4-DVD lot, Advanced Belly Dance Instructional DVDs from World Dance New York

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This lot of FOUR DVDs (including one giant TWO-DVD SET on Egyptian Dance) contains tools for dancers to polish their technique, enrich their dance vocabulary, and master subtleties and nuances that distinguish an advanced level in the art of belly dance. Also included are tools for choreographers (Autumn's catalog-format program) and a number of choreographies to practice sophisticated combinations and transitions.  Here is the full list of the instructional DVDs you will receive:

Belly Dance: The Next Level, with Jenna: Transitions, Turns & Layers

Belly Dance Travel Steps: A Choreographer's Movement Catalog of Layers, Accents & Step Combinations, by Autumn Ward

The Baladi: Belly Dance Egyptian Style with Ranya Renée

Modern Oriental: Belly Dance Egyptian Style, with Ranya Renée

And here are the details about each instructional program.  Preview videos for each program can be viewed on YouTube or at World Dance New York's own website.

Belly Dance: The Next Level, with Jenna: Transitions, Turns & Layers

Are you ready to take your bellydance to The Next Level?

You’ve mastered the basic movements, and now it’s time to dance! Most of the subtleties and nuances that distinguish an advanced level in the art of bellydance are best learned by repetition-- the optimal way to achieve grace and fluidity, and to reach the comfort level of a professional dancer.

The program begins with a warm-up, and continues with the Hipwork and Upper Body Layering sections, each of which flows through variations of the standard isolations and undulations, adding layers such as shimmies and level changes to increase your control and range of motion over time.

Turns can be a challenge, but will bring an exciting and beautiful dimension of movement to your dance performance. Jenna breaks down dynamic and complex turns in a methodical, easy-to-follow manner. The turns are then arranged in another drill that walks you through each turn first, so that, with practice, you will feel completely comfortable adding them to your repertoire.

Jenna’s two original choreographies give you the chance to implement many of the layers, turns, and transitions you’ve practiced in the rest of the program, putting them together into beautiful dances that you can make your own. Add your personal style, express yourself, and have fun!

Bellydance: The Next Level offers more than just the end product of complete dances to perform: By learning the detailed sequences within each dance, your body will automatically become accustomed to the transitions used in bellydance, enabling you to shift smoothly from one move to the next. As these transitions become second nature, you will find yourself bringing new movements and increased confidence to your dance improvisation as well.

The first choreography, set to an upbeat saiidi-style piece with a short drum solo section, features percussive accents and shimmy layering. The second choreography is a solo oriental piece rich in musicality and filled with delicious details. Jenna performs each dance for you, then breaks down each combination step-by-step with periodic repetitions, finally demonstrating the entire choreography facing the mirror so you can follow along as if you are right there in the studio!

A cool-down is included to gently relax your muscles after dancing.

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Belly Dance Travel Steps: A Choreographer's Movement Catalog of Layers, Accents & Step Combinations, by Autumn Ward

It's the next chapter in the World Dance New York's Movement Catalog Series.

** THE MOVEMENT CATALOG SERIES: An encyclopedia of belly dance moves.  Not a dance instruction DVD.  Titles in the MOVEMENT CATALOG SERIES offer a reference source for use by choreographers. **

While belly dance is known primarily for isolations of the hips and upper body, solid footwork technique is essential for travel moves and turns, and to maintain a clean body line and ensure that transitions flow confidently and with grace and ease. Travel Steps, a Movement Catalog presentation, guides you through footwork as both a foundation and a finishing detail, illustrating how elements combine to transform weight changes into full lush belly dance movements.

The Movement Catalog series is not dance instruction: Each volume is an open-level resource for an entire system of particular moves - not just the few select steps that can be offered in a class or an instructional video. Organized in dictionary format, the program provides demonstrations of individual dance elements. Look up a particular move you’d like to see, or watch from start to finish to see not only movements, but how they evolve. The Movement Catalog will inspire you with new ideas and material for dance practice and performance.

Start at the absolute beginning with sections on terminology, concepts, and foundation positions and movements, or go straight to the extensive collection of layered variations. The foundation vocabulary presented in Travel Steps underlies movements in every genre of belly dance. To see style variations, jump to Combinations. Here you'll find examples of footwork styled for modern Egyptian Oriental dance and Reda-style Egyptian theatrical folkloric; American cabaret, with combinations for upbeat Turkish-American dancing and for veil; and contemporary belly dance, in lyrical and tribal fusion styles. A special section also shows vocabulary for Saidi dance.

Packed with information and inspiration to take your dancing to the next level, Travel Steps will both expand your dance vocabulary and strengthen it. Starting with the most basic timing units of ‘step’ and ‘hold,’ Travel Steps leads you through ball-change, step-ball-change, and other sequence variations that create traveling and time marking patterns. Layered variations include the nuances of accents and counter-twists; traditional hipwork and upper body isolations; and movements for the feet and legs—pivots, hops, heel lifts, knee lifts, arabesques and other leg extensions—danced with grounded belly dance technique that keeps a strong connection to the floor.

To go still deeper, download the Travel Steps Study Guide available at autumnward.com. This free companion booklet features detailed breakdowns, style pointers, lesson plans, and lecture notes.

