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In Blanca's Sensual Bellydance, you will discover how sensual dance radiates from deep inside you; how your whole body can flow like silk, and how your movements can be beautifully interwoven, breathing with meaningful, effortless grace.
The core of Blanca's program is the Sensual Bellydance Flow [beginner-intermediate]. These are sequences of steps building from simple isolated moves to layered moves. Footwork, arm/hand patterns and head angles are gradually combined for the effect of total coordination and effortless control.
Sensuality is translated into dance through connectedness -- the wave-like echoing and interweaving of movements. A special section of sensual poses and fluid transitions is designed to improve your pacing. Slowing the pace into a still pose helps you to learn measured, uncluttered dance phrasing. This section offers a 40-minute music only option -- you can follow Blanca's voice prompts, or practice a non-stop flow of combinations with music-only.
In the Technique section Blanca offers a step-by-step breakdown of the movement vocabulary for the Flow and introduces her core method: Progressions --the gradual layering of bellydance moves on footwork with a special attention to body and head angles, arm positions, and patterns.
The last section includes a step-by-step breakdown, a demonstration, and two performances of Blanca's "Venus" choreography [intermediate] - a perfect opportunity to practice sensual bellydance!
Currently (June, 2008) and for more than eight months, this DVD, Blanca's Sensual Bellydancehas been the bestselling bellydance DVD among the more than 240 on sale at Amazon.com.
- Good but mostly for beginners and intermediate
I hear she is working on one that is the next level up. I can't wait for that one. This one is really good, but was a bit easy. However, the explanation of sensuality was great information....more info
Sensual Bellydance is a really great dvd, though I dont recommend it for beginners. While Blanca does explain the moves she presents very well, there are videos on the market that offer a more thorough explanation of basic bellydance. I suggest Sensual Bellydance for those who have a basic knowlege of bellydance moves, but would like to go a bit deeper: Blanca is an amazingly graceful dancer, with an exotic accent, and teaches how to make you own dance style more fluid. She doesn't drill very much, so this isn't much of a work out, but its so much fun: it feels good to practice this dvd, and you learn a style of fluidity that can be incorporated into any other danced workouts you may have.
The presentation is great: the outfits and background aren't distracting, but still lend to the flavor of the lesson, and the accompaning music is perfect. This dvd is a favorite new addition to my collection, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves dance....more info
- At first I was skeptical, but it won me over
I sort of worry when women with accents are marketed as being "exotic" and able to teach about thinks like sensuality. So I was not expecting to love this DVD. I was pleasantly surprised that Blanca is a very skilled and talented dancer and presenter. She won me over!...more info
- The missing link
This video is the perfect compliment to my intermediate class. It would also be great for a beginner as well, it could stand alone even if you don't go to a class. I have seen many other bellydance DVD's and this is by far the best. This is the style I feel is the most feminine and gracful as well as sensual in a classy way....more info
- Wonderful... but there is a tiny problem
Let me say at the outset that I love this DVD. Blanca's style of dance is a welcome relief from the more athletic styles that seem to be in vogue at the moment and much more representative of my personal dance preferences. I really, REALLY wish that she would make more instructional videos. Long ones. Perhaps a set... [Blanca, this is a HINT!]
The only problem? I absolutely LOVE the song "Ifrit" to which Blanca performs the Venus choreography variation with floorwork. The song is credited to Tim Rayborn's album The Flame and the Shadow. I would love to put that piece on my iPod and practice to it for hours but I can't because the song on the DVD is completely different from the one on the album. I know because I GOT the album expecting the song to be there. There IS a song titled "Ifrit" on the album but it isn't the one that is on the DVD. I've searched high and low and I can't find this song anywhere but on the DVD so if you fall in love with it as I have and you want to dance to it, you're going to have to have a DVD player handy and if you want to make it part of a dance "suite" you are going to be out of luck. Other than that disappointment, this DVD is pure delight and I hope that at some point, the version of "Ifrit" on the DVD will be made available for fanatics like me to download. ...more info
- Don't Let the Title Fool You! This is a really inspiring work!
