Review of Claudina’s Calligraveil: Single and Double Veil Dance Instructional

Readers of this blog may have noticed that it has spanned a few geographic locations. My very first posts were written when I lived in Connecticut, I then lived in NYC but didn’t write very much, moved to Dallas where I got pregnant and started writing about prenatal workouts during my leave, and I now live in Germany. (Are you tired yet? I’m tired.)

One of the goals I set for myself when I moved here and started taking classes from local teachers was to seek out and review more DVDs by European dancers. I know that many English speaking dancers are willing to get foreign-language bellydance instructionals, even in languages they don’t know, like Russian or Hebrew! But in fact, many dancers are now putting out videos in bilingual or even multilingual versions (like Meissoun of Zurich). And if you play the DVD on your laptop and it’s region free, you don’t have to worry about the PAL/NSTC issue that we used to have with VHS. It’s been my experience that there are some fantastic dancers and really great teachers here, and I’d very much like for them to be known more broadly.

Claudina Calligraveil bellydance performance

So, in keeping with that goal, today’s review is of a double veil DVD by the Weimar-based dancer Claudina, Calligraveil: Single and Double Veil Dance Instructional. Calligraveil is fully bilingual: menus and voiceovers (and there are only voiceovers) are done in both English and German. In fact, if you’re sick of language period, you also have the option of watching the tutorials with music alone.

The first thing to say is that this is an exquisitely beautiful DVD. Really, it’s one of the most gorgeous productions I’ve seen in any dance DVD. It’s also pretty challenging. There is an hour and a half of instruction alone, not counting the extras, so it’s really more of a reference work to learn from over a longer period than a workshop-type instructional. Because Claudina teaches every move first with just one veil, you can use it at the most basic level to learn or practice single-veil moves. However, you can also go beyond that and practice them with two veils. The DVD is thoroughly, carefully chaptered, so it would be easy to pick just one section and rehearse it over and over again (and I did some of that as I worked with it), or to skip over the harder, double-veil sections, until you’re ready for them.

Claudina Calligraveil bellydance performance

The DVD begins with two costumed performances by Claudina, one featuring Isis wings and matte, gauzy double veils, and another with shimmering veils. These are primarily spinning moves, and Claudina makes them look easy. As I discovered when I worked with the DVD they are not, in fact, easy. A short introduction tells you to warm up, and explains the props you’ll use to learn: tea cups, long silk veils, and a cane.

Claudina Calligraveil bellydance double veil props for instruction

The tutorial section, which is an hour and a half long, consists of ten lessons:

1. Introduction: Veil Selection, Arms and Posture, Warm Up
2. Veil Basics I: Handling Single Veil, Dervish Turn, Traveling Turn
3. Veil Basics II: Handling Double Veil, Isolate the Veils, Catch the Veils
4. Figure 8: Basics, Single Veil, Double Veil
5. Swirl: Basics, Single Veil, Double Veil
6. Circle: Basics, Single Veil, Double Veil
7. Serpentine: Basics, Single Veil, Double Veil
8. Butterfly: Basics, Single Veil, Double Veil
9. Moon: Basics, Single Veil, Double Veil
10. Final Tips: Cool Down, Improvisation, Experimentation

Basically, you have a few lessons teaching you how to hold one veil, how to do the fingers for two veils, where to grab the veil (and here Claudina showed a trick that will help me with single veil too!), how to switch fingers on the veil, and how to let go and catch both single and double veils in the air. She also quickly has you practice dervish and travel turns. The end has a small but nice cool-down, and there are a few dances in which Claudina gives suggestions on how to dance with the veil, how to improvise, how to experiment with veil materials. This woman is clearly a master of the veil!

Claudina Calligraveil bellydance double  veil instruction

The central lessons, numbers 4 to 9, each focus on a single veil technique. Claudina introduces the movement very gradually. She will do it first without any props, frequently changing position so you can see her from both front and side. Then she has you practice it with an appropriate prop, for example tea cups when the goal is to keep hands facing up, the bamboo cane when you need to keep your hands equidistant, and long white veils to help you see the shapes of moves. Then she teaches you how to perform the move with a single veil, and finally, she moves to the double veil version. All along, there are variations on each move.

Claudina Calligraveil bellydance double  veil instructionThe two things you need to know about these lessons are: they are very well taught, and they are pretty hard to do. Any single tutorial is more than enough for a day’s dedicated work. And although Claudina has a slender figure, I realised she must have an enormous amount of strength to handle so many different kinds of veils with such grace and power. I managed to do quite a lot of the DVD, but I realised at one point that my shoulders wouldn’t be happy with me if I pushed myself any further. I need to get better at single veil first, and develop some arm strength. However, if you are willing to take it more slowly than I was, and really work with each tutorial, the sections themselves are really taught thoroughly and from the ground up, and because of the chaptering, should be easy to practice. I also loved the idea of using different kinds of props to practice before actually handling the veil, and am now wondering where I can get those long strips of silk.


Calligraveil would be good for advanced beginner and intermediate dancers who want to improve even just their basic veil skills, and great for intermediates and up who are looking for the challenge of double veil.

You can order the DVD at, and it comes in a neat, environmentally-friendly, cardboard pop-up case that my toddler son finds irresistible. And: I received a review copy of this DVD.

Claudina Calligraveil bellydance double  veil instruction

Some thoughts on “Dancers,” the documentary about Egyptian performers

What those of us outside the Middle East tend to call “bellydance” has always been the stuff of fantasy and a bit of willful blindness. The international dance community is, I think, aiming all the time towards more education, more background, more understanding of this dance we find so fascinating. It’s true, there are still so many six-week wonders and perhaps also some highly technical dancers who don’t really care about history, musicality, culture… but there is also so much information, so much scholarship being done, that it’s really a great time to be curious about oriental dance.

dancers documentary - egyptian dancer getting makeup done

Still, we have a problem. It’s a pretty well-known conundrum. We want to raise up the dance, help it be recognized as the art form it really is. We also want to respect its countries of origin, the cultures that gave us such beautiful music and dances. But dancing in public is not exactly looked upon well in those countries of origin. From everything I read, if you are Egyptian you do not want your daughter to be a professional dancer. Dancers are associated with immorality and prostitution, and sometimes that hits close to the truth. (By the way, in the west we also have a long tradition of associating performers with sexual availability… and a long tradition of that often being the case.)

