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99 of 102 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Jenna and Raquy have put together a great instructional DVD for all but the highest level of dancer. I am at an intermediate level, and I have plenty to work on with this DVD. Jenna's technique is very technically clean, and her emotive style is natural and pleasant. She is natural with the viewer, and also with her dance. You have seen the other videos with other great dancers that can't speak or their dance comes across herky-jerky on screen. Jenna is encouraging without talking down to the viewer or being repetative. I loved the shimmy layering drills and will get a lot of practice to clean up my technique, the REALLY simplified way that Raquy teaches how to identify different rhythms (an A-HA moment here!), the different levels of drum solo work, with the additional improvisational drum solo (or duet as they like to say) That is very inspirational. The warmup is a good basic one that gets the job done without being tedious. I have paid a LOT more for different bellydance instructional DVD's and this one is the cheapest, as well as one of the best. If Jenna came out with more, I'd be all over it in a HEARTBEAT!
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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2005
Format: DVD
if you want to learn how to dance to different drum rhythms, this is a great dvd. they break down the different types of drum beats and the choreography step by step. beginners can use this as well as experienced dancers, but if you have never done bellydancing before, you will want to start with a basic moves tape or dvd such as veena & neena, since this one does not break down the components of each move (like how to do an upward chest circle or snake arms, for instance). the performances are inspirational. you get a lot here. definitely one of the best dvds i've seen. highly recommended.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2007
Format: DVD
This DVD teaches you how to dance to a drum solo - not to a particular performance or sequence (although there are 4 performances done in detail) but helps you understand the music and as cliched as this sounds, feel the music.

The DVD is well-chaptered, where you can choose a specific segment you want to work on.

Instructor: Jenna

Percussionist: Raqui

Warmup - a bellydance specific warm-up with some hip swirls and such

Choreography Workshop - there are 4 performances or drum solos done in detail. They're supposed to be beginner, intermediate, advanced/expert. Each of these is broken up into 4 segments - performance (done by the instructor in front of an audience), tutorial (step-by-step of each move), learn & practice (loops it 2x, so you can practice) and finally one where you do it in full.

The tutorials are all done in a studio in front of a wall-to-wall mirror with a view of the front and back of the instructor, so you do not miss anything. There are even close-ups of the footwork, at the end of some of the more complicated movements. Another great thing is that there is a little countdown marker at the bottom left of the screen, while the instructor counts it out loud as well.

The tutorials are done at a good pace - slow/explanatory, perform it once or twice. When you move on to the next movement, it gives you detailed instructions on how to segue smoothly from one move to the other.

Rhythm Workshop - Raquy, the percussionist, explains a little about the music. How you can pick up what type of rhythm or style it is just from listening to it. There's also a tutorial and performance by the instructor, Jenna, in how to dance to the drum (and the drummer).

Shimmy Drills - Shimmy Layering Drills, 3/4 Shimmy Drill. These are pretty amazing and it'll really make you work on those shimmies.

Performance, Music etc. which are typical of most bellydancing DVDs.

What I especially liked was how well organized the DVD was. It was easy for you to skip between movements in the tutorial (Choreography Workshop - #2) .. from move #1 to move #2, which may not be a big thing but for repeated viewings or practices this would be advantageous.

Again, I highly recommend this DVD. It is best for beginner-intermediate bellydancers since you do need to know some of the basic movements beforehand.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2006
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I'm a beginner and I've never received face-to-face instruction even though I attend bellydancing-style workouts for beginners. This is why I was taken a little aback when I first watched the DVD, especially Jenna's performances.

If you've never ever bellydanced before, you'll need another set of instructions to start with first. I saw that Jenna is making a new DVD (basics and beyond) and I suppose that she will give more detailed explanation in it. I'd say this very DVD is at intermidiate level even though beginners will find it useful just like advanced dancers.

I've read the reviews for almost all DVDs available on amazon and I noticed that usually beginners give high ratings and more advanced dancers are very critical. It seems to me that everyone agrees it's a wonderful DVD and I find very indicative of its quality.

I have to point that in order to learn the moves well, it's necessary to use a mirror especially if you're not experienced/well familiar with these moves. It's easy enough to follow Jenna along but when I cast a glance at the mirror, more often than not I realize they look very little like Jenna's. This is especially true about the hip accents.

