Belly Dance DVDs for Beginners


After my post about music recommendations I was asked about DVD recommendations for beginning dancers. I have about a zillion belly dance DVDs and I can safely say that this is not going to be an easy post to write. When I first started teaching I decided to take a look at DVDs for beginning students. It’s sometimes hard to remember what it was like first starting out and I was curious to see what the pros teach. What I found out was that there are precious few DVDs that are made with absolute novices in mind. It seems like the vast majority of instructional belly dance DVDs are intermediate, advanced or niche. Even some that are “level 1” in a series assume you have some sort of basic understanding of how your body moves. This makes things very hard for people who want to practice at home or simply do not have access to a live teacher where they live. When you start dancing, or any new athletic endeavor for that matter, you will learn things about your body you never knew.  You will find muscles you didn’t know existed. You will find new positions and movements you had no idea your body was capable of. It is a journey of self-discovery as much as anything. I think a DVD that does not take this into consideration is not a good one for beginners. That is why this is a difficult subject to tackle.

In my own collection, I don’t have any really good beginner DVDs. But I do have a couple options that are highly recommended. Firstly, the Bellytwins, Neena and Veena, have a very strong following. One of my own students likes their style of instruction. I have seen numerous clips of their work on Youtube and their web site so I feel pretty confident in this recommendation. I’d start with Discover Bellydance: Basic Dance, or you can go crazy and get the whole Discover Bellydance 3-volume set. Secondly, Bellydance: First Steps for Total Beginners with Neon. She actually uses graphics superimposed over her dance movements so you can see what shape she is making with her body. Plus, she has a really cool accent so it’s fun to listen to her speak. This one is available from World Dance New York.

If you are an intermediate level dancer then the world is your oyster when it comes to dance DVDs. I am a big fan of anything by Jillina, and am particularly fond of Instructional Bellydance with Jillina: Levels 1, 2 & 3. This does sort of assume that you have a basic foundation in movement, but you don’t have to be particularly advanced to get something out of it. Her style is largely Egyptian.

There are also loads of bellydance fitness videos out there. If you are quite serious about dancing and would like to genuinely condition your body I would recommend Serpentine – Belly Dance with Rachel Brice. This is a 2-disk set which includes a rather intensive Yoga session followed by drills. You will be sore the next day, I guarantee. Rachel Brice is known as a pioneer in ATS dance style (rather than Egyptian, my own favorite), but it can’t hurt to learn something new, and the program will really condition you. Plus, she is amazing to watch!

Lastly, if you just want to kick back and watch dancers, you can check out some performance DVDs. There are many, many options here. My favorites are the first Bellydance Superstars performance DVD, as well as Solos from Monte Carlo. Also, just about anything from World Dance New York. I want just about everything on that web site, seriously.

If any of you out there have recommendations, please post in the comments!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Stephanie Lacher
    Feb 01, 2012 @ 09:51:56

    If you are a netflix subscriber, they have quite a few bellydance DVDs. Good way to try before you buy. Go under genre, then special interest, then dance. Unfortunately none are streaming videos.


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