dancers documentary - egyptian dancer mona

Dancers, a free-form but compelling documentary about lower-class Cairo entertainers (which you can watch free online here), is disturbing, but not just for that reason. I came across this via a Facebook link from Saqra Raybuck, who enjoined non-Egyptian dancers to be informed about the various tiers of dance in Egypt. We might coo over Fifi Abdo, tsk-tsk over Dina’s skirts, and pay big bucks to take that workshop with Randa, but as Saqra pointed out, that’s only a limited slice of the dancing pie in Egypt. Far more common is the hard-working, rather poor dancer traveling from gig to gig to make ends meet, moving — often raunchily — in a cheap, ill-fitting costume before a crowd of men eating her up with their eyes.

dancers documentary - egyptian dancer asking for tips

It’s a hard reality to face. It’s hard to see how many of these women “wound up” dancing as a result of a series of misfortunes, parental and spousal abuse, general poverty. It’s the narrative we usually hear about prostitution, not the hired wedding entertainment. It was hard for me to see the 17 year old Mona state in no uncertain terms that she hates what she does, because men take money from their families to spend it on her, because she’s not a respectable, “pure” girl. It’s hard to hear about an attempted rape, or about the way one poor dancer had to be “bought” from her manager by another manager, in what seems to be bordering on pimping or slavery.

And… dare I say it?

It was hard…. to see how bad so much of the dancing was.

Because that’s also part of the fantasy of Egyptian dance, not just the sparkles on the big stage, but that the “common people” have an authentic connection to the dance and movement, and a deep joy in it. It’s sold to us in the workshops, described as “baladi” or what have you. But common people aren’t just on the farm, they are also the city poor, and while it was clear that many men and women — and children — enjoy dancing socially, often quite well, many of the pros were frankly awful. Sometimes barely moving, minimally interpreting the music, dead in the eyes (which may speak of deeper sadness), and the one reliable dance move being the checking of one’s wristwatch. They might have been able to dance, but they very much didn’t want to. Weirdly, many of the men who came up to dance with the entertainment often moved more impressively than the hired dancer.

dancers documentary - bored egyptian nightclub dancer

The documentary does offer some balance: near the end there is an interview with a mother of five who supports all of her children alone through dance, and who loves it. But overall the feeling was one of performed lifelessness on stage, of the most perfunctory kind of movement. The real warmth is in the private scenes, especially in one longer segment in which a wedding dancer hangs out with the women in the family before going out to dance with the men. She talks to them, is given a plate of food, bothers them for needle and thread to tighten up her costume (“I’m not going to pray”), and eventually dances for the women and kids privately before the big show which the men won’t let them see. There, in that room full of intently watching women, the dancer seems, at last, to enjoy herself.

Review of Belly Dance Drum Solos with Mariyah and Faisal Zedan

Belly Dance Drum Solos: Concepts for Dancers and Drummers is an intermediate/advanced level instructional DVD put out by dhavir productions. It also happens to be very, very good. It is rich in material, innovative in its pedagogy, and will give the intermediate or advanced student tons to work with.

But let’s get one little thing out of the way. If you are a beginner dancer who does not have a lot of moves in your repertoire, or if you are the kind of person who likes to have a teacher explain every little thing before you feel comfortable following along (nothing wrong with this, it’s a legitimate learning style), your enjoyment of this DVD will be limited. You might still get value out of watching it, but it will be harder for you to use it actively.

Belly Dance Drum Solos is aimed at students who already know a few steps (a screen at the beginning invites you to modify the moves according to your own ability), and who, more importantly, are comfortable doing a bit of follow-along and interpretation. If you are familiar with the bellydance scene at all, you know that the dance is taught in different ways depending on region and teacher. Typically, “Western” students tend to like choreographies and step-by-step instructions, whereas Middle Eastern teaching is often done by example, or “follow the bouncing butt,” and works more with improvisation. But here’s the neat thing: this DVD does both: some sections are designed for you to follow along as best you can, but the DVD also includes a full choreography that is broken down step by step. It’s the best of both worlds.

After a brief written introduction to the DVD, we have a brief warm up routine (primarily for dancers, but drummers are also invited to use it) led by Mariyah. This is not a full, thorough warm up, but rather an exercise in centering yourself using breath. Mariyah talks about how staying centered and connected to your breath is what helps you have energy for an entire drum solo (which I didn’t know), and the movements are indeed delightful. My one criticism here is that the instructions are only written on the screen, which makes it difficult to follow them during the frequent forward bends. Faisal Zedan follows with a brief discussion of the importance of posture and warming up for drummers.

Dhavir 2

The following section introduces a number of rhythms and movements that can be done to them. Included are masmoudi sagheer, maqsoum, saidi, falahi, malfouf, and ayoub. Each rhythm is shown first in notation, and then performed while Mariyah demonstrates the kinds of moves and move combinations she might do to them. The rhythms are not introduced slowly the way rhythm DVDs for dancers usually do — rather, the focus is on how they sound in an actual drum solo and how to move to them. On the one hand, I had trouble recognizing the rhythms at full speed, even though I know many of these in their slower, class versions. At the same time, I appreciated the exercise in reacting to real music, and loved seeing how Mariyah explored and varied both basic and more advanced bellydance moves. This is, I suspect, the part of the DVD I will return to most often.

In the section on “The Beat, Tempo, and Changing Rhythms”, Faisal plays two alternating rhythms while Mariyah claps along to the underlying beat. It’s an exercise in listening, and it’s one that I’m glad to have, because finding the beat is a real challenge for me. The next level would be to play close attention to the rhythms themselves, but simply holding the beat was enough for me on the first go.

Dhavir 3

Another favourite section is “Putting the Sounds of the Drum into Movement,” a kind of bookend to the rhythms section. Here, Faisal plays the “Doum” repeatedly, and Mariyah shows the sort of big, dramatic movements she would use for it. Same for Tek, Suk, and Tuq. In what follows, Faisal plays longer riffs, and Mariyah dances to them. In all of these, I simply followed along with what Mariyah was doing. It was generally pretty easy to tell what she was doing, and what I liked about not having instructions was that I could focus on different aspects of her dance — the main accents, embellishment with the head or hands, ways of moving the upper body — and try to follow along with that aspect of the dance. The “follow me” kind of pedagogy is perfect for this kind of exercise, because it’s all about getting these moves and reactions into your body in an instinctual way, not about training you that there are one or two patterns to do when you hear a saidi. It’s training in improvisation, and the more you pay attention to the details of how Mariyah interprets the music, the more you can get out of it.

