Video Fitness

Bellydance Fitness for Weight Loss: Too Hip


A little about me: I’m an advanced-level exerciser who loves dance and also teaches group fitness. I have experience in latin, traditional African and Middle Eastern Dance.
This video is touted as an intermediate-level program that fuses bellydance and aerobic moves for a fat-burning workout. Rania and her crew of dancers (at least they dance like they’ve been dancing for a very long time) wear black pants and tops with chain belts. Unlike Suhaila’s videos, all of them are rather thin. I liked the diversity of shapes in the Bellydance Fusion videos personally. Rania and her dancers demonstrate the workout while Rania instructs using a voiceover. Another thing I don’t understand is why bellydance fitness videos (with the exception of a few) feel the need to do voiceovers rather than have the instructor teach the workout live. It’s fairly annoying and tends to make me feel a little disconnected from the workout.

The warmup is fairly short, about five minutes. It consists of dancers moves like plies and figure eights to loosen up the hips and get the abdominals working (it is bellydance after all!). She also does a bd move called the camel that is (as I understand it) intermediate to advanced. I’m not sure it belongs in the warmup because your back hasn’t warmed up very much and is some seriously unsupported forward flexion. After some brief stretching, she begins the workout-and ends the instruction.

The workout itself is about 27 minutes give or take. There are about four sections where Rania teaches each move (or combo as she calls them). I couldn’t believe it when the workout actually started. She just starts the combo saying “drop and kick, drop and kick” with no warning whatsoever. I had to recheck to make sure I hadn’t missed an instructional portion on the DVD. I was mildly surprised, given that she’s an AFAA certified instructor from what I understand. But even beyond that, intermediate or advanced workouts still require instruction. I have some bellydance experience, which helped, but you tend to learn the moves by brute force because Rania repeats the moves over and over and over again. She TIFT’s after teaching every move at least 3 times. Then at the end of each section, she TIFT at least five times or so. In other words, if you don’t like TIFT stay far away from this video. What makes it worse is that she isn’t the greatest cuer in the world. To add insult to injury, she stops cueing after the 5,000th TIFT and tells the viewer to count “you know it by now”. All I thought was, “no thanks to you lady”! She does give some occasional form pointers after you’ve done the move several times.

The intensity of this workout could be ranked advanced beginner (or possibly very low intermediate) once you get the moves down. However, beginners would likely become frustrated with the lack of instruction and move on. I stopped doing the workout after Rania TIFT one too many times-that drove me absolutely crazy.

The cooldown stretched out the legs, hips and obliques (you use them a lot in this workout). I’d suggest a longer cooldown since it only clocked in at about three minutes.
I really wanted to like this workout. It did do a good job of stretching out some of the kinks that I had from lifting weights and typing at the computer all day. But the lack of instruction and endless repetition makes this impossible for me to recommend. There are several bonuses on this workout, including a solo dance by Rania. This is the best thing on the DVD-she is amazing. The bonus workout is pretty interesting, although the cueing gets worse here. Rania’s voiceover is often out of sync with the dancing and the dancing is sometimes out of sync with the music. However, it was an interesting little workout that consisted of bellydance isolations that work the legs and the abs.

Instructor comments: An incredible dancer-if I could move like her!


March 14, 2005

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