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Modern Tribal Bellydance
Modern Tribal Bellydance
Actor: Asharah
Director: Asharah
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Exercise & Fitness
NR     2008     3hr 0min

Modern Tribal Bellydance opens with a warm up and conditioning section that combines bellydance technique drills with a total body muscle conditioning workout. In Technique and isolations Asharah flows through intermediate...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Asharah
Director: Asharah
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Exercise & Fitness
Sub-Genres: Dance, Educational, Dance Fitness
Studio: StratoStream - World Dance New York
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 01/29/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 3hr 0min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A worthwhile purchase, even if you're not into tribal fusion
atisheh | New York, New York | 02/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This video is very long, and I haven't yet worked with the entire thing. However, I thought I'd post this up to give people considering purchasing it some info... I may come back and edit this later.

I need to say to begin with that I'm really not fond of the dancing on this video. I'm not that crazy about tribal fusion anyway, but I've definitely seen tribal fusion I've liked a lot more than this.

So, weirdly, as much as I don't like the dancing here, I think the video itself is pretty well done, and can actually foresee myself using it. The main reason for this is that its "Warmup & Conditioning" section is actually a 45 minute exercise and stretching video for dancers, and it's pretty much the answer to my dreams. Seriously, I've imagined what I'd like in a program (often because of exercises I've had in live classes), and this is it.

This section alone could stand alone as a full-priced DVD, and would be worth the money. It's a combination of movements from three groups: yoga, ballet (i.e., the kind of stretches you have at the start of a ballet/ballet- inspired class), and Suhaila-type seated abdominal and chest work. Nothing terribly new, but having them all together in one place is incredibly cool. There's deep plie work, thorough leg stretches in every possible direction, the shoulders and neck are not ignored, and neither is the back. Asharah also gives frequent knee placement reminders, so although the practice is challenging, it won't kill your back or knees.

The next section is a Technique & Isolations section of 55 minutes. In this section, Asharah goes over pretty basic movements in bd/tribal fusion vocabulary, but explains them in detail with the appropriate muscle contractions. She's very Suhaila-based (and, in fact, thanks Suhaila in the credits). Here she covers:

- Shoulders and arms
- Chest squares
- Chest circles
- Glute contactions
- Glute contactions - up
- Glute contactions - down
- Vertical hip 8s down-to-up
- Vertical hip 8s up-to-down
- 3/4 shimmy up
- 3/4 shimmy down
- interior hip squares
- interior hip circles

These are pretty basic moves (I know the last one as an "omi"), but it's good to have the breakdown and practice, especially for those of us who are far from being experts anyway.

Next comes the "Modern Tribal Movement" section (30 min), in which Asharah teaches how to break down a single movement into three or four smaller segments, so as to achieve a strobing or robotic effect. She does this with: shoulders & arms, chest slides, chest locks, undulations, and vertical hip 8s up-to-down. I haven't watched this section all the way through, and like I said, I don't really like how the result looks in dance, but it did strike me that some of the exercises were similar in concept to those on Aziza's Practice Companion. So, weirdly, although I don't want to dance like Asharah, I can imagine using this section as a drill and exercise tool.

Finally, there is Combination instruction of 30 min, which you can also play with practice music. And an 8 min yoga-based cool-down. And performances.

I suppose it figures that if you put three freakin' hours of material onto one DVD (runtime is 180 minutes, no joke), you're going to please a lot of people. Asharah is relaxed and straightforward on the video, and there is really just so much material to work with, at such different levels, that it's an incredible value. I think people who are actually *into* tribal fusion will probably adore this video, although they might find the isolations section a little basic. However, even people who are not can use this DVD as a dance training video, rather than a dance instruction video. The actual dance section makes up 30 minutes out of 3 hours -- the rest is really a conditioning program for dancers."
Killer Driller
Mala Bhargava | India | 03/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Halfway through Asharah's workout and technique drills, I begin to have decidedly sugary fantasies. They quickly progress to vivid hypnotic images of soft sweet sponge cake oozing with caramel sauce...

Asharah's 3-hour video on isolation drills, a strength workout and six combinations is solid hard work - make no mistake about that. But I, for one, love it.

If you're looking for a few quick and cool combos to do on the dance floor, this is the wrong video. This one is about getting a dancer's body, her strength, her flexibility, stamina, and most of all, her precision. Nope, this video isn't for anyone looking for a quick fix. It's for the determined belly dancer to whom every component of a muscle isolation matters.

In this, the 6th tribal fusion instructional DVD to come out of World Dance New York, the conditioning and isolation exercises have been taken to another level altogether. These sections add up to 130 minutes with 60 minutes given to learning six combinations -- and there are two performances. If you're wondering about value for money, there's your answer. There's a mind-boggling amount of content for very little money.

I won't describe the strength and conditioning section because it's been adequately described everywhere else. But I can tell you that I've been working with it and found some difference in a matter of two sessions. I felt the effect on a) my range of movement b) sharpness and ability to break an isolation down into 8 parts c) stamina and strength d) balance. As I continue with this workout, I hope the next step will be to develop the ability to make each part of an isolation really distinct and visible. Working with this video fits right into my approach. I like working hard at the preparation and I totally revel in seeing the difference. I have the tribal videos to thank for where my muscle isolations have reached so far, and am grateful that this instruction seems to be improving on that.

