Sadie’s Complete Bellydancing Guide
Secrets of the Stage Vol. 1 With Michelle Joyce
DVD Reviews by Martha Duran
posted August 14, 2009
Sadie’s Complete Bellydancing Guide
This DVD is 130 minutes long, and if you dance with the whole DVD, your hips and thighs will get a complete workout. For a Bellydance professional like Sadie, the stage set seems like a small, cluttered space, but the DVD contains an excellent selection of music! With very clear movements, Sadie instructs, step-by-step, all the way through the DVD—from an excellent stretch and warm-up through the mechanics of almost every single dance step in a Grade 1 Bellydance class.
Sadie’s calm and patient personality projected on this DVD makes it very useful and perfect for staying grounded on basic elementary technique. She patiently runs through the step and she keeps the knowledge flowing. What takes it a little beyond dance basics is the DVD’s pace.
Steps are drilled repeatedly, and then, onto the next step—so it never feels too slow, making it a practice DVD for intermediate level dancers. As well, it is an instructional guide for beginner Bellydancers or those who have never had a technique class.
This is a video in which you are instructed how to move your body parts. Inch-by-inch, on every dance move, Sadie emphasizes muscle articulation. The video only includes a glimpse of stylization in Bellydance that I think should be one of the main courses for a beginner in order to establish solid foundations.
Sadie teaches from torso to hip movements and traveling steps but does not focus much on hand and arm placement.
This DVD includes almost all the fundamentals for a beginning level Bellydancer, but it lacks rhythm identifications for dancers. The music that is used throughout this DVD is excellent, and for an intermediate level student, it would be easy to understand. However, Sadie does not name what rhythm she’s dancing (that detail would be necessary for a beginning student), it’s also missing an introduction for the new Bellydancer on the many styles of Bellydance that are danced regionally throughout the Middle East.
One of the dance techniques that differs from other teachers or instructional materials is that Sadie explains and does “the figure 8”, directing the hip in a way that makes it even more visible to an audience: muscle control is emphasized, which makes you achieve body awareness while executing the Figure Eight Hip in her method. Making clear and simple movements is something you achieve while perfecting the little choreography with Sadie’s perfect style of instruction.
What I liked best about her instruction on this DVD is that she teaches every step on the right and left sides of the body—almost no video instructor takes time to do that.
Sadie’s Complete Bellydancing guide DVD (when compared with other instructional DVDs in the market) is almost a complete guide to Bellydance within a professionally recorded and graphically lovely package.
This video is available through Hollywood Music .
Zil Rating: 4 stars
Secrets of the Stage Volume I with Michelle Joyce
This DVD is outstanding for problem solving, performer experiences, and stage elements.
Michelle Joyce starts with a brief introduction of the principals of stage presence and etiquette for a dancer to follow when she’s preparing to perform.
Bellydancers who are in her video By Dancers for Dancers DVDs (whom we have seen perform either on a stage in a competition or a gala) share personal experiences—bad ones and good ones—on this DVD. There are several live performances in which they each had a problem, a task they had to solve on stage and still achieve a perfect performance. Some of these performance were done while filming one of their By Dancers for Dancers (Cheeky Girls Productions DVDs) in front of a live audience.
Bellydancers Adriana to Zaheea, Shoshanna, and Michelle Joyce talk on a voice-over about the different tasks they have had to perform on stage and their different solutions to unexpected situations. For example: how to make your performance flawless when you’re feeling your skirt is sliding down your hips!
Common anxiety attacks that almost every dancer experiences before getting on stage are discussed, as is the big overdoing-of-your-choreography mistake that many dancers tend to do on their first year as a performer. In an effort to show how they can be the best dancer, they end up choreographing too many movements in a single combination, resulting in overly busy dances. These segments on overdoing a performance on stage are narrated by Nanna, and Sandra.
This DVD has a great chapter on choosing your music and Zaheea
shares significant knowledge, accentuating the difference between floating and heavy music.
Sandra shares advice on how to make a different choreography on a popular song. She shows how to translate an Arabic song, how to read the music, and advises staying away from a song that is considered too popular (so that many dancers end up dancing the same song on the same show). However, her advice on what to do won’t teach you the whole process when sharing a stage with other dancers when you’re in a festival or a competition.
There is a satisfying follow-along exercise section on this DVD during which the viewer can meditate along with Michelle’s voice (which is very relaxing); these meditation exercises can be done before performing, only seconds away from hitting the stage.
The DVD’s graphics, music, and stage design are professional quality. In general, it’s an advice DVD, which feels like one is having a chat with the dancer/instructors on Facebook and asking them for some free advice. (And—you get to see the performances from By Dancers for Dancers DVD!)
This video is available through Cheeky Girls Productions
Zil Rating: 3 stars
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