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A Review of

Jewel of Arabia

by Keti Sharif

 

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Summary

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

Keti Sharif teaches a choreographed dance in the classical Egyptian style built upon some of the step combinations that were taught on A-Z Bellydance. Jewel of Arabia by Keti Sharif Video Cover

 

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What Shira.net Users Think

 
1) How would you rate Jewel of Arabia by Keti Sharif?
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 February 8, 2004.

Note: Shira has a policy against video producers asking their students, family, and friends to pad the votes, or campaigning for favorable votes through their web sites. Click here for detailed information about the policy.

 

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Fact Sheet

Subject Matter Choreographed dance in Egyptian style
Recommended Dance Skill Level Intermediate or Advanced
Overall Rating StarStarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStarStar
Total Video Length 71:17 minutes
Time Devoted to Instruction 59:33 minutes (84%)
Time Devoted to Performance 9:28 minutes (13%)
Time Devoted to "Other" 2:16 minutes (3%)
Choreography? Yes

 

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Description

Keti Sharif teaches a 9-minute intermediate-level choreographed dance to music in the classical Egyptian style from her CD, Magic of the Orient. This piece has been composed by Ahmed Gebali, an Egyptian musician who also appears on Keti's Bellydance Live video series.

The video opens with a performance of Keti in full professional costume demonstrating the choreography that will be taught. This is an attractive dance that fits very well with the music. Her on-stage personality is very pleasant. Many dancers who are taped in a studio without a live audience seem detached and bored because they don't know how to relate to the camera. In contrast, Keti's facial expressions are those of a dancer who is enjoying herself, and her pleasure comes through into my living room.

It's very challenging to memorize a 9-minute dance. In places where the music repeats, the step used to interpret it also repeats. In other places, Keti leaves it open to improvisation with suggestions on moves that could be used there. Generally speaking, the instructional section is organized in a way that is designed to make learning the choreography as easy as possible. First Keti breaks down the combination into its component parts, explaining how to do it. Next, a clip shows her performing it in a professional costume with a veil, to illustrate how it looks different with a veil as compared to without. After this, she reviews the combination, this time with her back to the camera to show it from another angle. Finally, she shows the clip of this segment from the performance that opened the video. Periodically, she leads a review of the entire dance as taught so far. Taken together, these techniques make it easier to learn the dance. I've seen many instructional videos teach choreography, and Keti's structure is one of the best for helping me with memorization, although I recognize that other people might prefer other approaches.

On-screen titles periodically identify the grouping of combinations used in a particular segment, and also introduce some segments. This is helpful when fast-forwarding and rewinding to desired parts of the video.

The choreography draws many of its elements from Keti's earlier video A-Z Bellydance, which teaches a collection of 26 different step combinations. Keti has structured the instruction in a way that would make it easy for a viewer who has previously mastered the A-Z series to learn the choreography quickly, but she provides enough detail on each combination to allow people who aren't familiar with the earlier video to still learn the move without too much difficulty. At times, she modifies an A-Z combination to fit better with this particular music, and explains why. At times, she offers suggestions on how to adapt the choreographed moves to make them your own.

Dancers who are new to Egyptian style of dance can use this video to become familiar with the many rhythm shifts, accents, and other structures typical of classical Egyptian music and gain ideas on how to interpret such music. As Keti teaches the moves, she frequently identifies the name of the rhythm or the musical technique being employed and talks about why she is using a particular step or accent. Through this approach, the video offers some education in Egyptian orchestral music which can be transferred to dancing to other songs too.

The set is brightly lit, but sometimes it is too bright and the excess light "burns out" Keti's face. Fortunately, this doesn't detract from seeing how the moves look. Keti's clothes contrast well with the background so it's always easy to see what her body is doing. The camera work always shows what I need it to. The editing is excellent. Through use of on-screen titles and changes in what Keti is wearing it's easy for me to recognize when my fast-forwarding or rewinding has brought me to the place I want. The set is attractive, but simple enough to not be distracting. The sound has room for improvement. The clips showing segments of Keti's opening performance are too loud in comparison to the sections where Keti speaks, so I need to keep toggling my volume control up and down as the video progresses.

 

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Is It Right for You?

You Will Probably Enjoy This Video If

  • You want to learn a choreographed dance in the classical Egyptian style that you can perform.
  • You're an intermediate level dancer.
  • You'd like some guidance in learning how to vary a choreographed piece to make it your own.
  • You need help learning how to assemble step combinations into a finished dance.
  • You're an experienced American-style dancer who would like to learn how to dance to Egyptian orchestral music.

This Video Probably Isn't Right for You If

  • You don't care for Egyptian orchestral music.
  • You're focused on studying technique, and not interested in learning choreography.

 

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What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked:

  • Keti is a skilled instructor.
  • Keti offers clear explanations of how to do the combinations.
  • The choreography is enjoyable to watch and fits the music very well.
  • Keti's presentation is very well organized.
  • The video's structure is well designed to help make the choreography easy to memorize.
  • Keti offers ideas on how to adapt the choreography to make it your own.
  • Keti demonstrates each move and combination from both front and back.
  • Keti includes insights into dance techniques such as interpreting question & answer in the music.

What I Didn't Like:

  • There are some issues with the sound quality.
  • The lighting washes out Keti's face at times.

 

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In Conclusion

This is my kind of choreography video, because it teaches much more than "do 4 counts of this move, then 8 counts of that". Keti offers insight into how the music has influenced her decision of which moves to use, she identifies the rhythms in several places, and she frequently suggests ways to insert your own personal touch. By the time a student is done working with this video, s/he will have gained not only a dance to perform but also an enhanced understanding of Egyptian classical music that can be used in dancing to other songs in the future. Although it's not necessary to master Keti's A-Z Bellydance video before using this one, people who have done so will learn this choreography more quickly.

 

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Reviews of Other Videos By This Instructor

If you'd like to read my reviews of other videos by Keti Sharif, choose from the lists below.

Instructional Videos:

Workout Videos:

Opinion Polls

 

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Disclosure

Keti has sent me several of her products to review here on my web site, including this video. We also had an opportunity to meet in person on one of my trips to Egypt.

 

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To Buy It

Phone: (+61) 412747447
Web Site: www.ketisharif.com
E-Mail: keti@iinet.net.au

Or, purchase from Keti's U.S. distributor at:

International Dance Discovery
PO Box 893
Bloomington, IN 47402-0893

Phone: (+1) 812-330-1831

Web Site: www.allaboutbellydance.com

 

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