Bellydance! Magical MotionAtea
Year Released: 1999
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I really like this video! As an introduction to bellydance, it is very well done and will give a beginner a nice do- along practice session or supplement their classes, or even serve as an introductory class program to help someone decide whether or not they want to take lessons. The program starts with Atea explaining the importance of a warm up and offering suggestions of activities that are suitable. The warm up as shown is not really a good one- it is very short and unbalanced. I get the idea she wants to people to do a warm up on their own and then start in with the meat of the class. then she leads her class through some stretches, again, reminding students they can do their own to prepare. After that, she starts the class, grouping the moves logically. She starts each move with a slow run through, gradually building the tempo and adding variations like level changes, mixing the tempo and so on. throughout, she incorporates improvisations using just a few moves and their variations to put together a couple minute improv routines.
Towards the end, she includes a session on costuming, playing zills (finger cymbals), veil work and wraps and then features a dance party and many different dancers come out and do some short performances as the other clap, play zills and watch. they all seem to be having a great time. I like that this tape gives a taste of lots of different aspects of bellydance, teaching some slow moves, fast moves, a little bit of bit veil, it introduces costuming and zills, and the free improv sessions are fun and allow for personal expression and creativity. There are some things I don't like- during much of the instruction, the cameras does tight shots of the torso or hips of the dancers, making it hard to see what the whole body is doing. Although the moves might be isolations, it helps to see the stillness of the legs or upper body to remind you of the technique. I found it particularly bothersome during the improv sections since you couldn't see the other dancers and their interpretations, or even get the whole impact of the dancer in focus since you couldn't see their arms, faces or foot work. Also, veil work isn't really taught, though it is performed slowly and clearly so someone could figure out how to it by watching the women who demos the moves. several different veil wraps are shown but I still can't figure out how some of them were acheived.
With very few exceptions, most of the dancers here look like they could use a good meal, so if you are expecting full bodied dancers, you will see very very few. also, most of the costume options shown are variations of the glitzy bra/ top and belt combo most people think of when they think about bellydance, so if you're attracted to bellydance from ren fair or from an ethnic or tribal show, you will see very few costume options that do not have a nightclub- cabaret style. The production quality is low budget but clear. I had no problems seeing the dancers against the background, and the voice and music volumes were fine and never comepeted with each other. the sets are hoky and the leotards shiny- a very '80s production. there's nothing fancy or slick here. its just clear and easy to watch. my only production complaint are those tight shots of the torso or hips of one dancer. Overall, this is a really fun intro class to bellydancing that can help structure a practice session for beginners or serve as an intro class on its own. I would reccomend it to anyone interested in bellydance, and even to more experienced dancers who may want some veil wrap suggestions, or technique practice with opportunities for improv or if they are interested in teaching to pick up some teaching techniques. Its been on my favorites shelf for a few years!
Atea is a friendly, professional instructor who explains things very well. I typically really dislike voice over, but barely noticed it here, the explanations are so good. Atea has other dancers demonstrate dances with her, which is nice to see other interpretations, especially during improvisations of a small number of moves. She's a very supportive instructor, offering motivation, form pointers and suggestions throughout.