Gilded Serpent presents...

Off the Beaten Path

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Cory Zamora’s "Belly Dancing for Seniors" &
"Learn the Art of Male Belly Dancing"

Review by Jeanne Fogler
posted February 2011

Dancer and instructor Cory Zamora of Fresno, California, has created quite an extensive selection of DVDs. Some of the selections cover the usual territory offered by many other dancers/instructors: a series of belly dance basics, veil, some performances, etc. However, Ms. Zamora also presents some topics that are off the beaten path.

Senior BD by Cory

“Belly Dancing for Seniors”

The first unusual offering is a DVD that addresses a niche not previously filled. In this DVD, Ms. Zamora teaches a simple selection of basic moves; she is joined by some of her students, and then she combines all the dance moves and continues with some veil work. Instruction of the basic moves (which are very old-school in style) is clear and easy to follow.

However, I have a couple of issues with this DVD. One of my issues is that, other than stating the ages of the students (60, 63, 75) and making a fleeting mention of a few physical issues they have (problems with feet, back, etc.), there is not a great deal of material specific to senior dancers.

In order to address the topic in a more concrete way, some substantive discussion of common physical problems that seniors might face would have been appropriate and helpful (problems such as arthritis or osteoporosis, and how each condition might limit a person’s dancing, or how the problems might be alleviated by dancing).
 
My other issue is that there is a sharp increase in complexity level between the basics portion and the veil section that follows. The veil routine actually is quite well constructed, but after the laid-back format of the opening sections in which basic moves are introduced and then practiced at a leisurely pace, the complicated progression of one veil move after another does not seem to be aimed at the same audience.

 

Male BD DVD"Learn the Art of Male Belly Dancing”

Although men are still a minority presence in the belly dance world, they have gained somewhat in numbers and visibility. In light of that, it is a bit surprising that there is little in the way of DVD instruction aimed at male dancers specifically.  I don’t know of any such DVD other than this one! In it, Cory presents her former student, Wesley Gomes of Seattle, who is the main instructor on this disc. He teaches a collection of moves similar to those in the DVD for senior dancers previously reviewed here, such as basic weight changes, camels, flat-ball-ball-ball, and snake arms, sometimes noting details such as arm positions that can give a move a more “masculine style”. 

In passing, I feel I need to mention that some of Wesley Gomes’ remarks seem a little questionable to me. I’m thinking of one in particular in which he introduces a chest circle and says it is one of the biggest differences between male and female style, claiming that women do vertical circles and men do a flat (i.e., horizontal) circle. Um, really? Most of the women dancers I know perform using both, or even favor using the horizontal circles.

After demonstrating a move, Wesley adds zils (sagat). This becomes a bit of a problem because the music in the background sounds like it was dubbed in later, not like he’s actually dancing to it; the threes that he plays (often quite slowly) tend to be out of tempo with the music. It grows kind of maddening after a while.

When the instruction is finished, Cory and Wesley chat a bit, including the topic of costuming. It would have been more instructive to see this idea expanded by displaying some examples of ideas for male costumes, rather than just saying, “Wear a shirt and a vest, but don’t wear camel tassels.” At the end of the DVD are several satisfactory performance clips, featuring Wesley and also another male dancer, Gregory, who studied with Cory.

Cory’s videos tend to be quite basic in production values.  They have been recorded in her studio space, which looks fairly simple and not overly large. The lighting, videography, and the dance-wear of both instructors and students are merely average. Nonetheless, at a fee of under $20, and boasting fairly generous run times of 50 to 70 minutes respectively, both DVDs are a pretty good bargain.

Rating: 1.5 zills each
1.5 zil rate

 

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