The Essentials of Bellydance

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For more than a decade, Anja has dazzled audiences all over the country with her talent and passion. As a teacher, she is known for her unique ability to communicate and make her art form accessible to non-dancers. She offers weekly belly dance classes in the Los Angeles area and more intensive Belly Dance workshops throughout the country. Anja attended her first bellydance class at age 7, igniting a passion that remains to this day and lead Anja to a lifelong career as a … More >>

The Essentials of Bellydance

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  1. Disc 1 basics:

    Menu – There are no chapters or even time display. The only other menu option is her dancing alone.

    Anja’s Dance – didn’t inspire me at all, even though she uses a veil, she seems to dance too slow & carefully like she has to think a lot like Rania. She’s not bad, there is some passion & flow in her, but that’s about it. Not much, just some hip bumps, twists, body wave/camel, hip lifts, she moves very slow, slower then the music.

    Teaching – This is on a large tall set w/some flowing fabric, a bit shadowy with Anja & 2 backup girls. The music is low in volume middle eastern with a good tempo to make you want to dance. Warm-up has some good moves, some squats & then she goes for the hand weights for the rest of the dvd. The rest is basic bellydance moves of hip twists, hip bumps, shimmies, walking hip bumps, very little else, no snake arms even & she doesn’t spend much time reminding you on posture. There are a lot of rests & counting before you start, and the teaching was in between the movements which makes the pace slower & drag. The speed of the actual execution was slow/careful & if it ever went to normal tempo, it was only for a few seconds. She doesn’t seem to be enjoying herself here, so that also made it more dull to me.

    Disc 2 Workout

    Menu – only play (there are no chapters to even FFW in during play) & her dance solo

    The same stage & average camera/lighting, could be better, but more then adequate & she uses 2 backup women again. The music was nice & fast paced, though unfortunately she mostly doesn’t have you move as fast.

    The 5 min warm-up was the usual stretching & basic bellydance moves. She then used hand weights that was all cardio/toning gym class, no bellydance for a good 5 min as well. She went back to isolations such as hip twists, hip steps, she adds layers like hip circles w/shimmies, and use hand weights while doing them mostly using bellydance arm positions w/o the wrist turns. She does turn what you learned into a routine which is great, but the stop to introduce a move & count while you stand there kills as well as being distracted by hand weights instead of being in tune with your body & doing the movements correctly & gracefully. The end has some good stretching that has you go on the floor which was nice.

    Dance solo – she does better here, but still a slow-pace, mostly just accenting the occasional drum beat, she’s but not bad, has good flow in her camels, but since it’s over 9 min long, she does the same simple turns & steps any beginner can do over & over too slow & carefully. Not until the music changes faster does she do any layering, but she still stops at a simple hip lift like she’s waiting for applause like she did a gymnastics flip.
    Rating: 3 / 5

  2. This is a very nice DVD, There are 2 DVD, the 1st. one called basics, is very relaxing and is fun to do. I did not gave it a 5 satrs because of the 2nd. Dvd. I like it until she start to used hand weights, this is not bellydance any more, you can move as freelly, and the choreography has to be easy, because of the weights. Next time she should do an intermediate routine without the weights, so it can be more elaborated and clean.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  3. Anja makes bellydance especially playful and enjoyable to learn and she will teach you hip isolations, shimmies, the “camel,” tummy rolls, floating dance steps, fast and slow bellydance dance sequences. The Egyptian traveling steps are fun and the dancing progresses from slow to fast with lots of instruction and excellent cueing.

    The lighting, black sheet in front of the dancers, shadowy set (lighting seems strange) and the mesh thing Anja is wearing while dancing present a little distraction from the beauty of sensual bellydance, but this is still fun if you can overlook a few items that seem to be oversights during the production.

    ~The Rebecca Review
    Rating: 3 / 5

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