Jehan Kamal: Reviews
Sacred Bellydance Instructional DVD
This is the dictionary of bellydance- 2 discs- she goes through standing moves, traveling moves, veil and zill introductions, and some combinations. Very useful and it is voiced over- she doesn't stop moving, the narration explains what she is doing. I like how she doesn't dissect things to the point where you can't foresee what you trying to do. She does the movements up to speed, slows a little, but for the most part you have every idea of what you are trying to do and that, in my opinion, is more helpful than drastic breakdowns. Beautiful variety of costumes, Jehan illustrates that you don't have to have a model's figure to be a gorgeous sexy dancer- she is so beautiful!
I recomend that you also get 'the ultimate bellydance workout' with this dvd set because that dvd is fantastic and this set explains what the dancers in the other dvd are doing. If you have the other and were discouraged because you couldn't quite get how they were doing certain moves, this dvd set explains it all.
I really love this video. I thought that Deliah from Visonary Dance was the best for beginners but I have to say this one shares that stop with my collection. The breakdown of each move is great. Seeing a "Real Woman" (aka curvy figure) teaching made me feel better about myself. I honestly get tired of seeing the so called American perfect figure that doesn't give me the idea with my "curves" if the move is being done correctly or not.
Mala, another reveiwer for this Sacred Bellydance dvd here says it all !!
And what a fantastic reveiw that was, the reason I bought it... lol
This dvd is fantastic for the begginner showing you "how to" bringing you all the bellydance moves onto a two dvd set... the basics is all here... My only regret is that it does not contain a "now lets put all the moves together to make a choreography" a must have for a begginner, I think.
But if you've been dancing for a while (I'd been dancing 8 years before I bought this) I find it very handy to fall back on, practicing helps to build up the muscle groups used in this sacred dance, I kind of use it as an exersise program for the mind and body, along with several other bellydance dvds.....
Excellent, excellent, excellent!,
I would suggest that whether in a class or learning on one's own, Jehan's Sacred belly Dance, Level One is an excellent guide and companion.
For a beginner such as myself, learning on my own, I have found everything that I need in here: breathing, posture, stretching exercises, fluidity and muscle-toning tips, variations on each theme, moves from head to toe and advice to end each set in an elegant pose right from the start!
I own 4 other instructional Belly Dance DVDs and I would say that what Jehan's encyclopedia has over them is DEPTH.
One could argue that there is a bit too much bare flesh - Jehan could have worn a pair of stretch pants underneath her skirts, but I suppose Jehan is completely at ease with her body, whatever anyone else might think.
I have no idea what Jehan's age is. At first, she looked to me like a 50-year old lady with too much lipstick. As the video progresses, however, she appeared to be around 35, then 25 then 15. I tried to make sense of this, for neither she nor her make-up had changed. I can only surmise that as she conscientiously reveals her secrets to us, the beauty of her spirit shines through, rendering her ageless.
First, I watched the whole video through, and at the end, I had a strange feeling of having visited a holy place...
I think Jehan was neither being pompous nor presumptuous when she named her art "Sacred", for she has succeeded in presenting this dance (scantily clad as she is) in what I would describe as a reverential manner.
Excellent! Well done, Jehan!
To conclude, I would say, if you are thinking of buying just one instructional DVD, this is definitely the one to go for. And it has enough subject matter for several months of practice.
I have to admit this DVD set was very low on my "I want to get" list for a long while because the title and the whole Temple of Jehan concept made me think it would have more neo-pagan elements than I could handle. I'm glad a friend of mine was intrigued by it and I paid closer attention to the details and other people's reviews which helped a lot. Unfortunately a good number of times have totally betrayed my high expectations of them because the descriptions sounded great and the content was cheesy. Besides, I already have a good number of instructional DVDs and I think it pointless to spend my money on yet another program that would teach me figure 8s and hip lifts. This set isn't the cheapest on the market and as I buyer I want to optimize my modest budget. However, the final decision was made when I considered that for run time of more than THREE HOURS this set would have at least one hour of useful information.
