Sensual not Sexual:Exploring Sensuality in Bellydance
DVD Reviews of “Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca”,
and “Sensual Passion with Tamalyn Dallal”
by Tracey Farmer
posted May 3, 2009
Sensual Belly Dance With Blanca
“Sensuality is a way of perceiving and enjoying things,” explains Blanca in her instructional DVD Sensual Belly Dance. Because Blanca is posed like Botticelli’s Venus on the cover, you might think this is another one of those sexualized, “Bellydance for your man” kind of deals; it is not. Blanca explains, that sensuality is enjoying something because it gives you pleasure, like eating chocolate or enjoying a beautiful view. She maintains that the goal of her DVD is to make your dance enjoyable by emphasizing technique, fluidity and personalizing your dance.
Many of you may have seen Blanca before on the Golden Apple, Bellydance Stars of New York, and Revelations Gothic Bellydance. She is a student of Jehan Kamal (producer of GoddessDance and creator of The Temple of Jehan) whom I had the pleasure of meeting and from whom I took technique classes at the 1st Ahlan Cairo Nights by Little Egypt in Dallas. Jehan definitely left her mark on Blanca as I’ve been able to see the same goddess-like and temple elements in her dance as I first witnessed in Jehan. Blanca is the type of dancer that takes her time and has a very natural flow to her dance. Some might find her style slow and not exciting enough, especially if you’re used to fast Egyptian pop songs and lots of fast, staccato movements.
Blanca is a dancer who makes the dance look easy because she moves with such ease.
Blanca teaches technique and advocates adding fluidity to your movements. All of the steps used are broken down clearly and are easy to follow, but Blanca makes sure you pay attention to your arms and the positioning of your hands to add grace. You must engage your entire body when Bellydancing with sensuality; Blanca encourages you to take your time dancing and actually find joy in the movements and poses.
The poses even have names like: the “Temple Pose”, “Falling Leaf”, “Pick a Flower”, etc. Anybody familiar with The Temple of Jehan or any of her protégés knows the vocabulary and repertoire lean towards the divine, Mother Earth, and spirituality. Some might find this cheesy, but if I learn something or it makes sense to me, you can call it what you want. Then Blanca teaches a step-by-step choreography called “Venus”.
Blanca treats us to 2 performances in which her use of beautiful, full skirts emphasizes fluidity, goddess-like, and sensual feeling of her dancing. I’ve always been a fan of full chiffon skirts; you can never go wrong with them, and Blanca dances in some beautiful costumes! (I especially like the dark blue one in the 3rd sequence.)
More will come from Blanca because she is an accomplished star on the New York scene and a rising star on the international scene. As her dance tells a story, there are tons of people ready to watch and listen
Sensual Passion With Tamalyn Dallal
“Sensual Passion” (the DVD) is not about sensuality! Again, like Blanca’s “Sensual Belly Dance”, this DVD is not another “charm your man and get him to fall in love with you” instructional DVD. “Sensual Passion” refers to the name of the song by Mosavo that Tamalyn uses for her choreography and performance. This DVD is one of technique and choreography, very similar to Blanca’s. You learn techniques to make your dance flow and blend transitions when you use choreography.
Tamalyn Dallal is a well-known dancer who has trained popular dancers such as Amar Gamal and Bozenka and scores of other up-and-coming dancers. She has traveled the world and has lived 40 days in 5 Muslim countries in order to better understand this dance. (See her book: “40 days and 1001 Nights”.) I had the pleasure of taking a class with her at the first “Ahlan Cairo Nights” by Little Egypt in Dallas (the same place where I met Jehan Kamal), though I’ve seen her perform live at IAMED’s third show of “Awards of Bellydance”.
The technique you might learn here mostly concerns hands, arms, and slow moves. Tamalyn teaches facing a mirror while her back is toward you to give you the feeling of being in class with her. She teaches a choreographed dance that is divided into 4 sections, and it can be used individually for your dance or as choreography used in tact. The 4 parts are: slow moves, a short drum solo, “Ayoub”, and “Tuta”, (a popular finale). For “Tuta”, Tamalyn gives us some new and complex combinations. Hats off to her for being different! She stresses that you can use her choreography or use some of the moves within her choreography. Next, Tamalyn, in costume, puts it all together, using the same music; then she presents a bonus performance, using similiar moves but appearing to be entirely different.
Tamalyn is one of those dancers that seems makes it look so easy! Her dancing is not rushed, and is reminiscent of Elsa Leandros in a previous review. I get the feeling that both dances were done in one take. She’s very comfortable with herself, which I’m sure comes from her vast knowledge and experience from teaching for over 30 years and being a world traveler.
Fundamental Comparison of the Two DVDs:
Blanca—means the pure joy of Bellydance.
Tamalyn—sensual is only part of the title.
Blanca—a skilled dancer, goddess-like.
Tamalyn—You can’t mess with 30 years experience! She moves easily with the music.
Both are dancers that never appear to perspire. Both make it all look so effortless.
Quality of production
Blanca—high quality from World Dance NY
Tamalyn—high quality from Hollywood Music Center (Peko)
Blanca—new-age, goddess fusion
Quality of instruction
Both of these DVDs are for high beginner to intermediate dancers; the emphasis is on technique. Both instructors are easy to follow and understand.
Rating: Both 3 zils
Studio and Purchasing info:
Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca: Neon and StratoStream – World Dance New York
Sensual Passion with Tamalyn Dallal: Mher and Hollywood Music
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