Does "Sensual Belly Dance" sound like a cringe-worthy work? I wasn't sure what to expect when I first saw the package. But Blanca does a great job of explaining her take on "sensuality" without leaving her viewer feeling uncomfortable or coming across as too silly herself. Blanca explains that sensuality is about communicating what you're feeling to others and, of course, this works great for a dancer. She shares her ideas of translating one's inner feelings into a body language viewable by the audience. She describes the use of sensuality as a way to "add a flair of sensual grace and ease to your dance" and speaks about the flow and pacing of one's performance. Her ideas of really utilizing emotion and storytelling during dancer are not often covered in instructional works and are wonderful to see presented here to a wider viewing audience.
After this intriguing introduction the DVD package offers viewers a little bit of everything from technical tips to improvisational ideas to polishing ones performances. First come two different "Flow" sections, one on technique and one based on simply dancing. Then Blanca presents a short choreography. There's a demo, a breakdown, and you can even choose to focus on just one part of the practice such as lower or upper body. Next Blanca provides a selection of clips demonstrating a variety of poses, providing watchers with numerous ideas they could add into their own repertoire. And there's also an additional invaluable resource where Blanca explains the idea of telling a story with dance. This is wonderful for performers seeking a way to give their performance extra "oomph" and also nice for those dancers just beginning to seek the stage lights.
As for the "meat" of the DVD, here's a bit of info on the Flow sections:
"Fluidity Warmup:" From the very beginning of her "Fluidity Warmup," Blanca begins to introduce her concept of "sensuality in dance." The gentle warmup and stretches include some very nice arm work as Blanca explains how to do each stretch in a "sensual" manner, that is with impact and purpose. While Blanca moves through the movements quickly she clearly explains the focus of each (lifting the head, bending at the waist, etc). Although each tiny little flourish may not be broken down, an intermediate level dance could easily follow her clear display of movement. In addition to the stretches, Blanca uses the warmup to review a variety of basic movements including hip slides, reverse mayas, hip circles, and single hip work.
"Technique Articulation:" During this section of the DVD, Blanca explains the nuances of the movements she uses in the combinations. This section is also designed to help you work on your articulation for each movement, improving your range of motion, strength, and balance while dancing. These movements are sort of "mini drills" that would work quite nicely for cabaret dancers.
"Technique Shimmy:" Similar to the articulation section, Blanca gives viewers a separate section for shimmy work. Included are very detailed tips for creating a shimmy that is controlled and matching the music as well as breakdowns for the various shimmies and layers she uses later in the program.
"Technique Progressions:" Here Blanca reviews a number of layered traveling steps. Beginning with the footwork, she later adds on arms and additional hip movements.
"Technique Sensual Poses:" This final section is the cool down for the DVD. Blanca dances through the cool down as the viewer follows along, demonstrating several of her unique poses. Each movement (like snake arms, hip circle, etc) is not broken down, but Blanca does explain each pose clearly.
The next part of the DVD is the "Flow" section. This part is divided into the same headings as the "Technique" and provides viewers with the chance to simply dance along with Blanca. For the most part, the material is the same as that which was covered in the technical sections, although there is some additional arm work, but this time it is fluid and presented as dance movement. The DVD has an option to follow the "Flow" without Blanca's voice-over and with just the music. There is roughly 40 minutes worth of material, here, providing the viewer with what amounts to her or his own personal class in "sensual bellydance."
The choreography is surprisingly long for a DVD that already has so much information. As mentioned above, the combinations are demonstrated and explained after Blanca performs the full piece. The combos are rather quickly shown but all of the information has already been broken down in the Flow sections. Blanca's work is a cabaret piece with a lot of emotion and a great practice work for those seeking to learn to put more expression in their dance.
What worked for me:
* I really loved the way Blanca breaks down movements. She uses a lot of visual imagery and creates a clear picture of each move. Blanca even uses some really creative visual aids to impart her ideas.
* Separate technique sections. This was really nice as a dancer could go to each section and just review that particular part (so working on the transition/progressions as opposed to having to go all the way through a choreography like in some other DVDs).
* The pose idea section - it was great to see the different ideas for poses and, also, to see some of them executed in different ways.
* The inclusion of so much information about performing. THANK YOU! So many DVDs now focus on technique, but there are very few that mention performance and even fewer that do both!
What may not work for you:
* If you are not used to opening your stance a bit as you dance you may find some of these movements and combos to be challenging. Blanca's movements are lush and full, often requiring a fairly open stance in order to really get the look of the move.
* I stress again that this is a DVD for more experienced dancers. A baby belly may become quickly overwhelmed by the speed at which the material is covered. However, there are definitely concepts here that will benefit new dancers, and this is certainly a production that they could "grow into."
