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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enchanting!, January 1, 2012
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This review is from: Enchanting Bellydance Choreography (DVD)
I received a few Amazon gift certificates for Christmas, so one of the things I picked up was Enchanting Bellydance Choreography with Sandra. The choreography has a lot of variety, as the music Yasamina is a mergenci, beginning with a stately and mysterious veilwork introduction, into a more baladi sensibility, some chiftetelli, alternating between fast hips and turns and slow luxurious undulations and mayas. The choreography both travels and stays in place at different times, and utilizes level changes for dynamism. The full choreography is danced - in costume - by Sandra - so that you can see just how lovely it is. This DVD also includes a bonus performance by Sandra to one of my favorite songs - Bitwannes Beek.

This video, produced by Hollywood Music, exceeds their previous choreography videos in a few ways. For one, they teach the combinations that make up the choreography to the music that will be used to dance with it. So, unlike some of their other videos, where you practice combinations to unrelated music, this one has you practice with and without the actual music. Best of all, they finally added the "from the top" runthrough after each new combination is added. Without this feature, a dancer - like myself - forgets the first combinations by the time I get a chance to run through it from the top at the end.

Each combination is an opportunity for Sandra to impart knowledge and technique, and she breaks down any new technique first - before teaching the steps. I do think that more attention needed to be paid to the footwork. Often it was rushed through. While it may seem easy to do a grapevine, a grapevine with multiple weight changes and direction changes is difficult to follow. Now, granted, having a small room within which to practice, I find myself running into the furniture so that impeded me a bit. I would love it if she had had the time to teach footwork first, then isolations added, as I have seen Sandra do on some of Michelle Joyce's DVDs. So many times, a quick turn or weight change was explained quickly or demonstrated without any explanation - whereas a longer time would be spent on how to execute a chest circle or layer on top of a hip movement. A dancer with a ballet background may have an easier time at it than I. For me, it is the bellydance movements that require no explanation - but the fancy foot patterns do.

Another slight flaw a careful viewer will notice is that occasionally Sandra would change her own choreography in the run-throughs. In DVD production, they could have used a single runthrough - cut at different points - and it would have solved this issue. I don't blame her for "messing up" - it's really hard to dance something the same way every time! To her credit, she never calls attention to it - she just keeps dancing. I didn't let it screw me up - I just kept doing the choreography. Other times, she just added flourishes and flair - to me, this was a bonus - I noticed them and incorporated them myself once I mastered the basic choreography. I hate to be anything less than positive when I have a DVD that I am this satisfied with, but I do believe it is helpful to the producers in putting together their next DVD. On that note, Hollywood Music could learn from World Dance New York's Bellydance Egyptian Style - Modern Oriental - it has a wonderful section where you can practice the combinations over & over. Of course, I can do that on my own - and I plan to. This choreography is just too beautiful not to try and master; I would like to get some of these movements into my muscle memory.

Sandra has always been one of my favorite American dancers to watch. She is graceful, cute, and fairly distinctive in her styling. While she may not dance just like an Egyptian, she has an Egyptian-influenced style with an American flair that I appreciate. In this DVD, I finally learned to do some of the beautiful movement combinations I have seen on her performances.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 13, 2012 7:13:50 PM PDT
What does mergenci mean? I can't find a translator that can identify it.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2012 7:17:52 PM PDT
It basically means an entrance song written for a dancer. Usually starts with malfouf and uses other rhythms and styles from her upcoming show..chifti, baladi, Saudi, khaleegi..
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