Gilded Serpent presents...
Leyla Jouvani's DVD
21 shimmies and 1001 variations

An IAMED production
Review by Monet

I find that IAMED consistently puts out quality performance and instructional videos so I was eager to view this release. I was very curious what all 21 shimmies were!

The video is professionally done. The sound is good and clear with the volume of the music and the instructors voice consistent. The menu includes sections on the history of belly dance, IAMED and Dance Tips. The later was very helpful and informative.

The instructor, Leyla Jouvani, is from Yugoslavia and her husband (and drummer) is from Germany. The video is well lit with the focus on Leyla. Her husband is seated off camera. She is wearing a purple choli, stretch pants and matching hip belt. My only complaint is she is wearing those Isotoner type slippers (a personal issue for me). The set is similar to a living room with a wood floor and pillows and fabrics draped around large vases filled with flowers.

I like Leyla and her teaching style immediately. She has a very pleasant way about her and she smiles though the entire video.

She is very patient and thorough in her explanations. There are close-ups and distant shots so you can always see what she is doing. She counts out the movement and the rhythm for every section. I cannot stress enough how thorough she is with each individual movement through the entire video. She also stresses repeatedly that when doing a variation the additional movement should be done slowly while in the shimmy.

There is no warm-up. She says you should be "ready" to begin which I guess implies being warmed up already.

There is a Hip Shimmy, Arabic Basic Step, Hagalla, Half Hagalla, shimmy with Hagalla, and the Ghawazee shimmy for which she gives a very brief history of the Ghawazee.

For Shimmy Cairo Style she says, "Girls with less tummy use your muscle power and stamp forward harder." She is so cute. Egyptian shimmy is next and with a torso circle variation. She again emphasizes the second movement should be done slowly.

During rotation shimmy with variations she says, "Enjoy your body because a woman is the most beautiful thing in the world." - very nice encouragement.

She really goes over these movements well. She shows it first then breaks it down slowly including the timing and rhythm.

Moving on to the Muscle shimmy or "freeze", combined muscle and hip shimmy (her fave), variations with a camel, reverse camel, figure 8 and side to side, vibration (or bounce shimmy), vertical Afro shimmy(Lebanese style), combining Afro and vibration shimmy, shoulder shimmy and about 5 variations then the choo choo shimmy and several variations. WHEW!  She always is stressing that the second movement should be slower than the shimmy when combining movements.

THEN she does the Afro choo choo shimmy! She stresses it should only be done to Afro or Latin music.

To me it looks like what I remember seeing in high school when the football players would practice. No offense to Layla it was just amusing to me.

My favorite, the twist shimmy or washing machine shimmy is next. She shows it with weight shifts and other variations. Then she shows a flutter shimmy - 4 ways. The Saudi or Gulf style hand shimmy also used in Flamenco and Samba is next. She does the appropriate foot pattern as well which she does not explain but you can clearly see. Now we are getting exotic with the fast Samba shimmy. Muscle shimmy while kneeling, used in floor work, then the calf shimmy and buttocks shimmy - Oh my!

When she does the final "shimmy" - the Zaghareet shimmy, I have to laugh. She goes over the reason why you should cover your mouth when doing this "shimmy".

Her performance follows; I think it is from an IAMED show. It is a good performance and shows quite a few of the shimmies she has just taught.

I would recommend this video. This video is very long at about 2 hours and 15 minutes running time. You certainly get your monies worth.

I think this video would suit both the beginner and intermediate dancer. Layla covers basic music theory, timing and rhythms in Arabic music which as we all know some teachers do not cover and something I think is very important for beginning dancers. I also think she is an excellent teacher because she explains the movements very thoroughly and breaks them all down in an easy to understand way.

2 snaps in a circle. :-)

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