Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Exercise & Fitness
In Blanca's Sensual Bellydance, you will discover how sensual dance radiates from deep inside you; how your whole body can flow like silk, and how your movements can be beautifully interwoven, breathing with meaningful, ef... more »
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Go with the flow
Basbenee | USA | 10/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just got this the other day, bought it more or less on a whim, but what a great deal. Quick FYI: The info said it was 60 minutes, but it's actually 2 hours of dance/instruction.
Blanca is very pretty, very serene, with a soft accent, which sounds very soothing. She's not perky with a huge grin splitting her face in two and she's not all bouncy and bubbly, none of that instant best friend vibe, just pleasant and serene.
It's a sensual dance instruction and she wears her part very well. The settings are very nice, not distracting, and she wears great costumes for teaching (you can see her legs when she does the moves). You can also see her perform the dances in full costume and she's very lovely to watch.
My husband really liked the music and the dance style for its sensuality and slow, languid movements. I watched one of the dances first and thought, 'wow, I'd like to move like her.' She moves like liquid, like silk, whatever elegant, graceful, flowing metaphor you want.
Instructionwise, she breaks everything down very well, from snake arms, using a lot of descriptive terms (like your arms are moving through honey, is one example), hip circles, figure 8's, and so on. Then she builds on these initial, isolated movements, and you learn more layers, combinations, steps, and build on and on. She even explains alignment, how to align your head, for example, to look more graceful. It's a bit like the Jillina dance instruction dvds, in how she gives you the basics and you build on and on until you are doing a choreographed dance. And of course you can skip and just do the basics or dance along with her, or just watch Blanca, which is what I want to do in addition to learning to dance like her.
The music is very nice too and the dances are slow and languid, nothing super fast, but your muscles will feel it nonetheless. It would be fine for beginner dancers or for intermediates. She doesn't spend a huge amount of time on each move, so you do get a lot for 2 hours, but you can always rewind 15 or 30 seconds and review.
I've got 20 to 30 bellydance dvds and vhs tapes at home and while I've seen and worked out to a lot: Mara, Jillina, Bellytwins, Kathy Smith (just that one), Bellyqueen, Bellydance Superstars, Suhaila, East Coast Tribal, American Tribal and more, I still am very happy with the dvd. It's shot a good angles (not distracting or only focused on the abs), the production is very good, and it's a nice focus on flowing dance. It's not something you pop in to learn a couple moves for the club, but a lovely sensual routine to stretch and dance to. Venus is the right name because it is very sensual and elegant and beautiful."
Visually and conceptually rich
Eden Russell | Provincetown, MA United States | 11/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I saw this DVD for the first time here on prelease status, I knew I just HAD to add it to my bellydance collection. There are 42 items in it by now and Blanca appears in 3 of them - Golden Apple performances, Ultimate Bellydance Fitness Workout and as one of the 'students' in Ayshe's Core fitness. I already had an image of her as a graceful dancer and good teacher, so considering the price of the DVD, I went ahead and preordered.
For me there are a few telltales if the money I've invested in a video will be worth it. Here is what I look for:
1. Quality/fame of the instructor
2. Lenght of intruction
3. Producer (NY and IAMED being my favorite)
4. Target bellydance level (beginner/intermediate/advanced)
5. Instruction or fitness
I had some information about 1,3,5 but nothing about the rest, so I wasn't entirely sure what exactly to expect. It came as a nice surprise when I popped the video in the ROM, pressed "play all" and saw Blanca seated on green grass offering some introduction in her crispy accent to what she was about to teach. I always consider it a plus when they spare the time for a few words to say about the product and its concept.
Next we see Blanca in a brightly lit studio with red curtains. Even though her outfit is red as well, it never blends with the background, so everything can be seen very well. Her belly, hands and feet are visible all the time, very important while learning bellydance from a video.
The first part of the DVD is entitled "FLOW". In the first few chapters Blanca breaks down the movements in the second part in segments, offering a warmup, articulations and a cooldown. She goes slow, without any repetition, just pinpointing the important aspects of the movements. She uses a lot of visual descriptions and comparisons which makes it easy for students to imagine and copy her style. The influence of Ayshe and Jehan Gamal is evident in the entire DVD too.
Blanca pays a lot of attention to the "articulations" section. She would first show step patterns, then elaborate hip and chest movements, then completes the combination with hands and glances. A student can easily see all segments of a particular movement and observe the gestures and hints that make it look graceful and fluid.
