Bellydance Jam

A Video Review By Shira

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Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Summary

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

Amar Gamal and Kaeshi Chai teach some belly dance moves for use in club-going and party dancing, including improvisation tips and a short choreographed line dance suitable for a group to do together.

Cover

To purchase this video from Amazon:

Item

Amazon.com in U.S.

Amazon.ca in Canada

Amazon.co.uk in United Kingdom

DVD Edition U.S.
NTSC
Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Canada
NTSC
Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Not offered

To my knowledge, there has never been a VHS tape edition of this video.

(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 regions 1 through 6.)

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

What Shira.net Users Think

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.

 
1) How would you rate Bellydance Jam by Amar Gamal and Kaeshi?
Absolutely fantastic!
Definitely would recommend it.
Good enough to be worth the money, but not special
Disappointing, but had at least a little value
Nothing good about it at all
 

The above poll includes responses submitted since April 25, 2004.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

The Chart

Recommended Level Total Novice
Formats Available NTSC
Overall Rating StarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStar
Packaging StarStarStarStar
Total Video Length 72:12 minutes
Performance Time 6:40 minutes (9%)
Teaching Time 44:17 minutes (61%)
Amount Of "Other" 21:15 minutes (30%)
Choreography Yes
Cultural Information No
Music Education No
Health Issues No
Number Of Models 2
List Price $19.95
Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time 39 cents
Cost For "Other" $5.87

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Description

The name Bellyqueen refers to a pair of New York dancers who work together, Kaeshi Chai and Amar Gamal. Both toured with the Bellydance Superstars show in 2004. On this video, the team teaches a series of belly dance moves and combinations for use in social dancing at parties, clubs, etc. The songs stay close to a Middle Eastern flavor, including some that are classics or traditional folk songs from the region.

The video opens with an introductory segment that explains how social dancing differs from performing, and sets the stage for the instruction to follow.

The Technique section begins with a warm-up, then moves into the 20-minute Foundation Moves section to teach the circles, shimmies, accents, and other basic moves. Kaeshi and Amar take turns demonstrating the moves and providing the voiceover. Clad in crop tops and jazz pants, they demonstrate all moves facing the camera, but position their arms and legs to be a mirror image of what they are telling the viewer to do. The format consists of teaching 2-3 building blocks, then assembling them into a combination.

Although the descriptions and demonstrations provide appropriate instructions on isolation and other technique Amar and Kaeshi don't emphasize technique. The combinations that they teach involve some elements (for example, using the hand to flip the hair) that are not typical belly dance moves. These two factors might bother someone who is a belly dance purist, but they're fine for the intended market of party dancers.

Following the instruction in moves and combinations, both Amar and Kaeshi demonstrate how to assemble the combinations into a choreographed line dance they have named the BQ Boogie. Like many disco and country-western line dances that have gone before, this one does a series of moves traveling from side to side, then changes direction 90 degrees and repeats it all over again, eventually facing each of the four directions. After they finish teaching it, the scene shifts to a club environment dance floor. Amar and Kaeshi, accompanied by Sira Melikian and Jennifer Sears, are now wearing party clothes. Together, the four dance the BQ Boogie as if they were enjoying an evening out on the town. After this Amar and Kaeshi lead a cooldown which is very similar to the warm-up at the beginning.

The entire instructional segment, taken together from warm-up through cool-down, can be used as a low-impact mildly-cardio workout.

In the final instructional segment, Kaeshi and Amar offer tips on how to improvise. After they have offered some suggestions, their voiceover leads a guided improvisation by offering suggestions on things to do while the screen shows abstract designs.

In addition to the instruction, the DVD includes four interview segments, two performance segments, and two music video montage segments.

The interviews begin with Sira Melikian, Jennifer Sears, and Dalia Carella philosophizing about belly dance - what it means to them, why they think so many women are drawn to it, etc. This segment lasts about 2 minutes. The second interview, which lasts about 4 minutes, features Kaeshi and Amar discuss their background as dancers and their work together as a team. In the third interview 6 minutes in length, Arabic musician Karim Nagi talks about what makes Arabic music different from Western music. He is one of the musicians featured on the soundtrack for this DVD. At times, he uses his drum to illustrate some of the points he makes. For the fourth and final interview, which is about 3 minutes, Vin Scialla talks about the process he followed in making some of the music for this DVD.

