the Big Belly
Prenatal Fitness and
Dance Instruction Program DVD review
I should clarify that I am not currently pregnant. My daughter, Natasha,
was born six months ago. I did, however, attend my weekly bellydance
class and follow DVDs at home throughout my entire pregnancy
and was trying to figure out what I should and should not be
doing in bellydance during pregnancy. I also currently carry
Natasha everywhere in our Baby Trekker carrier, so I strapped
our little 17 pounder to my chest to try out Naia’s Prenatal
Bellydance Fitness DVD from WorldDance New York. I figured
this and six months worth of caring for a baby and not sleeping
through the night would approximate what a third-trimester
pregnant woman would experience doing this workout.
is set up with standard workout options. The introduction,
credits, and disclaimer are separate from the workout, so you
can skip these one-time-viewing sections. The workout can be
done with or without instruction from Naia, and you can choose
a chapter to start on or do alone.
her introduction, Naia explains that she is seven months
pregnant and calms our North American concerns by telling
us that she uses the language and guidelines of the American
College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She provides
some useful all-round tips for exercising and dancing while
also the obligatory and ubiquitous list of things to avoid,
things to watch out for that could go wrong, and reasons to
not exercise during pregnancy. (The list of what can go wrong
is long and is everywhere when you are pregnant – in every
book and on every website you read, at any prenatal class that
you attend, and spread out over trips with your doctor. You
would think that being pregnant is a medical problem or that
there is something wrong with you!) The program consultant
and editor is an OB/GYN nurse practitioner with
her M.S., gives added credentials to the workout.
a small space to work with on this DVD. This is handy, as it
is about the same as I imagine everyone has in their living
room, so it minimizes the number of times you have to step
around your furniture. The slow pace may seem agonizing for
a fit, nonpregnant dancer and may seem slow during earlier
stages of pregnancy, but as that weight starts adding up and
the fatigue returns in the third trimester, I have a feeling
the pace does not seem so slow. Naia’s studio has a wall of
mirrors that she stands next to, and in some sections you can
see both her and her reflection as she dances the combinations
and shows you moves. This neither adds nor detracts from the
instruction. The camera position changes a few times, but it
is always a clear shot so that you can see what is happening
and what you should be doing. If this workout is intended for
beginners, there is a good variety of moves to learn.
a 24-minute routine, Naia is very organized and is able
to teach a full dance through the five sections. My sleep-deprived
brain was not able to quite keep up on the first try of
this DVD, but with subsequent tries I caught on.
moves, then forms combinations, and in the last section puts
the four combinations together in a dance. The challenge with
bellydance, it seems, is whether to teach it as a dance or
as a fitness class or activity. Naia takes the fitness route
by moving continuously and not giving as detailed a breakdown
of moves. Her transition from individual moves into combinations
works well, and for a dancer with any experience, the moves
are familiar. Her dance works with the music she uses, but
her counting does not. She counts to eight when a count of
four would suffice, and her counting seems to always be a bit
off the music.
I have been
bellydancing for about five years now, so it is hard to put
myself back in a beginner’s position. From the moves that Naia
incorporates, it looks like this DVD is intended for beginners,
though I think there is a little less instruction and break
down of each combination and move than a beginner would need.
The whole workout is only 24 minutes, and this includes a warm
up, upper body work, traveling steps, combining all you learn
into a dance, and a cool down. After doing the workout several
times, anyone would be able to follow along, no matter how
limited her bellydance experience. The workout may be too light
and basic for a more advanced dancer. The solution for this
person is simple, though. Do what I did and just continue attending
your regular class but moderate the faster or more intense
moves, take more breaks and drink more water, and don’t shimmy
until you are at term. (Women in North African countries do
not shimmy until they are ready to shake that baby out.) Also,
do not do any moves that involve twisting at the waist. In
yoga, these moves are done to expel any toxins, and the last
thing you want to do when you are pregnant is encourage removal
of anything in the pelvic area.
is a positive step for bellydance. It is the only prenatal
bellydance workout that I have seen available. Considering
the size of the prenatal market and bellydance’s rightful place
in it, Naia has done us a great service in introducing our
dance to a new group of women.
DVD is available through amazon.com or through the WorldDance
New York website here
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