Bellydance - Opulent Motion: The Artistry of Slow Moves explores techniques, styling and expression for dancing to slow bellydance rhythms and rhythmless taqsim. It is open level, but a special section reviewing the founda... more »tion movements of bellydance makes it accessible for beginners. Slow dance leaves a lot of room for emotional projection, expressivity and story-telling. It is also demanding: As you slow down, every nuance of your carriage, technique and styling acquires prominence. Elements of styling, such as arm positions, poses, body angles and hand flourishes become crucial. Pacing must be dynamic and versatile to keep your audience mesmerized. Celebrated for her lyrical, highly-emotive dance and magnificent improvisational talent, Sarah Skinner teaches you to combine structured and technical dance with organic movement - poses, body angles, and natural expressive motions that emerge when dance is telling a story and borrowing from pantomime. Sarah s improvisational method relies on story-telling and visualizations that prompt you to find organic gestures and modes of expression that will infuse your dance with meaning. In the Rhythms & Movements section Sarah analyzes the structure of popular slow bellydance rhythms - ciftetelli, masmoudi, slow maksoum, slow 9/8 rhythm and rhythmless taqsim. She offers combinations that respond to the rhythms in different ways - catching different accents and varying the pace. In the Movement Sequences section Sarah mixes structured bellydance steps with organic movement including expressive gestures, walks and turns, and offers longer combinations. Sarah breaks down the slow dance sequences step-by-step, and then offers a non-stop practice flow that will help you commit to muscle memory various ways of moving to slow rhythms, explore your own response to the music, and discover ways to maximize your expressivity and the emotional potential of your dance through styling. In the Musicality and Expression section Sarah performs a number of improvised slow dances and explains how she blends classic bellydance techniques with organic expressive movement. She discusses which types of movement work best with different musical instruments, how to select accents that bring out the interplay between the melody and the rhythm, and ways of reflecting the melodic flow and textures of the music in your dance. Sarah details pacing, setting the mood in slow dance, and relating to your audience. She narrates the stories she enacts in each improvised dance and offers advice on how to turn plain technical dance into a true show, where every step and gesture is meaningful and deeply emotive. This section also includes Sarah s performances with dance props (candelabrum and swords) where she demonstrates how using a prop transforms the mood and the styling.« less
aembermoon | Central Florida, USA, Earth | 07/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is much like Nadira Jamal's wonderful series, in that it takes you beyond the drills, movement instruction, and canned choreographies that so many other bellydance DVDs repeat. Don't get me wrong! Michelle Joyce's Drills, Drills, Drills and Killer Ziller are fantastic for learning and making bellydance movements effortless, once you get beyond the beginner stage. But I have been disappointed too many times in buying what I thought was a "choreography" DVD to learn how to choreograph and express music, only to wind up with someone exceptionally talented teaching me a fixed choreography without going through how it came to be. Great practice, but I want to be more than a mimic of someone else.
What I want at this point in my training (intermediate) is to get into the mind of a dancer who is able to express herself and to interpret the music effectively, which is really what makes the difference between a dancer (technical expert?) and an artist. So far, only my teacher, MariJahne', Nadira JamalTaktaba Episode 1: Repetition and Alternation Taktaba Episode 2: Long-Term Repetition Taktaba Episode 3: Timing Patterns, and now Sarah Skinner, have been able to convey how this dance--done well--is about the relationship between the artist and the audience. I can't improve upon the details that the first 2 reviewers gave. I love this DVD! If you have been looking for someone to teach you the artistry of this dance, this & Nadira Jamal's DVD are for you."
The most beautiful secrets of the dance, from Sarah
Mala Bhargava | India | 07/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Think silk, cinnamon and spice. Think rose petals, soft breezes and pearly white sands. Think of the most beautiful things you ever saw. And the saddest. Things that touched your heart, made you reach out, withdraw, feel pain, feel joy...
All of these are embodied in the dance that Sarah dances.
In this video, Sarah shows you that it's not enough to dance with your body. You must dance with your thoughts, your imagination, your feelings and your dreams. If I were to watch this video once, and put it away, the one message I would go away with is that you must fill every movement and moment with whatever affects you most deeply. Remember something you yearned for, think of something that awes you with its beauty, and draw it into your dance. Take the music and make it your own story. Forget your isolations and muscle conditioning drills and authentic Egyptian moves and your flawless technique and watch as Sarah Skinner tells you what it is in her heart and mind that makes her dance the way she does.
This video must have been so difficult to conceptualize. How do you explain what passing thought or feeling you called upon while dancing to hold your audience? To a seasoned dancer, this must come so naturally so as to be inseparable from the dance itself. And yet, in this remarkable instruction, she has explained and illustrated her beautiful slow lyrical dancing from all aspects. By now if you're impatient to know what on earth is on that DVD that's so special, let me explain bit by bit.
