Gilded Serpent presents...|
Marquerite's Video -
"Spins & Turns"
Video review by Yasmela
Spins and Turns with Marguerite is one of the newer offerings in the International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance instructional and performance video series. As with all of the IAMED videos, the production quality is excellent. As for the content, so much of what is in a video is subjective. The following review reflects only my own impressions of what is offered and I have no doubt others will have different impressions.
The video is divided into sections, beginning with Warm-Up and Exercises. This section is very detailed and also very good.
Marguerite explains how to do each exercise and then amply demonstrates it, including modifications for dancers who are less limber or just starting out. I was amused by one of her statements that advised the viewer to “go as fast as you can but no faster.” This is good advice for a myriad of things, don’t you think?
Marguerite moves on to the Technique section next. She has a unique way of breaking down turns that I found a little unusual; however, for beginning dancers this section might be really valuable. Her explanations are very detailed, although at times I felt she made simple moves seem harder than they needed to be. Her method of teaching a barrel spin involves placing your head on a wall and turning with your hands placed next to your head. I’m sure this works in person, but on the video it was a little bizarre and rather confusing. She also mentioned a "chain link fence technique," which, when I thought about it later, made sense, but in the context of the video it left me puzzled. Perhaps just leaving out methods that aren’t demonstrated would be better. Teaching on a video is different from teaching in person.
For some reason Marguerite chose to teach her repertoire of spins and then come back at the end of this section to teach spotting and arm work. As I watched her break down her spins in the beginning of the technique section, I waited for her to explain arm placement and spotting. When she didn’t, I thought that she just wasn’t going to do it at all. I found this arrangement clumsy and awkward.
This is obviously a form of teaching technique with which I am unfamiliar. I learned to spot in a more traditional ballet-founded method. If Marguerite’s technique works for the viewer, great! Adding arms after teaching footwork for the turns is not the most efficacious way to help a dancer integrate movement, but results in unnecessary repetition of movements that were already demonstrated. The material presented could have been done in a more logical progression.
It is a LONG video, perhaps too long - 93 minutes devoted to spins and turns seems excessive. This material could have been covered more efficiently in less time. That said, the content will surely be of interest to dancers whose focus is spins and turns.
Marguerite’s two performances at the end are interesting. The first one is in a cabaret setting and is a nice demonstration of the techniques she broke down earlier. She is a charming dancer who has a good grasp of putting a move across and her spins are a nice enhancement to an accomplished performance. I was less engaged by the second performance. It was vaguely reminiscent of some Sufi spinning I have seen and was in an “interpretive” style that I do not enjoy.
However, I feel certain that some viewers will find this section lovely and profound. There is very little music used in the teaching portion of the tape and I missed that. I also think future productions need to be careful of confusing delivering information with just filling time. This production was not as well directed as the other IAMED videos I have seen, but it does touch on a neglected part of the dance. Modern Egyptian style dance doesn’t call for much spinning, and teaching spins and turns as a specialty is an interesting concept. There is much for beginning dancers to learn from this tape, and the high production quality makes it easy to watch.
If this is an area about which you wish to learn more, this tape is a worthy investment.
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