The Joyful Journey of Dancemaking and
by American Bellydance Innovations $40.00 USD
by Dina Peace
I first got this book to review, I grew excited because the back
cover boasted over 70 color and black and white photos to look
at. When I saw the price ($40.00) I must admit that I grew
very discriminating towards my opinion of the book. Of
course, one of my first thoughts was, “what warrants this book
to be priced at 40.00?” I mean, if I was in a bookstore
and I saw this with the price, then nine times out of ten, even
if I did have the spare cash, I would by past this title and
check out the newest BD DVD from some bigwig performer or something. But
I put my initial sticker shock mentally out of the way and continued
to give this book the fairest review that I can give as an educated
consumer and Bellydance enthusiast.
far as photographs go, this book is filled with them, starting
on the title page to the resource page on 151 at the very end
of the book. I have always been a sucker for full color pictures
and there are plenty of black and white ones as well. As
far as quality, it is a mixed bag. There are some professionally
done dancer pictures coupled along with snapshots that look to
have been taken at a swinging party by your best friend and her
Hello Kitty digital camera.
all seriousness, this would be a good coffee table book. The
photos are just that luminous. Okay, now here is the meat
of the review and I can think of one word to sum it up:
book is an ambitious attempt to bring an instruction of
dance to life within the confines of a book. In comparison
to workshops, classes, and DVDs, books rank a little lower
on my list as an effective method of teaching dance. It
is difficult for me to read a particular exercise, do the
dance, and then check the book to see if I was doing it
correctly. DVDs are painfully a close second, but
nothing seems to beat a real live instructor who will observe
your movements to make sure that you are doing the dance
right or even more important, to make sure that you are
not putting your body at risk.
say all that to state that as far as books go, this is
a pretty good project. It is glossy, professional
and polished but not of the sterile quality. Ramona,
a well-seasoned teacher and performer, has a mode of speech
that is friendly for an absolute beginner but she invites
the professional or experienced Bellydancer into her instruction
with her oft-used Arabic vocabulary and technical dance
actually grew annoyed with this book, only because
I was hard pressed to find anything to complain about it. Nuts!
I found it to be in my best interest to stop looking for
chinks in the hip scarf, so to speak, and just notice what
catches my eye. Good or otherwise.
doesn’t make her instruction of dance into some isolated
art that only the dancing elite with washboard stomachs
and who wear fashionable jeans that come in single digits
can enjoy. She repeatedly makes the connection between
bellydance and public speaking. Indeed she uses the
connection very effectively and articulates it on page
22 by stating: “Choreography is a plan for eloquent communication
the way, as far as the photos go, she has dancers who represent
the beautiful shapes and complexions that we women come
in. You can find the standard skinny minnies here
along with the queens who represent the B&B clique. I
actually enjoyed Ramona’s style because she seems like
the type of down home girl who will regale you with an
awesome performance and then have an after party complete
with pizza, cake and Greek salad with extra feta cheese
(okay, that is just my little wish). She doesn’t
seem like a vicious gym bunny but rather a regular woman
who does extraordinary bellydancing.
book is organized into five parts with several chapters
in between. The chapters are not very long and they
are usually concluded with some questions to ponder over
and an exercise to do. She gives advice from how
to use energy to express your dance’s mood, tips for a
successful performance to the business of teaching belly
dance. Ramona even goes over common musical patterns
found in many types of songs.
book would be excellent when coupled with a good dance
instructor or Ramona herself. She is thorough with
her information and was successful creating a book that
people can enjoy, if their wallets were big enough.
the price of the book seems to be the biggest complaint
that I have. In today’s interesting economy especially
near the holiday time, one might spend more time vacillating
whether this book would make a good gift. The book
is good and the information is useful. I would never
say that Ramona’s price is too high, considering her considerable
skill and whatever the costs were to put the book into
print. I will say this though, if you ever catch
this book on sale at your local bookstore, get it and get
in respect to Gilded Serpent, I suppose that I should close
with some critiques, huh? I have three in total:
the price is more than I pay for groceries for a week;
Ramona waits until the third chapter to talk about stuff
that I have interest in, like how to effectively express
music; and oh yeah, the book is too informational and fun! I
forgot to mention all the darn pretty pictures that are
resplendent throughout the book, which made me want to
spend all my money on costumes. I really had to dig
for those criticisms. So there!
website with more information on this book- you
can also purchase an autographed copy here.
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
Bellydancers... I AIN'T SCARED! Bellydance Superstars- Introduction
to Bellydance DVD review by Dina
ladies seem to enjoy each other’s company
(except for an occasionally withdrawn Sonia) and the chemistry
that they have with each other comes across well in their instruction.
That is if you don’t get bored or tired before the video
vs. Barbary Coast: It’s an east coast west coast
showdown! Gina Grandi puts on a show of astronomical proportions. Review
and photos by Surreyya
Comedic timing, clever costuming and an endless supply of mojo bring
about the wonderment of the early settlers of the California gold rush, with
a taste of burlesque, and a taunt of influences from around the globe.
Fusion, Bedouin, What's the Difference? 4 DVDs reviewed
and compared by Rebecca Firestone
When I see a dancer I really like, I want to *be* her,
or him, right at that moment. My heart leaps at the music and
then leaps again when I see what they're doing. With this one,
I was interested, but not that engaged.
Del Vientre by Devorah Korek Book Review by Gregory
Burke Translation by Amina Goodyear
Book is in Spanish. Once in a while an object of desire
comes along, which is deemed important by its obscurity. Such
could be the case with this hardcover, difficult to acquire tabletop
adornment from Devorah Korek, an American-born Belly Dance teacher
living and thriving in Spain.
Dance presents Cairo Nights: 2005 and 2006 DVDs reviewed
by Catherine Barros
There are so many nuggets packed into these 3 DVDs other
than the 3 dancers for which I purchased them. I keep finding
things that I really enjoy as I go back to watch them time after
of “Tribal Beats for the Urban Streets”by
Most songs had hardly any trace of Arabic music influence.
Tribal Beats for the Urban Streets contains pop club music that
is taking a risk when delving into the realm of the belly dance
world. Will the electronic music on this CD still be the trend
in ten years or will it be old news?
For One, Two very different DVDs on Turkish Dance reviewed,
DVD review by Surreyya
I Love Turkish Dance by Sarah Skinner & Turkish
Style Belly Dance by Elizabeth Artemis Mourat