I'm so glad I made this purchase. It's the most systematic, informative and inclusive set I've ever seen on the market. There are 2 disks included, each one about an hour and a half, both of them with excellent instruction and good quality. This is really outstanding value for my money.
The setting is very pleasant, Jehan is in a small room with white curtains behind her back. She is an excellent dancer, very well proportioned with rounded hips which is great to watch (unlike some really skinny bellydancers who intimidate me as I'm a plump girl). She has a semi-transparent skirt reaching her calves and opens to the front, so when you need to see her legs and knees, she pulls it aside. Her feet can be seen at all times as well which is extremely important for weight shifts.
There is a menu available that lets you choose which part you'd like to play. You can also skip to the next chapter if you want to see that instead. Jehan teaches very well even though she doesn't go into endless explanations. She points out the essentials while showing the move. Even though usually I don't enjoy voice-over she does it with seamless precision and it works very well.
As I mentioned above, I was afraid to purchase a product that would show me the same old stuff only with a new face. At this point I consider myself intermediate, so that was a good possibility. This DVD was of particular use to me because it helped me correct some previous flaws in my technique I couldn't quite put a finger to before. The set is good for total beginners since all basic moves are shown with excellent instruction but it's even better for those who have a bit of previous basic experience. Even advanced dancers will probably find new things in this set. The way Jehan does it is first she shows the basic move, gives it some repetition, all that with explanation, then adds variations and combinations. In other words a beginner would first want to see the basic moves, then when she feels comfortable enough, can proceed to the layering and combinations still using the same DVD. This set has at least a couple of months packed in content.
What I find of *particular use* is the second disk with its long section of practice, walks and traveling steps. Unfortunately this is a section very poorly presented in a lot of instructional DVDs. Nothing is worse than learning a bunch of steps, mastering them, then asking oneself, "how do I string these up now?!". I haven't seen many of her walks and steps anywhere else and I like all of them.
The intro to veils and cymbals is indeed just an intro - to give you a feel of these two. If you need more detailed props instruction you should check out something else as well.
To sum up, as a proud owner of over 15 DVDs, this is one of my top 3 favorite together with Jenna's Heartbeat of Bellydance and Leyla Jouvana's 21 shimmies DVD. It's worth every cent I paid for it, longest run time ever, great music (mid-eastern tunes), excellent structure and instruction and good quality.
The only thing I didn't like really was the performance at the end of the second disk. Given the quality of moves she teaches she could have created a much more impressive choreography. There are movements when she wallows on the floor and at some points the camera is focused on her vibrating loins which I found in bad taste. This is only my humble opinion.
I heartily recommend this DVD to everyone, beginner, intermidiate, even advanced. I'm very happy with it and I think everyone else would be as well
I just received Jehan's Scared Bellydance dvd set yesterday and it's fantastic! I watched the dvds all the way through last evening and was totally mesmerized by Jehan's graceful dancing and wonderfully in-depth instruction. Every move is explained and demonstrated clearly. This dvd set is a veritable treasure trove of belly dance knowledge for bellydancers of all skill levels. Jehan is truly the High Priestess of 21st Century belldance!
I've been dancing for eight years, studying with wonderful teachers like Delilah, Tina Sargent and Amelia Moore. Despite all their efforts, I rushed through the music and frequently found myself tensely trying to perfect a move.
One night with Jehan's Sacred Bellydance DVD washed all that tension away. It's as if everything my teachers tried to communicate suddenly made sense. Jehan combines tremendous musicality with a deep love for the dance and skill in communicating each move. I find that transitions that long escaped me have become second nature. An added benefit has been extreme stress reduction. Jehan communicates each move through breath, relaxation and pleasure. She is completely comfortable in her body and that comfort proves contagious. Even complicated moves feel like joy.
I have been a fan of Jehan's for a long time now. I got the honor of taking a few of her workshops, and seeing her dance at events,and in my opinion, she is the best teacher out there. She will teach you more than bellydancing. I love all forms of bellydance, but she takes her dance to another level. You will learn the basics and more here, but she will also bring out your inner goddess. The dvd is simple, but there is no need for special effects, etc. She teaches you so many different moves, and explains them very well. She is mezmerizing to watch, so you may want to watch it once all the way through, before you do it. You will learn alot from this dvd. Well worth every penny. So if you want to learn how to bellydance "for real" GET THIS DVD. She is a great dancer, and singer. Alot of the music is hers, that is playing in the backround. She will bring out the goddess, temptress, mother, maiden, and crone in you.