As if all this weren’t cool enough, yet another section follows, this one on the structure of solos. Faisal and Mariyah demonstrate how dancer and drummer communicate at various points in the drum solo, and again, you get multiple examples of: Introductions, Phrases over a rhythm, Free or arhythmic phrases (typically in the middle of a solo), and Endings.

Honestly, it’s like these people sat down and thought to themselves, “what is every possible way we can teach how to dance to a drum solo?” and then gave you exercises for every single level. Single sound? Check. Riff? Check. Rhythm? Check. Section of the dance? You got it. And never just one exercise for each — multiple ones, so you get lots of ideas and practice. You could also just watch these and analyze, or note down moves or combos you like for your own practice.

Okay, so at this point we’re about 53 minutes into the program, your intrepid, out-of-shape reviewer is tired and sweaty, and feeling pretty satisfied with the whole thing. But — lo and behold, a choreography!

And this is what I mean about different learning styles. If the first half of the DVD encourages you to follow intuitively, analytically, improvisationally, now you get a classic choreo instruction. Mariyah shows you each section slowly and describes every single step, then she runs you through it again slowly and with guidance. Then you practice it twice at full speed following her, and another two times following her in costume (which looks a little different). Every single little section is chaptered and easy to repeat. She does no movement instruction per se, but if you are intermediate you should be able to follow along, at least at half speed. Full speed may take a bit more practice. Here is my second and last criticism: this section is not mirrored, and at one point it became quite challenging for me to follow Mariyah’s left with mine.

Because of the way my brain works, choreo tends to be something I like less than technique instruction. In this case, however, I felt the choreography was a real addition, a completion of the previous teaching, if you will. I treated it not as a dance I would personally perform, but as a series of combos that were mini-lessons in how to respond to rhythms. So I noticed that she’ll sometimes do three moves, and vary on the fourth, or the way she’ll move the movements from the lower body to upper and then back down again. Mariyah’s instruction also helped me figure out some moves which I wasn’t able to discern precisely from the previous sections. After you are done all the individual segments, there is a clip of Mariyah dancing the whole thing in costume. Your intrepid reviewer was, alas, too tired at this point to try and dance along.

The choreography is the kind that’s jam packed and complex, but lest you think that’s the only kind of drum solo there is, the last section of the DVD — about twenty minutes long — offers you five entire improv performances. I watched these while stretching, and while I was a bit tired, I could already see how different they were from the choreographed drum solo. Movements were simpler, you could see Mariyah and Faisal watching and interpreting each other’s intentions. Not only did it have the magic of improvisation, but after all the previous exercises, you could analyse these performances, see what choices each of them was making, see the little moments where things didn’t quite fit, and so on. I know some dancers go directly to the performances on a DVD, and this will be a special treat for them. Five. Five.

The production value of Belly Dance Drum Solos is very high: quality filming, in a bright, modern studio. Mariyah’s costumes make it easy to see her movements even on a small screen. The chaptering is heroic — every single little thing is chaptered, so you can repeat a section at the press of a button, and every section and most sub-sections can be reached through the menu.

Belly Dance Drum Solo DVD disc

Mariyah is, incidentally, an absolutely lovely dancer. Graceful, energetic, musical. She has great technique, but it looks like it comes out of her spontaneously, not out of a desire to show off what she can do. There is a robotic kind of festival choreography we are all familiar with, and which I tend to find rather depressing, but Mariyah’s dancing just makes me happy and hopeful about the art form. For a DVD like this, where so much of the learning happens by watching and imitating, it was really essential that the teacher be a beautiful dancer, and not merely a competent one, because you look to her for style, spirit, interpretation, not just to copy a bunch of moves.

All in all, Belly Dance Drum Solos is an excellent program for dancers who are past the beginner stage and ready to be active in their dance education. It is just under 1 hour and 52 minutes long, but it feels like much more than that because of all the different segments and exercises. I did it all in one go, but you can take the different sections on their own and study or practice with them — certainly the choreography would be worth working with in a more dedicated way to get it up to speed. I think it would also be a fantastic tool for teachers or troupes, since you have built in demonstrations and variations that you could analyse and discuss.

You can get the DVD or a streaming rental at dhavir productions, which also provided me with a review copy.

Belly Dance Drum Solos DVD cover

Review of Samira Shuruk’s Raqfit – Belly and Bollywood Dance Fitness Workout

It’s time to talk hard realities. Hard, hard realities.

Readers of this blog know that I’ve been able to do a lot more dancing in the past couple of years than ever before in my life. It’s been wonderful, taking at least two classes per week, sometimes even more. And yet, there’s this horrible voice in the back of my head that has whispered to me, “Given all this movement, why are you not thinner?”

Well, of course the answer to that involves my love of cooking and eating. But here’s the other answer. I moved cities recently, and have had several months of stress, inconvenience, inadequate child care, struggling to get things going again. So no dance classes. At all. I haven’t been to a class in almost three months. And guess what I’ve learned through this? It turns out, I was thinner! This stress with no exercise thing has been devastating for my figure. (So has the medicinal wine.) And now I know what I would have looked like these past two years had I not done all those classes!

Okay, so I knew that when I came back to working with my videos, I’d have to pick something with some cardio. So I chose a DVD that’s long been on my review list, Samira Shuruk’s Raqfit – Belly and Bollywood Dance Fitness Workout. I knew it would be peppy and energetic, and even though it was already 10 pm and I was exhausted, I was determined to get some exercise in.

samira raqfit cover

The short version? Raqfit is a fantastic workout program, one that will keep the interest of dancers over many repetitions. It is well cued and intelligently designed. Samira takes the best aspects of the ways cardio programs are designed, and combines it with reasonably challenging and varied dance moves from bellydance and Bollywood. I don’t think it’s the best choice for an absolute beginner. If you have no experience with either of these dances you are best off working with a slower-paced program first. But if you are an advanced beginner or beyond, and want a workout that gets you truly, truly sweating but that still feels like dancing, Raqfit is just right.

Raqfit has a technique section that’s about 8:30 minutes long, and which covers some of the basic moves, especially from the bellydance segments. These are good guidelines as to how Samira does the moves, say the hip bumps or the shimmies, in the workout. But this run-through won’t be enough if you don’t know how to do them at all.

If you play the entire workout, it runs around 54 minutes (this does not include the technique). This includes a warm-up, four basic dance-based aerobic segments, two of which use bellydance moves and two which use Bollywood moves, a smooth, elegant standing cool down, a short pilates-based ab workout, and a quick but effective stretch for leg and abdominal muscles.

