Excellent Intro To Dance
L. Hawkins | USA | 02/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not all bellydance DVDs are workouts, some are just designed to teach the art of dancing with a workout being secondary. Bellyqueen: Bellydance Jam falls into this category. Not purely traditional, the title and front cover of the DVD alone should give away the modern bent on bellydance. This one is designed for the younger generation and or those completely new to bellydance who don't foresee themselves as the next headlining act at the local Mediterranean restaurant but are still interested in learning how to dance better for parties, club, and the like. Bellydancing is the epitome of feminine movement; it's no small wonder that learning some simple bellydance moves with styling tailored for the modern girl is a great way to learn how to club dance. Teaching bellydance moves appropriate for the club floor is the focus of this DVD.
Where this DVD really excels is in the teaching. Amar Gamal of Bellydance Superstars' fame and her Bellyqueen partner Kaeshi Chai, a member of The Desert Roses, are excellent teachers for dancers so young. Moves are all shown full body and if needed, from multiple angles. Instructions are voiceover style and lots of pointers abound on what muscles to relax, what body parts to isolate, and sometimes even when to breathe. All dance descriptions go much further than "just lift your hip and drop it." They have one of the best descriptions of the Camel, an undulation move, that is difficult to teach women whose learning style doesn't fall along the lines of `monkey-see, monkey-do.' The clear and concise description of this move as well as several others, a backward moving horizontal figure 8, for example, are clear enough that even an absolute beginner to all forms of dance could eventually get with some practice. If you've had trouble with other DVDs in the past not being clear enough for you to `get' the moves, this is the one for you.
The section on "How to Improvise" in the Improvisation section is absolutely priceless for both the newbee and the intermediate dancer. This is a topic rarely covered by instructors in any form of dance. You'll learn how to listen to the music and then choose which moves will appropriately fit the song. The knowledge you'll gain here is transferrable to all forms of dance. In "Partner Combinations" Amar and Kaeshi teach you how to dance with a partner in much more dynamic and interesting ways than the basic routine they provide in the instruction. "Guided Improvisation" also gives you the chance to practice.
Those of us who have been dancing for a while will probably be a bit disappointed at the length of the DVD. 115 minutes sounds long but consists of a 37 minute technique section with only 25 minutes devoted to instruction, 5 minutes of guided stretching and loosening (which happens to be excellent), 3 minutes devoted to practicing the "BQ Boogie" -- a dance routine best described as a cute, belly flavored version of the electric slide, and a 3 minute cool down stretch (again this one is excellent.) Other than 10 minutes devoted to learning to improvise, the rest of the DVD is bonus material. However, the included 12 track CD is alone worth the purchase price of the DVD. Twelve groovy belly tunes by Mission to Mars (Vin Scialla) and Turbo Tabla -- the classically trained Karim Nagi, provide the Arabic House soundtrack. Some fun and excellent stuff is found here -- some of it exclusive to this DVD. In the Special Features section, each girl has a solo bellydance performance in traditional costume. "Call of The Drum with Mal Stein" is a Drum Solo Performance By Amar Gamal, and "Dunyavi Gypsy Passion" is a solo performance by Kaeshi Chai in a Folk or "Gypsy" style. There are two video montages -- "Bellyqueen Around The World" is of Bellyqueen performances and "Bellydance Superstars" is the Bellydance Superstars promo montage you've probably seen before if you own any other Bellydance Superstars DVD. The rest is interviews with the dancers and musicians from this DVD. All of this is available in English or Espanol on the same disc. The Spanish translation is accessible from the Main Menu and includes Instruction, Menus, and Bonus Material.
*Foundation moves taught on disc:
Shoulder Circles, Vogue Arms, Shoulder Thrust, Shoulder Shimmies, Chest Lift and Drop, V-Pop (Chest Lift and Drops in a "V" Shape), V-Strut (V-Pops while walking forward and backward), Hip Twist, Inward Figure 8, Hip Shimmies, Contraction and Release, Omi (Small Hip Circle), Medium Hip Circle, Chest Circle, Undulation -Upper Torso (Chest), Undulation - Lower Torso (Pelvis), Undulation - Whole Body, Hip Lock, Hip Lift and Drop, Walk to Side, 3-Point Turn
Hip March, Step Touch
Mirroring, Synchronized Call and Answer, Opposites, See-Saw, Back and Forth
*Improvisation Section (Freestyle)
Lean how to: Listen to the Music, Dance to the Beat, Dance to the Melody, Dance to the Accents, Dance to a combination of the Beat, Melody, and Accents, Add variety by changing the movements: Circles, Undulations, Shimmies, Change Levels
Bonus Bellyqueen Music CD Track Listing:
1. Turbo Tabla Two - Turbo Tabla
2. Full Circle - Mission on Mars
3. Where Do We Begin (Hikaya) - Said Mrad
4. Queen Saidi On Mars - Mission on Mars
5. Mofongito Maksoum (Qanun Remix) - Mission on Mars
6. Telegraphin Telleri - Turbo Tabla
7. Shall We Shimmy - Mission on Mars
8. Azziza - Turbo Tabla
9. Exhale (Chiftetelli) - Mission on Mars
10. Turbo Zaar - Turbo Tabla
11. Mofongo Maksoum - Mission on Mars
12. Shall We Shimmy (Qanun Remix) - Mission on Mars"
Fantastic casual dancing
L. Hawkins | 05/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have a lot of traditional bellydance instructional videos/workouts and am happy with most of them, but what I was really looking for this time was a bellydance video that showed me how to make the moves more contemporary for the club floor. I'm pretty dance impaired when it comes to "hip hop" style dancing, but I'm pretty good with basic bellydance technique after working with the "sensual art of bellydance" series (among others). This video is great--not only is is quite challenging in sections, but it also shows you exactly how to use some basic bellydance moves on a modern dance floor to dance to everything from middle eastern music to techno. Clear, simple instruction, good production value. The girls are sweet and encouraging. The camera focuses on their muscles and body positions--not their faces--so you can see exactly what your body should be doing. Though the technique is spot-on traditional, it should be noted that this is NOT a video to learn traditional bellydance performance--for that, try Veena and Neena's series or Jillina's video set. This is more of a contemporary dance DVD with some nice extras (performances, interviews, etc.) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED."
B. Burgos | New Market, Maryland USA | 09/18/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you had any basic belly dance class then you already know the moves taught on this video. It seems to be marketed for a younger non-bellydancing audience, which is why I gave my copy to my teenage niece and she and her friends just loved it.
The plus sides is that the instuctions is clear and the quality of the video is superb and the music cd that is included has some nice cuts."
B. Burgos | 03/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an awesome bellydance DVD!! Two beautiful girls tell women like me, how to dance socially and get into shape at the same time! They teach us bellydance steps that aren't so far out that I can't learn or use them while I'm dancing! I won't look foolish, because they've simplified the teaching process, so even a little, old, clumsy person like myself, can learn the steps. If I can do it, anyone can!! I know I won't look as good as they do,but I won't feel like a clutz!! They're obviously intelligent, verbal girls (listen to the interviews)! I also love the fact that they're wearing dance/workout gear instead of bellydance costumes--makes it seem more like aerobic exercise, while having fun! I wish I'd had this way back in '75, when I tried to learn bellydance at the YWCA!!! Bravo, Kaeshi and Amar!! I'll be looking for the next one!"