Amar and Kaeshi each do a performance segment for this video. Amar's solo, "Call of the Drum", is a drum solo played on-screen by Mal Stein, that lasts about 3 ½ minutes. She wears a chartreuse professional belly dance costume with mermaid skirt. Amar dances well enough, but it's difficult to enjoy her dancing because of the obnoxious camera work - it's perpetually zoomed up either much to close on her face or torso, or it's pulled back so far away that her face is lost in the darkened set. For Kaeshi's solo, she wears a "Gypsy fantasy" costume with full skirt, pantaloons, hip shawl, and midriff-baring blouse, and performs to a karsilama in the Rroma fusion style.

Under the performances section there are also two musical video collages. One shows snips of scenes of Bellyqueen performances as the song Aziza plays in the background, and the other shows scenes of dancers who were featured on the Bellydance Superstars tour.

Generally speaking, the lighting and sound quality throughout this video are excellent. In the instruction part, the camera generally lingers where it needs to while Amar/Kaeshi provide the initial explanation of how to do a move. Once they begin to lead some repetitions, the camera wanders off into a few artsy-fartsy angles, but I can live with it because it stays stable when it needs to, during the initial explanation. The only place where the camera work really distracts me is Amar Gamal's solo performance.

The package includes two extras that are sure to be helpful. One is a music CD containing the songs that were used throughout the video. Some of the songs on the CD are Egyptian or Turkish classics, interpreted in a techno style, and others are original compositions. Song titles likely to be familiar to dancers are the Egyptian classics Nibtidi Mneen al-Hikaya and Aziza, and the Turkish song Telegraphin Telleri. The other extra is a package insert which includes helpful reference information regarding the contents of the CD and DVD for remembering key points.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • You don't want to "study" belly dance, just learn some cool moves for partying or dancing around your living room.
  • You prefer to learn from a video that feels young, hip, and fun rather than one that looks like it was made in the 1980's.
  • You have never belly danced before and you need a video that starts at the beginning.
  • You enjoy Middle Eastern music performed with a trendy techno beat.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You'd like a video that duplicates a typical belly dance classroom experience.
  • You want a video that will emphasize proper posture and technique for producing each move.
  • You take belly dancing quite seriously.
  • You're looking for a video that will teach a large number of moves, not just a few.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked

  • The material is very well organized.
  • The instruction is varied in its presentation and pleasant to watch.
  • The structure is well designed for its stated purpose.
  • The video mentions how performing differs from social dance.
  • Amar and Kaeshi provides assistance in learning to improvise.
  • The instructors convey a sense of fun.
  • The voiceover is available in both English and Spanish.
  • The package comes with a CD containing the music used on the video.
  • The credits contain detailed information about the music used.

What I Didn't Like

  • The use of voiceover makes the on-screen instructors feel somewhat detached.
  • Teaches pnly a small number of moves.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Movements Included

  • Hip Articulations: 4 moves (hip shimmy, hip lock, hip lift, hip drop)
  • Hip Undulations: 4 moves (twist hip, horizontal figure 8 inward, omi hip circle, hip circle)
  • Traveling Steps: 1 move (V strut)
  • Rib Cage Articulations: 3 moves (shoulder shimmy, chest lift & drop, V pop)
  • Rib Cage Undulations: 1 move (vertical chest circles)
  • Body Undulations: 1 move (undulation)
  • Arms: 2 moves (shoulder circles, vogue arms)

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

In Conclusion

Amar Gamal and Kaeshi Chai have worked well as a team in creating this video. It doesn't teach as many moves as some of the other belly dance videos out there, but there should be enough to suit the needs of someone who just wants to learn a bit for fun. I see it as a pleasing option for newcomers to belly dance who want to try something that's not too daunting before deciding whether they want to pursue it further.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Disclosures

I met Kaeshi briefly at a Bellydance Superstars show. She gave me a copy of this video to review.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Contacting The Producer & Ordering The Video

To purchase this video from Amazon:

Item

Amazon.com in U.S.

Amazon.ca in Canada

Amazon.co.uk in United Kingdom

DVD Edition U.S.
NTSC
Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Canada
NTSC
Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Not offered

To my knowledge, there has never been a VHS tape edition of this video.

(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 regions 1 through 6.)

Or, contact Bellyqueen as follows:

Bellyqueen
Cathedral Station
P.O. Box 1089
New York, NY 10025
U.S.A.

Phone: (+1) (212) 504-9551
Fax: (+1) (212) 504-9551
Email: info@bellyqueen.com

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

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