Here’s what I think is smart, and which (hint to DVD producers!) all DVD producers should do. The DVD also includes pre-programmed “mixes”. So you can do all the warmup and cool down stuff with just the two bellydance workouts, in 36 minutes. Or with just the Bollywood workouts, in 34 minutes. And there’s a “Raqfit Challenge” in which you do everything, but with no breakdown of the dances, so it only takes 29 minutes. So you can choose how to use the DVD based on your dance preferences and the amount of time you have.

That said, I loved the explanations. You know how aerobics/cardio videos will show you one step, then add something to it, then add another variation, and then have you repeat the thing until you go nuts? Samira does this, and it turns out that it works fabulously for dance workouts. Why? Because if you need to stay at an easier level, you already know how to do that — you just don’t add the extra arms or whatever. You don’t have to look at what the “beginner” person in the back is doing, you just know to stick to the basics because that’s how you started.

And this is sometimes necessary. The dance moves are varied, with turns, changes of direction, asymmetrical choreography, movement on diagonals… the movements are high paced and repeated enough to get you sweating, but there is also a lot of work for the brain to do. I paid more attention to the bellydance moves, but they also were not just the usual hip bumps and drops you see in workouts. Instead, there were pencil turns, hip twists on releve, small hip circles layered on traveling steps, slightly Suheir Zaki-ish vertical hip drops… and in general more things done on top of traveling steps than I’m used to in a workout DVD.

In other words, it’s not a DVD you can do perfectly on the first go, but you can grow into it. It’s worth adding that Samira cues everything, all the movements are mirrored, and she often says “the side closest to the tv” instead of saying “left” or “right,” which actually makes it easier to follow. She also reminds you to keep your abs engaged when it’s particularly necessary. I am still trying to figure out how she can look so happy and graceful while I felt like one of those hippos in Fantasia!

As to me, being out of shape, I had to struggle to keep up, and I did take breaks. Also, a little person got out of bed to interrupt me when I was twenty minutes from the end, but I persevered. But by the end I felt great, happy that I’d finally gotten moving. And the next day I had a delicious amount of post-workout burn all over my body. And the biggest surprise was looking in the mirror, and seeing that things already looked a little more, well, under control than they had.

Review of Heather Wayman’s Belly Dance for the Busy, Everyday Woman

Hmm…. I wonder who that busy, everyday woman in the title of Heather Wayman’s new DVD is? Look, dear readers, you know I try to write reviews that give you a sense of what it’s really like to work with a DVD. For a normal person. A regular, non-pro dancer, with a practice that goes up and down. But this time I went a little overboard with the method acting approach to bellydance DVD review. In the past while, I was so busy, and so everyday, that I could barely get to dance. Due to ongoing babysitting mayhem, one cold after another, and a husband working out of town, I’ve been missing my live classes, and often finding myself so pooped after a day of work and childcare that I can hardly bring myself to pop in a video. Heather Wayman, bellydancer So I’m the perfect test case. Heather Wayman’s Belly Dance For the Busy, Everyday Woman is designed for beginners, for women who don’t have a lot of time to devote to their practice, for women who can only do a little bit at once. And this is exactly how I worked with the program. I never did it all the way through. Instead, I made smaller programs for myself by combining the warmup, one or more segments of instruction, and the cool-down. Before I get into the details of the DVD, let me give you the big picture. I had two big question marks going in: would this program be accessible to beginners, and would it really work around a busy schedule? My answer to both is yes. If you have never taken a bellydance class, with a little concentration you could follow Belly Dance For the Busy, Everyday Woman. But while most beginner DVDs give you a lot of moves but don’t show you how to put them together, Heather shows you just a few moves, but puts them into a basic choreography you can dance. It’s a different approach to beginner instruction, one that incorporates music and transitions, but doesn’t give you every move in the book. As to the busy schedule, the fact that the segments are short did make me think that, okay, even though I was tired, I could just do the warmup and one segment and still have danced a bit that evening. Once I got my computer set up I tended to dance for longer than I intended, which was nice, but not always. But here was the surprise: even when I only danced a little bit, when I did make it back to class my movements were smoother, faster, better coordinated. This happened several times, and I was amazed to notice that even a short, well-structured program could make a difference to the dancing I did in class. In other words: you can do something, even when at your busiest, and most tired. Heather Wayman demonstrating beginner bellydance moves But now let’s get to the nitty gritty. Belly Dance For the Busy, Everyday Woman consists of an introductory sections, nine learning modules, and a closing section. Introduction Heather begins by describing the program, how to work with the DVD, and how the mirroring works. Mirroring is always important, but for a beginner choreography, even more essential. She then goes through proper dance posture. Her description is brief enough to remember, and she repeats it several times, and continues giving posture reminders throughout the program. One of the things Heather does that’s unusual for a beginner’s DVD is to explain why you should hold your knees or back in a certain way — either because it affects the look of the dance, or because it can prevent injury. Mirroring, posture, healthy movement — these things are, in my opinion, essential for beginner DVDs. This is followed by a short warmup. While it is not particularly long, it is also not just stretches. Heather does get you moving enough to raise your heart rate, so you’re actually warmup. What struck me about the warmup is that it’s all done standing, and even with the aerobic movements, can be done in a small space. Great for the home learner who doesn’t want to pull out the yoga mat or push the furniture around.

Heather Wayman demonstrates beginner belly dancing

The Modules Modules 1 to 6 help you build towards a choreography by introducing around three movements and putting them into a small combination. So, for example, module 1 introduces chest lifts, vertical chest circles, and shoulder rolls. The combo is then repeated with cues, with cues and music, then just with music. And every single one of these sections is reachable in a submenu, so if you want to practice in just one way, you can. Heather works through the verses of the song, and includes enough repetition of combinations that you wind up covering quite a bit of the song with a few basic patterns. The music is fun, and the moves are cute and go with the music in a clear, easy to grasp way.

