No Guts and Proud of It!: Cross Training for Bellydancers

Year Released: 1997

Categories: Bellydance

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I really enjoyed the comedy skits in this video. And I hadn't ever seen a video that had so many different exercises on one video so it was worth the $20 I paid (it is cheaper now than when I first saw it advertised.)

Instructor Comments:
The instructors on this video moved the exercises along very well so I wasn't bored with one segment too long.

Alexis Karami


This workout, led by 3 Denver-area bellydancers, Anisa, Rooshana, and Naila, is designed for bellydancers to increase strength, endurance and flexibility. No credentials are provided for the dancers, so it is unclear whether any of them are certified trainers or instructors.

After several comedic vignettes about video copying and why it's good to strength train, the video starts. A very brief note is made of the equipment needed (aerobic shoes, 3-5 lb weights, "bicycle gloves" to reduce the strain on hands when one uses heavier weights, and bare feet for the yoga stretch. They do not mention a sticky mat, but I would suggest it.)

The set is a corner of a dance studio. Production values are low. The tape is grainy and the music sounds like someone is playing it on a boom box off camera. The cover art is the slickest part of the whole production. The dancers wear crop-tops and suspender-style unitards throughout the workout.

The first segment (17 minutes) of aerobics is led by Anisa, with her fellow dancers in the background (one of them shows the low-impact version through the segment, although this is never really pointed out.) She begins with a 4 minute warm-up consisting of toe touches and stretches. The warm-up song sounds suspiciously like a middle eastern version of the Ace of Base song "All That She Wants". She does staple hi/lo aerobics moves (toe touches, knee lifts, fast marches, jumping jacks) to middle eastern music. Most of the motion is done to the tv screen and back, with the only lateral motion coming at the end during a set of the weirdest grapevines I have ever seen (kind of a jogging thing.) Cathe fans will NOT be impressed, but a beginner who prefers simple, non-dancy choreography may like it. After only 9 minutes of aerobics you get to the cool down, which is on the fast side, so you may squeeze in a few more minutes in your target zone. Or you might not.

The muscle-toning segment (18 minutes) is led by Rooshana. Once again, the background music is middle-eastern. You do one set of 8 reps of tricep extensions, bicep curls, squats, side lunges, overhead presses, crunches, obliques, and lower ab curls, and push-ups. After each body part, you get to watch tape of Rooshana doing an exercise in the gym to work the same body part, and in the case of the bicep curls, another comedic piece. (A dancer who wants more of a workout will do another set of exercises during these segments.) A brief stretch follow each exercise. She gives adequate but not exceptional form pointers, although during the squats she lost all respect I had for her when she said to inhale at the top, HOLD YOUR BREATH, squat down, come up, AND THEN EXHALE. Not me! No way!

Finally is the yoga stretch (15 minutes), this time led by Naila and narrated in voiceover. This is on a decorate set with rugs and wallhangings (the "Genie's bottle" according to the cover text.). Naila seems to know her yoga, although at one point she refers to tree pose as mountain pose, which I've never heard anyone do before. After a seated breathing exercise she has you stand up and practice zagareeting (the high pitched ululation made by bellydancers and Xena), which I found to be really strange. She follows with tree pose, standing side bends, standing forward bend, downward facing dog, child's pose, upward facing dog, seated twist, seated forward bend and corpse pose (with a very nice guided meditation). The yoga stretch is the best of the three segments.

After this they have 3 segments showing each of the dancers performing, each preceded by a comedy piece (although the part where Naila gets dressed in the kitchen is *not* a joke--it's not uncommon for restaurants to not have any place for dancers to dress except the pantry!)

While doing this tape is probably better than doing nothing (except for those squats where you hold your breath!), I think that a bellydancer who wanted to improve her aerobic capacity, strength, and flexibility would be better served by any number of mainstream tapes. For a belly-dance related tape that covers these areas, I would recommend the Woman Power Workout with Karen Andes and Carolena Nericcio as a better investment.

Renee Drellishak