Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bellydance Jam With Bellyqueen

Overall: Recommended for intermediate level practice
Length: 30 minutes of warmups, drills and combos, then cooldown

So I really, really wanted to hate this DVD. Anything called "Bellydance Jam" that features "bellydance moves you can use in the clubs" has got to be bad, right? The beginning montage shows girls in "club clothes" bellydancing with each other in a very contrived club setting - ugh. Well, as much as I hate to admit it, I actually liked this DVD.

The quality of the video was very very good - no frenetic camera angles. And kudos to these girls for dubbing the instruction in a voiceover session instead of panting their way through it while dancing like many other videos I've seen. Their technique was great, they always looked pleasant and sincere, and generally like they were having fun. While the technique breakdown probably wasn't detailed enough for an absolute beginner, I found their commentary to be thoughtful and sufficient for anyone with some experience. I even found a few combos a little challenging.

The 30-35 minute practice starts with some "moving stretches", which felt great after a day sitting at a desk. There is about 20 minutes of movement instruction, where they build on combos. They string everything together at the end for a nice 2 minute practice of the combos, before a decent cooldown.

Bonus points to these girls for offering an alternative voiceover in Spanish!

The "improvisation section" on the other hand, was pretty comical. This is where the club dancing comes in - complete with club clothes, and ambient club dancers in the background! I seriously can't imagine anyone breaking out these combos in a club scenario without getting laughed out of the room. They did give a nice overview of how to dance to the music, but overall, it just made me laugh. It all culminated with a few minutes of club music and videos akin to the iTunes visualizer so you could practice in a "simulated club environment". Heh.

The performance clips were mixed - I found their solo pieces to get boring after a while, but there are a couple nice montages of group pieces that were interesting. There's one from the Bellydance Superstars, but it doesn't seem to be limited to just Bellyqueen footage, so who knows what I was watching.

Overall, this DVD is a great way to decompress from work if you don't have a lot of time. Its a good supplement to your collection, but not something to do every day.

Available from CD Universe

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