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Profile for Shelley Ashfield > Reviews


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Shelley Ashfield RSS Feed (Philadelphia, PA USA)

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Don't Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training
Don't Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training
by Karen Pryor
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.04
180 used & new from $0.72

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teaching this ol' Dog New Belly Dance Tricks, August 13, 2004
I found this in the psych/self-help section of the bookstore following a nightmare dance rehearsal, in which I'm trying to learn a troupe choreography for a competition, but repeatedly screwing up and beating myself up.
Stop barking up the wrong tree and debating on whether this stuff works on dogs or not. Use this book to help train YOURSELF do the things you've wanted with all your heart but couldn't because you ran up against some vauge and insurmountable psychological barrier.
I was sold on the book because it discusses the things you will experience in the course of learning, like when you suddenly are unable to perform anything right after appearing to have climbed the learning curve successfully (prelearning dip), and you're getting so frustrated you're in tears and throwing your dance shoes across the floor (prelearning temper tantrum). Knowing this is a normal progression (but if you're a horse, you'd be kicking and swishing your tail, a dog, you'd be growling, and if you're a dolphin, you'd be breaching and bellyflopping), and not something to feel guilty about.
P.S. Thanks to the patience my wonderful dance teacher, we have
won the dance troupe competition.

Drum Circle
Drum Circle

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Middle Eastern Percussion for dancers and drummers, August 6, 2004
This review is from: Drum Circle (Audio CD)
Egyptian, Lebanese, Syrian, and Iraqi drummers Fathi Amin, Ahmad Al Masri, Hani Samir, Amir Nabil, Magdi Mshmosh, Mhamma Johari, Haysam, Safad Sroor, Hsen Sahhar, Jamale Samia, Mahmoud Hashash, Nigm Hanafli, and Kazim Al Iraqi play these ten percussion pieces featuring the Tabla. They are beautifully and skillfully played, more upbeat than the American Tribal offering by Solace, "Rhythm of the Dance", and not quite so complex as Hossam Ramszy's "Sabla Tolo" pieces.

Featured are:

1. Tabla Competition (3:10) - Freestyle Finger Rolls/Malfoof

2. I Salute the Rakasa (3:04) - Fallahi/Maqsum/Maqsum Finger Rolls

3. Everyone Gather Around (3:06) - Masmudi/Freestyle Maqsum/Africi

4. Boy's Stick Dance (4:39) - Malfoof/Saidi/Maghrebi/Ingrara Fallihi

5. Let Me Shake You (5:30) - Tafsil/Maqsum/Taksim/Saidi

6. Bedouin's Steps (3:22) - Maqsum Finger Rolls

7. Awaken the Horsemen (3:54) - Improvisation/Maqsum/Rhythm/Moorakkab/Freestyle Doom-Tak

8. Shepherd's Dabke (4:01) - Maqsum Variation

9. Dance of the Horse (3:10) - 3/4 Variation

10. The Hidden Art (3:01) - Baladi, Fallahi, Fallahi Finger Rolls

Bellydance Divas [VHS]
Bellydance Divas [VHS]
7 used & new from $3.12

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Visual Encyclopedia at a nice price, August 6, 2004
This review is from: Bellydance Divas [VHS] (VHS Tape)
How do you explain the differences in costuming and signature movements between Iranian and Egyptian dance to a beginning belly dancer? This tape gives students an entertaining overview at an affordable price of different types of Middle Eastern Dance as interpreted by American dancers. A nice tape to add to the collection to pick up a few moves, and to just get a good sense of what a complete choreography looks like. Yes, there are more incredible performances than these out in the video world, but this is a good place to start your collection. The costumes shown are readily available through distributors like Turquoise International, and the lighting and production are good enough that you can see what the dancers are doing.

The Lotte Berk Method - Basic Essentials [VHS]
The Lotte Berk Method - Basic Essentials [VHS]
Offered by missmarybooks
Price: $3.74
11 used & new from $0.76

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fits my needs...efficiently, August 6, 2004
As an intermediate-level bellydance student, I need to continually work in between weekly class to maintain my muscular control, strength, and flexibility. The Lotte Berk method targets the areas needing the most daily work - the hip, upper thigh, deep abs, and arm strength - to execute dance moves with precision and apparent effortlessness.

