Cardio Bellydance WorkoutMelissa Walker
Year Released: 2006
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This bellydance-style workout began with a Pilates warmup, breathing exercises while lying prone on the floor. Other exercises included a neck stretch, pelvic tilt, bridging, and leg & foot stretches. She used vivid imagery in describing how to do the moves (on bridging, for example, she said, “imagine you are lifting a pearl necklace off the floor, one pearl at a time.” Okay, I’ve heard this metaphor before, but it’s still a good one.) After the nice foot stretches, we moved to standing warmup work, including arms, ribs, and hips; then it was back to the floor for variations of the hundred and the rollup. I enjoyed the non-traditional warmup music. The warmup lasted about 15 minutes. One thing that struck me during this time is that she never stopped talking!
After warming up, we had about five minutes of “movement rehearsal” where she demonstrated (and we practiced) hip slides at a slow tempo, then faster, then fastest (shimmies.) Again, her imagery was very good, “If your behind feels like a bowl of Jello, you’re doing it right!” Foot movements were demonstrated via grapevines with hip lifts. A decent cardio effect was achieved by doing grapevines with turns (which we didn’t practice in the “rehearsal”), forward steps with hops (easy to catch onto), then grapevines with rib slides (again, we didn’t practice these in “rehearsal.”) She demonstrated forward undulations and the Turkish Two-Step, then we added those new moves to the moves already learned for another cardio burst of rapid undulations, fast feet, and quick circle movements. Finally, she added side undulations to the cardio intervals and we practiced the entire sequence again.
The cool-down came at about the 45-minute mark, with shoulder rolls, side-to-side hip lifts, and standing hip-flexor stretches, then we moved to the floor for prone stretching, cobra, and downward-facing dog. She encouraged us to “find new and exciting muscles to stretch.”
The instructor was very personable and fun to work with. She performed alone, instructing the entire workout via voiceover, and she was very playful and enthusiastic in her descriptions. The only negative was that she tended to call out a move as she was doing it, which was frustrating at first, but might become easier once you learn the routine. Except for the Pilates warmup, the music was traditional bellydance music; it was all good!
The workout was well chaptered; and afterward, she performed a bellydance routine. I always like that, so I can practice my new moves in a different form!
Very personable, down-to-earth, sorta "hip-cool" personality. She seems to be having fun teaching the moves.