Heather Wayman shows belly dancing moves

Especially when I began working with the program, I wondered: would a total beginner do okay with this? In a sense, it’s hard for me to tell. Heather’s descriptions of movements are very thorough, often even pointing out what muscles are used to drive a move. That can be helpful for some beginners, but others just need a lot of drilling, or more basic instruction. Shimmies definitely take a lot more time and work than they’re given here. But while this video does not offer a lot of individual drills, Heather does give a lot of tips on on typical beginner mistakes or “pitfalls”, which would allow you to self-correct. The thing that I thought was particularly clever was to offer a choreo that has changes of direction, level, and intensity. When we first learn bellydance, we tend to do a lot of “four of this, four of that” choreographies, usually facing forward (to the mirror). It’s hard, at the start, to see how you can do interesting things with the movements. While Heather teaches a limited number of moves, she’s implicitly teaching how they can be varied and built into a dance — and I think this is really important. The final three modules do not teach moves like the others. Module 7 focuses on Taqsim. In this section, Heather describes taqsim, and offers examples of how to dance to the taqsim beginning of the song. (The choreo lessons begin after the taqsim.) In Module 8, Heather goes through the choreography again, counting it out, then doing it with music and cues. And in Module 9, Heather goes through the combinations and moves already covered and suggests corresponding arm movements. Special Features Under the Special Features menu, you get a series of options. The first is a written list of the combinations. Next up is a mini-lesson on possible ending poses. From this menu you can also choose to dance along with a vide of the choreo taken from the back, or you can watch the dance as a costumed performance. And finally — a gag reel. But wait kids, that’s not all! Heather also offers bonus content on her website that I had a peek at. This is only available if you buy the DVD from Heather’s website. It’s material that didn’t make it onto the DVD for reasons of time, and it includes:

  • Choreography notation in an Excel spreadsheet
  • A stream of the edited music
  • Downloadable files of the individual combos from the back view into a mirror, in a loop for practice
  • The same videos, but watchable in the browser
  • A video with alternative arms and stylizations for the combos
  • A set of bonus taqsim demonstrations to other music

Heather Wayman's costumed belly dance performance

Other notes I’ve taken a live workshop with Heather and corresponded with her via email and Facebook. (And this was, by the way, a review copy I worked with.) She has a healthy dose of bellydance nerdiness, by which I mean that she thinks. This DVD shows the marks of her thinking about how to make the material useful and approachable to the beginner in every possible way — menu options for each little section, various ways to practice the full choreo, etc. I sometimes found this a bit confusing (I couldn’t quite tell why some things were modules and other things were special features), but overall, I think having a DVD with lots of different options is a Good Thing, and a great use of the technology. The other thing I really liked, and that I very much hope other DVD producers will note, is the kind of music used in the DVD. What do I mean? Heather uses three different songs — one for warmup, one for the choreo, and one for the cool-down. All of these songs are on the same CD, Raksa With Amir: Music for Bellydance. You only need to buy one. Oh yeah, and the CD is moderately priced, is available digitally (because is a beginner really going to wait for an obscure vendor to mail them a CD?), and if you don’t want to spend nine bucks on the whole CD, you can just buy the songs individually. And the music is good. The choreo Heather teaches does not take up the whole of Halim Mix, but it occurs at the beginning, so someone looking to perform it would not have to do complicated cutting. Is it for you? If you are beyond the beginner stage, or are looking for a comprehensive collection of moves presented in a systematic way, this is not the DVD to challenge you in the way you want. If you are truly a beginner, or have only done a bit of class… if you want to start putting moves together into a manageable choreography, or even learn how to modify basic moves to make them look interesting, Belly Dance For the Busy, Everyday Woman would be a good choice. You can get it at Amazon, but the bonuses are only available if you order direct from Heather at 10441961_10152095942980518_6287854576637646118_n

Review of Hannan Sultan’s Elegant Turns and Arabesques

I’ve had Hannan Sultan’s Elegant Turns and Arabesques for a couple of years. Up until now, I’ve mostly just peeked into it, sometimes to see how she describes the technique for a spin I’m having trouble with, sometimes even to try and work with it. However, I’ve been hampered by not really having enough space to practice properly — chaîné turns take room! — so was always a bit dissatisfied.

Enter today, and the opportunity to rent some studio space near the in-laws’. I knew I needed to practice, since I’m away from troupe training for an unconscionably long time, and have some sad, sloppy turns to deal with. And by a stroke of luck, I got the studio for four hours today — an unexpected luxury. Imagine — a sunny studio, with a perfect floor, mirrors, and a nice sound system, all to myself!

Working with Elegant Turns and Arabesques in a proper studio made all the difference. I suppose if you have a large, empty room at your disposal, you will also do well. But know before you start out that the turns and combinations Hannan teaches are really meant to cover room, and you will get the most out of the DVD if you can drill and repeat without bumping into a sofa.

The program itself is about 68 minutes long. Hannan explains at the start that you will really need to drill these techniques on your own to get them, and recommends stopping the video to practice or working on the moves independently. This is true for all dance instruction, but boy is it ever true for turns, which just genuinely take a lot of practice to be anywhere near passable. (At least if you’re me and turn-untalented.)

After a brief Introduction, Hannan discusses Posture, Visualization, and Arms. In this latter section, she reviews and demonstrates basic posture, talks you through a visualization to help direct the energy in your body, and quickly demonstrates how the arms are supposed to move with relationship to the shoulders. This was a quick section, and is really more valuable as a reminder than as detailed instruction. I have done something like the visualization she describes in troupe training (my teacher also studied with Aziza, so I wonder if there’s a connection there), and it is indeed a powerful tool that changes the nature of the movement. But it would have been more valuable in this video if Hannan had reminded us of the visualization during the turn practice.

The next section is on Turns and Arabesques, and covers the following techniques and moves:

Three Step Turns
Cross Turn (I know this as a Tip Turn)
Chenee Turn (a.k.a. chaîné)
Chenee Variation
Low Turn
Flamenco Turn
Barrel Turn
Jazz Arabesque
Backward Arabesque

Hannan teaches facing a mirror, and quite smartly has a ankle bracelet on her right foot so you can always tell which foot is which. She breaks down the turns carefully, including the starting position, goes over how to spot and reminds you to do so, and then drills it several times on both sides. And she sometimes has clever, funny ways of making you remember something — the mullet move is one I’ll treasure every time I work on my arms during spins.

The big takeaway for me, and the reason why I will love Hannan for ever, is that this video really, truly made a difference to my chaînés. I followed her instructions for spotting and doing them, and just practiced and practiced until they started to feel good. She teaches a variation of the chaîné in which you are on releve but with bended knees, and has you drill a combination of straight-leg and bent-leg chaînés. This turned out to be a great way to drill more chaînés together, since the slight change in point of balance helped me keep my focus. Pretty soon I found myself doing five, six, eight chaînés before getting dizzy or not landing right, whereas I’m usually dizzy and out after three.

