Bellydance Fitness For Beginners:
Fat Burning

A Video Review By Shira

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.

Belly Dancing Bellydancing Dance Bellydance

Summary

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

This is an exercise video, not a video that will teach you how to become a performing dancer. Identical twins Veena and Neena Bidasha present a bouncy cardio-vascular workout designed to optimize fat burning. The movements are pretty much high-impact aerobics, with very few belly dancing moves incorporated.

Why I gave it 2 stars:

  • If I were evaluating this from the perspective of aerobics videos, I'd probably give it more than 2 stars because it does work through movements that will promote cardiovascular health and fat burning. But I'm evaluating it from the perspective of whether it would be a satisfying video for belly dancers, and I don't think it would be. There aren't very many belly dancing moves in this one.
  • It emphasizes high-impact movement (lots of leaping forward & back, side to side) that can lead to joint injury or shin splints, without providing any advice on how to prevent these problems.
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
(which also includes Basic Moves in same package)
U.S.
NTSC
All Regions
Canada
NTSC
All Regions
Not offered
VHS Tape Edition U.S.
NTSC
Canada
NTSC
Not offered
Box Set of 4 VHS Tapes, Including This One Plus Basic Moves, Hips Buns, & Thighs, and Fat Burning. U.S.
NTSC
Canada
NTSC
 

(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. Veena and Neena themselves say the DVD edition support all regions. I have personally tested this DVD and confirmed it.)

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 Belly Dance Fitness Fat Burning, by Veena and Neena?
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 October 28, 2002.

Belly Dancing Bellydancing Dance Bellydance

The Chart

Recommended Level Total Novice
Formats Available NTSC
Overall Rating StarStar
Production Quality StarStarStarStarStar
Content Value StarStar
Packaging StarStarStar
Total Video Length 34:05 minutes
Performance Time 5:23 minutes (16%)
Teaching Time 26:30 minutes (78%)
Amount Of "Other" 2:12 minutes (6%)
Choreography No
Cultural Information No
Music Education No
Health Issues No
Number Of Models 2
List Price $14.98
Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time 47 cents/minute
Cost For "Other" 90 cents

Belly Dancing Bellydancing Dance Bellydance

Description

Don't let the title fool you. This is an aerobics video that uses almost no belly dancing movements. It begins with a 7-minute warm-up, followed by 14 1/2 minutes of high-impact aerobics, followed by a 5-minute cooldown. The cooldown is where you'll find some moves that actually resemble belly dance. Throughout these exercise segments, the twins demonstrate the moves while a voiceover describes what to do. The sound quality is excellent - you can hear the music, but it doesn't overpower the narrative.

During the 7-minute warm-up, the video takes you through stretching the neck from side to side, rotating the ankles, hamstring stretches, circling the knees, and brushing the feet. None of these are dance-oriented moves.

In the cardio section, the opening step involves rocking between the forward foot and the back foot. This is based on a move that is used in the Egyptian cane dance, but then they add many variations that are not dance moves, they're just exercise variations involving leaping from one foot to the other. There is rocking forward and back, side to side, and different variations on both. There is side to side twisting, and piston shimmy (also a dance move) achieved by alternating from one foot to the other. It could lead to foot injury, joint injury, or shin splints if your technique is not correct, but the video does not provide any information on correct technique to guide you.

In the cooldown, the workout transitions into slower moves to bring the heart rate down, and for the first time on this video you see the element of fluidity that people usually associate with belly dance.