PROS of this DVD:

1. It's long and inclusive. It has a warmup, drills to improve technique/ train muscles, a section divided into three groups - at beginning, intermidiate and advanced level. The rhythm workshop is great for learning drum solo rhythms and their interpretations. There are several seperate performances. It's 85 mins. It's great value for your money.

2. JENNA is an example of what a dancer should look like. Her dancing is very refined, she movements - very delicate. She's an example of what it is like to blend mastery with grace. Most of the dancers I'm watched tend to do exaggerated and jerky movements which is very much unlike her and yet her dancing looks just as good, if not better.

3. What I love about it is that it suggests three full choreographies and I got the sense of completion with that.

4. I'm very happy with the shimmy drills. They are a wonderful workout and they also gave me the chance to watch Jenna shimmy for a long time. It made me think "oh maybe I'll be able to do it like that some day".

5. Jenna is dancing in front of a mirror. Even though I have a few remarks about that, it's a fairly good idea.

6. Jenna has a good attitude as an instruction. I dislike the fake smiles that so many professional dancers have like *plastered* on their faces (like Neena and Veena). Her dancing is inspiring in the way that it makes you feeling bellydancing is fun and enjoyable.

7. The DVD is organized in nice short segments that you can watch and rewind as many times as you want to fit your needs. You can do it again and again and again. Probably at least 6 months worth of practice is packed up in this DVD.

8. Her performances in the seperate section are quite inspiring. I'm sure advanced, maybe even professional dancers would find them interesting and useful.

9. What I love about this DVD is the traditional dancing. I also got Neon's Crash Course DVD and I was disappointed to hear music you could listen to in nightclubs. There are ONLY typical mid-easterns rhythms included, no fusion.

CONS of the DVD:

1. As a beginner, I was taken aback the first time I saw this DVD. It's very hard at first and Jenna does not give very detailed instructions (what a person who's never bellydanced before would need). However, I think more advanced dancers would enjoy this approach and find too much explanation boring.

2. I saw that someone else complained about not being able to see her feet (if she's on tiptoe or not). I had the same problem. My bigger problem was that Jenna is facing the mirror, not the camera and it's much harder for me to learn watching the back. If I need to watch what she does with her belly I have to stop dancing and stare (I have a small screen). I'm happy that when she performs it's the other way round, so I can get a better idea of how she does things.

To sum everything up, I would recommend this DVD to everybody. It's a great value for many many hours of excercise, combinations, choreography, everything. I have to warn beginners (especially those who've never bellydanced before) that they're likely to find this DVD uphill at first, so I would recommend to them to get another something else as well (Neena and Veena or Neon, etc). I'm sure that if you wait until September for Jenna's other DVD, it would make an awesome first step to mastering the wonderful choreography in this DVD.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2005
Format: DVD
Jenna is a great teacher and this DVD is so helpful. The warmup is very thorough and provides great preparation for the rest of the DVD, or whatever parts you pick to work with. The choreographies are broken down in a couple of different ways. You can either run through the whole thing, or you can learn a section then put it together with the music before going onto the next section. Parts that may be confusing, such as a turn going into the next step, are shown in slow motion up close so you can see what your foot placement should be.

The dances are fun to learn and are taught wonderfully. Jenna explains everything very well. You can watch her dance to the routines in full costume in the performance section of the DVD, with some variations. She even does an improvisation piece with Raquy and another drummer, Carmine.

The section with Raquy is very informative and fun. She familiarizes the viewer with different rhythms while Jenna dances along.

I think the best part of this DVD is the drill section. You can work on shimmy layering and the 3/4 shimmy. I have yet to complete each part successfully, but I'm having fun in the meantime! It's a good way to get used to these difficult moves.

