Bellydance Arms & Posture

Rachel Brice
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Bellydance

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As expected from the title of this DVD, this workout focused on arm movement in bellydancing. It was very technical, which is great for those who want practice specifically in the finer points of arm position in bellydancing. While the menu was chaptered, all items were nearly the same color which made it a little difficult to see where the cursor was hovering. The setting was dark, but it added to the overall “smokey” setting, if that makes sense. Rachel was beautiful in black flared leggings, black bra top, chunky silver jewelry, smokey-gray eye shadow, and glossy black hair pulled back. I thought the tattoo stretching from the center of her torso to over her hip was pretty cool also.

The warm-up had a yoga flavor, beginning with sun salutations. Dance Movement Preparation continued with standing on toes, sinking down with bended knees (which sort of bothered my knees), chair pose, squats, and lunges. Next came Shoulder Sequences, which were shoulder rolls, elbow rotations (undulation preparation), and arm rotations. We moved to the floor for cat-cow stretches, which transitioned into child’s pose stretch, then up on our knees (kneeling) for “cow face” pose (I’d never heard this term before, but it’s lifting one arm overhead, then bending it at the elbow and placing hand on middle of back, while placing opposite hand on elbow for a nice stretch; reverse.)

Arm Placement/Dance Postures came next, which were arm circles, then “drawing up” where you gracefully moved your arms up and down, then down and up. I would have liked some instruction on how to hold my fingers, as Rachel’s fingers looked slim and elegant while my fingers were splayed (sometimes her hand went off the screen so you couldn’t see how to position the fingers.) Next came Components of Undulation: alternating shoulder rolls, elbow rotations, arm undulations, arm pulls ... all very precise, very technical movements that I'm sure a professional would appreciate.

Next were Components of Sidewinder, including rib cage slides, parallel arm undulations, and rib cage slides with hand presses (where each hand pressed away from the center of the body to the sides of the room.) We practiced these in super-slow motion for several minutes.

Then came Practical Application, where all the moves were put together for a complete practice: arm pulls, rib circles, arm undulations, sidewinder, torso undulations. These moves were practiced several times with voiceover instruction, then several times with just visual demonstration. Finally, the ending stretches (on the floor) included bridge, neck stretches, then corpse pose. Rachel also performed an interesting bellydance routine after the workout.

This was a very technical practice which I found informative and instructive, but not much fun. However, I don’t think it was marketed as a “fun” workout, but was instead marketed for exactly the niche it fulfills. If I were a professional bellydancer (or even an aspiring bellydancer), I would appreciate having this practice DVD. As someone who just wants to bellydance for fun in the privacy of my own home, I found it kinda cool that I was learning actual bellydance moves.

Instructor Comments:
The instruction was presented in a calm and soothing voiceover. The music was authentic, with a pleasant percussion beat throughout, and the setting was dark, with the instructor practicing in front of a mirror (so you could see her from both the front and the back.) I felt the setting and instructor’s appearance added to the “mystique” of bellydancing.

Debbie J