* The red backdrop/lighting. The hues reflecting on Blanca are pretty, but after 40 minutes can make your eyes a bit fuzzy....more info
- Slow-paced instruction
Sensual Bellydance moves at a slow, easy pace that is intended for a viewer trying to learn the moves. The background is dark, with no distractions from the intricate dance moves. And it IS sensual. My girlfriend loved it....more info
- Great Bellydance DVD
I am new to bellydance and I loved this DVD. I just watched and started with it last night and I have to say I will use this DVD a lot. The production is beautiful with easy to use options for the different workouts and the tutorial. The instructions are clear, easy to follow and reassuring. I feel totallly comfortable with the instructor and she seems pleasant and accomplished. She is a beautiful dancer and an accessible teacher to a novice like myself....more info
- Belly dance instruction emphasizing on body awareness, sensuality & choreography routine
The menu choices exactly:
Sensual Bellydance Flow:
Technique | FLOW 40 min | FLOW music only
demo | breakdown
practice lower body | upper body | all
Sensual Bellydance poses & gestures
Story - secret key to evocation dance
Performances by Blanca
music | credits | disclaimer
WELCOME - 4 min - intro w/her outside in the sun like a picnic, on how important body awareness is for society, communication, health, etc.
Blanca on a stage with old style colorful stage lighting that creates a cool vibe w/red curtain background. She's always in a bellydance style outfit, but almost always only hip scarves & tights so you can see her legs clearly. She gives clear, greatly detailed w/great analogies direction as she does them. She always tells you about posture, direction head should face, etc., how not to move, what to watch out for, etc. which most dvds do not. She has great body awareness that you can feel & mimic easily. The production is high quality, the camera angles are very cool, it zooms in when needed & mostly stays back which is good.
This portion has Blanca speaking w/tiny headset as she moves. This portion is VERY,VERY slow w/A LOT of detailed instruction & moves are shown VERY slowly & barely go to normal speed before moving on.
TECHNIQUE - Fluidity - Warm up - 14 min - soft, cool, almost twinkling music & also moderate guitar music - goddess pose, side melt, upper body sway, arch/contraction, hip sways, wavy arms, temple pose, hip rolls/circles, vertical figure 8, single hip circles.
TECHNIQUE - Articulation - 17 min - soft, spacey, cool music & then changes to slow Engima style - ankle awareness, hip bumps, simplified & slow teaching of undulations to full style, slow neck turns to slow, sensual head rolls, buildup to pelvic/omni small hip circles, shimmy (moved by knees), shimmy on toes & moving torso, shimmy w/hip accents.
TECHNIQUE - Progressions - 13 min - baladi step & w/princess arms, chasse step (double step) & w/wavy arms, horizontal figure 8 & w/wavy arms, side step & w/princess arms, traveling undulations & w/moving wide arms, Arabic hip walk, 3 step turn &w/wide open/closed arms.
TECHNIQUE - Sensual Poses - Cool Down - 5 min - Great music here & louder as she speak, this is almost in real time - Odalisque pose, venus arms meltdown, horizontal figure 8 w/wavy arms, goddess pose, passionate venus meltdown, hip circle & pelvic circle 2x, snake arms, temple pose w/horizontal figure 8, venus meltdown w/caress arms & "picking a flower", serpent pose on both sides, hip sways, melt to standing fwd bend, mermaid pose, then slide to side leaning/lying on floor w/caressing arms & other side (practice that a couple of times) & melt to side lying completely.
50 minute mark
This portion has Blanca using the same moves above & are executed at 1/2 speed & mostly normal speed w/her voice over & only basic cues/reminders. Each portion's moves accent it's own song well almost like a routine.
FLOW - Fluidity - Warm up - 5 min
FLOW - Articulation - 6 min
FLOW - Shimmy - 4 min
FLOW - Progressions 1 - 15 min
FLOW - Progressions 2 - 6 min
FLOW - Sensual Poses - Cool Down - 3 min
3 min - Blanca performing the dance you will learn in a beautiful, satin & glitter fiery red outfit w/mostly cool blue lighting
Blanca teaching what she demonstrates in blue floral top & see through white hip skirt & light colored tights
VENUS - Choreography - Breakdown - Combinations 1-9 for Venus in a cocoon - 4 min
VENUS - Choreography - Breakdown - Footwork & Lower body practice - 3 min
VENUS - Choreography - Breakdown - Arms Patterns & Upper body practice - 3 min
VENUS - Choreography - Demo - 4 min - Blanca in same outfit, no talking, preforming what you learned in real time all 9 combinations
VENUS - Venus in a cocoon & gesture: inspiration - 3 min
Performance Dance - 3 min - Blanca in glittering, golden outfit a light turquoise blue scarf skirt
VENUS - Choreography variation w/floor work - 4 min - Blanca in a glittering gold w/shimmering blue outfit performing
7 min - Blanca in the glittery gold w/teal/white skirt & another performance in a shimmery, opalescent, fairy like, indigo w/touch of gold outfit.