In her first section, Sarah takes up foundation moves. This is just a brief introduction to each of the basics. Starting with posture, dance walks and turns we run quickly through arm positions, poses and how they are used including how to maintain energy while holding a pose to further enhance an emotion. Sarah's hand moves are fluid and lovely and she explores the basics of this movement here. Head circles, hip and pelvic circles, chest slides and circles, figure eights, hip rolls, one-hip eights are introduced. So are full body snakes, undulations and basic shimmies, contractions, and even stomach rolls. All brief reviews. The second section teaches organic movement, or how to dance naturally. That may sound like a contradiction in terms, but you could certainly use the technique explained here to bring more naturalness into your movement. All I'll say is that it's about leading with different parts of your body in a way that makes the entire move fuller. Practiced regularly, this will impact the overall look of your dancing.
The next section explains the meaning of taqsim and how it relates to rhythms are how these are interwoven in slow dancing. Rhythms used in slower forms of belly dancing are now taken up in their own section. Sarah shows how to move to these rhythms. This is a unique and very interesting section where she gets you to try with her some movement sequences. Frankly I'd love a companion video just full of these. Say about a thousand of them. Watch every nuance and accent in this section - and there are many of them. The chiftitelli rhythm segment is particularly intresting if you've seen other videos that cover this (not that there are many). The slow and playful 9/8 is also covered here. This movement to rhythm is practiced in motion sequence chapters, step by step.
Rhythmless taqsim (the real taqsim, as many would say) is also explored. There are movement sequences with lots of tips on execution. From how to breathe to how to place your foot - Sarah takes you through this with lots of analogies for you to draw upon later. Practice flows invite you to improvise a little on your own with minimal prompting, using the concepts just learnt. Each rhythm is taken up. Sarah will cue you on how to lead or what sort of moves to come up with. This section reminds me of some of the concepts used by Nadira Gamal in her improvisation toolkit. There are practice flows for rhythmless taqsim as well.
In a beautiful section on expression and musicality, Sarah dances to John Bilezikjian's chiftetelli (a piece which totally gets me) as she analyzes and explains how she interprets the music and translates it into emotive movement. There are a lot of lessons here, as there are in the next section which is a music-only demonstration of many of the movements and sequences taken up until now. You can pick up so much from here for all the times you don't know what to do when there's a long slow entrance to a piece of music. Watch the relationship of emotional expression to music to movement. See how to use slowness, how to be inward oriented and outward. Watch also as Sarah uses the shamadaan to completely change the mood of the same movements. Sarah teaches may ways to engage an audience, when to be warm, when to be cold, when to look mysterious... amazing insight into the complexity of this beautiful dance. This long music-only section gives you the opportunity to focus on each move, distraction-free. She dances to several pieces of music. She includes a mysterious lethal-looking snake dance - not with snakes, but in a snake mood. There's a clip with swords as well. For each, watch the complete change of mood and expression.
Finally, there's her lovely performance to Lama Bada. This one is with the veil. It's filled with both joyousness and emotional turmoil.
Shara of Desert Dance | KS | 07/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sarah Skinner presents a beautiful instructional video that is full of delicious, sensuous moves, as well as stunning costumes (as usual) that are a feast for the eyes. Particularly useful to beginners and intermediates is the breakdown of the rhythms. If you are a student that has trouble with slow moves, you truly must get this DVD and work with it. Sarah will make it fun and painless for you! She is truly inspirational in this video! She will even help you improve how you look in the photos that are taken as you dance. The visualizations that Sarah gives will help many to start incorporating that method into their dance. This DVD and Blanca's Sensual Belly Dance are 2 must-haves for beautiful slow work. Enjoy!"
Wonderful and something for every dancer
Jade Hart | USA | 10/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sarah Skinner is a very graceful dancer and in my opinion is able to explain everything with wonderful clearity. She really does work on how to bellydance with a flowing grace which is needed for smooth transitions and better isolations. In addition to hip & chest basics, she walks through all the steps including foot work, arms, hands, neck, stage personality, and organic full body stances/movements. She also teaches music awareness, many combos, layering, and in the end there is a performance. What I really like about this DVD is every aspect is taught with a detailed walk through and with music that really fits the moves. So with practice everything is do-able and it's fun to do the entire DVD with her... and numerous times which is always a bonus! :)"
msd | 04/12/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this a few weeks back, and have worked with it a few times since then. It's a wonderful dvd on bellydance over all, and goes through both the basic moves, and some much more advanced combos. After ordering Sarah Skinner's dvd on veil work, I just had to get this one as I was completely blown away. Her teaching style is fun, patient, and easy to follow. She is clearly a master of her trade, and it shows in her demonstrations, and explanations of the dance.
This dvd starts with a review of all the basic movements of bellydance, which I was very excited to find was actually quite indepth, not just a cursory going over the basics. Sarah is one of my favorite instructors I've come across so far through my dvd studies of the dance, and to have a nice review of the basics by her specifically was wonderful. After a basic review she spends some time explaining exactly what taxim is, then goes on to show you how to apply taxim moves in specific ways to some of the more popular arabic rythms used in the dance. Also, there is a section on pantomime like posing, where she talks about telling a story with the dance, and showing emotion and feeling in it, not just technical expertise. This was very nice to have along with a part about organic movement where you let go and just learn to feel and move, finding you natural way of really emotionally diving into the dance. There is also a longer section with more complicated extended combs to practice.
Overall a wonderful dvd and one that is worth your time and investment.