Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Fluid Precision - Contemporary Tribal Bellydance|
Director: World Dance New York
Genres: Special Interests, Educational
Studio: Stratostream Release Date: 08/28/2007 Run time: 60 minutes
Welcome addition to my tribal fusion collection
Mala Bhargava | India | 10/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What you'd think of this video depends on where you are in your dance journey. If you're an absolute beginner at dance - find something else first. If you're an absolute beginner at belly dance - work at the muscle control for a bit first. If you're new to tribal, use this with one that spends more time on the basics and has an easier warm up. I really think this video is, however, just right for me. I'm a beginner too, but one who's been drilling movements and doing some yoga for a while now. I'm also someone who's hooked on tribal fusion style exercises and combinations. I already have thirteen videos in the tribal style alone, but am perfectly happy to acquire more of them. The exercise drills give me more variety to work with each day so I don't get bored, they keep my muscles in good shape to do the "regular" belly dancing I also work at, and the combinations add to a repertoire I absolutely treasure. And that's the perspective I'm coming from.
The editorial description and the video preview pretty much show you what's going on here. I actually like some of my other tribal videos (from the same stable, incidentally) better, but that doesn't mean this one doesn't have something unique. If you don't have any other tribal fusion videos, I'd recommend considering Tribal Fusion NYC, East Coast Tribal and Contemporary Belly Dance and Yoga Conditioning - all also from World Dance New York. What this video brings, apart from spicy new combinations, is a solid, challenging yoga workout. It includes some poses you don't see done in dance videos so often. These have to be done pretty carefully too. The other unique thing is the interesting level drops and floorwork used. In fact, there are two separate floorwork combinations altogether - and that's another thing that the other videos don't have. Because of the level drops and floorwork, being very, very careful or even avoiding if you have knee problems. Come to think of it, the selection of yoga poses also involve the knees.
The instruction on some of the other tribal fusion videos is warmer, the isolations are taken up more comprehensively, they're even drilled on some of them -- but this video has its own value to offer. It has the next level in yoga warm ups, very nice and challenging combinations, and floorwork as an extra.
A word has to be said about this music. It's been written specially for Kassar. Songs for Kassar is an interesting creation from Pete List. You can check him out at petelist.com.
Tribal fusion is always stunning. Even after I've seen so much of it, I find it jaw droppingly amazing each time. The Kassar combinations are no less.
The Two Graces
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 10/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kassar (Karin Hein-Parks and Melanie Wood) are a duo of striking beauty, as well as skill and power. They've put together a marvelous DVD for us to learn from here, on many levels. The "Warmup/Conditioning" is one of the 2 most difficult sections of the program; based on yoga movements, it requires flexibility and strength (Oh! Those upside-down pushups!). It is followed by "Isolations" which teaches us how to do them slowly and in depth.
"Combinations" 1, 2, 3, and 4 are taught step by step, and can be appreciated and danced by all; beginner-intermediate and intermediate-advanced students will all gain something from it. You will need a very agile back and it is great for working on graceful, supple arms. Next come 2 very interesting sections of "Floorwoork," which is the other part of this DVD where the level of difficulty rises because they are hard to do smoothly, and also require healthy knees and strong inner thigh muscles. Kassar recommends you use kneepads for these movements. "Floorwoork" is not included in the "Combinations" choreography, but some of it can be seen in the final performances. "Demonstration/Practice" is where you put the 4 "Combinations" together and dance them continuously.
The 2 costumed "Performances" are captivating. Kassar is sensual and elegant, incredibly talented and with a big touch of class. This is a terrific DVD to add to your dance instruction library. The music by Pete List, inspired with sounds and instruments of India, is also excellent and available on this link:Songs for Kassar.
