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Overall Rating: (on a scale of 1 to 5 stars)
Tahya originally released The Healing Dance on VHS tape in 2002. When she created the DVD edition of The Healing Dance in 2005, she didn't just copy the original material from the VHS tape to DVD, but rather introduced an additional 60 minutes of instruction. This review refers to the new, updated, expanded DVD edition. The original VHS tape edition has been discontinued, but the review for the VHS tape remains online as a reference tool for people who are considering purchasing a used copy.
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|Recommended Level||Total Novice|
|Total Video Length||1 hour, 48:01 minutes|
|Performance Time||10:13 minutes (10%)|
|Teaching Time||1 hour, 21:50 minutes (76%)|
|Interviews Time||8:55 minutes (8%)|
|Amount Of "Other"||7:03 minutes (6%)|
|Number Of Models||3|
|Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time||25 cents|
|Cost For "Other"||$1.63|
This review is for the DVD edition of Tahya's video Healing Dance, which was released in 2005. It incorporates the full 35-minute program from the VHS tape edition that was released in 2002, plus adds 66 minutes of new material. The original VHS tape edition is now out of print.
This video is somewhat different from the typical belly dance basic instruction, because it offers extra attention to the needs of people who are recovering from surgery, illness, and stress. The overall focus is on offering encouragement and affirmation rather than disciplined dance technique. Interviews with four different people explore how dance has played a role in their healing processes.
The video opens with material from the original VHS tape edition, which focused particularly on the needs of women recovering from breast cancer surgery. It consists of:
At this stage, Tahya moves on to a section that contains new material created especially for the DVD edition. This includes:
At this point, the program returns to material from Tahya's original VHS tape edition. It shows a 3-minute veil work performance by Jean Clay. The camera focuses mostly on Jean's face and doesn't show much of her actual dancing. At age 60, Jean provides an encouraging role model for other older women recovering from cancer by showing that it is possible to remain feminine and graceful even after surgery. Jean wears an attractive costume proving that you don't need to display cleavage to be credible as a belly dancer. Jean's skill level is not that of a professional belly dancer, but her sincerity and joy in the dancing make her appealing to watch nonetheless. While she dances, Tahya recites affirmations. It is interesting that she chooses veil work for this performance, because veil work demands strength and range of motion in the arms. Some cancer survivors are likely to view her as an inspiration and a role model.
The scene then switches to show Tahya softly playing a frame drum while Monica McAghon narrates a poem about dance written by Rumi while doing a low-key dance. Monica's dance does not come across as a "performance"; rather, as an interpretation of the poem. This section is about 2 minutes long.
Tahya's warm on-screen personality and nurturing affirmations make this video feel welcoming for people who are in either physical or emotional pain. She teaches simple moves at a thoughtful pace designed to be comfortable for newcomers to the dance. As an instructor, she explains movement very well, often using visualizations to help understand what to do. For example, in teaching a movement of the hands and arms, she invites you to imagine you are holding a lemon.
Tahya herself is a graceful dancer, and would serve as an attractive role model for full-figured dancers who would like a teacher with a body type that they could relate to. The students who assist her in demonstrating the moves have body types different from hers, allowing viewers to see how the same move looks different on different bodies. The fact that these students are still very much beginners themselves leads to some on-screen bloopers in which they are not synchronized with each other or with Tahya, which can be distracting at times.
The production quality has room for improvement. I'm disappointed that Tahya has chosen to wear dark clothing against a dark-colored background for filming the new material for this video. She made this same error on her VHS tape release, as well. All too often, the black-clad lower half of her body seems to disappear into the wall behind her. It is difficult to see the outline of her body, and therefore difficult to discern some of the movement. On a more positive note, the set is beautifully decorated with pillows and candles, setting a mood of tranquility. In the instructional part, the camera work shows what it needs to, but it could have used some improvement on the performance segments, particularly the one featuring Jean Clay. Although the point of Jean's dance is to show what the dance means to her, rather than to display a professional Oriental performance, it still would have been preferable to spend more time with the camera pulled back to show more of her body.
Most of the music on this video has a New Age quality about it, which suits the mood that Tahya seeks to convey throughout. Some of it comes from the band Desert Wind, some from two meditative CD's that Tahya herself has produced with music by Pete Barnhart and Paulo Mattioli.
If you'd like to read my reviews of other videos by Tahya, choose from the list below:
This video emphasizes using dance as healing therapy, rather than emphasizing dance technique. It is best suited for beginning belly dance students who would feel most satisfied with a video that offers encouragement and affirmation. For such students, Healing Dance offers an opportunity to explore graceful movement within the boundaries of what their medical condition may allow.
People who have had recent breast cancer surgery, or dance teachers who instruct students who have had such surgery, may find it helpful to work with the first section of this video, in which Tahya teaches a number of arm moves and yoga poses designed to help regain range of motion in the arms.
This video probably isn't the right fit for people who are seeking serious, disciplined study in dance technique, or those who have an extensive dance background.
|The only correspondence I've had with Tahya has been regarding the reviews I have performed of her products. I have not had the opportunity to meet her in person. She sent me a complimentary copy of the DVD used for this review.|
Contact Tahya as follows:
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