Tribal Fusion Bellydance with Sharon Kihara
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Sharon Kihara welcomes you to the world of Tribal Fusion Style Bellydance, a beautiful, expressive and stamina building art form. With her first long awaited and popularly demanded instructional DVD, she presents to you a fun and invigorating take on learning to move with strength, grace, and power. With practice and patience, the exercises in Tribal Fusion Bellydance with Sharon Kihara,Technique and Conditioning can help you increase your strength, flexibility and overall muscular control, and contribute to a lifelong healthy dance practice.
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The warm up
There are two parts to this. The first is a variant of the yoga sun salutation. It includes the triangle and warrior poses. The second part has you doing some "straddle squats". Next is a section that warms up and drills the glutes, muscles that belly dancers use to power their hip work, making movements sharper and more controlled. In this little drill, Sharon gets herself into a split position, tough to achieve for most people. She even does a ¾ shimmy in this position. To get the abs stronger, Sharon goes on to do some crunches and works the obliques. This drill ends with a yoga pose for the back relief to counter the pressure you may have felt during the crunches. Then there's a bit of an arms drill which takes you through shoulder diamonds, shimmies and snake arms. The chest drill followed by the torso drill has the usual stuff you'll find on belly dance videos, but more briefly. The torso drill demonstrates the sharpness of Sharon's undulations. There's an even tinier section quickly taking you through the vertical figure eights and small pelvic circle or "ami". If you haven't been doing any drills, this may be a nice beginning. If, like me, you have, it's more like a demo than a drill. A little more time is spent on hip ups and downs and shimmies. All of this is done to Indian-flavored music. Surprisingly, there are no safety tips and not many posture reminders. That tempts me to lop off a point, but considering it's not aimed at beginners, I'm inclined to let it go.
American Tribal Style or ATS parentage shows in the four combinations Sharon takes up. It would have been nice if she'd have shown the combination first and then went on to explain it. For each combo, she tells you what has to be done, and then shows you the whole piece. There's no dance-along or practice built in. Again, I'm tempted to take a point off for that. Every other tribal instructional video I have (and that would be about 15 of my 87 video collection of belly dance videos) does take you through some practice. The combinations are full of rather nice shimmies, very graceful arm moves and style and attitude. Sharon is such a pleasure to watch that I don't think she deserves any points off. Especially when the video is entirely affordable. The combinations finally are danced at one go in a choreography to Bollywood's Chaiyya Chaiyya.
The entire instruction is in Sharon's voiceover. Chapters broken down and easy to get to. I'd recommend actually watching the "bonus feature" first. It's an interview (except there's no one interviewing her) of Sharon and she tells you a bit about the video.
I wouldn't recommend this video for an absolute beginner. And for others who've been dancing already, I'd say do explore the entire lot available now. Some do offer better warm ups, others definitely have stronger and longer drills, and some have more combinations. I do a lot of drills and yoga, and so this nowhere near makes me sweat. If you're like me though, you'll just be delighted to include it in your collection and will love working with a new set of combinations to add to your repertoire. If ten new tribal fusion instructional videos were to be released this month, I'm very afraid I'd buy the lot.
As I said, right at the beginning, no matter what else you get out of this video, you'll get the pleasure of watching this lovely dancer.
Then form the drills you immediately go into choreography and if you don't have a good basis in tribal or dance, you'll be left in the dust. For who do, this DVD is a good way to absorb Sharon's style. The other reviews saying that this DVD only showcases the the dancer are right, but Sharon is some nice eye candy.
Ms. Kihara is lovely, a competent teacher, and has superb style. The combinations she presents are varied and represent the best of modern tribal fusion. Her material is first-rate.
As a learning tool, this video was a terrible disappointment. It was produced a bit like MTV. Sexy camera angles and quick cuts to new angles. Sadly ... this is exactly what I DON'T want if I am trying to learn a dance. Every time I got used to the camera angle they would switch to another angle. The moment I re-oriented my brain to "that" angle ... cut to a different angle.
A few minutes of this cut, cut, switch, switch and I couldn't even tell right from left anymore ... much less learn the combinations she was trying to teach.
In this DVD you purchase Sharon's pretty, packaged, image ... but nothing of real value if you want to learn the actual dance combinations.
I feel sad about my $$ wasted on this. Sad about Ms. Kihara's talents wasted. The combinations are wonderful and i really wanted to learn them ... sadly this DVD is more for "fans" than dancers. This would have been a 5 star instructional video if they had shot from ONE camera angle and showed the dancer's full body. Alas.
I like the way she teaches. The music is good, and subtle. Her instruction is clear and concise; she explains which muscle groups to use when. The choreo at the end is fun and has variety.
You start out with yoga. Just a few sun salutations. No pretzels required.
Then you do some exercises. These have really helped me, especially the exercises to power your shimmies.
Then there is a section on isolations. This is not a comprehensive run down of all isolations. Beginners will eventually need another DVD to fill in the blanks. The moves she teaches are explained well. I would have liked her to drill some moves longer, but that would have made the DVD much longer. (I bought another DVD for drills, and I find they get boring. I use this DVD regularly because it isn't boring.)
The choreo uses all the isolations and blends it into a nice little dance. I enjoyed this choreo, and found it useful for my own dancing. After explaining the sections and practicing them she puts it all together in a dance which you do a few times. Finally she dances the choreo in costume and adds her own personal flair.
I like this DVD. I now own several, but this is my favorite. Good for cleaning up my isolations. Good for building stamina. Good for building strength and control. Good for beginners (though you will eventually need another DVD to learn the rest of the basic moves.) Good for intermediates who want to build strength for cleaner movements and endurance.
I use this DVD 2-3 times a week, and I have been for the past 2 months.
Edit -- I have now bought copies for a couple of friends as gifts, because that was the only way they would return my copy. This is a great DVD.