Belly Dance

Belly Dance Beginners DVD


General description

In this DVD, aimed at beginners belly dancers of every age, Cara introduces you to some of the basic moves of this dance form. Cara’s approach is non threatening and her explanation of the belly dance movements very clear; hence everyone will feel comfortable to give belly dance a try watching this DVD. Her style is very fluid and relaxed and her British accent very nice to listen to. What I like is that there is a warm up session at the beginning (including joint mobilisation, short stretches and  tips on correct posture) and a cool down section at the end, which some but not all instructional DVDs have, but which is very useful.

The setting where Cara is teaching is on a stage with two of her students, which gives the viewer almost the impression to be in a class environment. I usually prefer when the teacher is standing in front of a mirror, so that it is possible to view the movements from the front and the back simultaneously. Cara is not teaching in front of a mirror, but at least the camera alternates between two angles: one from the front and one from the side, so you can see her from different points of view.

DVD Content

This belly dance instructional DVD is divided in 3 main parts.

  • In the first part Cara explains some basic belly dance moves for hips and chest, which include:
    Hip circles. She shows medium size hip circles, static and moving from side to side.
    Hip figure of 8, both horizontal and vertical (inwards and outwards).
    Hip and shoulder shimmies.
    Chest slides and lifts.
    Hip drops, with and without foot release and also with moving the hip forward and back.
    Camels, both static and walking side to side.
    In the above subsections Cara explains the movements as she does them, is a way which is fluid and she often gives reminders about good posture. The good thing is that there are a lot of repetitions, so you can get used to the movement.
  • In the second section there are some drills to summarise the moves explained in the first section. Cara will guide you through these drills gradually; first using a metronome and giving you prompts. Then with voice and rhythms and finally with music only, once you are able to do the movements and follow the music on your own.
  • In the last section Cara teaches a basic belly dance choreography, so you can learn how the movements she taught can be strung together. The choreography is broken down and taught gradually, until the viewer is able to perform it without vocal prompts from Cara.

There are also some extras, which include: a part in which Cara talks about her experience as a belly dance practitioner, brief history of belly dance, some music tracks to be listened to without pictures and a group performance of Cara with her students.

Advised level

This belly dance instructional DVD is suitable for complete beginners, who do not have any previous experience of bellydance. ‘Belly Dance School: Beginners class with Cara’ provides the viewer with an introduction to bellydance and its very basic moves. It is also a good practice companion if you have just started taking bellydance classes and need some guidance to practise at home. Also, it can be useful for teachers who have just started teaching classes and need ideas on what and how to teach. It is good to use it in conjunction with Michelle Joyce’s ‘Belly Dance Crash Course’ as I think that these two DVDs complement well each other, because of the different teaching styles and the fact that one DVD has movement that the other does not have and vice versa.

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Valeria is a dance researcher completing a PhD in dance and heritage. Valeria also teaches and performs as a belly dance but also enjoys learning ballet, jazz dance and other dance genres.

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