Precision Motion Workout

A Video Review By Shira

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Summary

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

This video is designed to perform two functions. About 2/3 of it focuses on instruction in technique for doing belly dance moves, and the rest leads an energetic aerobic workout suitable for building cardio-vascular health and burning fat. Suzanna designed it for intermediate- and advanced-level dancers who are already somewhat fit. I fiercely wanted to give this video 5 stars because Suzanna's instruction was excellent and the workout varied enough to be interesting, but I couldn't ignore the poor sound quality of the final 30 minutes.

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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 Precision Motion Workout by Suzanna Del Vecchio?
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 December 14, 2002.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

The Chart

Recommended Level Intermediate or Advanced
Formats Available NTSC, PAL, SECAM
Overall Rating StarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStarStar
Packaging StarStarStarStar
Total Video Length 89:58 minutes
Workout Time 34:23 minutes (38%)
Teaching Time 50:15 minutes (56%)
Amount Of "Other" 5:20 minutes (6%)
Choreography No
Cultural Information No
Music Education No
Health Issues Yes
Number Of Models 1
List Price $45.00
Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time 53 cents
Cost For "Other" $2.70

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Description

Released in 1993, this video consists of two main portions:

  • A one-hour instructional section, in which Suzanna systematically teaches over 40 different belly dance moves. She begins with a review of the basics, then builds on those to create moves and combinations of increased complexity.
  • A 30-minute workout/practice session, consisting of the moves taught in the first section.

Suzanna has designed the video for intermediate and advanced belly dancers to use for either practice or aerobic fitness workout. It could also be an option for a member of "the general public" who has previously mastered the moves used on other belly dance fitness videos aimed at people without prior belly dance experience.

The video opens with Suzanna offering a series of guidelines on how to derive the most benefit from it. For example, she explains that when she says to do something on the "left", she herself will do it on the right to serve as a mirror. In this section, each guideline appears as text on the screen to reinforce the message. The guidelines are explained using voiceover while Desert Wind music plays very softly in the background. The music is just loud enough to add mood to the video, and it is always easy to hear Suzanna's voice over it.

In the instructional section, she teaches the moves that will be used later for the workout. In this section, there is neither background music nor drumming. On screen, Suzanna demonstrates each move while voiceover explains what to do. Once again, the sound quality is excellent and the explanations are easy to hear. An on-screen title introduces each move, which can be rather valuable when fast-forwarding to work with a particular section. Suzanna begins this section wearing just a leotard and tights. Eventually, she adds a hip belt. I would have preferred that she use a belt or hip scarf all the way through, because the horizontal line at the hips would have helped illustrate the angle of the hips being used for some moves.

In her explanations, Suzanna frequently uses the names of specific muscles and bones to describe how to do the moves. This posed a bit of a problem for me, because I have never had any kind of anatomy or physiology class. While I knew she was talking about the breastbone when she mentioned the sternum, there were other times when I was not familiar with the term she used, and therefore I wasn't sure what she meant. I admire the obvious dedication Suzanne has shown to learning about physiology and I appreciate her sharing this knowledge through advice about correct technique. But it might have been easier for me to follow certain explanations if she had included a definition of which body part she meant when describing what a particular muscle should be doing at a particular time.

For each move, Suzanna provides a clear explanation of how to do it, warns of pitfalls to avoid, clarifies correct technique, and demonstrates from multiple angles. Even the explanations of simple moves such as hip circles are valuable for more experienced dancers, because of the advice on proper technique and errors to avoid.

Following the instruction section, the scene changes slightly and Suzanna is in a different room. In this section, the use of voiceover ends. Instead, Suzanna speaks directly to the camera on-screen. Unfortunately, her voice echoes a little, resulting in a degradation of sound quality. She leads a few stretches which I might be able to match in my most imaginative dreams, and then begins the 30-minute workout. Throughout the workout, music plays in the background and Suzanna states which move to do next. This routine definitely offers an aerobic workout that will stimulate circulation, oxygenize the muscles, and burn calories. A dancer who is fit enough to do a continuous half-hour performance at her regular nightclub gig will be able to follow along comfortably, but someone who can barely sustain 10 minutes of continuous movement will find it quite challenging. I was extremely impressed that Suzanna was able to talk at the same time she was doing the moves! I appreciated her matter-of-fact speaking style, telling me what I need to know without annoying perkiness or phony encouragement.

The music chosen by Suzanna consists of artists including Desert Wind (see my review of Kali Ma by Desert Wind for some MP3 sound clips from one of the CD's she used) who use Middle Eastern rhythms but add a New Age flavor through the use of synthesizers. Unfortunately, the sound quality is poor for the workout section. The music sounds fine for a little while, then hits a brief blur where the volume momentarily fades and the sound seems somewhat distorted. It comes back to normal, then once again blips. I found this distracting and frustrating. It wouldn't prevent me from using what is otherwise an excellent workout, but it detracts from my ability to enjoy it. On a more positive note, the volume of the music is always kept low enough to easily hear Suzanna's spoken instructions on what to do next.

The video ends with closing credits. There is no performance on this video, which disappointed me because I love to watch Suzanna dance.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • Your teacher never emphasized correct technique in class, and you'd like to learn it so you can dance better yourself, avoid injury, and provide appropriate guidance to your own students.
  • You're an intermediate-level or more experienced dancer and you'd like a video geared to your level that leads an energetic aerobic workout based on belly dancing moves.
  • You're looking for a video that can serve as a framework for home practice of belly dance moves, particularly at an intermediate level.
  • You teach classes, and you'd like to use a video for ideas in how to clearly explain how to do certain moves.
  • You're enthusiastic about the way Suzanna teaches.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You have never belly danced before at all, or you have been dancing less than a couple of months. You'd probably find this video to be too difficult for your level.
  • You're looking for a video showing performances by Suzanne. (She doesn't perform at all on this one.)
  • You're not really a belly dancer; instead, you're a person who likes to use videos to help you with your fitness workouts. This video emphasizes belly dance instruction and uses the workout section as a framework for practicing the moves taught, rather than the teach-as-you-go format of videos with more of a fitness focus.
  • You particularly want to focus on learning Egyptian-style dance with matching orchestral music.
  • You don't care for the New Age flavor of music played by Desert Wind. (Part of the music for the 30-minute workout segment is by Desert Wind.)

