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Bellydance: Opulent Motion - The Artistry of Slow Moves
Bellydance Opulent Motion - The Artistry of Slow Moves
Actor: Sarah Skinner
Director: Sarah Skinner
Genres: Special Interests, Educational
NR     2009     2hr 40min

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 »


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Movie Details

Actor: Sarah Skinner
Director: Sarah Skinner
Genres: Special Interests, Educational
Sub-Genres: Dance, Educational
Studio: StratoStream - World Dance New York
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 06/30/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 2hr 40min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

What you need to really be an artist!
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! :)"