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Dancing with Veil Instructional DVDs – Review

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The Veil is a prop that I really love. I like the way veils flow and how they can make a performance look very colourful and dynamic, while enhancing expressiveness and drama. In order to learn and get new ideas on how to use veils, I have used various sources of information, including going to classes and workshops and reading books. However, for veils, I learn very well with DVDs because I can play them several times, to really understand the technique and learn at my own pace, as veil techniques can be a bit tricky at times.

Two of my favourite DVDs on the market are “Belly Dance with Veil” with Sarah Skinner, produced by World Dance New York and “Fabulous Four Yard Veils” with Shoshanna, produced by Cheeky Girls Productions. Below you can find the reviews I have written about these DVDs. If you know of other veil DVDs, which you think are good, please contact me to let me know. Also, in particular, let me know if you find any good double veil instructional DVD, as I have not managed to find one yet.

Belly Dance with Veil – with Sarah Skinner

Belly-Dance-with-Veil DVD

General Impression

This DVD was my first instructional veil DVD and I have learnt a lot from it. Following its instructions, I went from being totally clueless and clumsy with the veil, to feeling comfortable with this prop and loving it. Even now that I have learnt most of the tricks, I still go back to this DVD to either refresh my memory about some moves that I use less often, or to revisit some movements and understand better certain nuances.

I have other DVDs with Sarah Skinner and I find her a good teacher, who gives clear explanations on video. The content of this DVD is pretty comprehensive, covering a lot of topics from types of veil and materials to basic movements, spinning and travelling steps. There are so many variations, moves and combinations in this video that it takes a while to go through everything. Every instruction is followed by a long enough practice section, which is very useful for learning.

Content

In this DVD there are eight main sections, which I list below:

  1. Veil basics – This section includes various subsections. First there is an explanation about different fabrics and shapes of veils and which ones are best for different effects. This is then followed by instructions on how to hold a veil, followed by a section on wraps. Sarah goes through various types of wraps, which are basically different ways in which you can wrap your veil around your body, wearing it like another layer of your costume, which then you can unwrap and use as a prop. This is useful if you want to start dancing without the veil at first and only start using it after a while.
  2. Turns – There is a lot to learn in this useful section, which is about a number of different types of turns that you can do while holding the veil, either in place or travelling.
  3. Cascades – This is my favourite section, as I find it the most fun. Sarah teaches various ways of cascading your veil, in order to catch air and create rippling effects.
  4. Travelling steps – A number of travelling steps and combination of steps you can do, while dancing with the veil.
  5. Veil switches – Very useful if dancing with a veil, to move it from one side of your body to the other.
  6. Endings – This is an often neglected aspect of dancing with veils, and in this section Sarah teaches different ways to drop the veil and make it easy to pick up at the end of the performance.
  7. Mishap recovery – This section is about how to recover gracefully from mishaps that can always happen when dancing with a veil.
  8. Choreography – In this section Sarah teaches a veil choreography, broken down in 10 combinations, with explanation and practice sections.

Advised Level

This is a very good DVD for those who are beginners with a veil (although you need to know at least some of the basic belly dance moves), as well as for those of you who already know how to use a veil but maybe need some new ideas.


Fabulous Four Yard Veils – with Shoshanna

Fabulous-four-yard-veils DVD

General Impression

I like this DVD and I find it complements Sarah Skinner’s DVD. Even though they both cover some of the same topics with regards to the basics, these contain different tips, which complement each other. Shoshanna’s DVD contains moves that look good with very long veils, but most of those moves can be done just as well with shorter veils. So, even if the title refers to four yard veils, you do not need to use a long veil in order to be able to perform most of the moves explained in this DVD. Like all DVDs from Cheeky Girls Productions that I have watched so far, this DVD is very professional and explanations are very clear. A good thing in this video, I think, is that the moves are shown by three people. Shoshanna in the middle and two of her students at her sides, each using a different type of veil (different materials, lengths and shapes) to show the different effects that each movement can have on different types of veil.

Content

Warm up – This is specifically aimed at veil work, targeting specifically arms, wrists, shoulders and torso.

Technique – this section includes a variety of moves, abut 19, starting with the most basic (how to hold the veil) and moving gradually on towards more and more challenging ones. There are clear explanations for each move and a short practice section for each. The practice sections are a bit too short, but it is not a big deal, as I repeat each one more than once until I feel that I get the movement. Some of the movements include combinations, but this DVD is more about the actual veil moves than spins or travelling steps with the veil. There are some moves that include spins and travelling steps, but not as in depth as in Sarah Skinner’s DVD. Overall though, the movements in  Shoshanna’s DVD are pretty different from those presented in Sarah’s one, so you can have both and learn different things from each.

Index of movements – I find this particularly useful. It includes short demonstrations of each movement with music, so you can easily be reminded of what is covered in the DVD.

Troubleshooting – Similar to the section about mishaps in Sarah’s DVD, but with slightly different tips.

Combinations – 2 veil combinations using the moves previously taught, each with an explanation section, followed by a practice and performance sections.

Solo performance – Shoshanna performs using a four yard veil and some of the movements she teaches.

Advised Level

This DVD can be used either by beginners, as long as they know the basic belly dance moves, or by those of you who know how to use a veil but need some extra ideas and inspiration.

 

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