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The Heartbeat of Bellydance, with Jenna: Belly dance classes, Belly dance instruction with drum solo, Drum solo dance how-to
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A bellydance drum solo is actually a duet: Together, a dancer and a drummer create a unique piece of performance art. For the dancer, the drum solo is a uniquely exciting experience demanding a profound understanding of rhythmic patterns and a wide vocabulary of bellydance moves and accents, all necessary to enable her to interact at will with the music created by the drummer.
Rhythm Workshop: Raquy breaks apart eight popular bellydance rhythms: baladi, saiidi, maksoum, masmoudi, ciftetelli, malfouf, ayub, & semai. Acclaimed as a percussion performer, instructor and composer, Raquy teaches us how to recognize each rhythm. Then Jenna, a star dancer, instructor and choreographer, demonstrates effective dance combinations for each of the 8 rhythms. Accompanied by Raquy and Carmine, Jenna then also demonstrates the unique art of drum solo improvisation including the above rhythms.
Choreography Workshop: Jenna takes you step-by-step through THREE bellydance drum solo choreographies; beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Each instructional session takes place before the mirror, enabling you to follow Jenna as if you were right behind her in the studio. On screen, a beat counter accompanies choreographic demonstrations. Choreography breakdown sections separate each dance into numbered combinations, and provide titles naming each move. The Learn and Practice section offers a step by-step breakdown of each combination and a presentation of the choreography from the top with practice repetitions inserted, so you can follow Jenna and learn the steps in real time.
The DVD also contains a warmup sequence recommended before learning or practicing, and Jenna's famous Shimmy Drills: the Shimmy Layering Drill, and her 3/4 Shimmy Drill. The drills are fun mini-exercise routines to help you learn and build on the art of the shimmy, one of the most colorful and vibrant bellydance moves.
Drum solo choreographies workshop:
Three choreographies performed and taught by Jenna
* beginner (drum solo #1 by Mogador band, NYC from the "Bellydancing for Fortune and Fame" CD)
* intermediate (drum solo #2 by Mogador band, NYC from the "Bellydancing for Fortune and Fame" CD)
* advanced (drum solo Duelling Darbukas from "Raquy and the Cavemen - "Jordan"CD)
PURCHASE CDs with drum solo tracks used in Jenna's choreographies: * Bellydancing for Fortune and Fame CD * Raquy and the Cavemen - Jordan CD
About the Actor
Trained in ballet and modern dance, JENNA has studied middle-eastern dance since 1991 in California & New York, and lived in Turkey for a year. She performed with the Bellyqueen trio until 2002, as well as maintained a flourishing solo performance career, having appeared in many high profile events, dance theater productions, and TV shows (including "Sex & the City"!) Jenna taught weekly classes in NY, as well as workshops in Miami, Tokyo & Yokohama. She has studied Flamenco since 2000, and continues to train in other regional dance forms, such as Brazilian, Indian & African. In November 2004 Jenna moved her studio and residence to Los Angeles.
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The menus and play features are a bit annoying as they require you to select and start in order to play each section. It would be better if the dvd simply played all the way through, without the stopping between each section.
Jenna offers a warm up, figures and technique instruction, three really tight choreographies at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels and just when you think it can't get any better, she throws in a wonderful and so well done section on drum rhythm identification, explanation, and examples.
This is one of the BEST productions regarding actual content and information I have ever seen! This DVD is generously filled with material to help you dance your best!
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.
But there's more to love. Jenna is an excellent instructor *for the late beginner-early intermediate* student. She assumes knowledge of many belly dance steps. As an intermediate student myself, I found this DVD just right. The first two choreos were easy and gave me an opportunity to get accustomed to dancing while paying attention to the rhythms. The third was a bit more challenging -- but fun! As a side note, I loved how Jenna carefully broke down transition steps.
Jenna herself is marvelous. Her stage presence is amazing, and her dancing is naturally sensuous. I adore Veena and Neena, but they should take a lesson from Jenna, and put on a few pounds! Jenna's belly jiggles a bit when she shimmies, and she has *hips*! Woo-hoo! For those of us with a *real* woman's body, Jenna is a welcome respite from skinny-mini belly dancers.
I have just one itty-bitty critique -- I'd have preferred if Jenna did the choreo breakdown in pants that weren't so long. It was hard to see at times if she was on tiptoe or flat-footed.
Otherwise, this is an absolute must-have DVD. I really wish I'd found this DVD much, much sooner. I wouldn't have been able to follow Jenna until I'd been dancing for a while (I'm a painfully slow learner), but I wish I'd known more about Arabic rhythms when I first began studying belly dance. Thank you, Jenna and Raquy!