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DVD Review of "Modern Tribal Bellydance"

by Tracey Farmer
posted 2-26-09

This is a review of Asharah’s Modern Tribal Bellydance Instructional DVD produced by World Dance New York. This is not a traditional tribal instructional like Hahbi ‘Ru, Fat Chance or authentic ethnic Middle Eastern dance from Aisha Ali, but instructions and techniques for modern tribal fusion that are sweeping the bellydance world right now.

I was not familiar with Asharah before reviewing this DVD which I’m grateful for so I won’t be biased in my review. I had a chance to look at her website to learn more about her, because after viewing this DVD, I was highly impressed with her skills as an instructor and dancer. She should not be lumped into the same category as one of those fusion dancers who are trying to make up for lack of dance technique. Her technique is derived from years of training of American Cabaret, Turkish and Egyptian with the likes of The Real Suhaila, Artemis Mourat and her degree in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University. You can witness these elements in her drills, isolations and combos.

The overall production and sound quality of this DVD is top notch; another slam dunk from World Dance New York. Asharah’s instruction is clear and concise. She explains each of the moves and combos clearly and in different camera angles .

It starts with a warm up with stretches and toning for the whole body. Asharah provides a clear warm up of the entire body because with this DVD, you will be using everything! This is not a DVD for beginners! You have to be at least an intermediate/performance level dancer and be familiar with isolations and layering to keep up with this one.

After the warm up, Asharah has a whole section that drills you on isolations, undulations, slides and technique. Her moves are very ‘articulate’ and with her isolations and I couldn’t help but wonder, “Man, this girl would be an awesome Egyptian dancer!” This maybe a tribal video, but I believe any dance style would benefit from this practice section. Asharah mentions that she takes basic bellydance moves and adds the ‘ticking’ moves known in tribal dance. I can’t wait to use some of the things I learned in a future performance. This is a very strenuous section of the DVD, so the long warm up is very much appreciated.

In the modern fusions section, the actual section that is designed for the tribal fusion enthusiast, you will learn some of the basic arm movements, ticks, pops and locks that are familiar with tribal fusion. Some of these moves will take practice for the uncoordinated or any cabaret style dancer that’s not used to making these robotic movements, but they are fun to learn.

I almost felt I could join a break dance troupe or at the very least try these out at a hip hop club and fit right in!

Then there are the combinations with and without voiced instruction and it wouldn’t be a complete instructional DVD without a cool down section, which is needed; there is a LOT of material on this DVD. About 3 hours in length! There’s no way you can get through it in one sitting without getting tired, or maybe it was just me. The techniques you learn will give you days of practice and learning to incorporate into your dance. There is plenty of material to work with here and you won’t get bored. Actually, I do recommend taking your time with this DVD. I think if you master it chapter by chapter, you’ll learn a lot, be in great shape and have improved your dance at the same time!

At the end, we are treated with 2 amazing performances by Asharah with music by Venetian Snares and Hecate. Music used during the instruction portion is provided by cdatakill and Maduro. Asharah incorporates all of the isolations, ticks, undulations, etc., but blends them so smoothly you’ll be amazed you just learned everything she did.

Those who are interested in tribal fusion, I would definitely recommend this DVD to get a feel for the specific moves that are popular among tribal artists. If you’re already a tribal enthusiast, then this is a must have in your DVD library.

Even if you're not into tribal fusion, you can still appreciated this DVD and get a lot out of it. Asharah breaks down everything specifically and is a wonderful instructor to listen to as she explains everything while’s she’s dancing, not with a voice over. I don’t know how she does it…I was sweating and could barely breathe trying to keep up and she didn’t even break a sweat!

Now that I am more familiar with Asharah, I find it hard to believe that she isn't more popular on the tribal scene. Her skills and abilities certainly match or exceed those who seem to be very popular in the tribal fusion world. Maybe with this review, hopefully, it will cause people to pay more attention.

Zil Rating = 4 zils
4 zil rating!

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