Discover Bellydance - Basic Dance

also known as

Sensual Art of Bellydance - Basic Dance

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.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Summary

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

Identical twins Veena and Neena Bidashi teach elementary belly dance moves and assemble them into a choreography suitable for beginners who have not previously belly danced.

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
All regions
Canada
NTSC
All regions
U.K.
NTSC
All Regions
(from U.S.)
VHS Tape Edition U.S.
NTSC
Canada
NTSC
Not offered
As part of a 3-DVD set, bundled with Beyond Basic Dance and Mystic Dance U.S.
NTSC
All Regions
Canada
NTSC
All Regions
U.K.
NTSC
All Regions
(from U.S.)
As part of a 3-VHS tape set, bundled with Beyond Basic Dance and Mystic Dance  U.S.
NTSC
Canada
NTSC
Not offered

(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 all regions.)

Amazon no longer sells the gift set that came with hip scarf and music CD. However, if you're curious to read the reviews that were posted of it when it was released, click here.

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 Basic Dance 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 August 1, 2003.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

The Chart

Recommended Level Total Novice
Formats Available NTSC
Overall Rating StarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStar
Packaging StarStarStar
Total Video Length 47:04 minutes
Performance Time 4:31 minutes (10%)
Teaching Time 39:41 minutes (84%)
Amount Of "Other" 2:52 minutes (6%)
Choreography Yes
Cultural Information No
Music Education No
Health Issues No
Number Of Models 2
List Price $14.98 for VHS tape
$19.95 for DVD
Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time 34 cents for VHS tape
45 cents for DVD
Cost For "Other" 91 cents for VHS tape
$1.22 for DVD

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Description

This video teaches elementary belly dance moves at a level suited for someone who has never before had any belly dance instruction. The instructors are identical twins Veena and Neena Bidashi. They begin the video with a demonstration of the choreographed dance that will be taught while voiceover comments provide an introduction.

The instruction section opens with four minutes of simple warm-ups. From there, the instruction in belly dance moves is divided into three major sections: "Upper Body", "Lower Body", and "Steps & Turns". The "Upper Body" section mostly teaches various arm poses and movements, but also includes head slide, shoulder shimmy, and rib slides. The "Lower Body" section consists of various hip circling moves, hip lift and drop, and shimmy. "Steps and Turns" shows some footwork oriented moves.

All instruction is handled by voiceover. While the twins maintain brave smiles, the voiceover explains what to do next. These explanations tend to be well designed and easy to understand. For each move, first the twins demonstrate it at full speed, then it is demonstrated slowly while the voiceover describes how to do it, with some practice time to work on a few repetitions. Once the slow repetitions have been done, it is practiced at full speed. The words used for the explanations are well chosen. For example, one arm movement is appropriately described as being like taking off a T-shirt, and a rib cage undulation is described as being like a Ferris wheel. Most of the time, the voiceover aligns well with the on-screen action, but occasionally it comes too late. Throughout, the twins wear exercise tops and leggings with a hip scarf, making it easy to see the body parts demonstrating what to do next. Altogether, this instruction in moves lasts about 35 minutes.

After teaching the individual moves, the video puts them together into a short 1 1/2 minute choreographed dance. This is the first time that the arm movements taught at the beginning of the video are teamed with the corresponding hip movements or steps. At first, the choreography is demonstrated to slow music, allowing plenty of time to work through each new move. Then it is demonstrated at full speed. For these two demonstrations, one slow and one fast, the twins add chiffon skirts over the top of their leggings to enhance the feeling of dancing rather than just exercise.

I find the style of explaining the choreography to be a bit hard to follow, because the voiceover simply calls out what to do next while the twins demonstrate it. I would have preferred having some on-screen text listing the next 3-4 moves in the sequence, followed by a demonstration of those moves, because I find it easier to remember something I have seen in writing rather than something I have been verbally told. That's just my personal learning style - if you learn best by hearing spoken words, you'll probably be comfortable with the way the choreography is presented.

