|Do you have questions about Shira's reviewing methodology, such as how to interpret the chart, what the categories mean, or what her biases are? Click here for an explanation.|
Overall Rating: (on a scale of 1 to 5 stars)
Have you actually watched this video yourself? If so, offer your own opinion in the poll below! Otherwise, click the "View Results" button to see what worldwide users of shira.net think of it.
The above poll includes responses submitted since March 2, 2005.
|Recommended Level||Total Novice|
|Total Video Length||1:37:34 minutes (i.e., 97:34 minutes)|
|Performance Time||10:23 minutes (11%)|
|Teaching Time||54:27 minutes (56%)|
|Workout Time||28:10 minutes|
|Amount Of "Other"||4:34 minutes (5%)|
|Number Of Models||1 for instruction, 3 for workout|
|Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time||32 cents|
|Cost For "Other"||$1.40|
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 dances by Paulina and Aleya. ike its companion videos, Art of Belly Dance - Desert Dreams and Art of Belly Dance - Enchanted Nile, 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 both 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 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. 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 8 major sections, as follows:
As Paulina teaches the various hip and rib cage moves, she keeps her arms outstretched to either side. This looks a bit awkward to me, but it accomplishes her aim of keeping the focus on one body part at a time.
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.
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.
Following the instruction, Jindra Payne leads a 28-minute workout with the help of two fitness models, Laura Peterson and Mari Fresquez. Their attire matches Paulina's, which makes it easy to see the moves. The routine starts with 5 minutes of stretches, so I'd advise warming up on your own to avoid injury before beginning to follow along, though if you do it immediately after following the instruction you'll probably be 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 20-minute main body of the workout consists of belly dance moves. It ends with a 3 ½ minute cooldown that includes some stretches. The workout uses the moves that Paulina taught, plus adds hip slides and large hip circles. Oddly, Jindra takes time to re-teach the moves that Paulina taught. This interrupts the pace of the workout and makes it more tedious to use repeatedly. It also seems rather unnecessary after Paulina's thorough descriptions.
Jindra and her assistants don't demonstrate optimal technique. For example, while Jindra is saying, "Toes straight forward," one of her assistants has turnout at a 45 degree angle from center front. Their heads bob up and down as they do hip drops. Jindra says the hips should remain parallel to the floor on hip slides, but she herself allows her own hips to tilt up on one side. There are several such issues, so while the spoken instructions are appropriate, the leaders are not ideal role models.
All in all, the benefit of this workout is that it provides a structure to drill on the moves that the video teaches and put them together into a dance. But it's weaker than some of the other belly dance workouts available out there. If I were rating this video on the merits of the workout alone, I'd probably give it 3 stars.
There are two performance segments, 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 overall production quality of the video is excellent. There is plenty of lighting to see what the instructor, workout leaders, and performers are doing, and the sound is always perfectly synchronized with the on-screen activity. Spoken instruction can easily be heard over background music at all times. The DVD authoring includes chapter breaks everywhere I want them, and the menu system is easy to use.
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.
|The instructional section with Paulina is best suited to people who have never had any previous belly dance instruction, and like to have detailed explanations of exactly how to do each move. The workout is fine for reviewing the moves taught and providing guidance in putting them together into a dance, but I don't see it as a strong contender in the belly dance exercise video market.|
|:I have never had any contact with Paulina or Jindra. I have reviewed other videos produced by IAMED, and I received a complimentary copy of from IAMED of the one used for this review.|
Contact IAMED as follows:
Belly Dancing Information & How-To's: | About Belly Dancing | How-To's | Middle Eastern Culture | Belly Dancing Fun & Frolic | Belly Dancing Poetry & Art | Reviews: Books, Music, Videos | Find Belly Dancing Teachers/Performers | Tech Talk | Links |