If anyone were to ask me what is the one thing I've got out of Sacred Bellydance, I would have to say---wholeness. Jehan's set of two DVDs was recommended to me by the belly dancers I admire most. Learning by-video-only I wanted to somehow get a fraction of the sensuality with which they dance.
Having reached somewhere with the isolations you need for this amazing dance, and dabbled with basic combinations and choreography, I wanted to be able to do the serpentine and flowing movements I've seen. You freeze the frame at any time---and the dancer will be in a pose that any statue would be happy to be in.
From the very first run through of the DVDs (I sat and watched both at one go for about 3 hours) I agreed this was the right choice. Sacred Bellydance is supposed to be level one of encyclopedia, but rather than being just a reference it teaches you the fundamentals in a complete manner. Jehan's voice-over instructions, as she leads you through the moves unhurriedly, tells you what muscles to use, what to emphasise, and even what to feel. Even if you've learnt the moves before, you begin to do them in a whole new way. For example, I've worked on snake arms (the lovely S shaped arm moves in belly dance) before, but she tells you how to begin the movement from the very base of your spine. This not only makes it more complete but it feels pleasurable and less of a strain to do.
The two discs are replete with moves, examples of how to use them, the feeling they generate, culture related information, and beautiful oriental poses. The slow pace of the instruction gives you plenty of time to examine and understand the technique and then rewind and dance along.
Jehan seems to be fairly spiritually inclined and this is evident in almost every part of the instruction and explanation. Although I am not, I think the attitude does enhance the dance moves to make them more meaningful and intense.
The one thing that confuses me a little is what level of dancer it's meant for. I suppose just as regular encyclopedias are meant for everyone, so is a dance encyclopedia. I don't know if it would be sensible to begin belly dancing using this set of DVDs because I was glad I had been through precise instruction on isolations separately and welcome this instruction as the next step in making each of those isolations look like a dance move in the way I want most. Personally, I would say learn isolations and use this as a companion to refine and perfect and also to dance with easy sensuousness and pleasure.
What's on the DVDs
A visually rich introduction
A "body prayer"
Breathing and beautiful stretches
Hip circles--specially the luscious large hip circle
Fluidity exercises and poses
Arms and hand movements
Whole body undulations
Variations on hip circles
Shoulders and chest movements
Shimmies and vibrations
Hip lifts, drops, accents, twists
Practice for hip combinations
Pelvic contraction and release
Two sections on walks
Intro to veil work
Intro to cymbals
Everything down to the tilt of the head is explained. The production quality is okay--not thrilling but good enough. Everything is visible enough but not crackling and crisp. The sheer amount of instruction and content, about three hours of it, on these two discs is phenomenal. Specially for the price. I bought it at a higher price before it became available here and even at that price, considered it worthwhile. The one wonderful thing about this "encyclopedia" is that equips and encourages you to put your own combinations together and be your own choreographer. Your body is the temple--and dance is your prayer. In one word--beautiful.
"Jehan’s Goddessdance (American Theatre of Actors, July), a sumptuous production with ardent, talented performers, was a Middle Eastern Riverdance.
Written, scored, and choreographed by Jehan Kamal, a master dancer with infectious joie de vivre and an earthy, real-woman’s body, it celebrated the primal spirituality of belly dancing and the atomic power of women’s sexuality."
"Goddessdance is a wonderful fusion of Bellydance meets Broadway. Once again, Jehan proves she is America’s master world music creator and choreographer."
I've been studying bellydance for one year, but always longed for a more spiritual experience. Everywhere I looked there was someone pushing the whole cabaret thing; ignoring the true essence of the dance. "I watched your show and thought "this is it; where have I been?"
A gift in the midst of our "crazy" times. Thanks!
I just had to tell you: my friend and I saw the show saturday night, and it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. I was absolutley astounded.