Friday, June 27, 2008

Review: Body by Bellydancing: Guest blogger - Jejune

Body by Bellydancing, by Michelle Joyce
Music by Mary Ellen Donald and Farah Ibrihim.
$14.95 US
74 minutes
Reviewed by Jejune You can find Jejune's blog here!

This is a fitness program based on bellydancing moves, focussed on hips, abs, and buns. Michelle Joyce is an award-winning bellydancer and fitness instructor (and lovely person!). Not only does she feature in this DVD, but she oversees all the production of her DVDs as well (and she's a web designer as well). The DVD menus are easy to navigate and clear.

The video / camera work is excellent, and the music and sound are clear. Sometimes Michelle speaks as she's doing the exercises, and at other times she does voice overs. I thought she explained the moves and sequences clearly, and in a very friendly manner. She speaks well to the camera, and the camera angle shows her working to a mirror, so it's easy to see both sides of all the moves. There are plenty of repetitions to help you learn the moves.

This DVD starts with an Introduction, Warm Up, and Explanation of some basic bellydance moves (hip circles, hip figure-8s, mayas, hip bumps/hits, and posture).

After the Warm Up, you can move on to the three Exercise Sessions :

The first one is based on hip bumps, and is a cardio workout. In this session, and throughout the DVD, she encourages beginners to work at a simpler level until they're more experienced and stronger. The exercises include hip bumps flat footed, on tip toes, and even while doing choo-choos!

The second Session is slow moves, focusing on strength and endurance. It features hip circles and arm movements, to nice slow music.

The third Session is floor work, with a focus on strength and flexibility. I must admit that most of this session was beyond me at the moment! It uses some yoga poses, and you need to be pretty flexible and strong to start with - I felt it was pretty advanced. But since it's on a DVD, you can practice and work up to the exercises.

As the focus is on an exercise regime, not all the moves are dance movements, but they are fantastic exercises and preparation for bellydancing. What makes some of the exercises not dance moves is they are done in non-dance stances, such as with the legs apart, or staggered (one leg to the front, one to the back). Michelle also includes some dance tips through the DVD, such as moves to help learn how to do better belly undulations.

After the three Exercise Sessions there is an Abs Workout, with a fair few Pilates moves. I felt this was pretty advanced, with moves such as doing the Plank with knee bends, and side to side. I must admit I just watched these!

Finally there is a Cool Down session with good stretches. There are also reasonably long excerpts from Belly Dancing Basics, and Secrets of the Stage 2, to whet your appetite further!

If you're wanting to get fitter, and are a bellydancer, then this DVD will definitely get you working!

Thanks Jejune!!!

Arabesque Dance Co. - Layali Nour