arabian Sands and Art of Belly Dance - Desert Dreams, this video teaches elementary moves, offering a level of explanation suitable for someone who has never belly danced before. It doesn't really matter which of the three videos is used first - each can stand on its own, without needing any prior knowledge of material taught on the others, and all are taught at the level of a complete beginner.
Paulina has designed the instructional section for the needs of people who have never before set foot in a belly dance class or worked with a belly dance video. Her pace would be particularly well suited for someone who has never before studied any kind of dance. Each segment begins with a brief 30-60 second demonstration of the move(s) that will be taught in that section. Paulina then patiently explains in great detail how to do the move, demonstrating each from both the front and from the side. She lingers and drills it before proceeding to the next.
After drilling it a bit, she then warns against common errors, which viewers can use to check their own technique. In some cases, she includes variations in the section, not just the base move. At the end of each section, a screen of text lists the key points for doing the move just taught, which could be a helpful guide for someone who wants to take written notes. The instruction is divided into 9 major sections, as follows:
Throughout this instructional section, Paulina wears a matched set of bra top and leggings with a hip scarf. Her body contrasts well against the background behind her, and it is always easy to see what she is doing.
In the one-minute introduction to each segment, as Paulina demonstrates the move to music, she uses the arm movements with it that will be taught later. This makes it possible for the viewer to see how the move will look when fully put together. I like this better than how the demonstrations are done in the companion volume Arabian Sands, because in Arabian Sands all the demos involve awkwardly holding the arms out to each side.
The instruction doesn't follow the customary "warm up", "teach", then "cool down" format that most instructional belly dance videos use, because it assumes you will warm up and cool down on your own.
The music for the instruction is very soft as background. It consists of a number of widely-used Middle Eastern songs that I enjoy, such as Ya Mustafa, Misirlou, and Erev Shel Shoshanim.
Following the instruction, Jindra Payne leads a 31 ½-minute workout with the help of two fitness models, Laura Peterson and Clarissa Manansala. Their attire matches Paulina's, which provides continuity with the instructional section and makes it easy to see the moves. The warm-up section consists of 6 minutes of stretches, pliés, and lunges, so because of those stretches I'd advise warming up on your own before beginning to follow along, though if you do it immediately after Paulina's instruction you're probably warmed up enough. (Current fitness "wisdom" is that stretches shouldn't be used for warm-ups, because stretching a cold body can cause injury.) The 23 minute main body of the workout consists of belly dance moves. It ends with a 3 minute cool-down that includes some stretches. The workout uses belly dance moves - some are moves that Paulina taught earlier, but most are introduced for the first time in this workout.
Jindra structures the workout in the style of teaching the first combination, rehearsing it, then teaching the second combination, rehearsing it, then doing the first followed by the second, then adding and rehearsing the third, then taking it from the top and doing all three, etc. It is easy for beginners to follow along and I'm comfortable with the format myself, but by the end some people might be tired of the first combination, so it just depends on what style of workout structure you prefer. Jindra's on-screen personality is pleasant, and she cues well.
One difference between this workout and the ones appearing on the companion videos is that the moves utilized in Enchanted Nile's workout don't overlap much with those that Paulina teaches. On Arabian Sands and Desert Dreams, the workouts are based mostly on the moves that are taught in the instructional section, allowing the workout to serve as both an exercise routine and a review. Some people will like the lesser overlap because they are exposed to more material as a result, while others may prefer the review. It's a question of what you prefer as a user.
I'm surprised Jindra calls this a cardio workout. Although it may raise the heart rate for a person who doesn't do much aerobic exercise, someone who exercises regularly probably wouldn't break a sweat. It contains some cardio elements such as jumps, shimmies, and twisting steps, but doesn't sustain them continuously enough to maintain the elevated heart rate. Just as the motor starts running, Jindra slows everything down to teach the next thing.
Generally speaking, the demonstration of the moves in the workout seems to have the rote flavor of a gym group workout class rather than the graceful flavor of a dance routine. Despite this, it has some merit because it teaches some moves not included in Paulina's instruction and it provides a structure to put individual belly dance moves together into a continuous flow.
There are two performance segments on this video, as follows:
The DVD edition also has three slides shows as "Special Features." The "Dance Tips" choice leads to a series of 11 slides with advice on warming up, where/how to practice, how to express the music, etc. The "About IAMED" choice leads to a series of 15 slides with background information about its founder Suzy Evans and the organization. The "About Belly Dance" choice leads to a series of 12 slides that provide a bit of historical information about belly dance, including its rise in the U.S. in the 20th century and its place in America today.
The production quality is excellent. The set is beautiful, it is always easy to hear the instructions and cues, there is plenty of light, the dancers contrast well with the background behind them, and the camera work generally shows what I want it to show.
If you'd like to read my reviews of other videos featuring Paulina, choose from the list below:
Reviews of other videos produced by IAMED with other instructors and performers include the list below.
|This video is best suited to people who have never belly danced before at all, and want to move at a thoughtful pace, mastering and drilling each move before proceeding on to learn the next. It provides a structure for putting the moves together into a continuous flow in Paulina's "follow me" ending. It contains a large amount of material for a price that's within reach, yielding a significantly lower price per minute than the average instructional belly dance video. I definitely recommend the instruction for people who are just starting to learn to belly dance, but the workout part isn't as strong as other "belly dance as exercise" videos out there.|
Contact IAMED as follows:
Contact IAMED as follows:
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