Some other notes… instruction on the cross turn was good, but she mentioned the most important bit later, during the flamenco turn: keeping your thighs pressed each other. The barrel turn she teaches is a version with a single turn; it’s pretty, but I need to get a handle on multiple barrel turns. I adore the flamenco turn. It’s kind of fiendishly hard to get all those components working together, but after practicing for a while on my own I got a version which, though not right, made me feel wonderful.

The arabesques were also well taught and heavily drilled. I’m a big fan of the jazz arabesque, with the foot skimming the ground. The backward arabesque remains challenging, but is one of those moves you just need for oriental dance.

The final section has four Combinations, in which Hannan puts together turns and arabesques already taught. There are four of these, ranging from simple and fun to truly challenging. What’s really neat is the final combination, for which Hannan teaches you a number of variations that you can do when performing the combo with a veil. In effect, she winds up teaching several more turns (or rather, arm positions that change the look of the turn). She also introduces several steps here that are not turns or arabesques, but that are very pretty — in fact, one of my favorite moves in the whole DVD is in this section! All in all, the Combination section is what gives the DVD even more growth value, as these are things you really have to work on to get them looking smooth.

How could the DVD have been improved? Well, I thought most of the sections had a good amount of drilling, but a small minority ended too abruptly. I would have liked more tips on balance and the dynamics of the turn, since these are my weak spots. That said, I found that through the practice, these weak spots got less weak anyway.

The positives are solid instruction from a beautiful dancer, with some truly lovely moves and combinations thrown in. After working with Elegant Turns and Arabesques I spent some time improvising. Whereas I usually shy away from turns and arabesques, now I was flitting around the studio with glee.

Smells like progress

This evening was my third day in a row in the studio… troupe training on Monday, regular class on Tuesday, and a makeup class today. (And I’ll have class tomorrow too, but that’s another story, and the reason I’m chugging magnesium right now.) In every one of the last three days, there have been multiple — not one, not two, but more than I could count — moments when I was doing something that looked awkward, terrible, ungainly. Where I just basically could not do what was asked of me. Normally, I would get frustrated and mad with myself for not being further along, would think about all the time I wasted over these past years when I could have been learning to zill or do a stupid chaine. And yet… I was in some kind of weird Zen state where I just. did. not. feel. bad. about. it. I saw how awful it all looked, and thought, “Wow, that looks awful. I guess I’ll try again.” I was weirdly fine with the realisation that it wouldn’t stop looking awful during those 90 or 120 minutes. I was happier to be learning so much than I could feel sad about what I didn’t know, if that makes any sense.

I did feel a bit bad for my teachers who had to put up with the noise and see some spins they probably could have lived without seeing.

I don’t know if it’s reading and re-reading Steven Pressfield. I don’t know if it’s all the motivational things people post on Facebook, or the talks with dancers in real life, or all the articles about how we always look terrible when we start to learn things… but for once, sucking felt fine, because it also felt like the beginning of learning.

Mistakes to avoid when producing a dance or exercise DVD

Maybe you’re producing your very first video, maybe it’s your fiftieth. Chances are, you’re going to make some mistakes… mistakes that have been made before by other people, and that you could have avoided. Mistakes that will lead either to customers ignoring your DVD, or to them being unhappy with it.

Wouldn’t you like to make a DVD that your customers will buy, and then be so satisfied with they’ll leave positive reviews online and recommend it to their friends? In writing this blog, I’ve looked at a lot of videos, and I see the same problems come up. I sometimes wonder why producers don’t think of these things, but I suspect it’s because those of us who use dance and workout videos have a different perspective on them than the people who make them.

This checklist is primarily intended for producers of dance DVDs, but quite a few of the tips apply to general workout videos too.


Quality and Length of Content

Think about what you have to offer: are you covering ground that’s already been covered by a million other videos, or do you have something new to offer? Do your research, whether on Amazon, or by reading reviews in blogs and magazines. Moreover, do you have enough content? I’ve loved some shorter DVDs because they had a unique approach or taught me something truly new, but there is a line below which it’s not really decent to ask someone to pay full price for a DVD. Don’t count performances or non-instructional extras when you figure out what you’re offering.

Content in DVD Sets

If you’re putting out multiple videos, make sure the overlap between them is minimal, so your most loyal customers — those buying more than one — will not feel ripped off. If the sets build on each other, make it easy to see that. If they work independently, make it easy to figure that out too.


Your technique should be perfect. This should go without saying, but alas, it doesn’t. If you don’t have amazing technique, you probably should not be demonstrating moves for instruction on a video. In a class environment, you can correct mistakes you see even if you still haven’t mastered the move, but with a video you can’t. And if you have special knowledge you want to share, either make a lecture video, or get someone with better technique to do the demos. But here’s another thing: if you choose to have backup dancers/yoginis/etc. doing the moves with you, make sure their moves are also carried out exquisitely, even if they’re modified for difficulty. We learn what we see, and if we see you do bad technique, we’ll absorb just that.


Don’t leave your students in the lurch — give them some advice about how to use the video, what they need to make it work, how to plan their practice sessions. This is especially true if you have a lot of material, if it’s especially difficult, or if you’ve made a complicated DVD menu. This is also an opportunity for you to teach them how you approach practice, which is often just as valuable as technique.

Warmup and Cool Down

People disagree on this one — not everyone thinks there needs to be a warmup and cool down on every video. I get that. But I will say that I think it’s pretty great if there is one, and if it’s easy for me to press “play” and get a full practice session, with warmup, instruction and/or drills, and cool down.

Space and Supplies

Imagine yourself buying your video, and trying to use it. What does it require? Does someone need lots of special props and supplies to do it? You’re probably filming in a studio — are you doing large traveling moves that someone might not be able to do in a small living or rec room? I’ve often seen cardio workout videos that require you to cover lots of room, which is possible in a gym, but difficult in the space I’ve cleared out in my living room. What about flooring? If you have a lot of spins or moves on the floor, have you thought about the fact that your audience’s practice space might be carpeted? It doesn’t mean you can’t include them, it just means you have to deal with that issue, either by suggesting a hardwood floor, or by providing a variation of the move.


Please, please make sure your movements match the music. This is as true for exercise videos as it is for dance instructionals. It’s just that much easier to follow along if everything is in time. And if you’re teaching dance, dancing to the music is something you’re also teaching whether you address is explicitly or not, so make sure that part of things is perfect. Perfect.