The 30 minute workout time is used very wisely, the pace upbeat and very encouraging, especially when you're going to the limit at the end of a set. Losing focus isn't ever a problem, as the difficult moves are over quickly, and you're immediately soothing and stretching that area afterward.

About Schmidt
About Schmidt
DVD ~ Jack Nicholson
Offered by SpReAdLoVe
Price: $4.72
488 used & new from $0.01

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Right on the money..., July 30, 2004
This review is from: About Schmidt (DVD)
Attention to visual detail and absolutely spot-on vignettes make this as perfect a film as I've seen in my 42 years.

Schmidt's house, Schmidt's wife, Schmidt's corner office, Schmidt's paperwork, Schmidt's daughter - it becomes clear that none of them were ever his own. By its nature, you can't own your work in a corporation. But it was by his own hand that Schmidt forfeited ownership and a sense of stewardship over his personal life.

Schmidt goes to visit the future in-laws and we discover the things Schmidt in fact does own - thriftiness, cleanliness and conventionality, politeness and graciousness, belief that it is virtuous to win and excell rather than just participate. We also see these virtues turn to dust when this thrifty Boy Scout turns into a tightwad, conventionality belies a poverty of creativity, cleanliness fosters a messy revolt, and politeness masks a smoldering discontent that can never quite find a way to dissipate.

Schmidt also wrestles with a sexual drive that has no place to go. He is explosively and inappropriately macho with a stranger that expresses tenderness and clinical concern, yet he's alarmed and modest when confronted with too much closeness and disclosure by his future family members.

What is appropriate and when have you crossed over the boundaries? That's what this movie is about. What are you really allowed in life? What can you take for yourself? What should you leave well enough alone? These are big and satisfying questions to chew on.

Schmidt's daughter, too, is tortured by those same questions. She loses the one parent that validated her dreams and bucks her family's unspoken wish for her to embrace conventional virtue (which we know died somewhere in the '70s here on the East Coast, but still limps along somewhere in Nebraska). She faces her father's infantile provocations and emotional blackmail, his feeble attempts at forcing a closeness he never bothered to forge in her youth.

I came away from the movie satisfied, yet unsatisfied. What would happen to Schmidt and his daughter after the credits rolled through? Would his one small act of generosity to an orphan (and more than anything, Schmidt is an orphan himself) foster more than one magic moment for Schmidt? I don't know.

I would buy this movie for my mother, I'd love for her to see it. But I won't. It hits wayyyy too close to home.

At the Palaces Of Knossos
At the Palaces Of Knossos
by Nikos Kazantzakis
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.92
80 used & new from $0.46

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the Elements of a Classic, June 2, 2004
How do you write a "children's" book that will hold readers' interest 50, 100 years from now? James Barrie, Francis Hodgson Burnett, and Terry Pratchett have. So has Nikos Kazantzakis.
This book is a gem, and deserves much wider recognition.
Mythology is usually presented, even in the much-lauded D'Aulaire series, as little more than a plot line. Here, the familiar story of Theseus and the Minotaur is enriched with well-developed characters. My favorite is Princess Ariadne: as imperious, sensitive, and curious as Elizabeth Tudor in her youth. Kazantzakis describes the splendors of the Minoan city-palace as lushly as one can infer from the historical artifacts that have been unearthed, then he enriches the picture with details of folkways that still exist today in Greece.
What raises this book from the merely entertaining to the classic is the author's dedication to his real mission: to impart the great truths of the world to his young readers. In the Palaces of Knossos, we learn a little about the nature of despotism, and how to test the long-term viability of a civilization beyond the veneer of its present power and wealth.
Teachers and parents, read this wonderful book, and be awed and entertained yourself before you read it to your kids. While you're at it, bring out a book like BBC's Civilizations by Jane McIntosh and Clint Twist so your charges can see the strange and beautiful paintings from the palace of Knossos of bull-leaping youths, the bronze dagger that Theseus himself might have carried, and one of the odd little iconic statues of the Great Goddess worshipped throughout ancient Crete.

