Discover Bellydance - Mystic Dance

also known as

Sensual Art of Bellydance - Mystic 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.

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Summary

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

Building on their two previous videos in the Discover Bellydance series, identical twins Veena and Neena Bidashi teach fluid moves such as circles and figure 8's and put them together into simple choreography that can be done either with or without a veil. The level of instruction assumes prior knowledge of the moves taught in the prior videos, but a beginner whose prior belly dance experience came from another source could probably still keep pace.

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 veil and finger cymbals. However, if you're curious to read the reviews that were posted of it when it was released, click here.

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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 Mystic Dance by Veena & 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 with some prior experience
Formats Available NTSC
Overall Rating StarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStar
Packaging StarStarStar
Total Video Length 50:14 minutes on VHS tape
60:44 minutes on DVD edition
Performance Time 5:55 minutes (12%) on VHS tape
16:25 minutes (27%) on DVD edition
Teaching Time 40:58 minutes (82%) on VHS tape
40:58 minutes (67%) on DVD edition
Amount Of "Other" 3:21 minutes (7%) on VHS tape
3:21 minutes (6%) on DVD edition
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 32 cents for VHS tape
37 cents for DVD edition
Cost For "Other" $1.00 for VHS tape
$1.18 for DVD edition

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Description

This video was originally released under the title The Sensual Art of Bellydance - Mystic Dance. Later, it was renamed to Discover Bellydance - Mystic Dance. Identical twins Veena and Neena Bidashi teach a series of combinations built from elementary moves, then assemble those combinations together into a fluid two-minute choreographed dance which can be done either with or without a veil. This is the third in a series of three videos.

The video opens with Veena and Neena in practice outfits performing the choreography that will be taught. The song is not identified on the video, but I think it may be by the band Solace - it has their moody, somewhat New Age style. It then progresses into the instruction section, which is divided into five parts: Warm Up, Arms, Lower Body, Steps & Turns, Veil, 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 mention that.

In the instructional section for arms, the twins use names that are not widely used among belly dancers, but this is fine because the belly dance community doesn't have a standard naming convention for moves and the twins' names make the choreography easier to teach later in the video.
The lower body section of the instruction focuses on hip movements, mostly fluid moves in the figure 8 family. 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 earlier videos in the Discover Bellydance series. So Mystic Dance quickly reviews these earlier moves without spending much time on them.

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.

The demonstration of the choreography is the only performance on the VHS tape version of the video. The DVD version contains three bonus performances: one by Marina Marina Darowish, and two by Sohaila (not Suhaila Salimpour). All three performances also appear on another video by the same producer, Bellydance Divas.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • You're interested in learning the slower, more sinuous belly dance moves such as figure 8's and undulations.
  • You would like an easy introduction to veil work with simple choreography.
  • 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 figure 8's into a finished dance.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You want to focus on learning Egyptian-style belly dance.
  • You've already achieved enough belly dance skill to be familiar with elementary moves and ways to use them in your own dance.
  • You're looking for a fitness workout video instead of instruction in dance technique.
  • You don't care for New Age music
  • You want a video that will drill you in polishing your technique.

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 skill level of the intended user.
  • The lighting and sound quality are excellent.
  • It shows the choreography being taught twice, once at the beginning of the video and again at the end, once in a practice outfit and again in full costume.
  • The movements are well explained.
  • The choreography is designed to look attractive either with or without a veil, so even someone who isn't ready to obtain a veil can still enjoy learning it.

What I Didn't Like

  • It doesn't identify the music used for the choreography, which makes it difficult for someone who wants to perform it for friends or family.
  • The narrator's frequent comments about how "sensuous" this dance is become rather tiresome after a while.
  • The use of voiceover creates a feeling of detachment between the viewer and the on-screen instructors.

Bellydancing Bellydance Bellydancers

Movements Included

  • Hip Undulations: 7 moves (hip pushes side to side, horizontal figure 8 back to front, horizontal figure 8 front to back, vertical figure 8 upward, vertical figure 8 downward, bicycle hips, single-hip figure 8)
  • Traveling Steps & Turns: 7 moves (4-count walk forward and back, camel undulations, spot turns, spot turn with dip, windmill turn, 8 baby steps turn, turn and look)
  • Rib Cage Undulations: 2 moves (rib cage circle, rib cage undulation)
  • Arms: 9 moves (mummy arms, goddess arms, temple arms, Nile arms at chest level, Nile arms at hip level, Nile arms over head, shoulder rolls, snake arms, candle arms)
  • Head: 1 move (head slide)
  • Veil Moves: 6 moves (turban veil which is called a semaphore by some teachers, Scheherazade veil flourish to each side, caravan veil step and swoop, mermaid veil holding veil together in front, veil envelope and peek through, temple arms with veil in either front or back)

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 provides a pleasant introduction to American-style veil work and the fluid moves of the figure 8 family that are suitable for soft, flowing music. It complements the two earlier Discover Bellydance videos well, since those focused on the sharp moves suitable for fast, energetic music. I enjoy the choreography it teaches, but I hesitate to recommend the video because it doesn't identify where you can get the music to practice and perform the choreography on your own.

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 veil and finger cymbals. 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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