Gilded Serpent presents...
Arms by Aruna
DVD review by Surreyya
you must get this DVD and why some instructors don't want you
to know about it.
have their strong points and weak points and will always have
something to work on. Well, more often than not, you may
have found yourself with two long appendages hanging from your
body and no idea what to do with them. You can only frame
your hips so much, play finger cymbals or deal with a veil for
so long before it gets old.
have seen so many wonderful dancers with crappy arm posture,
limbs flopping two and fro like a monkey in hot pursuit of a
can and should work on arms. It doesn't matter how good
you shimmy, roll or flutter, you can't frame it with crappy
arms. Unfortunately, I spent close to $150 on 3 videos
focused on arms (priced at about $35-45 each plus shipping)
before I discovered Aruna's "Dancer's Arms" video for about
$25. I figured at this point, since the others were total
junk, that $25 was not a huge investment by comparison.
introduction begins with a simple demonstration on how to achieve
a great posture and starting position for arm movement.
The first chapter "Middle Eastern Arms" begins with a walk through
of several variations of snake arms and alternatives for those
who may have shoulder/pain limitations.
arms are often taught poorly and with little focus on really
stretching the movement in a dynamic way - this is the most
clear and sensible breakdown I have seen.
progresses with ideas to implement snake arms with varying body
postures and syncopations. Wrist rolls are especially
well described, displayed and executed, as well as a series
of changing body positions and movements in which to implement
them. While these are basic moves, they are demonstrated
with excellent technique body posturing as well as several developing
methods in which to accent featured hip moves. I found
this section especially helpful in hand positioning, hence preventing
a cracked or jagged line, which often happens when dancers bend
wrists too far during circles and other similar moves.
The section moves on to demonstrate other arm movements such
as a Persian style arm as well as ones using a touch of a Flamenco
influence, which leads us to chapter 2, "Flamenco Arms."
is definitely challenging and to a faster tempo.
with "floreos" inward and outward, Aruna has you focus on really
separating your fingers and sensing each one in movement, truly
instilling a muscle memory connection.
progress to a series of arm postures and eventually challenging
turns incorporating arm movements. There is also some
fiery skirt work instruction. While not a huge fan of
Flamenco, I did appreciate the body positioning I came away
with, as well as the hand embellishments and passionate gesturing
and stances I now find myself doing to music, often without
even thinking about it, it's just that fun!
chapter focuses on "Hindu Arms", and is my most favorite chapter.
Beginning with a series of mudras (finger gestures), Aruna takes
the viewer on a mystical journey through a wide variety of postures
and flowing arm movements, explaining the meaning behind each
of them. From "cup of love" to "lyrical dancer" to "bow
and arrow", each movement poses the subject in a way that is
worthy of a mystical painting.
this section may not be for the Raqs Sharqi purist, it certainly
will give grace and style to anyone, and is a killer set of
base moves for fusion artists to work and develop from.
it just feels good, and much like a transcendental yoga experience,
it is pretty amazing to begin to move and use your arms to compliment
your body without having to think too hard about it. This
section ends with a dancer's prayer, which is an all around
good vibe and a nice way to finish the instructional sections.
Arms," is a follow along taxim, encouraging the subject to utilize
and practice moves combined from the previous sections.
The flow is easy, the music is peaceful, and this guide is especially
useful in developing a constant movement at differing intervals,
timing changes, juxtapositions of body weight and minor level
changes. Adagio arms is an excellent daily warm-up and
a wonderful tool for establishing comfort and confidence in
arm use. The next section is an upbeat fusion performance
showing how Aruna incorporates these movements at a faster tempo
with spins, turns and other steps. Her use of arms to
accent high and low points of the music and key up specific
instrumental sounds is especially impactful, as far too few
dancers pay attention to the music anymore. Aruna also
includes a workout section with tips to help develop lean luscious
arms. Given her experience with fitness and health, I
really appreciated her sharing these training secrets in an
easy and helpful way. Aruna is so well spoken, descriptive,
and organized in a thoughtful and progressively challenging
way to the dancer; her clarity of her ideas is easy to follow
and thoroughly enjoyable to follow along to. The music
is sensibly chosen in a way that adds to the flavor of each
chapter, is accessible to a variety of age groups and does not
compete with the instruction.
videography is impeccable, and camera angles keep the viewers
attention where it should be.
DVD is NOT - this is not a raqs sharqi instructional DVD or
whatever the latest foremost Egyptian dance guru has said is
the defining splendor of Egyptian. You will not get the
skills to out-Egypt anyone.
this DVD IS - a fantastic mental icebreaker and technique enhancer
to get you moving your arms and your body in a way where you
don't look like an idiot. Aruna has obviously mastered
many styles of dance and is an adept and experienced instructor.
more combinations of arm movements and attractive body postures
that gracefully flow from one to the next on this DVD than I
have seen in most instructional videos to date. In fact,
I double dog dare you to show me a better one. Unless
you are working one on one with a dance coach who helps you
incorporate other influences into your dancer's toolkit, I can
almost guarantee it will take you many costly lessons to learn
the half the technique, graceful arm movement, dance posture,
ideas and sheer horse-sense demonstrated in this DVD. Very professional,
extremely well thought out and a true value, this is a superb
practice DVD and dancer's companion. Other video makers
should be following Aruna's excellent example of a polished
product and affordable price point.
DVD is available through ---
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