A while back I wrote a post on making time to practice your dance. One easy way to do that is to pop in a DVD and follow along. However, there's a lot of belly dance DVDs on the market and it can be hard to sort through which ones are worth your money and time. Here's my top recommendations.
Best for the Brand New Belly Dancer: Belly Dance for Beginners by LeilaPerfect for the baby belly dancer, Leila does a good job of breaking down movements into manageable pieces and explaining the technique that provides the foundation of belly dance. Even for experienced dancers, it can be good to review these basics. Also, if you're looking to become a belly dance teacher, this DVD does a good job of illustrating how to explain basic moves simply and correctly.
Once you have the basics down, be sure to practice with Aziza in this 80 minute DVD. Through drills and exercises that improve isolation, extension, and muscle coordination, you will take your dancing to the next level. This DVD also includes a section on arms and hands. And my favorite section is Aziza's famous 21-minute shimmy practice that will help you sustain a killer shimmy in no time at all. Bonus is that the DVD includes a couple live performances by Aziza, one of which is my all-time favorite drum solo.
Best for Learning Finger Cymbals: How to Become a Killer Ziller by Michelle Joyce
Real belly dancers play finger cymbals. But that's not to say that it's easy. Learning to coordinate playing a musical instrument while also performing complex dance moves is a challenge, but Michelle's DVD will help you find your groove. The DVD starts with breaking down basic rhythms and then drilling those rhythms. The DVD then goes onto add dance combinations in with the zill patterns.
Best for Perfecting Your Shimmy: Shake It Out by Sherena
The hip shimmy. Probably the most popular belly dance move of all time, and also one of the hardest to master. Perfect your shimmy with Sherena as she breaks down the basic technique and then moves onto challenging layering. There's a bonus 45 minute yoga practice also included.
Best for Honing Your Performance: Meaning in Movement by Alimah
You might not be able to put your finger on it, but you know it when you see it. When a dancer makes you forgot you're sitting in your seat. And it happens because the dancer is one with her music. She's not just checking movements off a list, but she is interpreting the meaning of the song. Becoming the physical manifestation of the music itself. That's what this DVD is all about. Adding meaning, feeling, depth, and nuance to your dance. Perfect for the advanced dancer who's mastered the technique and looking to really wow audiences. I would also say definitely a must for anyone looking to compete in a competition.
I would love to hear your DVD recommendations! What DVDs are in regular rotation at your house?