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  1. #31
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sedoniaraqs View Post
    Third, she didn't fully describe or break down what she was doing, which makes even the basic A-Z inappropriate for beginning or even early intermediate dancers, and probably difficult to use for more advanced dancers. The lack of breakdown didn't bother me for the hip and upper body and arm parts of the movement, but it really bothered me for the footwork. She didn't describe, for example, where your weight should be going into a turn, which foot you should land on after a turn, etc. She would also say "turn to the left", "turn to the right', but my brain thinks in terms of clockwise and counterclockwise.
    Back before she revamped her website, the A-Z video was sold as an Advanced level instruction, and the assumption would be that you worked through the two before it, before you started the A-Z video. I see now that there isn't such info on her website.

    I do not have her previous videos any longer, so I can't remember if they covered everything in the A-Z video, but I remember they taught some of the basic movements used in the A-Z video.

    The fact that this video (now a dvd) is being called a "Beginner" dvd is bothering me. It is in no way a beginner video, for people who need the kind of breakdowns beginner videos USUALLY cover.

    Fourth, some of the combos were interesting, but what she did not do is demonstrate their full potential by matching them to different music well. She used only a couple of pieces of music in each video. I'm sure this had to do with copyright and the limitations of her budget. I totally understand, and yet the whole concept of using combos of movements with particular kinds of phrases of music was lost.
    Many of them work well with pop music, but if you don't want to dance to Arab techno, well.... yeah.

    I think I'm going to write Hossam Ramzy about this, because this is where he could really make a huge difference, with owning (I assume) the rights to his own music. He should make a dvd that covers this kind of thing -- combos to different types of music -- WITH commentary on them!

    She also talks about "sacred geometry" in the advanced version. I'm not even sure what sacred geometry is, but I'm pretty sure the Egyptian dancers don't use it to make dances.
    No, I don't think it's part of the current Egyptian mystical tradition, or the musical tradition. It resonates more with Western dancers who have been exposed to western mysticism and neoplatonism. BUT, sacred geometry defies some of the stage dynamics concepts I've seen discussed in modern dance, so it's still considered fringe.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tammy View Post
    Hi sstacy123,
    Just wanted to inform you that "Shareen El Safy DVDs" are not in back order, they are all available. Shareen wanted me to let you know. Thanks!
    Tammy
    Strange...I ordered from dahlal and shortly thereafter got a phone call saying it was backordered, did i still want it...and that was a few weeks ago...so I dunno.

  3. #33
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    Sorry, I thought you meant from Shareen El Safy, you could just order the videos/ dvds from Shareen herself, she is real quick about sending them out. Sorry for any confusion. Best of luck with the dvds.
    Tammy
    PS: I didn't know that Dahlal was selling the Shareen DVDs yet, I thought it was just videos. If that is the case, check out her website, she has the price of the DVDs listed Shareen el Safy .

    Quote Originally Posted by sstacy123 View Post
    Strange...I ordered from dahlal and shortly thereafter got a phone call saying it was backordered, did i still want it...and that was a few weeks ago...so I dunno.

  4. #34
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    No, I didn't even think to look for her personal webiste...(not till afer I replied to your message and decided to check) I feel pretty sure that when I ordered it had a drop down box for DVD and that is what I selected....but I today decided to revisit the site and that option has disappeared...it is also not showing my order under the order history so I don't know what is going on...

  5. #35
    Member PriscillaAdum's Avatar
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    Default Keti's A to Z

    I bought Keti Sharif's original A to Z video years ago when I was a begginer and when it was only available on VHS tape. I found it too advanced for a begginer. I was able to do the first segment of combinations comfortably, I think up until the D or the E. The second segment of combinations was more advanced and I remember being very frustrated by the lack of breakdown. The third segment was particularly difficult for my level and I felt no motivation to even try it. I ended up putting the video on a shelf and forgetting about it. I did watch it once or twice after that, when I was more advanced and when I WAS able to do the more complex combos, but I found that I didn't really like them and had no desire to use any of them. So, for me personally the video was pretty useless.

