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Bellydancing with Zils, by Elsa Leandros, featuring Raqui Danziger: Finger cymbals dance how-to, Belly dance rhythms instruction, Belly dance classes (2007)

Elsa Leandros , Raquy Danziger , Elsa Leandros  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Bellydancing with Zils, by Elsa Leandros, featuring Raqui Danziger: Finger cymbals dance how-to, Belly dance rhythms instruction, Belly dance classes + Killer Ziller: Belly Dance Finger Cymbals
Price for both: $27.98

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  • Killer Ziller: Belly Dance Finger Cymbals $16.99

Product Details

  • Actors: Elsa Leandros, Raquy Danziger, Brian Carter
  • Directors: Elsa Leandros
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: World Dance New York
  • DVD Release Date: November 20, 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000UZRT3G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,423 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Created by renowned New York City choreographer and dance instructor Elsa Leandros, Bellydance with Zils teaches the foundations of using zils (finger cymbals) in belly dance.

Together with the amazing doumbek player Raquy Danziger, Elsa demonstrates the 7 most popular belly dance rhythms: baladi, saidi, maksoum, masmoudi, ciftetelli (slow Arabic-style and fast Turkish-style), karsilama (9/8), and gypsy-style karsilama. Elsa and Raquy alternate demonstrating the rhythms on doumbek and zils, offering a clear comparison of how zils and drum each interpret the rhythms.

Elsa moves step-by-step through the logistics and foundations of zil-playing for dancers, including her technique of alternating hands in interpreting rhythms on the zils (compared to designating a leading vs supporting hand.) This powerful technique allows greater speed than the common leading/supporting-hand style of zil playing (enhancing performances to modern fast-paced music, such as Arab pop) and improves coordination between zil playing and dance steps by eliminating the one-sidedness of the leading/supporting-hand style.

Next, Elsa breaks down each of the 7 rhythms as interpreted on the zils and offers exercises to develop speed and freedom of hand and arm movement while playing zils. In addition, Elsa provides a number of dance steps and combinations for each and every rhythm, and leads a session where steps and zil playing are combined and practiced first with counting and then with music.

A special Practice with Music menu allows users to play the music selections Elsa chose for practice, and to drill zil patterns and steps on their own.

Two performances by Elsa demonstrate the intricacies of the art of belly dance with zils: Elsa dances to a modern Arabic pop-style song, and performs a drum solo with Raquy Danziger and Brian Carter that demonstrates variations in interpreting multiple rhythms and how to respond to drum riffs on the zils. The video of the same drum solo without dance or zils is also on the DVD for your own practice of how best to interact with live drumming.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great DVD for Novices AND Pros! December 11, 2007
I started learning to play the finger cymbals after I'd been dancing for about a year. I can remember being so frustrated that these tiny musical instruments were so challenging (yet I was determined to learn them as they were so beautiful and such an integral part of Middle Eastern dance). This would have been a great DVD to have back then, as Elsa does a great job of presenting the information so that zil novices can not only understand how to play but can also be comfortable while doing so. She works at speeds that are reasonable and easy to follow, presenting information so that those new to zils are not overwhelmed. This DVD is great for those who've never played zils before and for those dancers familiar with doumbek rhythms who would like to learn some new patterns that will complement, but not mimic, the doumbek's sound.

Here's what you'll find on this DVD:

"Bellydance Rhythms: Zils and Doumbek:" The DVD begins with drummers Raquy Danzinger and Brian Carter joining Elsa for a brief introduction to Middle Eastern rhythms. Together, they offer a very educational mini-class on the differences between the various rhythms and they way they are played on doumbek as opposed to zils. For those of us who are used to playing the doumbek rhythm of dums and teks on our zils, this is a great opportunity to understand new ways to play the patterns.

"Tips and Technique:" When a dancer first slips zils onto her (or his!) fingers, they can feel unwheildy and alien. We are taught to move our hands with grace and ease, but the addition of these instruments can quickly lead to frustration as a dancer must now learn to hold them and wear them properly.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great learning program December 22, 2007
By Seir
Belly dance with zils with Elsa Leandros instructing and Raquy Danziger and Brian Carter
In this program you will be introduced to 7 rhythms used in middle eastern accompaniment and the zil work designated to each. In addition to the patterns, Elsa guides you gently into the proper arm work and footwork that frees you from counting and assigning hands which most of us have learned traditionally with zils.
There is a practice session with patterns and music only that you may follow along, repeat as needed and develop skill and speed.
Elsa presents tips and personal technique
7 music tracks to practice including:
Baladi basic
Maksoum,masmoudi, citfitteli, rhumba, ciftitelli, karshilama, also saidi . Also performances with music and to drums by Elsa
Most interesting and challenging about this program is the unique way that elsa presents her style, learning to zil without a leading hand.She is phenonmenal and skillful as she presents her program with ease.Her speed is admirable.
While this program is not deep comprehensive, Raquy, Brian, and Elsa do a great job explaining the down beats, upbeats and rhytms in belly dance. There is enough information to begin a solid foundation in ziling.Personally, this program has enhanced my ziling and inspired me to re-learn without using a leading hand.That is a challenge in itself.
There is much offered in the content, the setting sets you at ease; important if you are just beginning to zil.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed July 4, 2008
Verified Purchase
I was hoping to find a DVD that provided good instruction on Zil work and have found it here. Elsa presents the Zils and accompanying examples of dance to help transition the beginner into the feel of the rhythms.