In the flow sections all are tied together accompanied by Blanca's explanations. This is a faster paced section and the stress is not on the mechanics of the movements but how to string them up and elaborate a combination or give it a little spice. Next you can play the entire flow section voice off, only with music. It allows for great practice.
The next section is a choreography entitled Venus. Blance performs it first in the beautiful red costume from the cover and after down breaks it down in several combinations, calling out the movements as she goes through them. She offers very little instruction here, instead falling back on what she already taught previously in great details. After that you can follow Blanca as she dances in her training outfit, with the music on only (no voice).
The next section is what makes this DVD truly unique. In it the choreography is shown once again, this time names of different poses pop up as certain movements are highlighted. It provides a great vocabulary of movements and also gives you a chance to observe and compare different gestures, steps, poses, glances, all these subtle hues that make bellydance sensual bellydance. Following Blanca's articulations from the first section you can get inspired to build your own combinations and choreographies.
In the next chapter Blanca performs the Venus choreography again, this time in a different costume and with voice-over. She offers a "story" that the dance may tell, of the expressions and meanings of gestures and their ultimate source.
The last section of this DVD is two beautiful performances by Blanca, one of them the Venus choreography again she covered with a story and the DVD points out helpfully it includes floorwork. This part itself is short and light, indeed demonstrating the difference between sensual and sexual (as we know why it is banned in Egypt).
Music and credits are the last two options you can check out.
A few words to sum up the contents:
-- Excellent instruction. Beginners would be very pleased with the slow and detailed explanations of the movements in the first section; intermediate and advanced can review it once or twice and then skip on straight to the practice section without getting bored
-- Original and interesting choreography
-- Inspirational and creative atmosphere
-- 120 min run time
This DVD is good for students of all levels of bellydance, though I definitely would not suggest it to anyone who haven't mastered the fundamendals (such as hip lifts and undulations). Late beginners would find a lot of material to work on and progress; intermediate and strong intermediate are offered fresh ideas and concepts in addition to an entire choreography.
I would definitely recommend this DVD to all dancers. It is exteremely good value for money and a must-have in every serious student's collection."
The Goddess Dances
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 10/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
Looking like Botticelli's "Venus on the Half Shell" on the cover, and dancing like a goddess throughout this fantastic DVD, Blanca is not only a wonderful performer, but also one of the most thorough, perceptive teachers I've seen on a dance instruction DVD. This is an extensive and detailed program of bellydance techniques, with fluid style and lovely choreography. You will be using this DVD a lot, and dancers on many levels of training will be able to benefit from it, from beginners, to intermediate and beyond. There is much to learn here for everyone.
After the "Welcome," you get a technique breakdown of the steps, followed by 40 minutes of Flow Warmups, which can be practiced with the verbal explanation or just followed with music only. This "Flow" section would be a great substitute for those who regularly do yoga or Pilates, and would like a change of pace, as they are excellent for exercise as well as being aesthetically pleasing to do, and promote flexibility and strength without stress. The production is excellent, and total running time of the entire DVD is 120 minutes, and you are sure to enjoy all of it.
Born in Mexico, Blanca has a soft accented voice and is articulate in how she shares her technique and ideas about bellydancing, some of which could be helpful in many other genres of dance. Blanca's style is unique and incredibly graceful, and she also exudes a sweet spirit, taking her dancing to another level we will sense in our own souls. The final 2 tracks are of Blanca performing, and are exceedingly beautiful, and make a marvelous end to a superb dance instruction DVD."
Farah | Davy Jones' Locker | 10/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a treasure!!! I have many, many belly dance instructional dvds but this has to be one of the best and well worth what I paid for it. Bravo to World Dance New York for producing another fantastic, nearly two hour long dvd for such a reasonable price.
I am so glad that Blanca chose this aspect of bellydance to teach as the slower, more sensual moves of Middle Eastern dance are often overlooked on instructional dvds. She has a very gentle voice and is soothing to listen to. I also like her demeanor. You never get the sense that she is condescending to the viewer and, thank Heaven, she doesn't resort to making those annoying repetitive extortions to "Keep up the good work" or - worst of all -"Come you! You can do it, I know you can!"
The performances by Blanca are mesmerizing. Her movements are very fluid and she seems to be connected to the music at a physical level. She is the embodiment of sensuality.
I've only scratched the surface of what this dvd has to offer but I know it is going to be my number one practice companion for a long time to come.
Well done, Blanca and World Dance New York!!!!!"