A beautiful dance, taught well.
Mala Bhargava | India | 04/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Arabian Spices has a special place in my heart - and on my dance floor. I've had this wonderful instructional video for a long time and if I were to list my favorites from a rather huge collection, I'd put Arabian Spices pretty near the top. Definitely among the top 5.
This video has a very beautiful and animated Sahira (of Urban Gypsy fame) teaching a choreography in an interesting style that to me seems a cross between American Tribal Style and Tribal Fusion. However you want to classify it, it's a beautiful dance made up of 11 combinations. 13 if you add the entrance and exit moves, which also are really beautiful. The dance has recognizable moves fromt ATS and a lot of the combinations are from other dancers, including Rachel Brice. They may be modified somewhat to fit the music. Sahira acknowledges each of these dancers when teaching you the moves. Together, they make up a dance that has been loved and performed by many people over the world. Almost invariably to audiences who are amazed by the dance.
Much of the tone of this choreography is owed to the powerful piece of music it's set to. "Arabian Spices" from DJ Kambo. I've performed this choreography often (informally) and always get interesting reactions as it ends. "It takes me to another world!" or "My god, that is stunning and beautiful" etc. I never expect clapping just at the end because there's usually a stunned silence of sorts. Someone said "It's like a prayer".
So yes, it's not your usual party piece, unless you mix it with other performances. It does subtly but definitely change the atmosphere a little.
Sahira is a wonderful, clear presenter and teaches the choreography very well. She faces the mirror. She teaches each combo without the music and goes a few rounds and then a repeat with the music and voice cues. At the end, there's a review with no music and just voice cues and then with music. The level is really intermediate and moves are not broken down in beginner level detail although there is some breakdown to align you with her style. A determined beginner could attempt it, in my opinion, but would just need to work harder at it. However, this style of dancing uses isolations starkly visible, so it won't look the same unless some amount of work has gone into muscle isolation development.
One thing that could very much have improved the instruction would have been to use the portions of the music that actually go with each combination. That hasn't been done and it makes you work a little bit harder to later relate each combination to its place in the music.
Learning this piece taught me a lot about how to learn a choreography. I spend days learning the moves, fitting them to the music, improving timing, improving finesse, and finally getting to expression and grace. It was thoroughly enjoyable and the learning carries over to other choreographies. I now tend to keep this choreography "well-oiled" and am usually ready to dance it.
If you really want to teach yourself tribal bellydance, get
Lisa M. Mims | Austin, TX United States | 09/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have a lot of bellydance tapes that I love. Some are really instruction heavy, and will teach you what you need to know, but many are intimidating because the instructors are at a really high level of fitness, and it's difficult to practice with them for more than ten minutes without being in, "O.k., time to do a difficult workout" mode.
If, however, you're more of a beginner, and what you need is, a) names of the movements, b) explanation as to what the teacher is really doing, and c) choreography practice that is fairly slow and repetitive, but not unnecessarily repetitive or too fast, this is really, really good.
Sahira is a very good teacher. I feel like I can practice with her, without getting really exhausted. (There are many wonderful instructors: however, it takes someone who is a gifted teacher to teach well below their own level of dance.)
I'm so impressed. The production values aren't fantastic, and this obviously wasn't made for a lot of money, but it's a really useful tape; a lot of effort was put into making this. Sahira is easy to understand and explains the movements clearly.
Finally, the last part of this is a performance. One of the dancers is visibly overweight--kudos for including a normal person! The performance itself was filmed in a typical middle eastern Texas restaurant: nice middle eastern furnishings on what looks like a Brownsville terra cotta floor.
The dancers have interesting costumes. They aren't flashy and they look partially homemade. Someone spent a lot of time putting together layers of seams.
The music is typical of Houston techno, meaning it's synthesizers, but fairly subtle. The performance itself is polished, and inspiring.
I can't say this enough: if you really want to learn tribal bellydance, but you are a beginner, this is a good place to start."
Dramatic crowd pleaser
haazegirl | MN | 01/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This dance is fun to learn and really takes advantage of tribal moves from a group of pro dancers. It's a good show stopper if you can pull off the synchronization! It would help to have a previous knowledge of your core isolations so you don't end up hurting yourself unknowingly, there is no real in-depth review of isolations used."