Sunday, September 09, 2007

In Which I Write About Bellydancing and DVDs

I’ve been writing about bellydancing the past few days and so I thought I would quickly share what dvds I have been using. I have a total of seven but only two teachers for all the dvds. I bought the first on a whim because it was dirt cheap and had four dvds in one cheap set. The second I bought because it was recommended to me. Both are good and I enjoy them both for very different reasons.

The first is a set from Dolphina who is lovely to watch. Her dvd is divided into sections so you work from the upper body (head, shoulders, arms) down to the hips, including undulations. Her sets are gorgeous on the one dvd as are her costumes even when she is only in her workout gear with a hip scarf wrapped around her hips. Also, the music is more authentic although some of her historical facts border on the mythic. The one complaint I have heard is that the dvd too often focuses on her face rather than on her body and you don’t really get to see how each move works.

You cannot say this about Neon’s dvds. The camera rarely comes in close to Neon’s face, pulling far enough back to really see the way her body moves. She goes very slowly through the technical breakdown of each move. As if that were not enough, the dvd has a diagram that further breaks down the movement as she makes it so you can clearly see how your hips, shoulders, head, etc. should move. This makes it very easy to see how you each move should be performed, first slowly and then more quickly.

However, Neon’s dvd, although it will definitely teach you more precisely than will Dolphina’s is more contemporary. Everything from what she wears to the music looks and sounds more like something you would see/hear in a club. As a viewer, I wanted more of the lush and traditional than the technical but as a person who is wanting to learn to dance, I’ll give up the prettiness of Dolphina’s sets to really focus on the breakdown of each move.

Still, Dolphina’s workout is the one that makes me sweat. I haven’t managed to work all the way through Neon’s because some of the moves are impossible with my vertigo (the vertical drops and larger head rolls) and her practices are interspersed with reviews which frankly end up confusing me. I am progressing, however. As I do the same dvd over and over again I see where this time I am doing more than last time. Maybe one day I’ll get all the way through the dvd. Who knows. Well, all the way through minus the vertical drops and things that make me too dizzy.

Which is another thing I ought to confess because I haven’t really been able to take any of the steps such as moving to the left or forward. It is hard enough for me to remain standing. I end up losing it altogether when I try to move around. (I lost my balance sitting up to get out of bed yesterday. What can I expect?) So I do what I can, shimmy or do infinity hip slides (figure eights/yin yang symbols . . .depending on which dvd I am watching) until I can get back into the rhythm of what is happening on the screen.

A while back I bought a bellydancing vhs with the twins Neena and Veena. I see that they are not only now available on dvd but recommended. I found their workout to be rather boring. I didn’t feel as though I had exercised at all by the time I was done and the explanations took so long that I became bored waiting for them to get to the workout. They are definitely pretty to watch but I want to feel like I am learning something and/or breaking a sweat. If I want to look at something pretty, I can watch a movie or watch a sunset.

The first time I did Dolphina’s dvd, my abs were sore the next day. That’s only happened one other time. Now, they don’t hurt at all. In fact, when Rob and I finally got back to exercising together in the morning, he complained that his abs were hurting the next day. Mine were still not sore. So whatever these dvds are doing is working. Yes, I am even seeing smaller numbers on the scale. Smaller than I have seen in weeks, maybe even months.
I'll write about the other dvds from both when I have managed to work through them all.

An Interview With Dolphina

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