Video Fitness

African Healing Dance


I was intimidated by this video when I previewed it. I thought, "How is this Scottish-German-American going to move like an African native?" But when I tried the video, I absolutely loved it. The video (with a 45-minute aerobic section) is made up of an introduction (you can fast-forward over this once you've seen it), a warm-up, then six dances from different parts of Africa. The cooldown is minimal, and if you work yourself up to a high aerobic state in the last dance, you'll have to shut off the VCR and walk around a few minutes before flopping to the floor. What's fun about this video is that you learn new ways to express yourself through movement, and each time you do the video it can be different. You're the one making it more intense or less intense, depending on how you feel. I mentioned on the Reader's Forum when I first bought this tape that if you are familiar with the cast of "Friends," you may relate in the followingi way to this tape: If you're like Phoebe, free-spirited and fluid, you'll love it; if you're like Monica, a little rigid and compulsive, you'll be frustrated and return to the tried-and-true Kathy Smith/Karen Voight tapes you love; and if you're like Rachel, you won't be exercising in your living room anyway, you'll be in the gym where the guys can admire you! I like everything about this tape except the cool-down. I give it an "A-."

Instructor comments: Wyoma is a beautiful woman who seems entirely at peace with her self, her body and nature. According to the video cover, she is a lead dancer and director of Damballa dance troupe. She explains the meaning of the dances and is very encouraging about putting your own thoughts and feelings into the movements.

Lilly Anderson

The tape consists of an demo/intro, warm-up & then the 6 dances. The intro is filmed indoors, & the actual dances filmed outdoors, probably in Colorado. I agree with the first reviewer, you have to be either free-spirited or at least open enough with YOURSELF to truly enjoy the tape. The introduction is Wyoma showing you how to have mind-body connection to the Earth. She reminds you to breathe, & to be patient & non-judgemental about yourself when learning the dances & if you feel you don't know what you're doing or confused, just slow down, & take it easy. Some of the moves are pivots, shimmies,a back-front-together movement with the feet, & wide hip circles. She also has you to visualize for example the forces of nature (water element, since our bodies are 75% water) or an elephant movement, so you kind of move your body in a lumbering way. There is a live drummer playing during the intro, a live band during the dances. She goes double time in the dances, but starts off slowly. The 6 dances are Sowu from Ghana, Gbebe from the Ivory Coast, Focodoba from Guinea, Umoya from S.Africa, Nago an Afro-Haitian dance, Yonwalu the serpent dance, & the Healing Dance. She will make affirming statements throughout such as "if you feel if there is no one there to love you, you can always love yourself" & then does a light hug movement. I must say that the movements feel really natural & I honestly think children would enjoy this tape actually. A very unique & enjoyable tape.

Instructor comments: She is a a beautiful person inside & out, very in touch with her inner self. She's passionate about what she does. She makes this fun & not at all like a workout.



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