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Gilded Serpent presents...
Kaleila’s Belly Dance Baby DVD
Dancing While Pregnant
Review by Merika

Zil Rating= 2 1/2 zils

In the past few years it seems there has been an explosion of prenatal belly dance videos and classes. Whereas once we only had Delilah’s groundbreaking performance video Dance to the Great Mother and the German instruction video Bellydance during Pregnancy, there now seems to be a plethora of choices for both the dancer who becomes pregnant and the newbie who enters the belly dance world while pregnant. Kaleila’s Belly Dance Baby DVD is a performance video that would appeal to both.

In this touchingly personal video, Kaleila sets out to “inspire other pregnant women to feel beautiful.” There are four dances: a Moroccan guedra basket dance, a veil dance, a fire dance with two handheld candles, and a sword dance. Each piece is introduced by Kaleila, which keeps the pace lively, and we learn more about her own story and the meaning of her dances. The music is well-known in the belly dance community, with 3 of the 4 songs by Solace. The costumes are varied, yet all within the loosely-defined tribal category.

Kaleila performs simple combinations and basic belly dance moves. There is nothing that will make the experienced dancer think “I have to try THAT!”, but that’s not the point of this video.

The point is to show what CAN be done and how the body can still move fluidly while carrying a baby within. And that she does accomplish, and with some surprisingly fast dance moves.

On the downside, I found myself wishing for a bit more depth in the performances – emotional, spiritual, or just some sort of connection to the viewer. But, she seemed to dance all of it without breaking a sweat, and she must have been working hard!

The video is shot on location at a Middle Eastern restaurant, with the typical wall decorations – hung tapestries, pillows and painted outdoor scenes. While the production value was good (aside from one piece with not-so-great sound), the small size of the rooms she dances in did limit the camera angles and meant Kaleila was unable to perform any traveling steps or really move around much.

Overall, if I were pregnant (again), I would want to see this video. It’s a lovely personal story, and reminds me that women can move in all sorts of beautiful soft ways even in the heights of pregnancy. Congratulations, Kaleila!

I would not recommend this DVD for beginning dancers because the breakdown is minimal and the instruction is fast-paced.

DVD available through Kaliela's site

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Check the "Letters to the Editor" for other possible viewpoints!

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