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Bellydance beginner

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Old 07-14-2005, 09:03 PM   #1
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Default Bellydance beginner

I absolutely love bellydance!

I am looking for advice on any worthwhile videos that actually teach the dance (not just fluffy ones!).
Unfortunately there are no classes in my area, although it's on my rewards list to go to classes about 4 hours away when I reach one of my goals. A huge motivator!!

I have taken short workshops in the past (unfortunately some were pure fluff) and am in love with bellydancing. I know very little and--much like with the yoga craze, which I've been doing since I was three, so I do know better--there seems to be an abundance of trendy, watered down stuff. I know enough to know that I'm not really looking for that. Anyone know of any good resources?

I am working on getting to the point where I enjoy exercise and this is one form I like and can get motivated to do regularly.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 07-15-2005, 08:40 PM   #2
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My favorite beginning bellydance video is Carrie Konyha's The Dance. It includes a lot of beginning moves along with visualizations of how to do each move correctly along with demonstrations of what they look like when done incorrectly. It's more than a Neon DVD, but not as much as most of IAMED stuff. I wrote up a giant review for a yahoo bellydancing video forum, so let me know if you want to read it, and I'll hunt it down to post here.
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Old 07-15-2005, 08:42 PM   #3
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I'd love to read your review if you can dig it up!
Thanks for the suggestion
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Old 07-17-2005, 11:21 AM   #4
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No problem. I hunted it down:

This video is by far my favorite beginner's video. Carrie Konyha says at the beginning that she goes over everything she teaches in her beginning class, and from the amount of paper it took me to write each move she demonstrated, I believe it!

I will say that this is obviously a home production style video. The camera moves are at times shaky (and show the set background on occasion), but the video is well lit through the entire production. Also you are always able to see the move being demonstrated (no camera shot of her chest when she demonstrates hip drops, etc), and you can clearly here the instructions throughout the video.

Aside from the volume of information taught and the time spent demonstrating each portion of the moves in isolation, I like that she demonstrates the incorrect way to do various moves, gives reminders of posture throughout the video, and gives visualizations to help understand how a move is performed. She also discusses how your weight should be distributed during various moves which also helped me determine if I was doing them correctly or not.

Included in this video are:

1. A warm up with basic floor stretching and standing stretches that are not specific to ME dance.

2. A detailed overview of basic posture (stand tall, lift ribcage, flatten small of back, slightly tilt pelvis, etc.)

3. Demonstrations of the following moves:

hip slide (example visualization: imagine your hips are a typewriter cartridge)
hip sway
basic shimmy
hip twist
twist shimmy
hip circle
vertical figure 8 (showed 2 variations)
horizontal figure 8
hip lifts (example visualization: holding groceries and bumping the car door shut with your hip)
hip drops
discussion of foot paths in combination with hip lifts and drops
pelvic tuck
pelvic drop
pelvic roll
ribcage slide
horizontal ribcage circle
vertical ribcage circle
rib lifts and drops
head slides
belly rolls
belly flutter
undulations
arm positions for framing movements
shoulder shrugs
shoulder rolls
Hindu arms
snake arms
wrist circles
hand undulations

One of the things I really like about this video is that hand position is discussed including how your fingers should be positioned. She also demonstrates some hand coordination and flexibility exercises.

There is a brief veil demonstration followed by instructions for:

veil flourish
pretzel
butterfly wings
framing movements with the veil

There is also a brief demonstration of zills that includes instruction on how to wear zills on your hands as well as the different sounds produced depending on how the zills are held. This is a very brief zill introduction and doesn't include various rhythms.

I'm not sure exactly how long the video is, but even with fast forwarding to find each of the different moves, it took me over an hour to get through it, so it's a pretty significant length.
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Old 07-19-2005, 05:03 PM   #5
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I think the following videos are excellent for "actual" Middle Eastern Dance Instruction:

~Fat Chance Belly Dance Tribal Basics Volume 1

(This is the beginner video for learning American Tribal Style belly dance.)

~Ruby Jazayre series

(You can get them at www.dahlal.com, or at www.rubyjazayre.com you want her video series that is separated into upper body, lower body, etc. not her
choreography video, which is a choreographed dance for a professional dancer.)

~Absolute Beginning Bellydance with Delilah

I would recommend that you visit the site www.shira.net and check her instructor directory if you have not already. There are new instructors listed all the time, and you may find one near you. I would also recommend researching your area, and see if there are any newsletters or local groups that sponsor workshops and things. We have one here in Indiana, and when you attend a workshop, there is always info there on upcoming events and workshops, and other things of interest to the local dancers.
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Old 07-20-2005, 04:01 PM   #6
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Hi! I am a beginning belly dancer also. I LOVE it! I go to two classes a week, next month we start on shimmies.

I use the Venna and Neena videos. I have a few of them (Basic Moves, Hips/Buns/Thighs, Cardio workout, etc.)

They are good if you ever want a workout based belly dance video.
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Old 07-22-2005, 10:55 PM   #7
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Thank you michelle, aphil and marche (love shimmies! LOL) All the suggestions look great and I'm very excited to learn some more moves!

Aphil: I love Shira's site and unfortunately there are no instructors closer than 3 hours listed there either. I just figure I'll start with the videos and when I get to my reward I'll be extra prepared and can take advantage of a live instructor helping me on form (which I worry about a little because learning without feedback is a good way to end up with bad habits that later have to be UNlearned LOL). I've started using my mirror to help with that. Unfortunately prior dance training doesn't seem to help much and some of it is guesswork off of lousy videos.

I hadn't thought of looking up local newsletters though so I'm emailing the instructors to get all the info and maybe make it to some of the one day workshops and performances if I can.

Thanks again for all the great suggestions!
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Old 07-23-2005, 11:06 AM   #8
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Go ahead and email the instructors that are closest to you-the ones that are 3 hours away. There are a handful of Indiana instructors listed on Shira.net, BUT those are not the only instructors in Indiana-just the ones who put there info there. You may contact one of the ones near you, and they might know of an instructor that may be a little bit closer to you. Doesn't hurt to try!!!
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