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  1. #11
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    Default Review: Veil with Aziza



    Veil with Aziza is an open-level instructional DVD for dancing with veils, American style belly dance. It is a complete workout with warm up, technique, combinations and a cool down. It is probably most suitable for intermediate to advanced students.

    Note: Aziza prefers silk veils, i.e. most of the movements will work better with a veil of light silk (or a very light veil of chiffon) than heavier veils. The veil you are working with also needs to be long enough (see the introduction), as you will be wrapping it around your body and draping it in various ways.

    Content:
    1. Introduction (a bit of history, about materials and care of veils, how to hold it and how to turn under it).
    2. Concepts such as: Considering the veil as an extension of your body, and your body as an extension of the music; the invisible shield; catching the veil with air; how to incorporate the veil work with poses, transitions and crescendos; and focusing of the pathways of the movements.
    3. Warm up of upper body and neck
    4. Technique and variations ("scoop and pivot", “burrito”, “roman cape”, “sharita”, “flourishes”, “toga” and stepping through the veil).
    5. Combination # 1 (combining moves from the first section of technique)
    6. Technique and variations (“angel wings”, “half angel”, “helicopter” and "juggling the veil")
    7. Combination # 2 (combining moves from both the sections)
    8. Cool down
    9. Closing/Review
    10. Performance

    This is a complete workout and a very good practice companion for practicing various wraps and drapes of the veil.

    I really like the concepts she introduces that will help you go beyond beginner style technique of linking isolated moves together, rather than a person holding a piece of fabric and the way they are incorporated help you make the technique your own, enhancing your veil work beyond this DVD. I also appreciate the brief history of veils in belly dance.

    Each of the moves and combinations are clearly broken down to bits and pieces, and Aziza offers useful tips on presentation and how to avoid common pitfalls. She goes slow enough to follow along without getting me bored and show variations of each move. She also shows the moves in various angles, as she would do in class and emphasize the transitions between the different moves.

    To quote one of the reviews from Amazon.com:
    As an instructor, Aziza is very engaging and comes across as friendly and fun. She breaks down the technique very clearly and provides flawless demonstrations. I love the way she has organized her presentation as the entire lesson flows logically and beautifully. The DVD concludes a fabulous performance by the instructor that demonstrates beautiful veil work.

    As a fan of Aziza, I might be biased, but I’ll give it full score: 5 of 5 camels. I’ve seen this DVD several times, and still don’t get tired of it.

    Oh, any negative points? Technically speaking I miss the possibility to jump between sub chapters, not just the main chapters, but this goes for most instructional DVDs I’ve seen. Playing time is app. 50 minutes, but those are 50 efficient minutes without any unnecessary breaks.
    Anything else? Nope, can’t think of anything else right now…
    Last edited by Daimona; 08-14-2010 at 05:00 PM. Reason: grammar
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  2. #12
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    Default Review: Smooth as silk Veil with Katia



    "Smooth as silk Veil with Katia" is an open-level instructional DVD for extra long (3.5-4 yards) silk veils, American style belly dance.

    Even though this instructional DVD is made for extra long veils, I didn’t have any problem following the instructions with my ordinary length veil. The main difference is that you’ll loose some of the effect gained from the larger veil, but the moves are still possible to execute as long as the veil is made of thin silk.

    Content (I might have missed some details):
    1. Introduction
    2. Basics (how to hold the veil and the basic position)
    3. Floats and flutters (walking with the veil, waves, sudden swells and “hummingbird”)
    4. Pulse (sudden vibrations through the fabric by giving it a sharp jerk forward with the hands).
    5. Flips (I don’t know how to descript it shortly)
    6. Vertical waves (large waves, “surge”, “the swing” and traveling to the side with snaky moves.
    7. Horizontal waves (“cloud”, “flames”, “Venus” and “Jazz walk”)
    8. Wavy discards (“twisted back walk”, “outburst”, “melt down” and “sky scraper”).
    9. Twisted fun (“cyclone”, figure eights, loops and spirals)
    10. Twisted discards (“wip”, “a big hoop” and “Crazy eight”)
    11. Final comments
    12. Performance (app. 5 minutes)

    The instructions are easy to follow, with plenty of revision and a lot of practical information. I like the way Katia is breaking down the movements and combinations both with and without the veil, and repeat them with music, but I don’t know why she drops the veil every time(!) she is explaining something as she needs some seconds to get back and to pick it up again. Katia also has some nice tips in general and include small details like adding the head. She emphasizes timing the veil and that you need time to let the veil flow before you continue the move.

    While watching it, I got a feeling that something was missing. I couldn’t put the finger on it until I watched “Veil with Aziza” shortly after. In my humble opinion, one of the most important things to make a veil flow smoothly, are transitions between various combinations and movements, an issue Katia didn’t emphasize at all.

    Unfortunately, the progression was too slowly for my personal taste and I got bored (particularly in the first part). One reason is simply that some of the movements didn’t appeal to me. As I’ve danced with ordinary chiffon veils for several years, there were too many revisions and repetitions of the easier moves.

    Although, the last part of the DVD was better than the first part. As soon as I noticed a glimpse in the eye of Katia (I love passionate dancers, dancing with a glimpse in the eye), I sort of woke up. I also enjoyed the last part of the performance very much where Katia played the veil as if it was a khaleegy dress.

