Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Luscious - The Bellydance Workout for Beginners|
Actors: Neon, Blanca, Sarah Skinner
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Exercise & Fitness
Lavish and overflowing with deep, rich, feminine movement, Luscious: The Bellydance Workout is made of 100% of bellydance moves and steps It is gentle, but it will work your body to enhance your muscle tone, flexibility, a... more »
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A langurous but intense escape into the beauty of the dance
atisheh | New York, New York | 05/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Did we really need another bellydance-based workout? I wouldn't have thought so, but Neon, as usual, has gone and proven my expectations wrong.
"Luscious" is an exquisitely made program, with more good qualities than I can enumerate. The costumes and setting are gorgeous -- nothing like the typical brightly-lit aerobics studio -- and Neon advises you at the beginning to dress up for it and join the three dancers here in making the movement special. This is the kind of thing that sounds cheesy, but I did it, and it makes sense: how will you forget about bad body image or those extra pounds if you're wearing ugly workout wear? Dressing up makes you feel like you're dancing, not punishing yourself.
The instruction itself is taught in sections themed "Circles," "Infinity Loops," "Undulations," "Hip Accents," "Shimmy," and "Body Line." Each dancer leads two of the sections: she stands at the front and her voiceover describes the movements to be done. What I really like about this is that the sections weren't assigned randomly; instead, each section bears the particular dancer's imprint, and showcases her strengths. It's subtle, but you start to notice that Neon leads complicated, quick-changing combinations, Blanca shows her wonderful, large, and sensuous movements, and Sarah Skinner adds an upbeat Turkish feel to the shimmy section. This made the instructors seem much less like exchangeable dancing bodies, and much more like teachers with particular areas of expertise.
The movements are varied, and quite a few combinations are introduced and repeated from two to six times. This is not a "four of this and four of that" drill. In fact, I would suggest that complete beginners start with a different video. This would be great for advanced beginners like me, who are not expert enough for a complicated choreo with tons of layering, but get bored when everything comes in fours and is repeated ad infinitum.
All along, the dancers offer tips on putting emotion into the steps, on maintaining form, and on making movements deeper and stronger. While the dancing is rarely fast-paced, the slowness of the movements is often more challenging and grueling. The workout made me sweat (though it might not make everyone), but more importantly, it challenged me to maintain grace, form, and muscle control while learning the combinations. I couldn't believe it when the forty-five minutes were over -- it felt like fifteen!
If you have weak knees, you might want to be careful with some of the lunges and plies; on the other hand, there aren't a lot of them, and they're done slowly enough that you can be careful. I'll also repeat the warning that this might be a little hard for complete beginners who aren't already good at picking up choreography. However, the video does have a well-indexed instructional section which describes all the movements used in the workout. As a step up, there's a version of the workout with music alone, and no voice over.
In case my enthusiasm wasn't clear enough, I really think WDNY has a winner with this video. It's simple, but also simple enough to do regularly and to grow into. At the same time, even once you have learned the step combinations, adding graceful arm and handwork (to say nothing of being aware of facial expressions, head positions, and dancer's poise) poses an extra layer of difficulty. And finally, the movements are, quite simply, beautiful. You will be happy to be dancing."
A Lovely Workout
S. Gardner | Central Wisconsin | 06/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the things that attracted me to this workout is that it advertises itself as being for beginners. This isn't quite true. If you've never done bellydance before, then this is not a DVD for you. It's lovely and lush, and each of the instructors are talented in their own right, but a rank beginner will find the moves hard to follow.
The DVD does include a tutorial section, which is a bonus. I wish, however, that they had filmed it differently. The tutorial appears to be filmed on the same stage on which the workout is performed, when a studio with mirrors to show more angles of Neon (who is the only instructor performing the tutorials) might be more advantageous. Neon is also dressed in a performance costume, which is a bit distracting and which makes it hard to follow sometimes, particularly in traveling moves and the movements of her knees. The tutorial for each move also seems a bit short at times, with more time being devoted to an accompanying clip demonstrating the move's use in the workout.
The workout itself is more satisfying. The vocal prompts are in general quite good, and I particularly like that there is an indication on-screen as to which move or combination is being performed. The workout is balanced and well-paced, building moves from each previous section as it progresses, and the musical accompaniment is appropriate. The angle changes are occasionally odd and distracting, but don't detract too much from the quality of the workout itself.
Although it purports to be for beginners, I would not recommend this as one's first bellydance DVD purchase, unless they've already had some instruction. For those without access to an instructor, it might be better to start with another DVD that better breaks down the basics, such as Bellydance Basics and Beyond: Technique for a Solid Foundation (another World Dance New York title). If you've mastered the basics, though, then this will be a fun, relaxed workout, well worth the money."
The Three Graces
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 05/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Luscious" is a terrific bellydance instruction DVD geared towards beginners, though intermediate students may enjoy and learn from it too, as Neon, Blanca, and Sarah are superb dancers and teachers, and the choreography is varied enough to find interest and enjoyment for a very long time.
After the "Welcome" by Neon, the dancers guide you through the moves, each taking their turn at being in the front and doing the teaching. There is also the option of a "Step by Step Tutorial," which explains each move in detail, as well as an option to practice just with the music, without the voice-over instructions. The music is marvelous, all with a traditional flavor in its instrumentation and melodies.
Neon is a stunning blonde born in Russia; a famed dancer, teacher, and choreographer, whose technique is dazzling, and creativity amazing. She has helped bring the art of bellydance to a new level. Blanca is a goddess. Born in Mexico, her sensual style and grace have few equals. Sarah Skinner is a dancer I'm less familiar with, but she is incredibly impressive and beautiful, and fits in well with Neon and Blanca. These 3 dancers are the epitome of "The Three Graces."
"Luscious" is very well produced, and the dancers are filmed in a simple stage setting with excellent lighting, making it easy to discern and follow the movements. The costuming is also lovely, in shades of teal and red, and adds to the visual beauty of the program. This is a great way to learn bellydancing, relieve stress, get your exercise and have fun at the same time. If you want weight loss, many experts agree that the best way to lose is through doing continual movement as is done on this DVD, rather than in aerobics. "Luscious" is a superb DVD for your dance instruction library, and if you're just starting out with bellydancing, it will inspire you to keep practicing and learning.
Beautiful, slow, languid healing communion with the goddess.
sylvia plath | denmark | 09/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All I can say is wow.
I am an an advanced belly dancer who performs and choreographs for other dancers, I also come from a Middle Eastern family, so I am generally a hypercritical malcontent when it comes to Belly dance DVDs. However, this one is like nothing I have ever purchased before and yet it is everything I have ever wanted in a practice conditioning workout, but didn't know how to articulate. Not only do the beautiful dancers on the DVD lead you straight into the "Goddess Zone" but they also keep you there long enough to heal and nurture your body, soul and mind. If you concentrate and perform every movement as it is meant to be executed you will get more of a workout than you realize. It is only a few hours after you dance this out, will your body tell you what has happened. Your internal organs will glow, any physical injuries will start to self heal and your confidence and inner sensuality and joy will radiate from every pore. Forget "exercise", this "workout" will turn you back into the living work of art you have always been."