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Gilded Serpent presents...
A review comparison of
Mini-kit gift items:
-The Art of Belly Dancing: Box Set
written by Valerie Rushmere and Jennifer Worick
-Facial Expressions for Dancers
by Natica Angilly

Review by Sadira

THE ART OF BELLY DANCING: BOX SET   The box, book cover and interior were designed by Amanda Richmond. The text was written by Valerie Rushmere and Jennifer Worick. Produced by Running Press.

This is an attractively merchandised and designed mini belly dance beginner's kit. "The Art of Belly Dancing includes a full set of finger cymbals, adhesive jewels and a 32 page primer to get you started.  Get ready to master this ancient craft".   This box set immediately grabs your attention with its pretty and compact box.  The lid is in a crimson red with gold print motif patterns running along the edge.  The front of the box shows a beautiful dancer in the same color tones in her costume against a white background with the title in eye catching print.  The back of the box is written to grab your curiosity and explains exactly what is included in the package.  This is a very well marketed product and reasonably priced at $5.95 in USA

While regular students and anyone above beginner status would not find any need to purchase this item, I think it is cleverly marketed to target a wide range of audience.  This would be perfect for young girls, teenagers, any age, as a wonderful, unique primer on dancing and the exotic appeal it portrays to the regular population.

It makes a great stocking stuffer idea, or that one of a kind gift for someone who has everything, and for that interested, but maybe shy, woman who harbors ideas of wanting to learn belly dance but hasn't had the courage to find a class to take. 

The finger cymbals are low grade quality for anyone seriously wishing to perform, yet are not just tin discs with no ring.  There is an instruction booklet that outlines in very simple, yet easy to follow format, basic movements from shimmies to arm movements, hip circles and proper body alignment.  There is also a beautiful jewel adornment that can be put on the body.

While serious dancers would not find this a necessary buy, it is arranged and produced in a very positive way that actually teaches basic steps, posture and all the beginning skills to either enjoy and improvise, or pull someone into wanting more and then looking for a serious class.    I give this a high rating for general appeal and for being an enlightening tool on the art of belly dance.  If you want more information on where you can find this genie's box of delight; contact


Natica Angilly is the founder, director, choreographer and dancer for the Natica Angilly's Poetic Dance Theater Company.  She has performed with her group around the world, and has always been a standard attraction at the Rakkasah Festival in California.

The back of this booklet goes on to explain, "The Muses are nine Greek mythological deities of inspiration, born of Mnemosyne and Zeus.  Each of the muses is an aspect of art personified, representing nine different types of poetry, and, by extension, for creative inspiration of all genres, especially dance."

This booklet of 25 pages categorizes each of the nine mythological deities and explains their particular personifications and how to incorporate their energy into your dance with an accompanying facing page that shows Natica's impression of what facial expression and feeling to be emoted with each inspiration.  Obviously this is not directed towards belly dance in any way, but is an attempt to bring theatrical exploration to dance in general and begin to define your movements with accompanying pathos and facial expressions.

While an interesting premise and a passionately proclaimed series of depictions, it is lacking overall.

The booklet quality is that of poor stock paper, and definitely looks computer generated and homemade.  The colored photos that depict the main facility of the project are amateurish at best. 

At the very back of the book is a pocket which contains a very bejeweled small mirror in which you are to practice your facial expressions.  The mirror is very pretty, but too small to be of any benefit to actually gauge a sense of your whole demeanor and body language/facial impression.  A facial impression for use on the stage is a much wider energy field then what can be seen in a small hand mirror.

While each muse is described and then used as an analogy for you to feel their influence in your presentation, it comes across lengthier in prose than any actual undertaking of how to embrace that energy or expression.

Unfortunately, I have to say that the stylizing is very 1918 modernistic dance influence, i.e. a poor imitation of Isadora Duncan's dance style and philosophy, which in this context comes across as stilted.  Large over done silent screen actor type expressions are not really something that would carry across as stage presence in dancing.

I respect Natica and her Poetic dance theater for their innovation in the art medium, but this booklet runs below standard.

If you are interested in studying this particular style of connection with the ancient mythological Greek muses, you can find out about purchasing this booklet by contacting:

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