Fitness DVD review: ‘Element Belly Dance’

Posted by on Jun 7, 2015 in Voice-Over | 0 comments

THE WORKOUT: Element Belly Dance (Anchor Bay, $16.98)

WHO CAN DO THIS: A high level of fitness isn’t necessary, but a high tolerance for self-consciousness is.

THE BREAKDOWN: The first segment is a good tutorial of the fundamental moves — undulations, torso circles, figure eights and various other circles, twitches and wiggles. This is followed by the Slow Sensual Belly Dance Toning, a faster-paced Belly Dance Burn, and a short shimmying dance to a drum solo. Arm movements used in the routines are not covered in the tutorial, but they’re mostly easy enough to catch on to, although fluidity will take practice.

Jacqui Lalita wears a beatific smile as she dances and, in voiceover, says things like, “stand tall and confident, feeling how lovable you are” and “evoke an energy of mystery as you wave your hands.” Depending on your attitude toward hippie Earth mother types, you’ll probably find her either charming or annoying. (She grew on me.)

That goes for the workout, too. The cueing is off and the moves and the music only occasionally coordinate, seemingly by accident, but if you can set aside perfectionism and just go with the warmhearted spirit of the thing, you should catch on and enjoy just letting your hips fly and your shoulders shimmy.

THE SWEAT FACTOR: I worked up a glow, especially from the effort of keeping my arms elevated throughout — not to mention trying to move them gracefully. Since I am rarely called upon to undulate or twitch in my day-to-day life, I found myself using muscles I never give much thought to.

BUT IS IT FUN? The less I worry about doing it right, the more fun it is.

WHEN IT’S OVER: I’m not wiped out, but I feel like I’ve worked some parts — especially my arms, core and hips.

GEAR AND APPAREL: You’ll need room to go a couple of steps forward and back and side to side. Do it barefoot, and perhaps pull together some sort of sassy outfit; evoking an energy of mystery is tough in a baggy T-shirt and shorts.

FINAL WORD: I’ve never been so glad that there is no mirror in my workout room.

Sophia Dembling is author of “100 Places in the USA Every Woman Should Go.”


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