Late Than Never
A Review of 2005’s
Tribal Fusion Bellydance, Yoga, Isolations and Drills:
a Practice Companion with Rachel Brice
review by Erica
I have been
using this DVD off and on for almost three years, and here
I am finally getting around to writing a review of it. For
a long time I was working out to it everyday but then I had
a baby and fell off the tracks a little bit. I started Bikram
Yoga a couple of months ago and, for the first time, am regularly
going to another location three times a week to work out. I
have noticed that I no longer do yoga everyday at home, like
I used to, so I have decided to use Rachel Brice’s DVD to get
back on track and add some bellydance to my days too (my teacher, Christina,
is not teaching her advanced class because of an injury, so
I have been bellydance-less for months!).
of the title is used as warm up and cool down for this workout.
The first time I performed these four asanas (two to warm up
and two to cool down) I remember sweating, shaking, and feeling
like I had just had a major workout in the ten-minute warm
up. Yoga is not for the weak of mind or body.
you still have not tried yoga (I realize that there is one
or two people in North America who have not), don’t expect
this to be easy. The long, slow sun salutation works your
legs and increases your strength and balance. The locust
pose is pure torture for your abs and back.
about the yoga sections is that you are expected to go from
a standing position to lying down without any warning and,
I have found, without enough time. The three sun salutations
end with you standing tall, and then after the black screen
announces that Salabasana is next, you see your instructor
lying face down with everything on the ground. The cool down
also has the same up and down action. You end your drills standing
and then are told to press up to hands and knees and watch Rachel move
up from a lying flat position. Cat and cow is the posture you
are starting, and you end with a forward fold and roll up to
standing. Next thing you know, you are supposed to be on the
floor with your legs out in front of you, ready to stretch
both legs out to the sides. The poses are great at what they
do (warm and limber you up and cool you down), but the planning
could have been better, or a verbal transition would smooth
things out and make you feel less rushed.
three versions of the workout, a 15-minute, 30-minute and 45-minute
workout. I usually do the 45-minute set, though calling it
45 minutes is a bit of an exaggeration. It is more like 30-ish
minutes with a long savasana (corpse pose) of relaxation at
the end. Savasana is one of the most important poses in yoga,
though one of the most misunderstood and ignored. It is good
that there is so much focus on this pose, and it feels truly
luxurious to just lie there for so long sometimes, but I do
sometimes feel a bit let down by the timing of this workout.
itself begins with the hips and focuses on the upper body,
namely the hips and back.
Brice’s dancing is famous for being serpentine, but also
focuses a lot on locks and pops.
us through hip locks, chest locks, both up and down and a combination
of the two, and pelvic locks. The smoother drills include undulations
both up and down, small hip circles and rib cage figure eights.
She does a really good job at breaking down the undulations
into four movements. The movements don’t seem like they should
go together, but they magically create a beautiful dance move
when they transition from the sharp, separate positions to
a smooth, unified roll.
are in one of two positions through the workout – down and
slightly bowed with the hands at the hips or up at shoulder
level, parallel to the ground. I have not yet tried Rachel’s
new arms DVD, but this first workout seems like good preparation
for the arms workout. Holding your arms up for so long in one
position is particularly good training for strengthening what
is typically a weak area for us dancers.
When I was
pregnant, I wondered about the safety of this workout for my
uterus and its contents. I was particularly worried about the
pelvic lock, where you snap your pelvis forward, bringing the
bottom up towards the ribcage while tightening your glutes.
I suspected that this was probably the last thing that I should
be doing to the area where a new life was forming. But then,
in an old, ‘70s looking pregnancy book, I found an exercise
that was exactly this move, only done softly. It turns out
that pelvic tilts are recommended for pregnant women, so I
was on the right track without even knowing it.
If you are
pregnant and practicing this workout (with softened variations),
be assured that you can continue it with relative ease after
the baby arrives. Because the workout is all standing in place
(except for the yoga bits), you can strap your baby into a
bouncy chair or car seat and rock the seat with one foot while
continuing to workout with your upper body. This keeps baby
occupied and happy, and it adds an extra layer of challenge
to your workout!
change that I have added to the moves is to take out the
squat. Rachel has you stand in her “dance position” with
your knees bent and your knees over the toes. I have had
one teacher tell us that she wants no “squatty dancers.”
(If you have
studied with this teacher, you know who I am talking about.)
As beginners we are told to bend the knees as much as we need
to in order to gain depth and get the moves right. As we become
more flexible, we should not have much trouble with dancing
in a standing position. Being upright is better for our bodies,
from what I have been taught and believe, so I have taken out
Rachel’s dance position and replaced it with a straighter knee.
You can use
this DVD to test your rhythm knowledge by naming the rhythms
that are used for the separate isolations. The drumming is
not the most inspiring music for dancing and interpretation,
but it works perfectly for the drills you perform.
complaint is the editing of the performance. Rachel transforms
her cozy, intimate looking studio into a candle-filled, gorgeous
performance space and dances to, I think, a Pentaphobe piece.
The editing is very choppy and it is hard to see what is going
on. We are all familiar with the agony of edit-happy filming
in dance, and I think we all agree that a good dancer’s work
can stand alone, without any fancy film work. The editing for
this piece works with the music, is an interpretation with
the music, but then again so is the dance. The frequent, sudden
changes in angles are like the locks that we just practiced
and Rachel is performing now, but they really take away from
the pleasure of watching her dance. As usual, she includes
some amazing, awe-inspiring moves, so it is worth watching
the performance, even if it is hard to see what she is doing.
by Carolena Nericchio is not very memorable.
It is worth watching for the historical value, but I think
I have only watched it once, likewise her outtakes.
this is a fantastic workout that I recommend to anyone. It
will tone and strengthen your abs like a lying-down, crunches
workout cannot do.
noticed that my lower abs, the ones way down close to the groin,
have developed amazingly. Not everyone likes drills (I love
them), but if you stick with this DVD, you will find that you
quickly have far more control with your undulations and with
is available from the
BDSS site also
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Check the "Letters to the Editor" for
other possible viewpoints!
the Big Belly, Bellydance Prenatal Fitness and Dance Instruction
Program DVD review by Erica
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
the Core, Bellydance Core Fitness DVD review by Erica
What I found instead was a not-very-flashy production of a good workout
that is filled with unexpected and unusual (for bellydance) moves accompanied
by sound anatomy and posture advice and coaching.
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.
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?