    It is an ok instructional DVD. Technically speaking, it is good – but I miss the possibility to jump between sub chapters instead of the main chapters (but this goes for most instructional DVDs I’ve seen). On a scale from 1 to 5 camels, I’ll give it 3,5.
    The playing time is approximately 1 ½ hour, which makes it a good value for the money and it's probably worth adding to your video library if are a beginner with veil or you're interested in expanding your repertoire of American-style veil moves and like Katia’s dance style.
    Last edited by Daimona; 08-14-2010 at 05:04 PM. Reason: grammar
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  3. #13
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    Default Review: FCBD Tribal Basics Vol. 3 Zils



    FCBD Tribal Basics Vol. 3 Zils is an introduction to playing zils in ATS.

    Content
    1. Introduction (general use of zils)
    2. Simple Music Theory (beat, measure, rhythms, tempo and accents, and various ways of producing sounds with the zils).
    3. Patterns and exercises (6 patterns; RL, RLR, “military”, “baladi” and “Moroccan six”).

    Patterns and exercises are the main part of the DVD. The three demonstrated ways of producing sounds with the zils (there are more, but these aren’t covered) are used for most of the 6 patterns demonstrated.

    I do like the progression of the various patterns and that all three techniques are played for all the patterns, but I find the second section too weak (too simple and too simplified) and the patterns and exercises too few (why just 6 different patterns?).

    Total playing time is approximately 30 minutes, but as 10 minutes are used on the performance, there are only 20 minutes left for instructions.
    Technically, I’m not satisfied with this DVD either, as the quality is not suitable for watching on a rather large HD TV.

    If you are looking for a complete guide of playing and dancing with zils and not an introduction to zils in ATS, you’d rather buy another DVD.
    I simply want more than this. 1 of 5 camels.
    Last edited by Daimona; 02-03-2010 at 12:21 AM.
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  4. #14
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jujube View Post
    Sure, reviews would be great.
    Jujube: Here they are! I hope you find them useful.
    BTW, please excuse bad grammar and spelling etc. I should have been in bed now.
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  5. #15
    Member Jujube's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daimona View Post
    Jujube: Here they are! I hope you find them useful.
    BTW, please excuse bad grammar and spelling etc. I should have been in bed now.
    Thanks so much, Daimona! These are terrific, really broken down reviews. Very helpful! I've got some new lemmings now, and am mentally making some long-term study plans with the suggestions made here! I ordered my first zills, Killer Ziller, (I have Drillsx3 so can use that too), and Sarah Skinner's veil DVD to start me out. I still need to get Zill Speak, and will work up to Z-Helene, Aziza, Shoshanna, and Aziza. (Probably others I've wishlisted but am not remembering. I adore Amazon's universal wish list!)

    Thanks to everyone, this is a lot of really great info! I appreciate you taking the time to share your insight!

  6. #16
    Member Nath's Avatar
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    Our instructor is planning on introducing tambourines. Anything out there for that? Or does that follow the same rules as zills?

  7. #17
    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
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    I have Uncle Mufafo's "25 Essential Rhythms" CD, too, it's wonderful.

    WhatEVER you do, don't, and I mean, DON'T get Dolphina's "Bellydance with Veils" (also includes zill "work"). Well, don't get Dolphina's anything, period. Before she gets into the zill instructional, she does finger exercises using mudras, and tries to explain their meaning. She demonstrated one mudra, and stated that it meant, "A-OK."



    Not that I'm an expert by any means, but that woman has NO earthly idea about the real meaning behind the different mudra signs. gaaaaaaah...

    She's...ohhhhhhh, never mind, I'll be nice and shut up...
    Last edited by Farasha Hanem; 02-04-2010 at 09:13 AM.

  8. #18
    Junior Member Amira Hamzar's Avatar
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    Default Learning Zills and Veils from Video

    Concerning Veils:
    I own two IAMED veil DVDs: one by Aziza that deal with Chiffon and the other by Katia that teaches you all sorts of helpful tricks when working with Silk.
    I tell my students that Veils can be like cats or dogs; chiffon is like a dog and will take commands quite easily where silk is like a cat and might just look at you cross-eyed if you ask it to do something.
    Anyway, back to the DVDs…I love both of them and they have helped me tremendously! I even used what I learned form Katia’s silk Veil video to choreograph a routine for a song for my chapter of PURE (Public Urban Ritual Experiment, PURE - Public Urban Ritual Experiment).
    I do own other Veil instructional videos, and those are great to introduce someone to Veils, but these are the two that I have found that will take you to “the next level”.

    Concerning Finger Cymbals:
    I struggled and struggled with Finger Cymbals until I purchased Ansuya’s IAMED videos. I tried other videos and I just couldn’t “get it”. Ansuya teaches you how to “speak drum” (doom, tek, ka) which gave me the “light bulb” moment that I needed. This also incidentally helped me once I started taking Middle eastern Drumming class!
    Anyway, Ansuya also teaches you how to apply the rhythms to a dance move. In the second DVD, she goes into greater detail as to how to string different rhythms together while dancing as well as how to “roll” your wrists so that you don’t get tired while dancing. When I met Ansuya in person, I thanked her for these videos and told her how much they helped me!

  9. #19
    Member Rassi's Avatar
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    I love Aziza's veil video and use the movements often. And the performance at the end is so lovely.

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