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The Belly Dance Veil Demystified
Veils are one of a belly dancer’s most beautiful props. Floating through the air, belly dance veils look graceful and even seem to defy gravity sometimes. If you’ve ever wondered just how a belly dancer manipulates her veil, “Belly Dance With Veil” is for you.
Produced by World Dance New York, “Belly Dance With Veil” is a two hour instructional DVD hosted by belly dance instructor and costume designer Sarah Skinner that demystifies veil manipulation. The DVD covers every belly dance veil topic including hand and arm positions, turns, wraps, cascades, tricks, and traveling steps. Beyond a thorough review of these basic techniques, Skinner also includes sections on how to choose the right veil and how to recover from veil “mishaps.”
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Exercise Benefits of Belly Dance Veils
While belly dance is a Middle Eastern art form, the belly dance veil is not a Middle Eastern invention. It was Russian ballerinas who trained Egyptian dancers how to maintain graceful arm movements using veils. Originally only meant to be a dance training tool—not a prop—the veil eventually become a beautiful part of the belly dancer’s repertoire.
Belly dance veils are held mostly at shoulder height while a dancer manipulates the veil by twirling it, throwing it, or fluttering it. The goal of a belly dance veil performance is to keep air flowing constantly under the veil. Doing so requires great arm and core strength.
As a result of working with veils, many belly dancers have beautifully toned arms and shoulders in addition to strong abdominals. Practicing the technique on Sarah Skinner’s “Belly Dance With Veil” will help a belly dancer to develop this core and arm strength in addition to becoming comfortable with using a belly dance veil.
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"Belly Dance With Veil" As Part of a Workout Routine
“Belly Dance With Veil” is quite possibly the most thorough instructional veil DVD available. Skinner’s review of veil technique is exhaustive, and she describes the movements with extreme clarity. The DVD is also a pleasure to watch: Skinner is clearly a veil expert, and she’s very comfortable talking to the camera. After she explains a veil move, there is a section for viewers to practice, followed by a choreography that incorporates all of the DVD’s technique.
At $16.99, “Belly Dance With Veil” is a steal. Instructional belly dance DVDs can often come with a steep price tag—paying upwards of $40 for one 60-minute video is not uncommon. With 120 minutes of detailed instruction, Sarah Skinner’s DVD is an excellent value.
This DVD is best suited for women who already have some experience belly dancing. The veil is an excellent prop for anyone to learn, but only those looking to enhance already-existing veil technique will be ready for Skinner’s instructions. Advanced beginners and professionals alike will benefit from Skinner’s veil mishap recovery tips and be able to apply her technique to their own performances.
Alternately, “Belly Dance With Veil” is not for belly dance novices. The subject matter is not likely to keep the attention of anyone who isn’t already engaged in belly dance. Likewise, anyone looking simply for a workout will not get it with “Belly Dance With Veil.” The DVD isn’t a workout, rather it’s a survey of belly dance technique and performance tips.