During the opening credits, there is a 15-second clip of the twins performing a duet together. During the closing credits, one of them performs a 1 1/2 minute solo with a cane, and the other performs about 2 minutes with a sword. Unfortunately, because these performances occur while the opening and closing credits are rolling across the screen, the text distracts from the pleasure of watching the performance. The twins dance well, but it would have been nice if the performances had been treated as part of the content rather than as background for the credits.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • You like to incorporate high-impact aerobics into your fitness routine, and you're experienced enough with such exercise to know how to minimize the risk to your joints and shins.
  • You prefer videos that maintain a continuous pace of movement over an extended period of time without pausing so you can use them as a framework for an exercise workout.
  • You want an exercise program that will raise your heart rate to the level needed for fat burning.
  • It doesn't really matter to you whether the video uses belly dance moves or not, you just want a video that will lead you through a cardio workout.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You would find it almost impossible to sustain running speed on a treadmill for 10-15 minutes. This video focuses on high-energy cardiovascular exercise, and if you're not experienced with vigorous workouts, you may find it difficult to keep going at this pace.
  • You have a history of knee, foot, or ankle trouble that would be aggravated by leaping from foot to foot for 15 minutes.
  • You want a video that uses belly dancing moves to lead you through its exercise regimen. The leaping from foot to foot that dominates the first part of the cardio workout was borrowed from the Egyptian cane dance, but it's only one of many moves that might be done when dancing and it becomes monotonous quite quickly. Although they do vary it with different arm positions and foot placement, these variations generally don't match what a belly dancer would be likely to perform.
  • You're a belly dancing student who hopes to either learn new moves, or be guided in practicing the moves you already know.

Belly Dancing Bellydancing Dance Bellydance

What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked:

  • The moves taught do indeed provide the benefits of maintaining a vigorous heart rate and burning fat.
  • Veena and Neena demonstrated each move competently, while a voice-over described how to do each move. I find this easy to follow.
  • Production quality was excellent. The set was attractive without calling too much attention to itself. The video was well lit, and the twins wore clothing that made them easy to see against the background. The music was easy to hear, but not loud enough to overpower the narrative.
  • The video made good use of camera work. The angle varied just enough to prevent the video from becoming monotonous, but wasn't overdone. It didn't use very many close-ups, but when it did they were appropriate, focusing on the correct body parts for the move being demonstrated at the moment. After seeing far too many videos where it seemed like the camera operators and video editors used every special effect in their toy box, I found it refreshing to view a video in which the camera work and editing enhanced the experience rather than distracting from it.
  • The crop tops, tights, and hip scarves that the twins wore contrasted well with the background and made it easy to see the moves they were demonstrating. This garb also provided an appropriate role model on how to dress for a workout based on belly dancing.

What I Didn't Like:

  • The video taught primarily "just for exercise" moves, with very few that were actually "belly dancing". I wouldn't have objected to this if it just claimed to be a generic fitness video, but since it was titled "Bellydance Fitness For Beginners: Fat Burning" I felt it should have used more belly dance moves.
  • I wish the video would have opened with a few words about correct posture and its importance in preventing injury.
  • Because the workout is high impact in nature (lots of leaping from one foot to the other), it can place a lot of stress on the knees and ankles. These moves can also cause shin splints. There was no information on the video about proper technique to use in avoiding injury.
  • The workout was very repetitious. There were admittedly some variations in arm movements and positions, but not enough to ease the boredom.
  • The closing credits were superimposed over the cane and sword performances at the end. These distracted attention away from the performances.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Reviews of Other Videos by this Artist/Instructor

If you'd like to read my reviews of other videos by Veena & Neena, choose from the list below:

Belly Dancing Bellydancing Dance Bellydance

Disclosures

I've never met Veena and Neena. In fact, I hadn't even heard of them until their videos appeared on the market. I've received a couple of friendly e-mails from Veena, and she seems nice. For my review, I borrowed a copy of this video from a friend.

Belly Dancing Bellydancing Dance Bellydance

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
(which also includes Basic Moves in same package)
U.S.
NTSC
All Regions
Canada
NTSC
All Regions
Not offered
VHS Tape Edition U.S.
NTSC
Canada
NTSC
Not offered
Box Set of 4 VHS Tapes, Including This One Plus Basic Moves, Hips Buns, & Thighs, and Fat Burning. U.S.
NTSC
Canada
NTSC
 

(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. Veena and Neena themselves say the DVD edition support all regions. I have personally tested this DVD and confirmed it.)

Or, contact Veena and Neena as follows:

'Bellytwins"
P.O. Box 2402
Beverly Hills, CA 90213
U.S.A.

Phone: (+1) (310) 285 2255

Acknowledgements

I'd like to thank Tabatha Bradley for loaning me the boxed set of four videos so I could review them for this site. Thanks, Tabatha!

Belly Dancing Bellydancing Dance Bellydance

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