Judge Lacey Worrell subjects these bellydance moves to the severest test of all: Can they be performed in bunny slippers?
A crash course in bellydance.
Before you risk potential financial ruin and personal humiliation in the group bellydancing classes that are springing up all over the place, try this series instead.
Facts of the Case
This is a collection of two DVDs designed to help women who need some new moves when they're club hopping. Russian-born Neon's method of teaching involves thinking of the different steps in terms of shapes, which assists students in repeating the moves with relative ease.
Curves is just what it sounds like: the circular upper and lower body movements incorporated into belly dance rituals. This DVD features the exotic percussion that traditionally accompanies bellydance as well as techno music to help students get the feel of using the moves on the dance floor.
Hipwork Plus continues the geometric theme but with more emphasis on angular patterns. Neon emphasizes and models the importance of feeling confident over simply looking good.
Neon is an excellent teacher. She speaks in simple language that is easy to understand. It is clear from the beginning that she knows her stuff and she wants to get viewers out of their living rooms and onto the dance floor as quickly as possible.
However, Neon raises the level of difficulty by performing these moves wearing high heels and tight satin pants. I had enough trouble trying to replicate the steps wearing pajama bottoms and bunny slippers, so I'm guessing I'm not ready for the disco quite yet. This is not to take away from Neon's teaching abilities; it's probably just that pesky inner ear thing that causes me to trip and fall when I least expect it.
The production is obviously low-budget and there is not much (aside from the statuesque Neon and a few graphics) to focus on, but the fact that these DVDs stick to their original goal of getting people dancing is refreshing. This is in sharp contrast to The Art of Exotic Dancing, which aims to give women a deep sense of spiritual empowerment and estrogenically bonded connection to others by, well, ripping their clothes off. A straightforward, honest approach is much more welcome.
I took one (expensive) bellydance class with a friend as a lark several years ago, and at least from my limited experience, Neon's simple instructions and gentle encouragement are all anyone needs to pick up the basic idea of bellydancing.
Cheaper than a class, and in many cases, even better!
If you have a hankering to bellydance, you've come to the right place. As for me, I'm sticking with the tried and true. Judge Worrell is hereby sentenced to a lifetime stay at the Macarena Correctional Facility, with a period of solitary confinement in the Electric Slide dungeon.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: WorldDance New York
• "Dance of Mind" Featurette
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