Dance of the Goddess, by Lorna Zilba

A Video Review By Shira

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

Lorna Zilba teaches a variety of elementary belly dance moves and leads a practice session using the moves taught.

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What Users Think

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The Chart

Recommended Level Total Novice
Formats Available NTSC
Overall Rating StarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStar
Packaging StarStarStar
Total Video Length 84 1/2 minutes
Performance Time 6 1/2 minutes
Teaching Time 78 minutes
Choreography No
Cultural Information No
Music Education Yes
Health Issues No
Number Of Models 1

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Lorna Zilba offers beginner-level instruction in simple belly dance moves. She also opens the video with information on costuming and how Middle Eastern music differs from what Westerners are used to. Although she selects certain common moves such as hip lifts and drops to teach on this video, she also offers some change-of-pace moves I haven't seen anyone else teach, such as a clover leaf pattern with the hips. Because it offers elements that other elementary videos don't, I see Dance of the Goddess as being well suited to beginners looking to buy a second or third basic video.

After the comments on music and costuming, Lorna spends about 15 minutes on a warm-up consisting of breathing exercises and simple moves of the head, shoulders, and rib cage. She ends the warm-up with a yoga move known as the Salutation to the Sun. Next she teaches a variety of moves, divided into chapters known as Hips & Body, Undulation & Hands, The Veil, and Dance of the Countryside. Each section teaches about 3-5 moves. Artistically speaking, I don't care much for Lorna's veil work because it lacks the flowing style that I love so much about veil. However, she is a skilled dancer and the dance she does to faster music is fine.

In the first four chapters, the background music tends to be very soft, making it easy to hear Lorna's voice above it. I don't recognize the musician, but the songs tend to be the traditional songs from Turkey and other eastern Mediterranean countries that I frequently hear played for American style belly dance. For the Dance of the Countryside segment, she uses the album "Music of the Ghawazee", produced by Aisha Ali.

For the instruction, Lorna wears a leotard with simple cotton full skirt and pantaloons, with bare feet. For her performance, her costume appears to be made from sari fabric. The set is a plain dance studio with mirror and barres on non-mirrored walls, without decoration. Most of the instruction is filmed showing Lorna from two angles at once, both from behind and also reflected in the mirror. Usually, the camera angles show what they should: feet, hips, etc. However, once a while the camera lingers on Lorna's face or feet when it should show her hips. Fortunately, this doesn't happen often enough to be too annoying.

You Will Probably Like This Video If

  • You want to learn to belly dance, but you don't see yourself wearing beads and sequins.
  • You enjoy video instructors with warm on-screen personalities.
  • You would appreciate a dance teacher who obviously knows yoga.
  • You have mastered one elementary video and you'd like to learn some beginner moves that others don't teach.
  • You appreciate videos that lead several on-screen repetitions of each move so you don't need to rewind as much when using over them.
  • You want a video that focuses on Egyptian Oriental music and dance style.

You Probably Won't Care for This Video If

  • You're hoping the use of the word "goddess" in the title means the video will carry strong tie-ins to goddess spirituality.
  • You have been belly dancing more than a year.
  • You prefer videos that don't offer much practice or repetition time to make room for as many moves as possible.

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What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked

  • Lora offers clear, detailed instructions.
  • The set is well lit.
  • The camera work usually shows what it should.
  • Lorna's explanations are easy to hear over the background music.
  • Each move is shown from multiple angles.
  • Lorna's on-screen personality is warm and likeable.

What I Didn't Like

  • The credits don't identify the music used.
  • Artistically speaking, I don't care for Lorna's style of veil work.

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Movements Included

  • Hip Articulations: 5 moves (hip lift, hip drop, double hip to each side, hip lift forward & drop back, ¾ shimmy (Hagallah movement), hip shimmy)
  • Hip Undulations: 4 moves (sway hips side to side, 4-leaf clover, large hip circle, hip twist double back on each side)
  • Traveling Steps: 2 moves (paddle turn, figure 8 walk)
  • Rib Cage Undulations: 1 moves (circle upper body)
  • Body Undulations: 1 moves (full-body undulation)
  • Arms: 5 moves (shoulder roll, hand ripple, snake arms, lotus hands, shoulder shimmy)
  • Veil: 4 moves (veil swirl around body front/back, throw veil to front, frame face, sweep veil side to side)

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In Conclusion

This video teaches slowly and patiently, with a great deal of repetition. It is best suited to beginning dancers who would be frustrated rewinding multiple times to review or practice a new move. It covers a few moves I haven't seen on other videos, and also offers some introductory comments about music and costuming. The camera frequently shows most moves from two angles: it films Lorna from behind and also captures her reflection in the mirror.

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Bob Alexander, the producer of this video, sent me a complimentary copy to review. I have never had any contact with Lorna herself.

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Contacting The Producer & Ordering The Video

Contact Lorna Zilba as follows:

Making History
P.O. Box 891796
Temecula, CA 92589-1796

Phone: (+1) (877) 383-7767 (877-DVDPROS) or (+1) (909) 587-8456
Web Site:

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