Zorba, Male Belly Dancer

Henna Design Tribal Fusion Belly Dance. Henna Design
Yoga, Isolations and Drills:
A Practice Companion with Rachel Brice

Tribal Fusion Belly Dance. Yoga, Isolations and Drills: A Practice Companion with Rachel Brice

Overall Zorba Rating:

Solid Zill Picture Solid Zill Picture Solid Zill Picture Solid Zill Picture Solid Zill Picture

2005, region free DVD Logo, run time 78 minutes.

Tribal Fusion Belly Dance Video
World famous Tribal Fusion Belly Dancer Rachel Brice drills us in this BellyDance SuperStars release.

The video starts with the usual BDSS frontispiece that I find rather awesome. The music used along with the animated logo is suggestive of the sheer power of Belly Dance.

Production values. As with all BDSS productions, production values are very high. Well lit, good sound, well edited and organized. The usual MTV-esque camerawork as found on most BDSS videos is actually an asset here (see below).

From the main menu, the first item is a brief introduction from Carolena Nericcio. A nice touch! She briefly explains the history of Tribal Style, and what this video is all about. She also touches on the commonality of all forms of Belly Dance; I think she's trying to say that this video is good for all dancers, regardless of style (a viewpoint I agree with). I like her earrings, I want some like that! Smile!

The next main menu item is "Practice", the meat of the video. This takes the viewer to a sub-menu which allows playing a 15 minute, 30 minute, and 45 minute practice/drill segment (or all 3 in succession for the masochistic!). At the bottom of this menu is an option "Play with Instruction, On/Off/Resume". At any time during any of the 3 practice segments, hitting the "menu" button on your DVD player will return you to this sub-menu, and you can then select if you want the instruction voice-over on or not; then selecting "resume" will take you back to the spot in the practice segment where you were before. A very nice, useful feature!

In each segment, Rachel's voice-over tells us what to do, how to do it, and what to watch out for. The MTV-esque camerawork that dancers the world over decry about BDSS performance videos works well for a drill video like this one. Frequent close-ups of Rachel's torso, esp. her stomach really help the student see what her muscles are doing - I find this very helpful. Footwork, hipwork, head, arms, etc. are shown in good detail, changing views frequently so we can see what's going on.

The only nit I'll pick here is that in a couple of places, Rachel tells us about back posture, shoulder blade position, etc - and the video unfortunately doesn't let us see her back or shoulder blades.

Rachel starts each segment in a simple, unadorned practice outfit. She adds hip adornment (and some arm bangles) when she starts on hipwork. The set is very simple, and Rachel can be seen (and heard) clearly.

Practice Segment Breakdowns

Each segment consists of several sub-sections, each with a title. Pressing the << and >> buttons on your DVD player will navigate between them if you want to repeat or skip something. There is simple (mostly drum) music playing in the background of each.

15 Minute Practice

Ardha Surya Namaskar.
Half Sun Salutes: Warming up the Spine, Hamstrings, and Shoulders.

Standing warmup, similar to many I've done in various Belly Dance classes. Arms up and down, fold down from the waist, etc.

Locust Pose.

Face down on the floor, lifting chest, head and legs up. I don't recall ever doing this one before, but I like it.

Locks on the Up.

Hipwork section, Rachel dons some hip adornment so we can see better. Upper hip locks as the title would suggest. Rachel continuously coaches our posture (as she should).

Hipwork on the Down.

A good section utilizing basic downward hip. As I have real problems with a lot of downhip movements, I find Rachel's explanation/demonstration particularly clear and useful here.

Chest Lifts.

A nice breakdown of this movement. I do wish we'd been shown what the movement should look like from the back, particularly with regards to the shoulder blades - but otherwise very well done.

Undulation, Up to Down or Body Roll.

Well demonstrated, what I'd call a "Camel".

Cat and Cow.

A mat based cool-down. Doing the cat back arch, and sliding down into "prostrate prayer" position. Returning to standing position.

30 Minute Practice

Surya Namaskar.
Sun Salutes with Lunges: Warming up the entire body.

More involved than the Ardha Surya Namaskar warmup in the 15 minute practice, this one's a lot longer and harder!

The next sections: Salabasana (Locust Pose), Locks on the Up, Hipwork on the Down, and Chest Lifts, are identical as those found in the 15 minute section. Then we continue with:

Chest Drops.

Very similar to the Chest Lifts segment, except going the other way (of course).

Undulation, Up to Down or Body Roll

As in the 15 minute section

Undulation, Down to up or Reverse Body Roll

This segment is interesting in that it is not just the opposite of the previous one. Rachel internalizes this movement, making it largely muscular rather than skeletal. A different look, one that takes a dancer of Rachel's caliber to accomplish! She has some powerful ab muscles - I wish mine were like that!

Pelvic Locks Front

Locking and releasing the pelvis. Similar to how my instructor teaches it. Rachel recommends 5 minutes of this exercise daily - probably a good idea...

Interior Hip Circles

What is called ummis or ommis in my locality. Rachel emphasizes the musculature (I agree); if done right this movement works all the abs and obliques!

Cat and Cow.

A mat based cool-down. Similar, but not quite identical to the same segment in the 15 minute section.

Upavista Konasana
Spread Leg forward fold.

Exactly what the title says. Male dancers should read my notes about this type of stretch in my Teaching a Male Student article, under the "Physiology" section (second half). Rachel's varient is one that I've done before.

45 Minute Practice

The sections Surya Namaskar, Salabasana (Locust Pose), Locks on the Up, and Chest Lifts are identical as those found in the 30 minute section (note skipping the downhip work).

We then continue with:

Double Chest Locks

This is a combination of chest lifts and chest drops: up, neutral, down, neutral, up.

Rib Cage Figure 8

Different teachers call this and similar movements by different names. This is the type of figure 8 where the head and shoulders move - like a sideways undulation. It is not the type where the head remains still, and the shoulders mostly so. Rachel coaches us in how to turn the head during this movement.

Undulation, Up to Down or Body Roll; Undulation, Down to up or Reverse Body Roll; Pelvic Locks Front; Interior Hip Circles are the same as in the 30 minute practice.

The Chakravakasana is the one from the 15 minute practice, and is followed by the Upavista Konasana - Spread Leg forward fold as in the 30 minute section.

Then we have the interestingly named:

Corpse Pose.

Probably so called because by the time you get through all this, you feel like a corpse. Smile! This is a well-deserved flat on back breathing and relaxation exercise! Some footage of wind blown clouds is provided as a visualization as Rachel's voice continues to guide the relaxation.

Back at the Main Menu

The remaining selections from the main menu are:

Performance - Rachel gives us a very nice performance in full Tribal regalia. She's wearing enough metal to equip a battalion! My only complaint is that the performance is only 3 minutes long! The usual BDSS MTV style camerawork becomes annoying during the performance.

Also Available - a section of brief trailers from other BDSS video releases.

Merchandise - a picture and text section of BDSS merchandise.

Carolena's Out-takes - Out-takes from Carolena's introduction - hilarious as out-takes usually are!

What I liked about this video:

There's a lot to like - Rachel's guidance is clear and relevant. As Carolena hints, this video is suitable for Belly Dancers of all genres, not just Tribal. Its a great practice companion for beginners, as Rachel reviews each movement; and for more advanced dancers, as we all need to keep in practice and in shape!

Its on DVD!

What I didn't like about this video:

Not a lot to dislike. A couple of nits as detailed above. The video does a great job of accomplishing its intent.

You can purchase this video from the Link opens in new window Belly Dance Super Stars.

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