Hopefully Jenna puts out more instructional Dvds in the future. This one is a lot of fun and highly recommended!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2005
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This has everything so you can really learn how to dance to a drum solo. Raquy will show you different rhythms, so you can get familiarized and learn them. She does not go in a hurry, you will get plenty of demonstration. Jenna is an excellent dancer and teacher. She also explains in no hurry and offers plenty of demostrations. The dvd offers coreography for all levels of dancers, so nobody feels left out. Excellent to practice rhytms for drum, zills and dancing steps. The whole dvd lenght is almost an hour and a half. Great quality, highly recomended.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2005
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I appreciated how thorough and detailed this dvd was in its mission to teach North African/Middle Eastern rhythms and the movements associated with them. It was detailed from the warmups, to the lessons, and the drills. Jenna and Raquy appear focused on teaching and learning in this video. What was even more impressive was that there were no hidden agendas here. Absent were oiled bodies, crowded sets, mediocrity, "superstardom", or carved-up physiques when I am trying to focus on the entire dancer. There was no music video nor porn cinematogrophy, which respected the people on screen as well as the people who buy this dvd. It is a great value for the dollar. Just goes to show what happens when women literally handle their own business...
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2005
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Finally, a video worthy of praise! As a dancer myself, I can honsetly say that this video is well worth the $$ and is by far one of the best ones out there. First let me say that I would never recommend anyone take lessons from a video, no matter how good it is, without having a personal instructor to help with form and technique. Learning from a video without actually taking lessons from a teacher in person is not the best way to learn anything. Having said that, I highly recommend this video for any level performer as it is done in a manner that makes it easy to understand, easy to see what the moves are supposed to look like, and provides you with a choreography that you can either use or even change to make it a little more your own. The important thing in this type of dance is to understand the music, specifically, the different types of drum rhythms, and this video covers that beautifully, as well! Jenna stays true to the authenticity of the Egyptian dance, and for that I highly commend her. Raquy is a phenominal drummer and while she seems to be more comfortable performing rather than teaching, she still does a wonderful job of teaching the basic rhythms. Wonderful all around instructional video. A great guide for those who are already taking lessons, or for instructors to use as an additional learning tool for their students.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2006
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I have been taking belly dance instruction for a little over a year and practice at home quite regularly to instructional videos. I have quite a few that I have purchased; Suhaila Salimpour, Jamila Salimpour, Neen & Veena, Nourhan Sharif, to name a few. This one gives a very clear & concise explaination of what is to be done. The first piece of choreography is demonstrated, explained & practiced to the music. Then the next piece of choreography is added on in the same manner. Next what choreography that is learned thus far is practiced in whole until the complete routine has been learned and practiced in its entirety. Each piece of choreography breakdown is shown first at full speed then in slow motion. I particularly like the fact that she is facing the mirror. This is the only choreography video that I have where this is done and it makes it so much easier to follow along. In instructional videos for technique it is necessary to see the front of the instructor but choreography assumes you know the technique. Even in class when learning choreography for performance it is done with the instuctors back to the class.

I also highly appreciate Jenna's breakdown of the transitions steps! This bit of intruction is often left out. I think this DVD is excellent and I too look forward to Jenna's next DVD.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2008
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This is a BEGINNER-to-INTERMEDIATE BELLY DANCE DVD AND
ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10...

...WHAT TO DO (STEPS)--10
You can see exactly what she's doing from head to toe. She counts the beats out for you.

...TECHNIQUE (HOW TO DO IT) --5
She explains fully WHAT she's doing as she does it but not always how to get a combination of moves to work together. Practicing it several times in a row might help but she doesn't do that.

...PRACTICE TIME--2
Practice is practically nil. And the editing is poor. There are only two repeats per a series of steps in the "learning sections" And the second time through a series starts before you know what's happening--even when you're expecting this to happen.

...SENSUALITY--6
Technically, she is very proficient, but there's not a lot of feeling to her dancing.

...BANG FOR THE BUCK--9
There are three choreographies. Very beginner to Intermediate but the last one is "taught" in fragments rather than gone through from beginning to end with the student. And there is a section which speaks to the different types of rhythms (And dancers who truly learn to enjoy belly dancing will eventually want to know this)

...DVD TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS--2
I can't really say enough about how abrupt and disconcerting the editing is. Other belly dance DVDs either have you practice in such a way that you know when the series of steps is repeating with a significant pause between each practice OR there is a transition step between each repeat.

Being able to see all of her, both front and back, constantly has an up side and a down side. Being able to see everything you can definitely learn how to do the moves so long as you keep the remote in your hand constantly. (There aren't many repeats at all) However, I find I like having the camera direct my attention to what I need at any given moment--with intermittent full body shots so I can see exactly what she's doing as I get more familiar with the routine. As it stands, when you're just starting with this DVD, in order to keep your left and right straight, you need to decide which image you're going to look at--her or her image in the mirror.

**In the end, I'd say this is a choreography DVD. Precise Technique is verbally explained and demonstrated but not "taught." You'll have to practice some of the moves on your own without the DVD.**
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