Belly Dance Technique by Ramzi El-Edlibi

A Video Review By Shira

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

This video teaches how to do basic belly dancing moves. I was disappointed with the quality. If you have only a limited amount of money available to spend on belly dance instructional videos, I wouldn't recommend this one. There are better ones out there.


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The Chart

Recommended Level Total Novice
Formats Available NTSC
Overall Rating StarStar
Production Quality Star
Content Value StarStar
Packaging Star
Total Video Length 41 minutes
Performance Time 3 minutes (7%)
Teaching Time 36 minutes (88%)
Amount Of "Other" 2 minutes (5%)
Choreography No
Cultural Information No
Music Education No
Health Issues No
Number Of Models 3
List Price $35
Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time 90 cents
Cost For "Other" $1.71

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In general, this video teaches beginning-level fundamental belly dancing moves. It starts with hip movements, and goes on to show some undulations. Each move was presented as an isolated element. There was no attempt to get the student using the video to practice putting them together.

Overall, production values were rather poor. The two women demonstrating the moves wear leotards with hip scarves, which would have been fine except that it was difficult to see the movements of one of the models because her leotard color blended into the background. The video was shot in a studio with poor lighting. It was bad enough to have one of the models blend into the curtain behind her, and the poor lighting made this problem even worse. The camera never moves--it appears to have been set on a tripod and left unattended while the entire video was shot. The set is acceptable, but not special. At one point, while Ramzi is demonstrating stomach rolls, an offscreen telephone rings and he interrupts his teaching to pay attention to it--that scene should have been reshot.

For the most part, each movement is introduced by first having Ramzi perform it at full tempo to musical accompaniment. Then the scene switches back to the dim studio, where Ramzi describes how it is done while the two women demonstrate it. Ramzi plays a drum accompaniment as each move is practiced for 16 repetitions.

For the most part, the moves were appropriately easy for beginning-level dancers. I was puzzled by the decision to include the Moroccan accent moves, because these sexual thrusting moves would alienate many North American audiences. Although there is a legitimate time and place for these moves, they're not ones that I would teach to beginners unless I also provided an explanation of when they're appropriate versus when they're not. The Arabic walk (3/4 shimmy) and wahdah noss moves might be a little challenging for a brand-new beginner, but a determined student could probably figure them out. I was a bit disappointed with the belly roll instruction on this video because it incorporates rib cage and spine motion, whereas belly rolls should be taught as an isolation of the abdominal muscles with the rib cage and spine remaining still.

At the end, there is a brief performance by the two women wearing full belly dancing costumes. Their costumes are pretty. I found their dancing to be good, but not special. There is no performance by Ramzi himself.

You're likely to enjoy this video if:

  • You're a fan of Ramzi and you'd enjoy owning a video that features him as the instructor.

This video is probably not right for you if:

  • You're looking for a high-quality video that teaches introductory belly dance moves.
  • You already know basic belly dance moves, and you're ready for instruction on how to combine them into a finished dance.

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What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked

  • Several movements were shown both flat-footed and up on the toes. This gives the student a chance to see how the same move can be varied for different looks.
  • There were a total of three models: Ramzi himself, and two women, so you could see how the same move looked different on different people.
  • For most of the moves, one of the models faced toward the camera and the other had her profile to the camera, so you could see the move from different angles.

What I Didn't Like

  • One model wore a leotard whose color blended into the color of the curtain behind her. It was very difficult to see how the moves looked on her.
  • The lighting was very, very poor. Shadows over the set made it difficult to see what the models were doing.
  • Everyone had a very sour face throughout the instructional segment. There was absolutely no sense of fun or enjoyment.
  • In his explanations, Ramzi used a large amount of ballet terminology: half point, relevé, etc. Most belly dance students don't have a ballet background, and I think the decision to use this unfamiliar terminology would alienate some students.
  • Neither the discussion nor the credits identified the choice of music used. Therefore, a student who liked the music would have difficulty finding out where to get it.
  • Overall production values were very low-budget. This made the video uncomfortable to watch for a long period of time. For example, the demonstrations Ramzi did of how to do each step must have all been shot in one consecutive sequence, and then cut apart and pasted in between the narrative sections. For another example, at one point when Ramzi was demonstrating how to do a stomach roll, the telephone rang. He interrupted what he was doing, looked off to the side of the stage, and laughed. It rang again, and he said, "I'm busy!" A more professional video producer would have reshot that scene instead of leaving it in there like that.
  • The camera angle never changed the whole time. It made it monotonous to watch. It gave the impression that someone's home camcorder probably had been mounted on a tripod and just allowed to run unattended.
  • The friend of mine who loaned me the video for review really, really disliked the fact that for the sections that described how to do the dance, Ramzi had the two women demonstrate the moves while he talked about what to do and played drum for them. My friend thought it looked very chauvinistic. That didn't bother me, but it really annoyed her.
  • Certain moves taught on the video were moves that I thought were not appropriate for a beginner-level video: the Moroccan Accent Forward, and the Moroccan Accent Back. Both of these involve overtly sexual thrusting of the pelvis. Although there are some situations where it may be appropriate to incorporate these moves in a performance, the typical North America audience is likely to be offended by a dancer who does these moves. Therefore, I wouldn't teach them to beginners unless I also explained which situations are and are not appropriate for using them. There was no such explanation on this video.

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Movements Included

  • Warm-Ups: 3 moves (torso breathing exercise, torso stretch to side, torso stretch forward)
  • Hip Articulations: 7 moves (accented side-to-side hip bump, hip shimmy, Moroccan accent forward also known as pelvic tilt, Moroccan accent back, hip twist, beledi, wahdah noss)
  • Hip Undulations: 5 moves (large hip circle/rotation, small hip circle/rotation, side-to-side hip sway, figure 8 backward, figure 8 forward)
  • Traveling Steps: 1 move (Arabic walk also known as 3/4 shimmy)
  • Body Undulations: 2 moves (full-body forward undulation, belly roll)

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I have no relationship with Ramzi El-Edlibi to disclose. The only contact I've ever had with him occurred when I received an e-mail advertisement from him regarding a workshop he was teaching. I sent him a reply asking for details about his video (price, how to order) so I could include that information in this review, but the correspondence ended after he responded.

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Contacting The Producer & Ordering The Video

If you want to order this video, contact Ramzi El-Edlibi as follows:

21-34 24st
Astoria, NY 11105

Phone: (+1) (718) 956-3656

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