A New Take on Tribal Fusion - Layers, Level Changes, and Flo
Melissa A. Cain | Sarasota, FL | 12/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With this offering by Kassar, World Belly Dance New York is once again thinking outside of the standard belly dance "box." I have to confess; I truly enjoy Neon's commitment to creating DVDs that feature those dancers that are perhaps a bit more obscure than some of the performers and instructors the other big production companies feature. Like anyone else, I relish watching the subtle snakiness of the Bellydance Superstar's tribal contingent and marvel at the improvisational intricacies of Fat Chance and Gypsy Caravan. But I really do appreciate seeing an instructional offering from some of the up-and-coming dancers in the tribal world. Melanie and Karin of Kassar offer a fresh perspective on tribal in this instructional DVD and give viewers the unique opportunity to see and learn floorwork integrated into a tribal routine. It's incredibly inspiring and beneficial to see another dancer's interpretation of this evolving style and this DVD has a lot of material that is not found on other tribal offerings.
Here's each of the sections, and a few notes on the material they contain:
"Warmup:" At Spirit of the Tribes in 2004, I watched Kassar drop, leap, and slink across the stage. It became quickly apparent that these two ladies had killer core strength in addition to their amazing technical ability. In this warmup, viewers will get a taste of the stretches and strength building exercises that Melanie and Karin use to support their sinuous style. Like Kassar's multifaceted approach to tribal style belly dance, the warmup pulls from a variety of different philosophies in order to develop strength and flexibility within the body. The Warmup begins with a selection of yoga-based stretches, opening with a modified warrior pose. As the session progresses, additional poses are included, as are more traditional exercises such as the old tried-and-true runner's hamstring stretch. Karin leads the viewer through a series of strength-building exercises that are pretty intense including "pulses" executed while in a very wide stance and a sort backwards push-up. It must be noted that these are most certainly exercises that will help one become stronger but they definitely require careful application and may not be for those just beginning their exercise regime. The final portion of the warmup includes a variety of stretches intended to open up the hips and improve leg flexibility. These stretches are done while seated and are much more gentle on the body compared to some of the other exercises in the warmup; this would be an excellent series of exercises for those beginning to dance.
"Isolations:" After the warmup, Melanie takes over to teach the various movements that will be utilized in the combinations featured on the DVD. Torso and ribcage movements come first, followed by hip isolations. Melanie gives clear, detailed descriptions of each movement as well as describing the muscles used to execute them. A particularly nice touch was her constant admonitions to maintain proper posture and tips on what not to do for the various movements. The girls cover some movements that will be familiar to those with an ATS background including the torso rotation and the body wave in the torso section and the taxseem and maya during the hip isolations. They also add in some unique moves (that have, dare I say it, an almost cabaret flair) including double drops, a nifty horizontal chest crescent, and an interesting variation on a reverse body wave. Each movement is broken down, demonstrated, and then reviewd for a few minutes giving viewers plenty of time to work on the movement without feeling rushed or frustrated.
"Combinations:" The title of this DVD is "Fluid Precision" and nowhere is this more apparent than in the combinations Melanie and Karin have created. There are a total of four combinations, each lasting about 16 counts or so. First either Melanie or Karin demonstrates the isolations that make up the routine. These are practiced for a bit in sequence and then the arms are added on. Once again, there is plenty of time to study and practice the combination with the arm layer. Next, the girls speed it up, offering both a slow and fast version of the same movement series. The movements in the combos may seem simplistic at first, but the beauty of these combinations is mastering each separate isolation so that they can be strung together fluidly. Combinations that utilize usual body angles, unexpected level variations, weight changes, and movements performed with different stances (in "second" position instead of "first," for example) provide viewers with an inspiring and exciting new selection of dance material.
"Floorwork:" The girls of Kassar are masters of fancy floorwork. The DVD contains (unfortunately only) two floorwork combinations. Like the other combos, these two offerings utilize the isolations reviewed earlier in the DVD. There are some great ideas here for both descending to, and rising up from, the floor that use the isolations. Kassar's two creations once again make good use of the floor space and add some nice twists including level changes while on the floor and traveling on the floor, too.
The regular combinations are then strung together in a follow-along-and-practice series. This is a nice way to get an idea of how the combinations can flow from one into another and is, of course, the perfect opportunity to follow along and practice.
