Art of Bellydance - Desert Dreams

Paulina, Jindra
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Bellydance

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This is one of the beginners dvds from the International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance. There are 3, each is set up with a lesson, a do along choreography and a workout (then performances). This, like the others, is set in a pleasant studio, with outstanding production- good lighting, music volumes (could be louder at times in the workout, but these are really more focused on instruction so the lower volumes make sense), clear camera angles. If you've got some bellydance workouts that aren't from Dolphina or Natural Journeys, you're used to really odd or downright problematic production, but these are very well done. The dvd begins with the instructional segment. Paulina is alone and goes over form, posture and movement clearly, starting slowly, without music. She build the tempo gradually, adding music and movement. After you've worked on the move a bit, form pointers are printed on screen.

The do along choreography is uncued. I would have preferred some cueing or having the name of the moves printed on screen, but it is fairly short and the moves are just the ones you learned so it isn't hard to follow along. The dvd is well chaptered by exercise so you can always just cue up a specific exercise to work on that, if say, you're having trouble with the undulation (covered in this volume). This is an excellent introduction to bellydance for beginners, or a do along practice for beginners and intermediates. The workout is lead by Jindra, who has a very young, fresh vibe. I'd like to see her lead an instructional or perform (for some reason, she doesn't appear in the performance segments). The workout is supposed to be a strength workout, but it seems to be more a light cardio session. I'm not sure where the strength comes in. The steps are mostly the slower moves of bellydance, no really fast paced shimmies or anything and you do slow down to learn new steps or segments so it is not sustained vigorous cardio, but a nice light day session, or a warm up or cool down to something more intense. Her backup duo seems more animated here than in enchanted nile. These are pretty pricey, compared to the basic bellydance dvds from Dolphina or NJ, but if you really want to learn bellydance or structure a quality practice session, these are outstanding dvds to add to your library, and you do get quite a bit for your money. If you just want something different for workout variety, you would probably find these too expensive, even though they are high quality productions with high quality instruction. The performances here are very good as well. Paulina does a sword dance (I'm a big fan of sword) and Anaheed, a wonderful dancer, does a slow taxim number that is just stunning. Unfortunately, it is marred by her outfit, which I can only describe as atrocious. I can't even describe it, its just that bad. Despite a poor costuming choice, I really like this dvd, and find it to have been a great investment.

Instructor Comments:
Paulina is a very good instructor- lots of form pointers and reminders, and she explains things clearly. She moves well and really seems to be teaching with you, not performing or talking at you. Jindra leads the workout segment and seems friendly. She too offers lots of form pointers and cues fairly well.