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The Baladi: Belly Dance Egyptian Style with Ranya Renée

Created by Ranya Renée, New York City-based star performer and instructor of Arabic-style bellydance, The Baladi: Bellydance Egyptian Style is a comprehensive program that will immerse you in the beautiful world of traditional Egyptian dance music, soulful and spirited baladi improvisation, and delicious, dynamic moves! 

This 5-hour-long 2-DVD set covers the structure, rhythms and musical flavors of typical baladi progressions, teaches the essential technique and dance vocabulary of baladi, and provides drills for developing your own improvisational practice.

The Baladi: Bellydance Egyptian Style is the first program to combine instruction in core Egyptian dance technique with a wealth of detailed cultural information and tools for learning to interpret the music and for daily dance practice. The program is a valuable resource for bellydancers of all levels of experience as well as for dance instructors.

Baladi is the social dance style of the Egyptian people, often featured in a special section of the traditional bellydance show. This video focuses on the taqsim baladi — a style of improvisation that starts slow and gentle, building to a climax of exciting rhythms, faster steps and shimmies. During a live music demonstration of baladi progressions, Ranya analyzes the structure, common features and stylistic differences between men's style (tet) and women's style (awadi) baladi dancing, and offers a step-by-step explanation of what is happening at each transition in the music.

Master accordionist Nabawy provides an introduction to baladi music and explains the different melodic styles, and the drummers demonstrate some of key rhythms used in the baladi. You will also receive an introduction to the concept of maqamat, or Arabic musical modes, that are the source material for taqasim, the art of melodic improvisation.

The technique section is organized by style and type, so you can match the appropriate movements and traveling steps to each part of the baladi progression: From the slow, fluid taqsim, through the sekkat accent breaks, and on to the maqsoum-based rhythm sections and the fast ingerara section that transitions into the drum solo. This framework enables you to develop the instinct you need to select authentic movements that correctly match the music, recognizing the essential features of melody and rhythms. Ranya gives guidance for beginning or developing your improvisation practice, no matter your level of experience as a dancer.

With looped recorded music drills created specially for this program, Ranya gives you the tools for a rigorous baladi dance practice while simutaneously honing your listening skills. The format of the drills is an organic flow, preserving the improvisational nature of the baladi so you learn in the way Egyptians learn, by watching and following along. Absorbing the feeling of baladi naturally will help you to improvise with more confidence on your own. The looped music repetitions allow you to review key movements over and over as you build an intimate familiarity with the musical nuances, and condition your physical dance response to them. DVD options allow you either to dance through a full baladi piece or to work on isolated sections of a baladi, focusing on short portions of music to drill your steps. With all the drills, Ranya provides voiceover commentary to call your attention to melodic and rhythmic motifs, or to remind you of technique pointers.

The program also includes extensive sections on posture and muscle work for Egyptian dance, framing and transitions, arms and hands practice flow, and cooldown stretches.

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Modern Oriental: Belly Dance Egyptian Style, with Ranya Renée

The dance form known as Raqs Sharqi, or Oriental dance, has evolved over the past century, blending native elements of Egyptian baladi music and dance with Western artistic influences. Modern Oriental dance is shaped by many international influences, absorbing techniques from ballroom and Latin dance, ballet, jazz, even hip-hop. And yet, there still remains the feeling of Egypt at the heart of the dance: the openhearted emotion, the response to the music.

Modern Oriental dance is characterized by powerful technique, step combinations, floor patterns and a focus on choreography, as well as a contemporary musical sensibility. In this program, Ranya Renee, New York-based star performer and instructor of Egyptian style dance, teaches two Modern Oriental choreographies – a beginner version and a longer intermediate/advanced version – as the focus of this video program. Each choreography is broken into combinations that are taught step-by-step, with practice drills to get the movements of the choreographies into your body.

The two drills sections - beginner and intermediate/advanced – enable you to repeat step combinations, built gradually so that you can climb the steps to mastery of a wide array of variations. A special section of the program gives you helpful hints on learning step combinations, so that you can build confidence as you learn more complex step sequences and integrate them into your muscle memory.

A vital part of Ranya's teaching method is its emphasis on musicality and on understanding the structure of Oriental dance music. Ranya points out important melodic and rhythmic features of the music accompanying each combination, helping you to sharpen your listening and counting skills, and learn how particular dance movements can express typical turns of melody and rhythm. You'll learn what to listen for, so you can respond to the music with feeling.

Ranya’s holistic approach, focused on freeing your breath as you develop your physicality, will help you build connections between the music, your body, and your expression as a dancer. Special tips for performers are interspersed throughout, to coach you in relating to an audience, while executing the steps with a sense of drama and fun.

As part of the program, Ranya offers guidance in developing a strong dance posture and sense of alignment as a base for solid muscular support of new movements. Technique is described “from the inside out,” for a better understanding of how to fit the movements on your body, and to feel them in your core. A special technique review flow guides you through sequences of key bellydance vocabulary, classic warmup stretches, and exercises to condition the muscle groups used in Egyptian Oriental dance.

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