4 min - Blanca performing in the same indigo w/touch of gold outfit while she voice overs about how important being in touch with your body is & other empowering words.
Ends at the 1 hr. 56 min mark
Previews on youtube:
The intro - "Blanca - "Sensual Bellydance" DVD - Amazon.com - belly dance"
Blanca dancing in the indigo w/touch of gold outfit - "Blanca (NYC)belly dance, bellydance, Sensual Bellydance DVD"
I have loved Blanca's beautiful body awareness since I saw her in Ultimate Bellydance Fitness Workout. Blanca shows that w/o body awareness, no matter how skillfully & athletically you can move your body in a certain way, you must be aware of your body energetically & it's environment & be in touch with the music or you will look lifeless, stiff, robotic, and boring overall. Everyone knows this subconsciously. Rania is a perfect example of this. She is skillful, but she's not in touch & therefore she over exaggerating her moves, you can see her thinking of what to do next instead of being in the moment. Ask anyone, male or female... what is more mesmerizing? Someone who can execute moves
skillfully but robot-like, or someone w/less control, less experience/skill, but is in the moment w/passion, and can blend their body's energy with the music in perfect harmony? Skill can always be taught through repetition....more info
- Highly recommended!
If you are wanting to learn how to bellydance this is a great video! She takes you through all the steps it takes to learn how to dance, as well as does an actual dance with you at the end of the video. This is a great video!...more info
- the best teaching video yet
I am building a video library of teaching videos of belly dancing. I am impressed with Sensual belly dance. Her teaching methods are very clear and concise.The video may be too advanced for the beginner? Blanca shows how to develop flow and shows how to relate to the move. Head relating to the move where as no teacher ever taught me that. Five stars for this video! I am devoting all my free time to working on this one and the others are collecting dust. I will stay with this one for a long time to come!!!...more info
- Sensually Confusing.
The one thing that saved "Sensual Bellydance" is how highly excited I am to be learning belly dance again. And while all of the moves were sexy and fun, I found the instruction to be a bit vague and rushed. As a matter of fact, it convinced me to go out and sign up for an in-person belly dance class instead of relying on generalized and impersonal DVD sets. This bothers me only because I bought this DVD hoping it would accommodate beginners. I took a few belly dancing classes a couple of years back but have not practiced since and thus consider myself a re-beginner.
I felt that Blanca did not focus on explanations of moves. She kind of expected the watcher to just know what she is talking about most of the time when it came to how the hips should feel and posture.
It was also confusing when, in the middle of new moves, the DVD would change to another scene which would show Blanca waving a scarf through the air to demonstrate how my hands should flow, or something similar. One problem with that: my hand isn't a scarf. I needed her to show me step by step with an actual hand and not rely on feckless visual metaphors.
To further confuse: during one section of the DVD, Blanca's dancing doesn't line up with the voice over instruction or the music. This made following her and the music (which she stressed) very hard to do.
Also as soon as one move was demonstrated, the DVD just went on to the next move without much review of what was just learned. There are also no pause times between learning moves and it is for this main reason that I would not recommend this DVD for beginners.
During the warm-up and cool down stretches, Blanca once again moved to quickly, and didn't explain the exercise in time with her movements. She would explain a move while she did it or suddenly change directions of stretches out of nowhere. This made it tricky to focus on learning anything and I felt more like I was just awkwardly trying to keep up. The warm up and cool downs were also ineffective and I was unsure of the proper way to breath or if it would help ( I know that sounds whiny but it's true).
Another bugger was the arm positions instruction: Blanca would out of nowhere call out an arm position (goddess arms or princess arms) without any prior discussion of them or even explaining how to why to use them with what type of belly dance.