More Music

If you’re teaching a choreography, please for the love of God choose music that’s currently available, and ideally, available without too much effort. Your customers should not have to order a CD from abroad to get the track — try to choose things they are likely to be able to buy online, or at least in the same country. Then provide credits, so your customers can find that music easily. If you’ve cut the track to make it fit the choreography, then give your customers easy-to-follow instructions to edit the track, or make it possible somehow for them to get a legal edited version.


I think of this as the mark of the pro. Either film yourself (or the talent) facing the audience, but move your left arm when you say “right” so they can follow along, or film yourself from the back facing a mirror. Bonus points if you’re teaching dance for showing a move both from the front and the back, and drilling it both ways.

Formatting and Production

DVD chaptering

The first rule is to do DVD chaptering, unless you really just mean for the program to be done as a single workout or practice session. But even better is sitting down and thinking about how someone might use the DVD the first time around, and how they might use it a second, or tenth time. Make it easy to skip the introductory bits. Make it easy to do all the drills without the instruction. If you can provide different built-in programs so they can choose a short version or a long one, even better. I’ve even seen dancers include different angles of the same program.

More chaptering

Have frequent chapters, it makes it easier for us to repeat a section. Put all of them in the menu, or in submenus, so we can get to them easily.


Write down the exact length of each section/program/workout both on the DVD cover and in the menu. Make it easy for people to see if they have time to do the DVD, or if they can fit one section of it into their day. Make sure this timing is accurate — on many DVDs I see it’s not.


Ahem, cough, cough. If you’re wearing green, don’t film yourself against a green background. If you’re wearing black, don’t film yourself against black curtains. I’ve seen both of these, from dancers I adore. Again, this is a matter of putting yourself in the customer’s shoes. Maybe she has weird lighting in her practice room, or is using a laptop that doesn’t show contrasts as well from a distance. Maybe she’s using a projector, and the contrasts are also not that strong. Maybe she’s taken off her glasses, and can still see pretty well without them, but not every detail. (Maybe all of these examples are from my own experience…) Make it easy on her eyes, please. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that while I think black backgrounds look cool and modern up close, they should be avoided for the home video market altogether. Put your dancer against a bright, light background, either a studio or plain white, and have them wear clothes that make movements easy to see.

More Visibility

Camerapersons are wild creatures, and need to be led with a firm hand, lest they go astray. You’re teaching a choreography, and there they go focusing just on your abdomen. You’re demonstrating hands, and suddenly the camera is pointing at your feet. Did he get tired? Did his head and arms droop and bring the camera downwards? I don’t know. But look, during this complicated traveling move, suddenly the camera has become intensely interested in your facial expression! Discipline your cameraman — or woman — and make sure that camera is pointing where it needs to at every single moment.



If you have enough time to make a video, you have enough time to make a trailer for it, and make it widely and easily available. Put it on your site, put it on YouTube and on Amazon. Oh, and in the trailer, I don’t want to see you dancing or see shots of you looking pretty — what I want is to get a sense of what material is covered by the video and see a clip of how you teach or demonstrate. This should be the substance of the trailer, not the performance or your general thoughts on the dance, because the instruction is what I’m going to love or hate when I use the video.


Make sure the name of your DVD really fits what it offers. Don’t call it a beginner DVD when the moves are advanced, or when you only have a very fast breakdown of them. Save the word “beginner” for people who have never done whatever it is you’re teaching in their entire lives, ever, and are now standing in their sweat pants in front of their tv learning their first steps from you. Use “advanced beginner,” “intermediate,” etc., as appropriate, if you’re expecting a bit of background.


Don’t make BS promises. Look, I know maybe it’s good business sometimes to make them, but please, just for me, don’t. Don’t tell your customers they’ll lose weight doing your program when they almost certainly won’t. Don’t promise them enlightenment or goddess-hood, unless you can guarantee it. Don’t tell them they’ll be a perfect dancer after one DVD. Because you know what will happen? They’ll find out that you were lying, and will leave unhappy comments all over the internets. Maybe you were offering something of value, but you misrepresented it, and so you didn’t do your own work justice either. You can promise them fun, you can promise them a new experience, or quality instruction, or a great tool to use in their practice. You can promise them relaxation, and you can even say, “if you do this x number of times a week, and pay attention to your diet, you’ll have positive results.” You can promise them a challenge. But be honest.

Your Thoughts?

Consumers of dance and workout DVDs, have I missed any big mistakes? What do you wish producers knew?
Producers and artists, what are the big mistakes you learned from? Anything here you disagree with? What do you wish customers knew?

photo credit: GS+ via photopin cc

Review of Sara Beaman’s Fluid Transitions: Drills and Combinations for Fusion Bellydance

If you’ve been dancing for a while you know: the right teacher is not necessarily the one who’s the most famous, the most experienced, or even, frankly, the best dancer. Often, it’s the person who can communicate to you in a way that makes sense to your brain and ultimately your body. This is important in live instruction, but essential when it comes to DVDs, where you can’t ask the teacher any questions, and she can’t respond to the way you learn.

This is why I get excited — really excited — when I see instructional DVDs that are crafted to work for different kinds of learners, that are more than just, “You do this, then you do this.” One of the exciting things about being a consumer of bellydance videos over the past decade has been seeing how creative producers get, with practice flows, the smart chaptering, innovative material and drills, you name it.

So, guess what? I was excited to work with my review copy of Sara Beaman’s Fluid Transitions: Drills and Combinations for Fusion Bellydance. From the first moment I thought, “Oh, she’s thought about this. She’s thought about how to make this usable and easy to learn from.” And my first impression was not wrong.

The focus of Fluid Transitions is pretty clear from the title, but it’s probably worth mentioning that Beaman does not give any theory or tips on transitions separately from the drills. The idea behind the program is to achieve fluidity by doing careful drills of combinations at multiple speeds. The DVD is aimed towards intermediate or advanced dancers — definitely not beginners! — and if you are one of these dancers chances are that you can take the tools Beaman gives you and apply them to whatever combinations you’re working on.

The most straightfoward way to work with the DVD is to play all the sections through, which is what I did. This way, you get a:

Warm Up of approximately 10 min. This is based on dynamic stretches and some shimmying, it starts up the muscles and joints you need to move, but it doesn’t get you really warm. I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea to do a little something extra to get the heart rate up too.

