Discover Bellydance - Beyond Basic Dance

also known as

Sensual Art of Bellydance - Beyond 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 provide belly dance instruction at the level of a beginner with a small amount of prior belly dance experience (for example, a beginner who has previously mastered the Basic Moves video in their series.) They build a series of step combinations from elementary moves, then put them together into a 1-minute choreography to Egyptian music.

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.)

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 Beyond 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 Beginner who has worked with one previous belly dance video
Formats Available NTSC
Overall Rating StarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStar
Packaging StarStarStar
Total Video Length 42:31 minutes VHS tape
Performance Time 3:29 minutes (8%) VHS tape
Teaching Time 36:26 minutes (86%) VHS tape
Amount Of "Other" 2:36 minutes (6%) VHS tape
Choreography Yes
Cultural Information No
Music Education No
Health Issues No
Number Of Models 2
List Price $14.95 VHS tape
$19.95 DVD
Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time 37 cents VHS tape
Cost For "Other" $.91 VHS tape

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Description

This video was originally released under the title The Sensual Art of Bellydance - Beyond Basic Dance. Later, it was renamed to Discover Bellydance - Beyond Basic Dance.

On this video, the identical twins Veena and Neena Bidashi teach a series of combinations built from elementary moves, then assemble those combinations together into a brisk one-minute choreographed dance. This is the second in a series of three videos. The instruction assumes prior experience in learning fundamental moves such as hip drops, so it doesn't re-teach those.

The video opens with Veena and Neena in practice outfits performing the choreography that will be taught. It then progresses into the instruction section, which is divided into five parts: Warm Up, Upper Arm, Lower Body, Steps & Turns, and Choreography.

The warm-up is based on breathing and stretching exercises. Since current fitness thinking recommends at least five minutes of walking or other aerobic work before beginning to exercise, it seems a little surprising that this video doesn't include that.

In the instructional section for upper body and arm movements, the twins teach primarily arm positions. The names they use for these, such as "pyramid arms" and "genie arms", are their own names and not widely used among belly dancers, but this is fine because the belly dance community doesn't have a standard naming convention for belly dance moves and the twins' decision to assign names to the moves makes the choreography easier to teach later in the video.

The lower body section of the instruction focuses on hip movements, mostly the sharp movements that would be used with medium-to-fast music. This is followed by instruction in traveling steps and turns.

Generally speaking, the twins assume that you already know the basic building blocks that were taught on the first video in this series, Discover Bellydance - Basic Dance. So, for example, that first video teaches the hip drop, so this video assumes you already know that and it shows how to use that in the drop/kick combination.

The instruction section ends with the twins teaching a choreographed dance that uses the moves just taught. This is probably the weakest part of the video, because I find that the way the choreography is explained makes it difficult to memorize. The video simply shows each combination in order at a slow speed with voiceover describing what to do. It would have been helpful to have on-screen text listing the order of the combinations, and it would have been helpful to introduce just a couple of combinations at a time showing the dance being done up to that point.

Following the instruction section, the twins perform the choreography that was just taught in full professional costume. The choreography matches very well to the music, and captures the flavor of Egyptian music and dance at a level suitable for beginning dancers.

For the most part, the production quality is excellent. The set is attractive but not too distracting, and both the sound quality and lighting are well-executed. Generally speaking, the camera shows the appropriate body parts, but the camera work is mildly annoying because it moves constantly, never pausing to linger. This can be distracting when you're trying to study how a given move is being done, but it could be worse.

Voiceover is used to describe what to do while the twins demonstrate. The words are well aligned with the action, so it's easy to follow along, but I find the emphasis on being "sensual" and "exotic" to become a bit tedious at times. While I acknowledge that many people appreciate the sensual view of belly dance, the voiceover focuses on that much more than I'd prefer.

For this review, I used the VHS tape version of the video. The only performance segments on the VHS tape are the three one-minute demonstrations of the choreography.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • You have previously had at least a small amount of belly dance instruction - perhaps a couple of months of classes, or experience working with an elementary video.
  • You would like assistance assembling basic moves such as hip drops into a finished dance.
  • You would like to learn simple choreography appropriate to the level of beginning students.
  • You're a teacher or troupe director looking for simple choreography to use with your students or your troupe.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You've already achieved enough belly dance skill to be familiar with elementary moves and ways to use in your own dance.
  • You're looking for a fitness workout video instead of instruction in dance technique.
  • You don't care for orchestral Egyptian music.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked

  • The choreography fits the music well.
  • The moves taught are appropriate to the intended level - that is, a beginner who has a little prior belly dance experience.
  • The narrative offers appropriate posture comments.
  • Excellent light and sound quality, attractive set.
  • The video opens with a demonstration in practice outfits of the choreography that will be taught, then closes with a performance of the choreography done in full professional costume.
  • The movements are well explained and broken down effectively.
  • The choreography uses Egyptian music, so it offers a valid taste of what a student who learns from this video might encounter in classes.

What I Didn't Like

  • It doesn't identify where you can get a CD of the music that the choreography uses.
  • The video is short - only 45 minutes.
  • The narrator keeps emphasizing how "exotic" and "sensual" the dance is.
  • The restless camera wanders constantly.
  • Although the credits identify the names of the producers whose music is used, it does not identify specific CD's or song titles for those who might want to own a copy.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Movements Included

  • Warm-Ups: 6 moves (arms up & down, stretch to side, rib cage lift, stretch hip to back and side, large hip circles, small hip circles)
  • Hip Articulations: 6 moves (hip drop kicks, hip bump, double hip bump, hip down which some other people call a chonk, shimmy, shimmy layered on hip slide)
  • Hip Undulations: 3 moves (half moon/circle, circle and a half, desert flower)
  • Traveling Steps: 7 moves (travel forward & back with half moon, 3-step turn, step/hip with crossover which some teachers call Basic Egyptian with crossover, step/hip with crossover and Arabesque leg movement, Arabian horse, 3/4 shimmy, chassée which some teachers call step-together-step or 1-2-3)
  • Rib Cage Undulations: 1 move (vertical rib cage circles)
  • Arms: 5 moves (Cairo arms, angled arms, pyramid arms, Aladdin arms, genie 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 is the second in a series of three by Veena and Neena that provide instruction in how to belly dance. If you've already learned fundamental moves such as hip drops from a different elementary video or a live class, you could probably bypass the first video in this series and skip straight to this one. It assembles the basic moves together into a simple one-minute choreographed dance. I highly recommend it for newcomers to belly dancing who would like a video to help with home study.

Like most belly dance teachers, I don't think a video can be an adequate substitute for taking classes with a live teacher, but it can serve as a valuable review aid for practicing outside of class. Also, I realize some people don't have a local belly dance teacher. Whatever your reasons for working with a video at home, this one is an excellent choice for beginning dancers who have previously learned the building blocks either in a class or from a basic video.

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.)

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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