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked

  • Suzanna's explanations are clear. They make it easy to understand how each move is done.
  • The camera work during the instruction section is excellent. It varies the angle somewhat, but always shows what it needs to show. During the workout section, it's not quite as effective, but still acceptable.
  • Suzanna demonstrates each move taught from multiple angles.
  • The lighting is excellent, and the set is free of distractions. Suzanna's clothing contrasts well with the background behind her, always making it easy to see her movements.
  • For the workout section, Suzanna begins with gentle moves and ramps comfortably to the more high-energy moves. The cool-down is an excellent role model of how to cool down.
  • On-screen titles appear on the screen to introduce each move. This is extremely helpful when fast-forwarding through the video to find something in particular.
  • The explanations are rich with advice on errors to avoid. Teachers who are new to explaining belly dance moves could learn a great deal from this video.
  • Suzanna's matter-of-fact style makes this a comfortable video to listen to many times without grating the teeth. (Thank goodness, no annoying perkiness!)
  • It is always easy to hear Suzanna's voice, particularly in the instructional part.
  • Suzanna explains how to transition doing a move from one side to the other.
  • Suzanna introduces the moves in a logical progression, starting with a review of beginner-level basics, then building on them to create more complex moves.
  • Suzanna uses the limited time on the video quite efficiently. She explains each move thoroughly and shows it from multiple angles, but then promptly moves on to the next. This allows her to pack a large amount of valuable information into the limited room available.
  • The closing credits at the end identify the music utilized, including song titles, names of the artists, and names of the albums. It also provides information on how to contact the musicians to order a copy.

What I Didn't Like

  • I wish Suzanna would have worn a hip scarf right from the beginning. She eventually puts a belt on, but it would have been helpful in clarifying the angle of the hips earlier in the video too.
  • The sound quality in the final 30 minutes (the workout section) is poor. It sounds like a cassette tape is passing over rollers that aren't maintaining a consistent speed or volume.
  • Suzanna begins the workout with stretches, which according to today's fitness advisors is risky.
  • I love watching Suzanna dance, so I was disappointed there wasn't a brief performance at the end of this video.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Movements Included

  • Hip Articulations: 11 moves (hip locks up, double up hip locks, hip locks down, double down hip locks, hip pushes, full hip pivots, forward pivot, back pivot, double back pivots, back around double back pivot, tush push)
  • Hip Undulations: 13 moves (hip slide, isolated pelvic circle, post pelvic circle, forward pelvic crescent, pelvic scoop, pelvic sway, pelvic roll, down vertical figure eight, up vertical figure eight, horizontal forward figure eight, horizontal backward figure eight, figure eight with a rond de jamb, standing side figure eight)
  • Traveling Steps: 13 moves (flat-ball-ball-ball, front-middle-back-middle, slow motion walk, 3-step turns, 5-step turns, pelvic circle with flat-ball-ball-ball, hip down walk, 3/4 ups, 3/4 downs, the Egyptian series, Egyptian variations, the Oriental series, 3/4 horizontal back and up)
  • Body Articulations: 4 moves (shoulder articulations, shoulder shimmy, chest lock, stomach flutters)
  • Body Undulations: 6 moves (vertical rib circle, torso undulation, torso undulation changing levels, torso undulation with a rond de jamb, body wave, stomach rolls)
  • Head Moves: 1 move (head slides)

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Reviews of Other Videos by this Artist/Instructor

If you'd like to read my reviews of other videos by Suzanna Del Vecchio, choose from the list below:

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In Conclusion

I highly recommend this one, despite my complaints about the sound quality in the final 30 minutes. Most belly dancers (including me) learned how to dance from people who didn't necessarily understand exercise physiology well enough to practice and teach proper technique. Technique is important for minimizing risk of injury and maximizing effectiveness of the moves. This video offers us the opportunity to learn from someone who has studied physiology and applies that knowledge to our dance form.

If you have already mastered basic belly dancing moves such as hip circles, rib cage undulations, and some traveling steps, then you'll find this video useful for polishing your technique, learning additional moves, building those fundamentals into some combinations, and exercising a vigorous low-impact workout that is easy on the joints but energetic enough to drive up your metabolism and burn calories. More experienced dancers will find Suzanna's knowledge of physiology helpful in learning the optimal way to do each move for minimizing injury and maximizing the benefit gained.

If you teach belly dancing, you'll find that Suzanna's explanations may be helpful in describing the moves to your own students. Every belly dance teacher should spend time working with this video to correct her own bad habits, learn how to explain things clearly, and discover what errors to watch for in her students so she can correct them.

Some people might not care for the New Age flavor of the music chosen for the 30-minute workout, but I enjoyed it.

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Disclosures

I have spoken briefly with Suzanna when seeing her vending at dance festivals, and we have exchanged links to each other's web sites. However, we've never had an opportunity to become better acquainted. I purchased this video from a vendor - it was not sent to me as a complimentary review copy.

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Contacting The Producer & Ordering The Video

Contact Suzanna Del Vecchio as follows:

P.O. Box 61383
Denver, CO 80206
U.S.A.

Phone: (+1) (303) 399-2622
Web Site: www.suzanna.vecchio.com

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

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