Following the full-speed demonstration, the twins perform the choreography again, this time wearing full professional belly dance costumes. This provides a satisfying conclusion to the video because it shows that the choreography truly is belly dancing.

The production quality is excellent. The video is well-lit, on a beautiful set, with clear sound. The camera usually shows exactly what it should, offering close-ups of the right body parts and pulling away when needed for a big-picture view.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • You don't have access to a live belly dance teacher and you want to begin learning from video.
  • You have never belly danced before at all.
  • You would like a video that teaches a simple choreography to help you put moves together into a dance.
  • You like a teaching style that moves slowly and simply with repetition rather than pushing you to expand your limits.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You have had previous belly dance instruction and already mastered such basics as hip circles and hip drops.
  • You want to feel a connection to the on-screen instructor - the use of voiceover for explanation rather than having the instructors talk directly to the camera creates some feeling of detachment from them.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked

  • The moves taught are appropriate for the beginning level of dancer that this video is meant for.
  • The choice of words used to describe how to do moves is precise and helps understand how the move is created.
  • The choreography offers beginners help in understanding how to put moves together into a finished dance.
  • The choreography is taught slowly at first, before being done at full speed.
  • The choreography is shown being performed in full professional costume at the end.
  • Generally speaking, the production quality is excellent: beautiful set, well lit, clear sound, camera angles usually showing what they should.
  • The twins pack enough moves and choreography into this 45-minute to help brand-new dance students feel like they are truly dancing once they have mastered it.

What I Didn't Like

  • The use of voiceover instead of having the instructors speaking on-screen creates a sense of feeling detached from the instructor.
  • When the choreography is being taught, I find myself wanting to have on-screen written text identifying what to do next as a memory aid.
  • The twins demonstrate some moves with their feet very far apart which looks awkward.
  • Some moves are demonstrated in a very bouncy fashion, which to me just doesn't feel right for belly dancing.
  • Doesn't identify song titles or artists for the music.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Movements Included

  • Warm-Ups: 4 moves (raise arms and breathe, tilt neck to one side and roll head across front, stretch to side, bend knees)
  • Hip Articulations: 3 moves (hip drop, hip lift, hip shimmy)
  • Hip Undulations: 4 moves (hip circle, hip circle moving in own circle, half circle, single-sided hip circle)
  • Steps and Turns: 3 moves (forward/back step, step-turn in place, basic step)
  • Rib Cage Articulations: 1 move (shoulder shimmy)
  • Rib Cage Undulations: 1 move (undulation)
  • Head Moves: 1 move (head slide)
  • Arms: 8 moves (Aladdin arms, genie arms, L arm, S arm, crossing arms, wrist circles, temple arms, snake arms)

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:

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

In Conclusion

This video could be an excellent choice for someone who wants to learn how to belly dance, but for some reason can't attend live classes. It definitely starts at the very beginning with very elementary moves. Someone who has access to a live teacher would probably outgrow it very quickly, but someone who is trying to learn without a teacher will probably feel it is just the right level. The use of a choreography provides a helpful structure for learning to put the individual moves together into a dance.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

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. Veena sent me a complimentary copy of this video to review for my web site.

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
All regions
Canada
NTSC
All regions
U.K.
NTSC
All Regions
(from U.S.)
VHS Tape Edition U.S.
NTSC
Canada
NTSC
Not offered
As part of a 3-DVD set, bundled with Beyond Basic Dance and Mystic Dance U.S.
NTSC
All Regions
Canada
NTSC
All Regions
U.K.
NTSC
All Regions
(from U.S.)
As part of a 3-VHS tape set, bundled with Beyond Basic Dance and Mystic Dance  U.S.
NTSC
Canada
NTSC
Not offered

(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 all regions.)

Amazon no longer sells the gift set that came with hip scarf and music CD. However, if you're curious to read the reviews that were posted of it when it was released, click here.

Or, contact Veena and Neena as follows:

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

Phone: (+1) (310) 285 2255

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

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