Core Fitness DVD review
The title of
this DVD, Bellydance Core Fitness, available from WorldDance
New York, made me wince a little and expect another
hokey, jump-on-the-lingo-trend-bandwagon workout. All this
dissipated, however, when I finally got over my reluctance
born of the above concern and put on the DVD.
I found instead was a not-very-flashy production of a good
workout that is filled with unexpected and unusual (for bellydance)
moves accompanied by sound anatomy and posture advice and
This DVD has
the standard workout options that are found on all DVDs, but
also has some great things that are missing on other workout
videos. Ayshe takes
full advantage of the benefits that DVD technology has to offer
by including a tutorial with a detailed breakdown of each movement,
a biography, credits, and music details that include the song,
musicians and where you can find the CD. I have always thought
that there should be more details about how to perform dance
moves. So many muscles are used for each move, and with bellydance
not having standardized names, everyone may know a move by
a different name or perform it slightly differently. Once you
know the correct muscles to use, however, you do not want the
breakdown happening each time you perform the workout. Ayshe
and the DVD possibilities have found a way to deal with this
dilemma. And why don't more DVDs tell you where to find the
music they use?
In her welcome,
Ayshe explains that her goal is to develop "deep abdominal
core strength and awareness." She shows us the main muscle
groups that she will be working. These include the expected
abdominal muscles but also leg and back muscles. She is obviously
a student of anatomy. Ayshe has a college degree in human movement,
and in her tutorial, she really shows us what knowledge this
degree gives the learner. She introduces us to the psoas muscles,
the illiacus, quadratus lumborum and inner thigh adductors.
During the tutorial, Ayshe mixes this terminology with the
word "hinny," making it hard to always feel serious when listening
to her talk.
My first impression
of the DVD is that it is not as professionally produced as
what I am used to. The room that the three dancers are in for
the workout is very large and empty. It looks like a perfect
place for a class, but with only three people dancing, it seems
too vast and lacks the intimacy of DVDs filmed in smaller spaces.
Ayshe and her two dancers are not always quite in synch, and
during the tutorial, it looks like the students were not aware
that they would be used to demonstrate movements.
when I watched the tutorial section, I realized how professional
Ayshe is. She takes anatomy and the details of each move
very seriously. The information she imparts is impressive
and in depth, but her delivery could use a bit of work. Her
speech is often clipped and halting, but once she gets going,
she can be fairly eloquent.
should definitely be watched by any dancer, either student
or teacher. If you have read any of Hadia's anatomy articles
in Habibi magazine, this tutorial will feel and sound
familiar. This is the kind of detail Ayshe goes into. But at
1 hour and 40 minutes, don't try to watch the whole tutorial
at once! It is far too much to digest in one sitting. She spends
20 minutes explaining how to stand so that your back is in
good posture before she even tackles the moves in the workout.
Watching a few moves at a time is enough, and any dancer will
benefit from the pickiness. Ayshe uses her students in the
tutorial to show us what a typical dancer will do right and
wrong. She is able to correct someone else, and also point
out things on another person's body that she could not on her
itself is short - 29 minutes including cool down. The warm
up and isolations is followed by combinations, which are then
put together in a dance and finish with a cool down. When she
says "isolations" she means it! During the Turkish rock, we
are told to rock our pelvis using the psoas muscles, but not
the abs or the butt. This makes the move look fluid and elegant,
rather than the "power move" look that she calls a tilt that
is done with the butt. Many of the moves are familiar to bellydancers,
but some moves will feel more like they are out of a fitness
class. This is the kind of drill that most dancers dread, as
they would rather be dancing. For a person like me who likes
technique and drills and learning combinations so that she
can create her own choreography, it is perfect. And because
not all moves are strictly dance moves, there are likely some
exercises not being taught in your dance class. However the
benefits of working those muscles come through in your dance.
I would have preferred more arm changes, but arms are not part
of your core, so the lack of emphasis here is forgivable.
I found the
workout on this DVD a bit too short to draw me into doing it
regularly on its own. It does provide some unique moves that
I will incorporate into other workouts. The tutorial, however,
makes the disc worth owning and reviewing to make sure you
are working all those inner muscles properly.
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