Gilded Serpent presents...
the Sacred Shapes
with The Goddess Dancing
Review by Eugenia
the Sacred Shapes reminds me a little
too much of my ENGL 230 class, Symbolism in Literature, back in
college. "The Goddess Dancing" teachers Anita-Cristina,
Karen, and Cathy teach with
a near religious and poetic air, dwelling extensively upon the
symbolic imagery of each of the five Sacred Shapes: the circle,
the crescent, the figure eight, the shimmy, and the undulation.
is perfect in its wholeness. One of the oldest symbols found,
it has represented the mystery of being throughout the ages. Circles
are seen everywhere. In the full moon, ripe fruit on vine
and limb, in the belly of a pregnant woman. Circles are within
our bodies too. They are in our eyes, our belly buttons, our spinal
columns. Even our cells are in the shape of a circle."
(Bellydancing the Sacred Shapes)
poetic introduction like the above precedes every shape that Anita-Cristina,
Karen, and Cathy teach.
to the teachers, the crescent reminds us of the smiles on our
faces and the arms that hold us; the figure eight symbolizes infinity
and the blood flowing through our bodies; the shimmy is an invisible
shape that expresses excitement; the undulation recalls the belly
of a woman in contractions, a snake, and the curve of our spines.
Each of the
teachers' backgrounds informs the presentation in this introductory
video. Anita-Cristina holds a Masters in Education and learned
drumming and ritual with the EarthDrum Councel and EarthSpirit
Community; Karen has a bachelors in writing, literature,
and publishing; Cathy is a certified Family Nurse and Nurse Midwife.
Bellydancing the Sacred Shapes talks about the "Goddess
Culture" as one of the philosophical, ritualistic sources
of goddess dancing (perhaps Anita-Cristina's influence).
The teachers emphasize the symbolic imagery of each sacred shape
and the music sounds rather New Age (Karen, Anita-Cristina).
Each movement is broken down and explained in anatomical detail
this is an excellently taught video which a beginner bellydancer
may benefit greatly from, if only for the anatomical breakdowns
my opinion, however, I could do with more traditional Middle Eastern
music. I would also do quite well without the extensive
symbolism and dwelling on words and poeticism (and
I'm a creative writing and literature major.)
bellydancer may not be able to dance along to this video from
beginning to end with the limited amount of time allowed for the
viewer to learn each movement before progressing to full speed.
While the teachers explain each movement anatomically in detail
and start off at a slow pace, after a few rounds of eight beats
they speed up and invite the viewer to do a full time shoulder
or hip shimmy or undulation, just like them. While the beginner
may still be trying to keep a shoulder shimmy going for longer
than five seconds at a time, the instructors are already smiling
and floating about, traveling with their full time shimmies and
undulations. Hopefully this will impress and inspire rather
than discourage the new bellydancer/viewer.
the list of movements covered in the framework of the five sacred
shapes in Bellydancing the Sacred Shapes:
Cathy and Anita-Kristina doing the Creation Dance
Circle: the horizontal hip circle, the vertical and horizontal
chest circles, and head circles.
Crescent: horizontal and vertical hip and chest slides,
and head slides.
Figure Eight: horizontal and vertical figure eights with
Shimmy: twisting hip shimmy, regular hip shimmy, shoulder
shimmy, and the "earthquake shimmy" (full body vibrations.)
Undulation: body waves, snake arms.
At the end
of the lesson, Anita-Cristina, Karen, and Cathy put the sacred
shapes together into "The Creation Dance." Anita-Cristina's
poem about sacred shapes is recited while the dancers dance according
to the words being read. Viewers may dance along to this
fairly simple choreography/poem and enjoy the movements as well
as the words and imagery. As dancers, we may be more used
to letting the music or rhythm dictate our movements and choreography
(especially since not all of us understand the lyrics to Egyptian
or Turkish music), but with this video, we can experience dancing
to pure words, for a change.
a little extra poetry and a dreamy atmosphere throughout, Bellydancing
the Sacred Shapes may just be that special Christmas present
you're looking for, especially for your more literary-minded
this may even be something you'd like to buy for yourself, too--after
all, where else will you get a private lesson taught by three
teachers who are a musician, a writer, and a nurse, and all fun,
hippy women who do excellent belly flutters and embrace bellydance
with all of their hearts?
Karen, and Anita-Cristina
DVD is available for purchase here-
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