Art of Bellydance - Enchanted NilePaulina, Jindra
Year Released: 2008
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This is the "beyond basics" dvd of the International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance's beginners 3 pack. Paulina teaches all 3. Paulina teaches a move slowly, without music (if it is playing, it is very soft) then builds the speed and adds movement (traveling forward or to the side) and music once she's covered the main points of instruction. After you've practiced the step for a while, some form reminders are posted on the screen. The set is attractive, and the production very high- camera angles make sense and are steady, music volumes appropriate. If you have some bellydance instructionals that aren't from Natural Journeys or Dolphina, you're probably used to some weird camera work, odd lighting, bad volumes and so on- but not with this series. these all look like fairly well budgeted productions. The DVD is well chaptered by exercise, so you can always cue up a specific exercise to work on that on its own. After you've learned some moves, there is an uncued follow along routine that is short and straightforward, using the moves you just learned. Since this is a basic dvd geared towards beginners, some cueing or on screen text that gives the name of the move would have been helpful, but it is short and it does use just the moves that were taught in the instructional segment, so it isn't that hard to follow along. A workout follows, lead by Jindra. The packaging says it has a cardio focus, and when done at tempo, it is a moderate cardio workout, but it does slow down when you learn new elements so it isn't sustained cardio. It is fun, and Jindra teaches some new moves in it, while also using plenty of the ones just taught in the instructional segment. She has two backup exercisers, that seem to be decent dancers and seem to be having fun (well, one of them frequently looks like she's at the proctologist, but the other seems to be enjoying it). Overall, this series is one of the better beginning dance instructionals. It seems more focused on teaching moves than in teaching a choreography, and the workout session is more focused on working on dance moves than sustaining a cardio workout.
Its still a nice, lighter day cardio session. The production quality is also very high. The instruction is either a good intro to bellydance, or a nice do-along practice session for a beginner to intermediate who takes lessons. The workout is a nice dancer's workout for a beginner to intermediate. I think an advanced dancer would get a better workout putting on their favorite music and doing an improv dance session than they would following this, unless they wanted a dance workout that was back to basics for a lighter day. These are more expensive than either the NJ productions or Dolphina's, but if you want to learn some bellydance, or supplement your lessons, these are worth the price since the instruction is much better. If you just want to try bellydance, or add something different to your workouts, then less expensive dvds are a fine option. This dvd also has 2 performances- one from Paulina and a cane dance from Amara. i was hoping to see one from Jindra, but I like the two they included. Overall, I recommend these to someone who is very interested in learning bellydance, or is in beginner lessons and wants a do-along practice session. they a re pricey, but the high quality of instruction and production makes them a good addition to a basics library.
Paulina has a slight accent, and a clear, straightforward manner. Her instruction is easy to understand- she occasionally shows what you shouldn't do, as well as offering pointers to help with form, posture and safety. She's alone in a pleasant studio- and I felt like she was conversing and teaching, not performing or talking at me. jindra leads the workout that follows the instructional, and she is very pleasant. She also offers lots of form pointers and reminders and explains the workout moves very well.