Mystic Moves With Ava Fleming &
Hip-Notic Bellydance With Kaya
by Elianae Stone
posted April 4, 2012
I have had the pleasure of reviewing two very good DVDs: Mystic Moves with Ava Fleming and Hip-Notic Bellydance with Kaya. Both dancers adhere to different styles of Cabaret or Oriental Bellydance, and I found their approaches both engaging and refreshing!
Mystic Moves is produced by Hollywood Music Center and has over two hours of combinations and technique. The sound quality, lighting and set are warm, calming, and pretty and Ava has a precise, patient, teaching style. She mostly faces a mirror with her back to you, so that you can follow along with her. She trains you on level changes and “mystifying” basic movements through subtle variations. After learning several basic movements there is a flow section of fun combos with names like “Bambi”, “Side Winder”, and “Red Wine”. I love the fun names she gives the graceful combos, and her style is light and delicate. She finishes off all the technique with a costumed performance, which is lyrical and lovely. I would consider her style to be modern Egyptian, with an emphasis on the grace and dignity of the dance. Interestingly, she is the only dancer I’ve seen recently who wears her hair in a bun during performance. That, and an understated Bella costume, made for a classy, balletic performance.
Rating: 4 zils
Hip-Notic Bellydance with Kaya is produced by IAMED Bellydance and also has over two hours of material. The set is black and sparse in this DVD and Kaya does the majority of the instruction facing the front. The sound quality is fine. The DVD covers several topics, not just technique. There are several sections on body awareness, stage presence and connecting with your audience, then there are exercises in hair tossing and fun drills like drawing the alphabet with your chest. In my opinion the highlight of the DVD is the abdominal drilling – there are advanced abdominal drills such as diagonal and horizontal bellyrolls (which so far I’ve only seen Fatiem do), abdominal “sprinkler” and flutters. If you are looking for a DVD that will get your heart rate up or teach you lengthy combinations this DVD is not for you, but Kaya does cover some important aspects of the dance. She finishes with a very sensual candle and floor dance which is lovely, but a bit too “roll-ey on the floor” for my taste. Kaya’s earthy style is refreshing though, and I think she is a good example of the modern Cabaret dancer.
Rating: 3 1/2 zils
I personally preferred Ava’s DVD to Kaya’s, as there was more traditional technique drilling in it and Ava’s style resonated more with my own ballet background. Also, as I mentioned, the set and timing of Ava’s DVD gives the whole production a friendly, warm feel. Although I like Kaya’s dancing and found her section on bellyrolls to be very informative (I was told once at a dance competition that modern Cabaret dancers don’t generally do as much abdominal work as in the past), I felt the DVD as a whole was a bit more plodding. There were some drills that were very advanced, and others that were very basic, and the set and lighting were dark and uninviting. Still, both have a lot to offer for the price and, depending on what kind of dancer you want to be, either could add a bit more sugar and spice to your repertoire!
Hollywood Music – $24.99
Ready for more?
- 11-16-11 "
Through the process of comparing and contrasting these two DVDs, I learned that in our technical age, although there are many people out there that have knowledge that can and should be shared, production value really does count for something.
- 3-5-12 High Concept – High Style “Dangerous Beauties”, February 18, 2012, A Show Review
The entire production was moody, dark and intense; just the way a Dangerous Beauty would like it.
- 2-10-12 ,
Rhythms of the Nile is one of the most important CDs in my library. While I have lots of instructional rhythm CDs, this is one of my top three – all the others are just collecting dust.
- 2-3-12 Conditioning and Floor work; Two Strong Strengtheners! Cassandra’s Conditioning Class, Ruby’s Flawless Floorwork,
It was with a bit of concern that I agreed to review these DVDs, as I have an extensive background in these topics.
- 1-19-12 Two Musical Sundaes with Dancers on Top, “Babelesque Live in Tokyo 2009”, Bellydance Superstars Series, “Dancers for Dancers, Volume 5”, produced by Cheeky Girls,
Two DVD’s. Two live shows. Two very different productions! It is hard to stand them side by side.
Honestly, I hadn’t expected to like this album (noodling has not been to my taste in the past), but I found it refreshing and rather healing, as the relaxation and delight shifted my state of mind every time I danced to it.
- 12-19-11 Ramzy’s Take on Egyptian Classics for Dancers, “Best of Om Kolthoum and Mohammed Abdul Wahab”, “Best of Abdul Halim Hafiz, Hossam Ramzy and his Egyptian Ensemble” ,
I find this to be the best of all possible worlds, if you have a short workshop performance or an Arab event there is a selection suitable for you.
- 12-19-11 Are These the Droids You’ve Been Looking For? Two Pop & Lock Fusion DVDs Reviewed
I’ve seen some very groundbreaking, mindblowing blends of belly dance with modern, hip hop and world dances. But more often than not, I see dancers in an easily definable costume, dancing to easily definable music, without stylized movement. I believe it takes a balance of all three elements to achieve good fusion, with stylized movement being the strongest ingredient in any form of dance.
- 12-19-11 Learning to Dance the U.K. Way,
Hillary’s "Beginners’ Egyptian Dance" and Charlotte’s "Learn to Bellydance"
Strange names for movements used in the U.K. such as “snaky arms”, and the most repeated “wobbly walk” and “wobbly movement” in describing shimmies, as well as “quiver in your bellybutton” are off-putting.