General impression – This belly dance instructional DVD impressed me for the clarity with which belly dancer Jenna explains and breaks down every single move. Also, Arabic rhythms are explained very well by Raqui and the overall quality of the video is excellent and highly professional. The fact that The Heartbeat of Bellydance includes a section on Arabic rhythms, makes it even more complete, helping the viewer to better understand belly dance music.
Content – The DVD is divided into four parts:
The choreography workshop is made up of three belly dance drum solo routines. This section has its own submenu, with the option to choose among three routines for three different levels of belly dancing experience: beginners, intermediate and advanced.
Each level starts with a belly dance drum solo performance, which then is broken down very clearly and in details. The part where the bellydance routines are explained is set in a big and bright dance studio and Jenna is standing in front of a mirror. This makes it easier for the viewer to see every movement that belly dancer Jenna does, from front and back. Jenna’s figure stands out very clearly from the back ground because of the colours of the garments she is wearing. Jenna in the instructional part of the video is wearing a simple outfit (dark tights, a short top and a plain hip scarf in a contrasting colour) that helps the viewer see clearly every movement of her body. Following the instructions in this belly dance DVD almost feels as though you were standing in the same room as Jenna, so clearly the moves are explained.
The rhythm workshop focuses on some of the most common Arabic Rhythms, such as saiidi, baladi, masmoudi and more. The drummer, Raquy, breaks down each rhythm and belly dancer Jenna gives a brief demonstration of an improvisation to each of the explained rhythms.
The shimmy drills consist of two parts: ¾ shimmy drill and shimmy layering drill. Again, Jenna starts slowly, by breaking down these movements that are so important for every belly dancer to master and then speeds up.
Advised level – Jenna’s and Raquy’s Heartbeat of belly dance is an instructional DVD that I think is perfect for belly dancers at an intermediate level. Although the movements are broken down very well, the viewer still needs a basic understanding of at least the main belly dance movements.
The routines can be used by the viewer during their belly dance performance as they are, or they can provide some ideas on new moves and transitions. The advanced belly dancer may find this DVD too basic; however, even an advanced belly dancer could get some inspiration and ideas on movements and shimmies.