I have a number of bellydance videos, but I find myself coming back to Shamira’s Sensuous Workout 2 over and over again. Why? Because I can use it in different ways at different times.
Shamira presents 22 basic moves. What’s great about it is that she then teaches a few basic combinations for each move. You might be taught a hip jerk (as she calls it), and then you’re taught how to do it at full and double time with both hips, how to walk forward with it, and how walk sideways on your toes with it. For each combination she’ll teach different arm movements. Lovely.
While the moves Shamira teaches on this video are by no means all the moves there are to bellydance with, it’s a nice combination of basic moves and ways to walk with them, so you can get a feel for the dance. Also, for dancers who have learned some of the basics but have no idea how to put it all together, the Sensuous Workout 2 is a great resource. I recently put together a short choreography, and this was the video I went to for movement combinations I liked.
When you’ve practiced the moves, you can go on to the choreographies/dances. They’re done in one go, really more like an exercise video than a step-by-step choreography instruction. I haven’t tried all of them, but even the easiest one will leave you with a nice feeling in your obliques. The DVD is set up so that you can click on a choreography and it will show you the moves you should have studied before dancing it. If you click on one of those chapters and do it, it returns you to the screen of that particular choreography.
Shamira is not the most athletic dancer. (She’s clearly toned, but doesn’t move in a super-muscular way.) But she’s definitely one of the most graceful you’ll see. In a way, the real value of this video is in her hand and arm work. It isn’t always spelled out, but once you get the basic moves, try and pay attention to what she does with her arms. My personal opinion is that much of the soul of the dance is in the graceful hands and arms, and Shamira is a wonderful model for this. Even if you know many of the basic moves, putting them together into graceful combinations is where the magic is.