I bought Jehan’s Sacred Bellydance on the recommendations of other reviewers (like Mala), so in a sense, this review should be superfluous. However, I wanted to write one anyway for two reasons: first, to address certain aspects of Jehan’s belief system that may be offputting, and second, to add a few notes about who I think this set is good for.
First, the “sacred” stuff. If it’s your bag, great. If, like me, you’re pretty convinced you’re not a goddess (just a decent human being), you might be turned off by Jehan’s beliefs — which do, indeed, come up throughout the video. I urge you to overcome this aversion. It’s a great video, and you don’t have to pay attention during the goddess stuff. On the other hand, I also have to say that I respect Jehan because I get the sense that she is communicating something she believes deeply, not just putting on a trendy pose. And her positive remarks on women really are pretty appropriate for bellydance!
Now, who is this video for? I actually wouldn’t recommend it for learning the basic dance moves, but I think it’s great once you already know the moves, and want to add finesse, power, and expressiveness to them. If you want to work on your arms, following along with Jehan’s flowing movements is great. (And your arms will HURT, incidentally. In a good way.)
The brilliance of the video is that, although it’s an “encyclopedia,” the segments flow together nicely. For this reason, I’ve used it more as a stretching workout than to learn from. And here is why I want to suggest that EVERYONE, dancer or not, buy this video. If you have been sitting in a chair for too long, if your body is tired and tense, Sacred Bellydance is amazing at stretching and relaxing it all out. And not just the back and arms — the neck, fingers, hands, feet, toes, everything! I’ve pretty much only used Sacred Bellydance in this way, and it makes me feel amazing.
One final thing. Although bellydancers come in all shapes and sizes, the ones publishing videos are usually on the commercially thin side. Jehan is a womanly woman, and I think this is important. You might feel more comfortable watching her if your body is like hers, but more importantly, it’s good to see how correct posture looks on a body which is rounded… well, where women’s bodies *should* be rounded.