Like many women, I recently took an interest in learning how to bellydance. Not only are the moves alluring and sexy, but have you SEEN the abs and hips on these dancers? Awesome! After research, I found that there were no bellydance classes near me, so I figured I would do the next best thing: get an instructional DVD.
I purchased this DVD, entitled The Goddess Workout: Intro to Bellydance. It stars Dolphina, who has an extensive series of bellydancing DVD's. I must admit that I saw her name over and over again when I searched for "bellydance" on Amazon, and I thought she must be some sort of bellydancing guru.
When the DVD arrived in the mail, I was very anxious to try it out. Some parts of Dolphina's instruction were very good. On some movements, she broke them down into a series of smaller movements to help you coordinate. There were other times that I was frustrated with her lack of explanation, however. For example, she instructed the viewer to make a figure 8 shape with the movement of their hips. I could not for the life of me visual this: a figure 8 on its end, flat, on its side?! There was no further explanation and I found it hard to tell from watching her exactly what to do (I ended up going somewhere with a mirror so that I could see if I was imitating her correctly, but that's something you shouldn't have to do if the instruction is good enough!).
I also found it extremely frustrating that she for the most part did not explain at all what to do with your feet during certain hip moves. The video also did not show her feet at all. From what I had read on my research in bellydance, there is no part of your body that is not used -- arms, chest, shoulder, neck, hips, legs and feet all move during the dance and contribute to a certain look. But the proper way to move your feet was almost completely lacking in Dolphina's instruction.
Perhaps most disconcerting to me was the camera work on the "routine" that you perform at the end. Dolphina is supposed to be your instructor, and you are supposed to follow her lead and do the moves that she does. However, there were many sections that stopped showing her dancing, and would zoom in on parts of her body or her face when she was giving the camera a sultry look. Besides being angry that my instructor was not instructing me -- even passively -- I got that growing feeling of unease... That feeling you get when everyone but you is in on a joke. I seriously thought to myself, "What kind of video IS this?!" Talk about awkward!
Overall, I say skip this video if you want to learn to bellydance. If you're looking for a pretty light ab workout, it could be worth buying if you can find it for a couple bucks. There are plenty of other exercise DVD's that I'm sure do a much better job of working you out, though. I think the part of my body that got the most exercise were my eyes -- from doing all that rolling!