The final section of the DVD includes two lovely performances by Kassar. Here viewers can see where Melanie and Karin truly shine as they reveal their signature tribal duet style. One thing I really missed on this DVD was any combinations that could be utilized for duets. Melanie and Karin are so incredibly in sync when dancing together, as viewers will see in both of these performances, and they often have creative methods for interacting with one another while onstage. It's a bit of a shame there wasn't at least one combo designed for partner work (guess there will just need to be another DVD!).
What worked for me:
* Floorwork and level changes! Karin and Melanie create incredibly creative floorwork combinations and it was wonderful to not only see this during a performance but to learn it, too. Throughout the combinations there are wonderfully useful tips on level changes too, allowing viewers to learn new ways to add interest to their dance. Just wish there was more of this!
* Kassar's costuming is absolutely gorgeous. They create some really unique pieces with lush textiles and patterns. Just looking at their costuming can inspire.
* The duo's positioning during many of the DVD sections allows the viewer to see the movements from different angles. This was particularly useful during the combos and the warmup as it was nice to see what the stretches should look like from different vantage points.
* Pacing. The DVD moved at a steady pace that was refreshingly gentle. Information was presented slowly and carefully and there was plenty of time to practice the isolations and combinations.
What may not work for you:
* Got bad knees? I do. For those of us who have difficulty with those lovely joints, there may be parts of this DVD that are more than a little hard. While the floorwork would be challenging, it is not impossible and definitely something that those with sore knees could attempt and eventually perform.
* During some portions of the DVD it was difficult for me to hear what Melanie and Karin were saying. The music (which was awesome, by the way) seemed to be at an appropriate level, but for some reason the vocal track was not loud enough to be clearly heard over the song. This may have just been my copy, but I found it particularly difficult to hear the instructional portion during the Warmup.
* Some of the stretches and movements in this video are fairly intense (the knee bounces during the warmup, for instance) and may not be suitable for those just starting to belly dance. There is not too much detail given on performing the stretches properly, so care must be taken by the viewer to be sure that undue strain is not put on the body.
* As with several of the other World Dance DVDs, the lighting on the dancers is a bit difficult (on my TV at least) to view for long periods of time. In this offering Kassar is filmed under a red light with a blue background. While they definitely stand out, the red was at times very stark and almost blurred."
Dont miss out!
Seir | USA | 11/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These girls have it all and present it well.
To begin the Kassar program, there is an extensive warm up, yoga, with emphasis on lower body, a good upper body work out,nice arm stretches. I recommend using all these to prepare for the combinations ahead.
Initially I would have ventured to say this is more of an intermediate instructional video but the warm up is a great work out.The moves are so detailed in the combinations, working so much of the enire body, and with plenty of repetition. The combinations are presented with and without counting, simply even a beginner with basic foundation, flexibility, can work through.
This great program contains comprehensive breakdown of isolation technique. I learned a different perspective into body waves as it is extensively broken down.
Four fantastic, packed combinations with mayas, chest lifts drops and changes in level, nice ¾ turns, so elegant and easy to learn.
Nice arm work with torso incorporations.
2 amazing segments of floor work, these girls are sleek, graceful despite the tribal garb, they slide about comfortably connecting and rooting with earth while undulating and turning.
The manner in which the program is presented makes something challenging become very intriguing and inviting as these two connect with you directly, and draw you in. I plunged right in with good results. I can't wait to show off these great moves.
In brief, Partner dancing or mirroring, another unique and welcome return to belly dance videos while these two amazing dancers wow you with performances totally in sync.
Four combinations with simple basics, layered in elegance and simple enough to learn.
2 great segments with a nice return to floor work with great style and placing signature in this tribal style.
This style is no nonsense but solid and without the overdone drama and decoration. A nice return to floor work, partner mirroring, and a great style. Realistic articulation that is inviting, achievable, beautifully blended in style and music.This program has it all! If you dont have it,
you will greatly miss out.