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A Review of

Secrets of the Centre

by Keti Sharif

 

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Summary

 

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

Keti Sharif offers an hour-long practice session built on beginning belly dance moves which includes ideas for dancing to the music and using belly dance moves for health benefits. She also introduces the idea of using belly dance in conjunction with such esoteric / metaphysical concepts as sacred geometry, numerology, and chakras. Secrets of the Centre by Keti Sharif

 

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What Shira.net Users Think

 
1) How would you rate Secrets of the Centre 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 Belly dance for health & happiness
Recommended Dance Skill Level Beginner
Overall Rating StarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStar
Total Video Length 60:00 minutes
Time Devoted to Instruction 57:38 minutes (96%)
Time Devoted to "Other" 2:22 minutes (4%)
Choreography? No

 

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Description

This video consists of a review/tour of beginning belly dance moves. Its focus isn't so much on technique as on looking at how they can be used in your dance. The overall tone of the video is that of using belly dance as a tool to achieve better overall health and happiness. Keti particularly focuses on which chakra is associated with each move and how belly dance moves can open up all the chakras. She particularly focuses on fluid moves, although some sharp moves are included too.

This video is organized into several sections, including Belly-Breath Connection, Upper Body Moves (Arms, Hands, Chest), Lower Body Moves (Belly, Hips, Feet), Sacred Geometry, Question & Answer Techniques, How to Use the Veil, and How to Play the Zills.

The first section offers about 2 ½ minutes of breathing exercises. Then Keti launches into the various types of moves:

  • Upper Body Moves. 8 ½ minutes. Keti focuses mostly on arm, hand, and shoulder moves. Although she does a couple of upper rib cage moves, the emphasis is really on the limbs.
  • Lower Body Moves. 19 minutes. Longest segment of the video. This is somewhat evenly divided between sharp hip moves and fluid hip moves.

As Keti introduces each move, she talks about the health benefits that it offers. For example, for shoulder rolls she talks about the release of tension in the shoulders after a day of sitting in front of the computer. I know that some of her comments about health benefits are on the mark, because I use some of those moves for the purposes she names. But I do wonder whether her statements are supported by medical studies. For those of a more metaphysical mind set, Keti also frequently associates a move with one of the seven chakras, talking about how that move can help open up that chakra.

In the Sacred Geometry section, Keti teaches some ideas for floor plans and organizing the moves into a dance. These are based on her study of Islamic art and the esoteric traditions of numerology behind it. Although the floor plans she teaches are indeed suitable ways to vary the look of a particular move and dance for an audience that may be "in the round", it isn't quite clear from the video just what she means by "sacred geometry" and why figure 8 floor plans in particular are so special. (I did visit Keti's web site and read an article there on sacred geometry, which enlightened me somewhat, but I'm still a bit puzzled about it and the explanation on the video doesn't provide enough information to stand on its own.) Anyway, the floor plans Keti teaches are useful dance technique whether you grasp the reference to sacred geometry or not.

In the segment Question & Answer Techniques, Keti introduces this musical structure that is very common in Arabic music and offers ideas on how to dance to it.

As expected, How to Use the Veil offers some elementary veil moves. Dancers who have not previously studied veil would receive sufficient introduction from this to decide whether veil is something they would be interested in studying further. How to Play Zills offers four very simple introductory finger cymbal rhythms. Keti doesn't identify the names of the musical rhythms, but she chooses ones that are common to Arabic music. She uses catchy phrases to help feel each rhythm, such as "Yes, I belly dance." Both the veil and the finger cymbals sections are well-presented, but at a very introductory level. If you want to focus on either of these topics, you would find more "meat" on a video dedicated to that topic. Keti ends the video with some closing remarks that talk about how to use the color associated with each chakra to inspire costuming choices.

From beginning to end, Keti dances constantly. This offers a useful practice-at-home structure for beginning students who have learned the basic moves and want to run through them with some repetition. Although it is not structured to be a workout and that's not its primary aim, it could be used as a mellow "yoga days" workout, or as a "get moving" workout that even a couch potato could do, as long as a warm-up and cooldown were added.

There is no performance segment on this video.

The production quality is not as strong on this video as it is on some of Keti's others. The set is attractive, but the lighting is too strong and sometimes burns out Keti's face. The music is too loud - it overpowers Keti's spoken instructions. I think she must have discovered this after filming, because on-screen text at the beginning of the video suggests turning the treble up and the bass down. I tried that, and in the Upper Body Moves section the heightened treble made the flute too strident. It doesn't really help elevate her voice above the music. The music is all Egyptian .

 

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Is It Right for You?

You Will Probably Enjoy This Video If

  • You're a beginner who has taken a class or mastered an elementary video.
  • You would like a practice video that systematically reviews beginner moves.
  • You would enjoy an introduction to the health benefits that certain belly dance moves can offer.
  • You would like a variety of ideas for arm moves.
  • You have studied sacred geometry or numerology and you would enjoy a video that links dance to these concepts.

This Video Probably Isn't Right for You If

  • You're looking for drills in technique.
  • You want to learn some new moves or combinations.
  • You would be uncomfortable with a video that links belly dancing to chakras.

 

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What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked:

  • Keti is a skilled instructor.
  • Keti discusses health benefits of belly dance moves.
  • The video can be used as a continuous practice session.
  • Keti wears different clothing for each section, which helps hold my attention.
  • The set is attractive.
  • Keti looks like she is enjoying herself.
  • Keti offers ideas for using available space and responding to the music.
  • On-screen titles introduce each move and identify section breaks.

What I Didn't Like:

  • The background music overpowers Keti's voice.
  • Keti doesn't emphasize isolation when discussing technique.
  • The lighting on Keti herself too bright at times, and burns out her face.
  • Keti introduces the term "sacred geometry" without sufficient background explanation to show how it relates to dance.

 

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Movements Taught

  • Sharp Hip Moves: Shimmy, shimmy with side-to-side weight shift, hip chonks up & down, hip drops, drop & kick, hip pushes with shimmy, turns & shimmies, hip thrusts to side
  • Hip Fluid Moves: Hip circle while walking in circle, hip circle on one side, inward figure 8, inward figure 8 with level change, large hip circle, outward figure 8, maya figure 8, undulation, hip-overs to the side
  • Rib Cage Fluid Moves: Chest slides, chest circles
  • Arms, Hands, & Shoulders: Giving gesture, uplifting gesture, relaxing down gesture, receiving gesture, snake arms, classic arms, downward floating hands, shoulder roll, shoulder shimmy, soft hand wave, single shoulder shimmy, shoulder shimmy forward & back
  • Finger Cymbals: Gallop, 3 maqsoum variations

 

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In Conclusion

Beginning belly dance students who have either attended an introductory class or worked with an elementary video may find this one helpful for both practicing what they learned and for continuing education. Keti helps put the basics together into continuous dance, and offers hints on dancing to Arabic music. The metaphysical/esoteric references to chakras and sacred geometry may appeal to some people and bother others. For me, it was an interesting slant.

 

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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.

 

Explore belly dancing! Learn all about bellydance!

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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