Advance Your Dance With Sabah
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You've fallen in love with bellydance, had lessons, learned the steps and now you want to take your dance to the stage! Sabah, The Dance Master of the Bellydance Superstars shares her insight and experience to help you achieve your full potential as a dancer, avoid injuries and create body awareness through graceful movements. This DVD will give you 10 essential belly dance concepts to express the superstar within through targeted exercises and combinations. Give your dancing the boost needed for a more polished, refined and spectacular presentation.
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I am also disappointed that there was not very much explanation as far as why Sabah chose to address the 9 concepts she focuses on. The only time you get a hint of explanation regarding the importance of the concepts is during the transitions between DVD sections. One of the reasons why Sabah is such a fabulous teacher is because she is so knowledgeable and well-spoken. So I just do not understand why BDSS would produce a DVD that features her yet does not exploit this strength of hers.
I really wanted to like this DVD. I've taken workshops from Sabah before and I loved her---both her personality and her extensive, professional knowledge of dance. But after watching "Advance Your Dance," I am left with the distinct impression that this DVD was thrown together in a very short amount of time. The opening BDSS animation and theme song has a fuzzy line running across the top of my screen. And at one point during the drills, there was a random cutaway that didn't match the rest of the footage. These are rookie production mistakes. (Then again, I am critical because I work in broadcast and I suspect that the average viewer would hardly notice these things.)
Having said all that though, there are a few things that I really value about this DVD:
- Thank you, Miles and BDSS, for finally allowing one of the dancers to address the camera. I HATE that every time I pop in a BDSS instructional, all I hear is voiceover. I would much prefer to see instructional DVDs in which the performer actually talks to the camera while she demonstrates moves. Sabah addresses viewers directly when she begins to teach the combos at the end of this DVD, and I love that she speaks so well. She speaks clearly, confidently, and with personality.
- I LOVE the mat warm up on this DVD. Sabah taught her warm up routine in one of the workshops I took with her, and at that time I did not take notes (something I regretted later). So I'm happy that I've got a complete visual reference now. I am a big believer in warming up properly before classes and performances, and I have found that incorporating Sabah's technique into my own routine is very helpful. I've been practicing this warm up since I received the DVD last month, and I can already see some gains in the flexibility of my legs. Thank you so much for sharing this invaluable information, Sabah!
- I also really enjoyed the section on weight change, balance, and "happy feet." In particular, I enjoyed the drills in which Sabah walks slowly on her toes and balances on one leg. These are exactly the types of drills I was hoping to find on her DVD. Anyone can dance across the stage, but dancing with grace and control takes serious practice, and these drills are just the things I needed in order to work on my traveling moves.
- Finally, I also really enjoyed learning Sabah's combos. When you watch her in person, you cannot help but be awed by her precision and grace. I am glad to have a DVD that allows me the chance to slip into her unique signature dance style. (But what is that music she is dancing to?! I would love to know because it is beautiful!)
There are many things to love about this DVD, but I really just wanted *more* from Sabah. I wanted a deeper explanation of the things she personally works on in order to maintain such a high level of technique, and I also wanted her philosophical reasoning for why she deems these particular drills and concepts as important for belly dancers. If you're cerebral and analytical like me, you're going to be disappointed that this DVD is not dissimilar to the typical "here's some technique, now let's put it all together into a combo" DVD format.
To start with, I have not seen anyone teach mat conditioning in this way... and it's a GREAT bellydance warm up. I have no doubt that, over time, it will help me to strengthen my core in a way that is most useful for bellydance. One of my favorites parts of the warm up is when she teaches a bellydance version of a plank. Very cool.
Throughout the DVD, Sabah's explanations are clear and she provides variations on movements as well. Sabah covers key elements of bellydance and also highlights intricacies that I find very valuable. For example, in the "Figure 8 with a Twist" chapter, she teaches that use of the psoas muscle is needed to execute the move. It makes that ooey-gooey looking movement I admire *very* much in Sabah's dancing.
Sabah teaches 3 combinations that are based on the essential concepts she taught in the DVD. I really like that she teaches each combination separately and that she starts the next new combo where the last one left off. At the end of the DVD Sabah performs each combo sequentially and it's great to see that, all together, the combos make up an elegant and impressive dance.
Sabah is both an outstanding instructor and amazing dancer and I highly recommend "Advance Your Dance with Sabah".
There is only one performance piece here, and it has few combinations that are new to experienced dancers.
If you're new to Bellydance you might find this interesting, but if you've been dancing a while there are better DVDs for adding to your repertoire.