My Little House Crafts Book: 18 Projects from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House Stories
My Little House Crafts Book: 18 Projects from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House Stories
by Carolyn Strom Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.42
70 used & new from $1.39

79 of 97 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A less-than-respectful treatment of the skilled crafts..., April 21, 2004
I know that Carolyn Collins and Mary Collier wanted to keep their craft projects as simple as possible, so that they would be fun for our TV-glutted, skill-deprived youngsters. But in doing so, they curtailled themselves from creating a masterpiece of historical analysis like The Little House Cookbook.
How about showing some of the REAL projects that we read about in the Little House books, like the dresses that Laura and Mary laid out by drafting patterns on old newspaper, or the cabinetry that Almanzo built to delight his wife?
Aside from very young children, the handy people described in the Little House books manufactured items that were more useful and complex than Brownie Scout camp crafts. That it bears the "Little House" brand name does not separate this book from the pack.

The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories
The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories
by Barbara M. Walker
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.07
149 used & new from $0.90

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration, Literary Analysis, and a Food Revelation, April 21, 2004
This is not just a cookbook, it's an interactive history book, and an in-depth analysis of Laura Wilder's Little House books. Here we see the abundant, lush supply of high-quality food available on the dairy farm where Almanzo grew up contrasted with the catch-as-catch-can meals Laura's mother was forced to cobble together (starling pie, anyone?). We are reminded of the heroism of two teenagers - Almanzo and his brother - that saved dozens of families from starvation, and see clearly in her loving detail of food, how much Laura valued having enough of it.
I grew up in a rural area in the 1960's. How we prepared food then was often not far off from how it was done in the Little House cookbook, believe it or not. So I've used the recipes - like that for mincemeat pie - to inform my own cooking.
The soft pencil illustrations by Garth Williams - reproduced from the Little House books - are radiant and exquisitely simple. Their little details point out Williams' depth of research for source material for these pictures.
The Little House Cookbook was an inspiration to read the Little House books again, through adult eyes this time. Prepare to be surprised and amazed when you read them again.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 11, 2015 2:50 PM PDT

Embellished Bras: Basic Techniques
Embellished Bras: Basic Techniques
by Dawn Devine
Edition: Paperback
22 used & new from $9.94

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Listen to Davina - she knows her stuff!, March 8, 2004
I am a dance costumer with 30 years' of sewing experience under my beaded and bejewelled belt. Having made my share of beautiful dance bras, I thought I'd mastered it all...until last night, when I was attempting to cover a D-cup with glittery spandex that showed every tiny flaw in my draping technique. I was about to give up until I paid attention to the little voice in my head whispering, "Would would Davina do?"...and got out this book, which my wonderful husband bought me this Christmas.
The moral of this tale is: Davina has been there, done that; follow her advice, because she knows how to help you get from the dream costume in your sketchbook to the real thing.

The Ballet Workout [VHS]
The Ballet Workout [VHS]
Offered by Auction Diva's Savings
Price: $12.99
40 used & new from $0.01

92 of 97 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth my time and money, February 26, 2004
I started dance classes three years ago at the age of 38, and bought The Ballet Workout to help develop more muscle control in my hips and legs. I've done yoga, Pilates, belly dance, aerobic dance, but really, nothing compares to ballet for gaining the strength and muscle control I'm looking for.
Melissa Lowe is a good teacher. Her voice is pleasant, and her descriptions of movements were very precise, complete, and not at all redundant. As a beginner-level adult, I needed that level of explanation so I could execute movements correctly without injury.
Some things, like Ms. Lowe's stage makeup and poker face may seem jarring to the 21st century viewer, but keep in mind that this tape was produced in 1983, one of the very first dance instruction videos, before teachers had much collective experience before a video camera.
For me, the moves are difficult to execute, even at the tape's "beginner level", perhaps because of my age and inherent lack of flexibility. I would have appreciated being able to see what the exercises look like when executed correctly, although the dancer cannot yet achieve complete turnout or raise the leg fully. Melissa Lowe's verbal description was a great help for me to be able to make a good guess, but a demo would have worked even better.
I look forward to seeing more of Melissa Lowe's video instruction, as in these last twenty years, she will have become a prodigious teacher.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 18, 2012 8:50 AM PST

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