I hate to sound like I am bashing the DVD because I am not. I really liked it as a matter of fact and would just like to see some improvement. Overall, the Blanca's instruction was enjoyable and a good work out for me as a lover of dance. But for me, as a beginner, it was exhausting and confusing.
- Blanca is phenomenal!
Of all my bellydancing videos, this is my absolute favorite. Blanca is a beautiful dancer and great teacher. She has a wonderful presence and sense of humor that makes dancing joyful!...more info
- Fabulous, a must have
I thought this was a great instructional DVD. My experience level is beginner. I have a few DVD's already Shamira, Jenna (both her beginning and drums), I had dolphina (gave it away), and Amira. So, how does this compare to my others. Well, for those interested here's my one to five scale. One is blah and five fantastic.
Detailed explanations-5 (loved this Blanca uses imagery so I get the concept quicker
Fluidity -5 This is where Blanca really outshines my other DVD's. Except for Jenna's drum one, but that one is for the more advanced. Blanca even makes the warm ups looks sexy.
Program length-5 two hours
Cost: 5 totally worth it. Her DVD is unlike my other DVD's so I'm going to have to say their not comparable. She adds the fluidity and sexiness that the others kind of lack. This is the only beginners DVD that I've seen with such an excellent cohesion at the beginner to intermediate level with the moves, fluidity, and sensuality. A must buy in your bellydance collection....more info
- Wonderful attention to detail
The dancer in this video is very thorough in all details of her techniques, and brought a whole new dimension to my dancing, adding in many of her moves to enhance ones I already knew. Moderate level of difficulty I would say....more info
- Lovely, fluid and inspiring
When I first heard of this dvd I was a little put-off by the name "Sensual Bellydance", but the reeviews on Amazon persuaded me to order it. I was not disapointed! I've only had my copy for a few days and have not managed to use the entire dvd yet. So this review contains my initial impressions.
Blanca moves very fluidly and dances beautifully. Her performances are excellent and demonstrate what she teaches on tis dvd. I found her technique breakdowns to be very clear and detailed--including visualizations and details such as the orientation of the head. The flow section is very effective at helping the user practice the feeling and techniques of this sensual style.
Best of all, this dvd really does provide a "missing link" as another reviewer mentioned. I love that Blanka's style is fluid and uses the entire body rather than an assortment of "isolations". Most beginner/intermediate level instruction that I"ve seen really focuses a little too much on isolations, which are great to practice to build body control but can lead to segmented and stiff dancing when overdone. I am impressed that she manages to teach basic/intermediate technique in a more holistic way and that expresses the sensuality of this dance form. Dancers who use this dvd would develop performance skills along with technique and an enjoyable dance experience.
My only problem with this dvd so far is that I find it too inspiring so I never finish the entire dvd session. At some point, I feel an urge to put on some music I love and just dance!
Who may not be interested in this dvd:
*Those who want an intense workout may find it a little too relaxing, though portions could be incorporated on light days or as a warm-up/cool down. This dvd is dance focussed rather than exercise focussed and much of the dancing is slow in tempo.
*Dancers focussed on a specific ethnic style of Oriental Dance (bellydance)... Dancers focussed on Turkish, Egyptian or other styles may find some of Blanka's technique conflicts with their own. However, I think some dancers of this style may still enjoy it for developing fluidity and the ability to "feel" the dance and express sensuality through dance.
*Absolute beginners may prefer a different dvd to start. It is hard for me to say as I didn't use dvds as beginner, but I think it could be great for beginners who have established good basic technique.
Who would enjoy this dvd:
*Advanced beginners-Intermediate dancers who would like to move from practicing technique to fluid and sensual dancing! For that matter, this would also be good for advanced dancers who are more technique driven and want to soften their focus a bit.
*Those who admire Blanka's dance style and want to incorporate it into their own.
*Dancers who are intrigued by "Goddess" imagery may love this! I am not one of those dancers, but Blanka does it in a way that doesn't bother me. She is a great example for those who like to incorporate fantasy elements into their dance in a way that is both powerful and natural....more info
- Sensual Bellydance
"Sensual Bellydance" provides a fun, low impact workout that makes you feel beautiful. It may be used for both beginner and intermediate skill levels. Blanca is very focused on "Progressions". This effective technique will enhance the quality and grace of your dance. Her easy -to-follow dance directions as well as the asthetic quality of her art make this an enjoyable form of exercise. As a dancer, I use this video to practice my technique and instructional abilities. It is an excellent product....more info