More than a simple right-left-right, Elsa teaches you the advantage of listening and interpreting the beat so that you need not be tied to coordinating the hand and footwork. This system is simple and joyful. The doumbek of Raquy Danziger is amazing as well.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this one February 28, 2008
Verified Purchase
This should be one of the first DVDs a beginner dancer gets because it provides insight into the rhythms of the music and how the drums and zills work together. I feel that the dancer needs to understand that even if she does not play zills yet. I love the "no lead hand" method, but that is probably because I could never play with a "lead hand"! This DVD also gets you DANCING with the zills and not just playing them. Everything else is covered in the other reviews!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Zils Instruction February 25, 2008
Verified Purchase
This is a great DVD. The instructor offers great tips, and demonstrates playing the zils ambidextrously, rather than learning with a lead hand and a supporting hand. It's worth your time and money to check this one out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Addition to Have June 1, 2010
Verified Purchase
What I liked:

Elsa encourages us to be ambidextrous by not using a leading hand.

Elsa names and teaches 7 different patterns to the drum with various combinations.

What I didn't like:
Elsa is not facing the mirror with her back towards me (my pet peeve) which made it difficult to follow especially since she is not using a leading hand.

The number patterns that she teaches stays on the screen for only a short period of time.

I also have Michelle Joyce's Killer Ziller DVD and they both will enhance your dancing with the zills. Both have different things to offer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great job teaching alternating between hands! October 10, 2008
By Cayenne
Verified Purchase
This dvd truly focuses on the musicality of finger cymbal playing. After all, it is an extension of the percussion section. I find it so much more helpful to address the finger cymbals in terms of how it actually relates to the music (ex. '1-2-3 1 1-2-3 1 1-2-3 repeat'- for baladi rhythm) instead of leading hands (right-left-right right right-left-right etc).
I (and other members of the family picking up the finger cymbals after watching me learn so fast) am thrilled that Elsa decided to teach using the alternating hands method which is a much more natural way of corresponding to the music. There is also a breakdown of other different rhythms besides the very popular baladi rhythm.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Goddess Kali
It is good she teaches all the different types of zil patterns and does the dancing with it. It is too advanced for me but I really like this dvd when I get to that stage I will... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Dancer
4.0 out of 5 stars learn the zills
The instruction is very good. I just have to get coordinated and practice practice practice. They arrived on time and were packaged well.
Published 17 months ago by Yogini Gram
5.0 out of 5 stars Dance with Zils
This Amazon purchase is a pleasant introduction to Zils Drills and Bellydance. It includes simple instruction in basic movement as well as instruction on how to manipulate the Zils... Read more
Published on April 13, 2012 by Amazon Shopper
5.0 out of 5 stars Great way to start getting in better shape while learning about...
People who want to workout and maybe learn how to play a little new music might want to invest in a copy of Bellydance with Zils. Read more
Published on January 12, 2010 by Stephanie
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of new information!
I was taught the dominate hand method of playing zils, but found everyone I asked who was really good and really fast with zils played with both hands. Read more
Published on November 3, 2009 by Zafira Daima
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for beginners!
If you've never played zills or have little experience this is a great instructional DVD for the basics. She shows you the basic rhythms that are used most often. Read more
Published on October 12, 2009 by M. West
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the buy
I'm an aspiring bellydancer and I thought this video was pretty helpful. As all students new to zills identifying the different rythms is always a challenge. Read more
Published on October 1, 2009 by K. Bajana
4.0 out of 5 stars Zils and Drums
I'm a beginner so this DVD was a bit too advanced. Great demonstration though on drumming and zil techniques by Elsa Leandros and Raquy Danzinger. Read more
Published on December 30, 2008 by R. A. Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Elsa is very friendly and positive. Sometimes I found her a bit clumsy, not as graceful as other dancers I have seen. Read more
Published on December 13, 2008 by Saba
4.0 out of 5 stars Bellydance with Zils
I think this DVD is a great tool
in learning zils to add to a bellydancer's

I liked the way Ms. Read more
Published on August 3, 2008 by C. Saucedo
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