One new development in Asharah's video is her 30-minute amazing section on breaking down movements into tick-tock precise parts. In tribal fusion, you can use those to get that automated robotic look which is visible in this sometimes wacky genre. But if you don't want to dance that way (and I don't) you still end up with perfect control to use with any style. Some of Asharah's exercises will have you doing very controlled movements standing on your toes! Or on one foot! Tht makes you less dependant on cheating with your feet and instead actually using the muscles you're supposed to.

I haven't got to the combinations yet but plan on working with them because they're the most challenging of all the 6 tribal fusion videos (all of which I have). I tend to use the combinations as exercises and drills in themselves and dance more in the oriental style.

Overall, this is a mammoth treasure house of a video. Sometimes, I feel outright grateful for a video - and this is one of those times.

But I have to confess I've sometimes eaten a Mars bar in the middle of it.

SERIOUS reservation
Seven Kitties | Blue Point, NY USA | 08/09/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"A friend of mine wanted me to check this video out. I have been dancing for about ten years--I don't do tribal, so I was kinda curious to see what this style was all about.

Asharah, let me say right off the bat, is one SERIOUSLY in shape lady. Your shoulders will be killing you if you even think of doing the whole video in a straight run through. (I do Lebanese--we don't hold our arms forward as much--ouchie!)

However, she doesn't seem to have any real credentials in exercise physiology, and that leads me to say: use this video with reasonable caution, and modify whenever and wherever you need. (She offers no modifications). She makes you do full head circles--when most physical trainers say to avoid the back-half-circle as too compressing to the neck bones. Most dangerous, she actually has you do 'diamond pushups' (I don't recall what she calls them--when you put your hands right under your chest, your fingers forming a diamond). Even the Army has stopped doing these--they are way too hard on the elbows to justify the risk.

She'll lead you on a serious (murderous, I would say) chain of exercise, like a bunch of tribal arm waves (kinda like Snake Arms but not), but then not have you stretch at all between sets--THAT's when I need a neck-roll! And for all the bent-knee, you never stretch your quads.

She teaches a small vocabulary of movements, with basic 'locking' (as in 'pop and lock'), and has a nice useful drill segment on those.
What makes it distracting is that half the time she's off the beat. I thought it was just me, but I watched both of her performances, where I was just on my butt and counting, and, yeah, she missed the downbeat quite frequently--less so on the 'lock' movements, but anytime the music drifted, so did she. I did half of the drills with my eyes closed counting to myself.

It's physically a very demanding video, and you will definitely sweat! If I were a beginner, though, I'd have some serious problems learning the moves from her--her pants are long and cover her feet and the lighting makes it hard to see her knees, and seeing only a front angle made it hard to understand what she meant by some moves--is 'up' straight up or diagonal up on a chest lift?

Unless you're already a good dancer, looking for some super-challenging skill-building drills, I'd avoid this video. If you want to learn basics, look to the gold standard--Delilah's Belly Dance Workshop. If you're budget minded, check out any of Neon's videos. Sure she dresses crazazy, but she can explain the moves better--even the locking. However, if you want to get your dancing butt kicked, and you are at least an intermediate dancer, this video will keep you occupied and really refine your technique."
Modern flair with ease
Seir | USA | 03/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a comprehensive program with emphasis at modern tribal style dance merged with belly dance.
Assuming you are familiar with the language of belly dance and have moved into your own particular style, I would venture to say, this is a great beginning video in the tribal style. Ashara patiently takes you from the complex, to the smooth approach from basic belly dance posture , basic moves such as chest movements, hip isolations and embellishing them into more intricate, accented, sharp moves.

To begin, the warm up session: arm isolations, torso rotations,deep lunges.
Followed by comprehensive lessons in the following areas:
Dance posture
Upper body articulating:
Arm and shoulder isolations in the tribal style
Chest squares and slides, lifts and drops circles
Lower body:
Gluteus contractions, sharp accented hips, hips up and down
Vertical 8's up and down, on releve, and flat foot
A great breakdown on the variations of the ¾ shimmy, pelvic contractions, in squares and smoothed into circles.
Ticking, robotic, and mechanical movement section! Reducing range of motion and adding sharpness to create accents.
An entire segment devoted to the mechanism of tribal style movement where chest, hip movements are broken down into locks and the typical robotic like movements characteristic of the style
A simple, short cool down session as you finish the program.
Remarkable performances by Ashara herself but before then,, learn a simple choreography broken down into six very well explained, and fun combinations.

I found this program one of the better, user friendly approaches to what others seem to keep mysterious and complex. It is in-depth knowledge presented plain and simple. The pleasant Ashara unlocks all the secrets of the great tribal style moves with ease and confidence. A great learning tool that is also enjoyable and win you well into the modern flair so popular for this day, tribal belly dance.