If you've been reading my blog these days you'll know that I'm making an effort to incorporate more exercise into my weekly routine, and one strategy for doing that was to do more dancing. I've started taking Zumba classes, and just that one weekly class has gotten my dancing juices rolling. I'm already thinking about other dance classes I'd love to take -- tap, jazz, hip-hop, even belly dancing and pole dancing! Due to time and finance constraints, I probably won't be taking more than one (or at the most, two) dance classes at any point in time.
Fortunately, there's a wealth of dance and fitness DVDs out there that you can buy and try at home. They're so inexpensive compared to signing up for a class, you can work out and learn in your own home, and you can alternate DVDs so you never get bored! If you're a self-motivated kind of person, dance and fitness DVDs are a great option.
I actually received a couple of belly dancing DVDs to review late last year, but I wanted to wait until I was sure that these DVD's would actually be good enough to become a part of my regular fitness routine before I gave them the thumbs-up. It was definitely worth the wait, because I've been working out to one of them fairly regularly (i.e. I'm trying to work out to a fitness DVD 1-2 times per week, and I've been using the Belly Dancing DVD 2-4 times per month), and I think they're great!
I received Vol. 2 (Belly Dance for Fitness) and Vol. 4 (Belly Dance for a Total Body Workout) of Amira Mor's Belly Dance DVD series. Amira Mor is a reknowned belly dancer (we actually got one of her Behind the Veil DVDs a couple of years ago because we wanted to show the kids how beautiful belly dancing) who has the #1 belly dancing DVD series on Amazon.
Here are some brief descriptions of the titles I received:
Belly Dance for Fitness
This DVD is the ABC s of belly dance, aimed at using the art of the dance for a well-rounded fitness program. Amira Mor and the Jewels of the Nile bring the energy of a live class into the privacy of your home. Amira breaks down the sensual movements of belly dance to the most basic and easy to understand instructions. You will be guided through step-by-step of body isolations, the fundamental building blocks to the beauty of belly dance. Amira shares with you the tips and secrets that make belly dance the perfect combination of feminine sensuality and fitness. Amira Mor is an internationally renowned belly dancer, choreographer, producer, and certified fitness instructor as well as the director of the Jewels of the Desert Dance Company.
Belly Dance for a Total Body Workout
NO MORE SUFFERING WITH BORING EXERCISE! Amira brings her classroom into your home with 20 students from ages 6 to 66. Amira and her students guide you through her innovative, state of the art, fat burning and body toning workout for every part of your body. This DVD is for you if you want to lose weight, flatten your belly, firm your butt, hips and thighs, sculpt a curvy body, increase your energy level, build stamina, improve muscle strength, balance your emotional stability, look and feel younger. You will definitely have "Mor" fun and success with this total body workout.
Here's what I love about the DVDs (note: I'm going to focus on Vol. 4: Belly Dance for a Total Body Workout, because it's the one I regularly do. Vol. 2: Belly Dance for Fitness is also great, but it's more appropriate for people who are having difficulty with the belly dance movements)
* The people in the workout are Real People, not perky, toned models who you know you'll never ever look like, even if you shimmied from here to eternity. Don't worry, you still have the gorgeous body of Amira and some of the younger dancers to inspire you -- but the point is, there are also other women of all shapes and sizes. There's even a little girl of about 8 or 9! Having all these students there makes you feel like the workout is not too out of reach; if they can do it, so can you.
* Both DVDs give you a great workout! You might think belly dancing looks easy -- for the first five minutes. The rest of the time you'll be doing some killer isolations that really work your arms, core muscles and legs. The first time I did the workout, my arms felt like they were going to fall off! And I still can't go down as low as Amira and her students do when they do hip rolls with bent knees. Doing the movements when the tempo speeds up is really challenging, and that's what keeps me interested and engaged. I can definitely feel my muscles toning up, and combined with my Zumba workout I'll soon be ready to rock the dance clubs! Okay, maybe not, but I'm more in tune with my body, and that makes me happy.
Here's what I think could be improved:
* The quality of the Vol. 4 DVD leaves a lot to be desired. While Belly Dance for Fitness was filmed on a simple set with beautiful middle eastern-inspired backdrop, with scarves and drapes, Belly Dance for a Total Body Workout is set in a gym classroom. You can even see people sweating it out on the treadmills and stair climbers through the glass windows! It's totally distracting and it looks like they couldn't be bothered to pay for a proper set.
* I personally found the video easy to follow, but I've seen reviews that complain the movements are too advanced. Maybe it's because of my dance background. If you're having trouble , I'd recommend starting with Vol. 2, Belly Dance for Fitness. In that video, Amira takes it much slower and goes into more detail for each movement. Also, if you have a full-length mirror, you might want to set it up beside your TV, so you can see your own body and try to match your movements to Amira's.
The Bottom Line
Amira Mor's Belly Dance DVD's are a fun and effective addition to your DVD workout repertoire!
Disclosure: I received a product sample to facilitate my review. I was not paid to review the product or give my opinions. Product information is provided by the featured company/product and is indicated in italics. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.