Isolation Drills, about 16 min. You can play this section right through, or choose single drills from a menu. Here, Beaman quickly but precisely covers the movements she’ll be using in the later combos. The drilling is brief — this is not mean to teach beginners how to do the moves, but to remind you of the correct executions of moves you already know. That said, Beaman also gives little tips on form.

Here’s one of the neat things about the DVD: each move is preceded by a screen that shows a written breakdown of the move. Being someone who learns best by reading, I loved this decision. It lets me internalise the idea visually, before I hear the oral breakdown and see how it’s done.

Sara Beaman tribal fusion DVD isolation breakdown screen
Breakdown of a sidewinder

This is followed by a brief, about 6 min, Isolation Practice Flow. You basically do the isolations, but all together. I think this part is great, as it gets you into the feeling of moving and putting isolations together.

Now we get into the meat. The first combination section contains combos 1 through 4 (about 30 min). Each combination has that great screen before it, quickly explaining what will come up. Then Beaman breaks it down veeeery slowly. As far as I could tell, for every single combo in the program, Beaman is equally thorough in breaking down and drilling both sides. It’s not only great to have both sides worked out equally, but I found that sometimes I will “get” a movement on one side faster than the other, so I’m glad to have both sides instructed too.

The combos themselves are quite short and focused on linking together moves using the torso, hips, abs, and arms. There are no traveling steps. These are small units you then drill like crazy to get your body moving smoothly from one kind of isolation to another. In some cases, Beaman will present an easier version and a tougher version of a combo — and then she has you drill both.

Just in case that wasn’t enough, she then has you drill the combos at three different speeds.  Often, she will have you drill something at half time and at full time for each of the three speeds, which means you’re actually drilling at six different speeds! All of the speeds and instructions segments are chaptered, so you can easily repeat, and they’re in the menus, so you can go directly where you like.

Needless to say, what this does to your body feels pretty wonderful. As much as it’s challenging for the brain to follow along, it’s such a fabulous, careful, thorough way of getting moves into your body. Even on the first play of the DVD, I was starting to “get” some of the combinations quite smoothly. I stopped and went to a mirror to practice sometimes, I did my own stretches in between the sections, but it all worked. It felt good. And I think doing the three speeds is brilliant, because while my first challenge was getting a combo down, my second was doing it slowly. Doing a combination slowly but still evenly and smoothly is harder than doing it fast, and a great way to pay attention to what the muscles are doing and to each component of the movement.

Then things get even more interesting. Beaman takes apart combos 1 and 2, and puts them together into one longer combo. Same for 3 and 4. And you drill those. Here’s what I loved about this. While she doesn’t say it in so many words, she’s really teaching you how to get smooth transitions in your own movement. You break it down into the smallest possible combinations, drill those like crazy, then combine them in creative ways, and drill those together.

The next section features combos 5 and 6 (about 17 min), and these work a little differently. These are layering combinations, and what Beaman eventually has you do is to do one of the layers, then all of the layers together, then another of the layers alone, then all together, and so on. What part of my brain was still working at this point was fried by these drills, but I also found them really cool. It’s basically a pattern for creating movement that’s interesting to the eye, adding and subtracting layers in turn.

Sara Beaman tribal fusion DVD layered combination with sidewinder
Drilling different parts of a layered sidewinder

Finally, you have a satisfying Cool Down that stretches everything out from a standing position. It’s about 6 minutes long, so I added some of my own stretches too.

The menus are really smart, really detailed. I love this, I love it when a producer really thinks about how to make the work usable. Moreover, in a separate section Beaman has four practices set up ranging from 23 to 32 minutes, each of which begins with the warm up, takes you through some of the combos, and ends with the cool down.

Fluid Transitions really, really, badly made me want to do more tribal fusion. But I don’t think you have to be a tribal dancer to get a lot out of it. This morning I was already thinking about how some of the combos could be modified — with something as simple as a heel up, for example — to give them a more raks sharki feeling. One thing I can’t judge however is how much of the material or method would be new to dancers already steeped in TF. Who wouldn’t like it? Well, if you’re a beginner, you might find it moves too fast for you. Also, if you’re looking for transitions between traveling moves, you’ll find nothing here.

That said, there’s a lot to grow with Fluid Transitions. She gives some tips at the beginning for how to modify or add to the drills. But the real point is, this DVD doesn’t just teach you to string together a few moves, it teaches you how to think about putting moves together and then drilling them. You learn to take out an element from an isolation to make it work with another move, you learn to take combinations apart and put them together in creative ways, and you learn how to play with layers to make cool-looking dance. What’s not to love about that?

Fluid Transitions is available as a print-on-demand DVD from Amazon. It worked flawlessly on my MacBook Pro.

Roundup: Bellydance Floorwork

Readers, I’m starting a new series in the blog. It’s something I’ve wanted to do in a while: posts that give a list of videos for a particular dance specialty, be it a prop or a dance style, along with where to buy them.

I kept thinking I had to do reviews of all the DVDs in a certain area before I could publish a list, but let’s face it, that will take some time. So I thought: why not come up with the lists first, and then link to reviews as I write them?

In addition, just to make the resource more useful, I’ll add any interesting or useful articles I find on the topic.

One more thing: I really welcome reader suggestions. Please add any videos I’ve missed in the comments, and I’ll update the posts on a regular basis! These posts are meant to grow with time.

Bellydance Floorwork Videos

Ruby’s Flawless Floorwork: The Lost Art of Belly Dance Floorwork.

Anaheed’s Classic Cabaret Floor Work

Tanna Valentine’s Floorwork: Bellydance for Body Shaping

Sarah Skinner’s The Celebration Bellydance Workout: Mood-Lifting Bellydance Flow & Workout (one of the workout sections is floor work, and some of the instructions are specific for floor work)

Fat Chance Belly Dance’s Tribal Basics, Vol. 8: FloorWork

Saqra’s Floor Dancing Technique

Rachel Brice’s Laybacks, Drops, Zippers & Floorwork (parts of this video rental are useful for floorwork)

Veda Sereem’s Floor Work

Cory Zamora’s Cabaret Bellydancing Floor Moves Advice

Delilah’s BellyDance Workshop Volume III

Articles on Floorwork

Shems’ Floor Work in Oriental Dance (history and cultural context)

Nita’s blog post, “bellydance floorwork & Purvottanasana: upward plank pose“(on using yoga to build strength for floorwork)

Morocco’s essay Getting Down to Floorwork (also historical and cultural context)


photo credit: Alaskan Dude via photopin cc