    Regards
    Priscilla

  6. #36
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PriscillaAdum View Post
    I bought Keti Sharif's original A to Z video years ago when I was a begginer and when it was only available on VHS tape. I found it too advanced for a begginer. I was able to do the first segment of combinations comfortably, I think up until the D or the E. The second segment of combinations was more advanced and I remember being very frustrated by the lack of breakdown. The third segment was particularly difficult for my level and I felt no motivation to even try it. I ended up putting the video on a shelf and forgetting about it. I did watch it once or twice after that, when I was more advanced and when I WAS able to do the more complex combos, but I found that I didn't really like them and had no desire to use any of them. So, for me personally the video was pretty useless.

    Regards
    Priscilla
    Yeah -- I think there's a pretty specific level those are designed for, and you can easily fall in or out of that level in a short time. FWIW, I think the videos are a better resource for teachers.

  7. #37
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    In additions to teachers, I think Keti's first A - Z video is a good one for certain combinations a dancer wants. None of her DVD's inlcuding astrobelly are for the beginner and you really need some experience under your belt to do. I do agree with the comments about weight change and I gave up on turning left or right long ago as I'm directionally challanged.

  8. #38
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    Default Visual Melodies

    [QUOTE=Aziyade;55482]When you saw the performances, did they strike you as not being the "Egyptian" style that you were used to seeing from Dina and Randa? I got a VERY different vibe off Serena's dancing than I have Dina and Randa. I'm wondering if that's because these are obvious choreographies, and she's dancing them as an INSTRUCTOR would, or if it was something else...

    Anything like that strike you as well? (end quote)

    Sorry I didn't see this earlier! I am not sure. I really like Serena's dancing as she seems so delicate and serene and I think she expresses the music very well. I am not sure if I am qualified to judge how Egyptian her dancing is--but she seems very sincere to me. I agree her dancing is very different than Dina or Randa--they seem much more dramatic to me. I am not sure how much of that is down to the dancer's personalities. I love Dina and Randa's dancing as well, but at least Dina seems to be partially about pushing boundaries and both seem like "Divas" to me (meant in a nice way as I do admire both of them in different ways). My other "Egyptian" instructional vids are Raqia Hassan videos--and I do think there are differences between Raqia and Serena in terms of technique--but some similarities as well.

  9. #39
    Member Suhad's Avatar
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    Ayizade, that is an EXCELLENT idea about writing to Hossam Ramzy with suggestions for the next DVD (if there is one). I bought the Visual Melodies after having read his commentary on his website and thought that what I would be getting was completely different than what I got. It's nice dancing, but it's not something one would intuitively pick up unless you happen to be especially gifted in that way...and if I was I wouldn't have needed to buy the video.

    I have decided that the best way to learn is by watching dancers dance. I recently broke down and bought one of the Stars of Egypt dvd's and one of Fifi Abdo (who is my absolute favorite dancer!) and I plan to watch them both a few more times before sitting down with pen and paper and break down the rhythms, and then go back and look at combos the dancers use with those rhythms. Then, go back and listen to the instrumentation overall, and take a relook in that light. I can't help it, I'm very methodical, and it's the only way I can learn -- by putting it into logical terms.

    In that sense, regardless of the validity of some of Sausan's assumptions, I can agree that there IS a logical way to approach the dance, and there IS a sort of code there. The trick is figuring it out.

  10. #40
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suhad View Post
    In that sense, regardless of the validity of some of Sausan's assumptions, I can agree that there IS a logical way to approach the dance, and there IS a sort of code there. The trick is figuring it out.
    LOL! I argued with Sausan, via email, for literally YEARS before what she was saying started to make sense. She was very patient with me, and I think she knew I would start to "get it" eventually. Basically she and I weren't sharing a vocabulary, and once I knew how she was using various terms, it all started to make sense.

    Since one of the criticisms of her method was that she was primarily focusing on dancers as ACTORS, acting a role rather than dancing in their own natural way, I decided to try analyzing concert footage of Sohair Zaki using Sausan's criteria. I agree that there IS a code of some sort, whether it's a deliberate intellectual decision, or part of the dancer's personal/cultural response to the music. It's quite fascinating, and less complicated and fussy than I wanted originally to make it, based on standards used in ballet and modern. Just another reason why I don't like comparisons between bellydance and ballet.

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