Wings, The Complete Technique
Wings, The Complete Technique. A Private Lesson With Ayshe. by Ayshe
2004, all region , run time 2 hours, 30 minutes.
Shira's Review for this video.
Ayshe (pronounced "EYE-shah"), famed Wings of Isis dancer, has produced her first instructional video. It is immediately obvious that Ayshe knows her material and also knows how to present it in a DVD format. She carefully avoids all the pitfalls of the video format we dancers are so "fond" of. Well lit, well edited, good choices in costumes vs. backgrounds, good sound and clear presentation make this video a hands down winner. The Gilded Serpent has also published a review of this video here.
The instructional section is approximately 2:13:25 long, and is quite comprehensive. This section of the DVD is structured as follows:
- Foundations for the Creation of Coordinated and Beautiful Movement with Wings
- Moving and Articulating the Spine
- How to arch and contract the spine
- Building flexibility and power in the thoracic (middle) spine
- Controlling unnecessary movements in the shoulder blades
- Developing good "performance posture"
- Exercise to develop good "performance posture"
- Yoga "cat back" exercise for spinal flexibility
- Positions and Articulations of the Arms
- Arm positions in classical dance forms
- The elbow
- Path of arms relative to the torso
- Coordinating elbows, wrists, hands, and fingers
- Movement relationship between elbows and chest
- "V" position | "Bird" arms
- Segmenting body parts within movements
- Doing "Bird" arms | Corkscrewing | Armpit positioning
- "Snake arms"
- How to hold your Wings
- Moving with the Wings
- Torso undulations incorporating head and arms
- Neck rolls, basic
- Neck rolls while turning
- Zar movements
- Practice | Review | Improvisation 1
- Torso and arm coordination for twisting and swirling
- Swirling movements
- Twisting movements
- Practice | Review | Improvisation 2
- Angling the face when performing
- Wing tremors
- Graceful Walking with your Wings
- Foot exercises
- Breakdown of walking + foot exercise #2
- Different walks | Runs
- Kicks and Turns with Wings
- Lunges and layouts
- Hitch kick (Circular kick with lunge)
- Practice | Review | Improvisation 3
- Practice | Review | Improvisation 4
- Barrel turns
- Practice | Review | Improvisation 5
- Classical directions when moving in space
- Pivot turns with back (Arabesque) kicks, front kicks, or knee kicks
- Advanced arms twists
- Practice | Review | Improvisation 6
Each major and each minor section can be directly accessed from the DVD menu - a very effective use of the DVD video format - no fast forwarding and looking!
Ayshe spends an entire hour working on posture - as a dancer who is struggling with posture issues myself, I'm particularly appreciative of this. She demonstrates each point either by demonstration or by pointing out the relevant muscles/body parts on her assistant, Neon. She doesn't actually show us a set of wings until about minute 58, immediately prior to "How to hold your wings". She's very knowledgeable about body structure and how it is best used in the dance.
Ayshe is also very safety conscious - she warns us at appropriate times how mis-using a particular movement can cause injury. Plus, she tells us to be well warmed up before starting (yet doesn't waste valuable video time with a warm up), and to work with your local instructor on the techniques in the video (an excellent idea).
Each "Practice | Review | Improvisation" section is a mini 1 or 2 minute performance demonstrating the techniques just taught - very effective.
Ayshe and Neon both wear attractive practice costumes that are very visible against the dark background. Sound quality is good, lighting is good, and the video is well edited. Camera effects are kept to a minimum; and where used, are appropriate and well done.
Ayshe's instruction is very clear and concise. Throughout the video she reinforces her instruction with demonstrations and, where needed, changes her pose so we can see the point she's making from a different angle.
Ayshe has included several extras on this DVD. The first is an approximately 5:31 long performance with wings called Oceans of Ecstasy, filmed in what appears to be a restaurant. Similar to some of her performances in her performance video Wings of Ayshe, it is a beautiful, high energy performance done with double wings. Not to be missed!
Then she has a marketing section called Wings, Structure, Styles and Colors. I call this the "drool section", there isn't a Belly Dancer on the planet who won't go crazy over the various beautiful wings she shows in this section. Not only does she show us a few of the many available colors and fabrics, but she also shows us the features of her wings, how the sticks go in, how she attaches two sets of wings together, etc. It is about 12 minutes long, and you WILL be watching it more than once!
Several text pages with credits, various resources, and a listing of Ayshe's various services (teaching, wing and veil fabrication, performing, etc) round out the DVD.
What I liked about this video:
Ayshe's very clear instruction, multiple demonstrations, and good use of the DVD video format. You really feel like you are with Ayshe in a private lesson with this video, one you can repeat again and again as needed. At $35 including shipping, it is a bargain. She includes a performance of her subject matter done is a nice costume.
Ayshe's considerable emphasis and instruction on posture. This dovetails nicely with my own teacher's approach! She could probably market the first half as "Belly Dance Posture, the DVD" and it would be worth the price of admission.
What I didn't like about this video:
Its hard to find anything not to like - but I'll pick a couple of tiny nits. There is exactly one video transition that is a bit of a jolt - as if it were overlooked in editing.
In the marketing section, the camera was a little bit too close for my taste. This is a judgment call on the part of the producer - she's trying to sell wings so she wants us to see them up close and personal - I, on the other hand want to appreciate the whole picture by having the camera back a couple of more feet (This is NOT the situation with either the instructional or performance segments - there the camera is back a bit more, and therefore perfect); either way I was still drooling over those beautiful wings.
You can purchase this video from Ayshe's WebSite.