Top positive review
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A must for any Tribal Fusion dancer!
on May 23, 2010
Ok. I wanted to write a more detailed review. But, geez, I just don't want to stop the DVD! (that should tell you something!)
WDNY just released Rachel Brice's latest piece, Serpentine. It's a 2-DVD set, divided into a drill/yoga section and a dance/choreography section. I received an advance copy as I review DVDs for several different places and cannot emphasize enough just how good this one is. I'd say it's hands down her best DVD yet as it finally has what I know I've wanted to see for so long - a comprehensive overview of her own unique signature style. The other DVDs were great (one is a historic gem that has the baseline material and moves that are the building blocks for tribal fusion; the other is a bible for tribal style arms), but both seemed to lack that unique quality of Rachely goodness - her fluid technique, nifty combos, and dance mechanics.
Well, if you want to learn her signature style, it's all here - from the yoga she uses to prepare her body to the drills for strengthening to the actual movements arranged in not one but two sample choreographies. You can read the info on exactly *what* it has (the descriptions on amazon, the back of the DVD case, etc will give you the lowdown), but I can tell you from viewing it that the quality is excellent and really well done. WDNY brings in their specialty of creating an easy to follow format, presented in several variations that will allow you to choose how you want to practice, which is a very nice touch. My favorite part? Drills of course. Overall, I'd say that the drills alone on here are excellent and fairly unique in terms of building up strength for traveling (I really enjoyed that section) and footwork as well as tribal fusion style shimmy drill. Every Rachel workshop I've attended (and I've had the pleasure of going to about 5 or so) have featured yoga and drills with a delicious focus on technique and you'll find that in this DVD. I like to think of it as a Rachel Brice workshop in a box - an excellent DVD that follows her in-class teaching format exactly.
So the first DVD is drills and yoga. But, beyond that, there's an entire second DVD that includes two choreographies, each of which is broken down and explained, along with Rachel performing each individual choreography in full costume (don't worry there are two *additional* performances too so you can get your Rachel fix). The breakdowns assume you have knowledge of tribal fusion and basic bellydance movements - this portion of the DVD is definitely not for beginners. The combos are presented clearly, but quickly, so you will need to make sure that you know the movements as not all of the individual moves are broken down. Again, this will not be an issue if you have a good working knowledge of the dance. At times, it is pretty challenging (something along the lines of "now you're on relevee...and traveling back with this foot pattern/arabic. and let's layer the arabic on. and then when you're comfortable with that, here are the arms and the 3/4 shimmy on the up to go with it...whew!). But often the layers are presented in pieces, so you can work with what you *can* do before adding on the extra pieces. The nice thing is that the setup facilitates you learning Rachel's more complex combinations - the combos are broken down, and there's a "practice loop" section for you to jam out to. One choreography offering is fast and cheeky, and one is slow and slinky, so you're really getting the best of both worlds. And, in the tradition of WDNY DVDs packing in as much material as possible, there are two smaller classes on the second DVD, a yoga for backbends (FINALLY!) and a lecture class.
Overall, a great DVD (but you probably expected that). If you're into tribal fusion style in general, this is definitely one to pick up. I know, I know - lately there have been lots of other DVDs on the market now that will give you wonderful material as far as combos and movements, but I promise you that this is THE one to own if you're looking for Rachel/the Indigo technique and dance form. And a good yoga practice for bellydancers. And some excellent drills. You get the idea ;)
You will like this DVD if:
* You would like to improve your bellydance practice by adding in yoga and drills (these will benefit dancers of any style)
* You are interested in refining and perfecting tribal fusion technique
* You are interested in improving dance footwork, leg strength, isolation, and shimmies
* You would like to learn some new tribal fusion choreographies and/or combinations
* You're a huge Rachel Brice/the Indigo fan :)
Again, DVD 1 recommended for dancers of all levels, DVD 2 for those who are intermediate or higher level