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Tanna Valentine – Belly dance for Body Shaping: Upper Body

Bellydance For Body Shaping – Upper Body With Tanna
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Tanna – Belly Dance for Body Shaping – Upper Body Tanna leads three different exercise workouts based on belly dance floor work moves, each about 16 to 17 minutes in length. It is in the Belly Dance for Body Shaping series of workout videos produced by Neon, and consequently follows a structure similar to the others. In this video, the theme is exercises for the upper body, so each of the routines contains moves that are designed to work the muscles in this area.The video opens with a segment titled, “About This Program.” It begins with certified personal trainer Andy Troy offering a 2 ½ minute anatomy lesson on the muscles in the upper body, with focus on the back and shoulder areas. This segment is valuable for belly dance teachers who have never studied anatomy, to help understand the muscles used to produce assorted belly dance moves. Tanna then steps in to offer some historical and cultural perspective on veils and canes as props and suggestions on where to get veils and canes for use with these workouts.The next section is titled “Tutorial.” It’s a quick demonstration of the moves and combinations used on this video. This instruction is best suited for an intermediate or more advanced dancer who already knows many of these moves and can quickly figure out the remaining ones from seeing them shown briefly. The primary purpose of this segment is to introduce Tanna’s names for the various moves so she can avoid interrupting the workouts to explain them. It covers about 15 minutes, and includes a large number of moves, including some with veil and cane.Following the three tutorials are the three workouts, each 16-17 minutes in length, as follows:• The first one is the easiest, and involves dancing with large arm movements. This one uses many of the moves that the veil and cane dances use, but without a prop, which offers an opportunity to become comfortable with the move before using it to wave a prop around. • The second is somewhat more difficult, and uses a veil as a prop. The bulk of the moves in this workout are either full-body undulations or large, sweeping arm moves, but there is some spinning it that could be challenging to people who get dizzy easily. At times Tanna spins as many as 5 turns before stopping. For those who are intimidated by spinning, I’d suggest either eating candied ginger, eating fresh ginger, or taking a capsule or two of dried ginger before trying this workout. • The third routine is the most challenging of the three, and uses a cane as a prop. Appropriately, the music for this one has a strong Saidi beat and uses a mizmar to play the melody line. To me, the choreography for this routine seems more like a cardio workout and less like an upper body workout. Each of the above three workouts follows a similar structure. Each opens with a warmup about 2 ½ to 3 minutes in length that includes slow, low-intensity versions of the dance moves that will be used in the main workout itself. Next comes the main body of the workout, about 8 ½ to 9 ½ minutes in length, that uses the moves at full speed and intensity levels. Following this is the “dance” segment, 2 to 3 minutes long, which is a brief dance routine whose choreography is designed to be interesting enough for use in a performance if desired. The DVD menu structure makes it possible to jump directly to each dance routine, allowing the user to work on rehearsing and memorizing it if desired. Following this “dance” segment, each workout ends with a 1 to 2 minute cooldown.Throughout the workouts, on-screen graphics in the lower left of the screen signal which move is being done, how many total repetitions there will be, and which repetition is currently being done. I find this to be a valuable feature of all the Belly Dance for Body Shaping workout videos, though there’s something about the moves on this video that makes it seem less effective here than on the others.Tanna’s workout choreography shows a strong jazz influence, including moves such as lunges, Arabesques, and large swooping arm movements. From an Oriental perspective, she aims more for Turkish moves such as rib cage circles and undulations, rather than Egyptian, which is appropriate to the upper body focus of this workout. Although I like to spin myself, I’m not entirely comfortable with the decision to include so much spinning in the second workout. Many people can’t go more than 2 turns before becoming dizzy, and it’s also harder to keep an eye on the television screen to see the cueing when spinning.The video includes a 4 1/2 minute veil performance by Tanna to New Age music. She wears a professional-quality gold and white bra/belt set with a flowing white skirt. Her dance style in this performance emphasizes the use of moves that keep the veil in constant motion – spins, large arm movements, traveling steps with the silk veil floating behind, etc. The veil seems to flow almost constantly and the overall segment has an ethereal quality to it. Throughout this performance, Tanna uses many of the moves that comprise the second workout, showing how they look in a performance.


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