Veils Vol. 2, The Roman Tie
Veils Vol. 2, The Roman Tie by Cory Zamora
2004, (apparently region free), run time approximately 60 minutes.
Instructional Level: Beginner/Intermediate.
Cory Zamora is a long time dancer and instructor in Fresno California who has produced several instructional videos. This one demonstrates and teaches veilwork, and especially veilwork with Zills (Finger Cymbals).
Disclaimer: I've exchanged numerous emails with Ms. Zamora as she has taught several male dancers at her studio in Fresno, although I cannot claim to know her well. She sent me this video as an unsolicited gift, knowing my love of veilwork.
Like all of Cory's videos, this is a no-frills, no-nonsense, get the job done production.
The first part is something I've never seen in an instructional video. Cory introduces four of her students! She explains that each student is at a different experience level, then she (Cory) leads the class in going through how to setup the veil wrap de jour, the "Roman Tie", and they dance a brief choreography. Following this, Cory has each student dance the veil off to their own personal interpretation. Everyone is wearing Zills!
Different? Yes. Useful? I have to say yes again as it allows the viewer the opportunity to see the veilwork on different body shapes/sizes, as well as individual interpretations. Class attire is just exactly what any experienced Belly Dance student is used to seeing and wearing in any class s/he's been in before. The whole effect draws the viewer in - its just like being in a class.
Lighting is very good throughout this segment, sound is also good, although the volume of Cory's narration is a bit variable - but clear enough. Wonderful music. I'm not sure that the camera wasn't being handheld - there is definitely a fair amount of "Monkey-Cam" going on, largely due to the camera man trying to cover everyone in a tight space.
The next section is the actual instruction. Cory starts by answering several questions that she's apparently asked all the time - kinda neat. While watching this video the first time, I thought to myself "Those are Zildjian Zills she's wearing." And indeed they are! This is the first question she answers. Then she explains that she is five foot, one inch tall, yet uses a four yard veil as she likes to be able to do creative veil wraps.
So, we have a very short dancer, using a four yard veil, with Zildjian Zills, the heaviest Zills I've ever played. Ok, I'm impressed! I too love my Zildjian Zills, but they wouldn't be my first choice to use with veilwork. That's the difference many years of experience gives you!
After a brief mention about her veil-type preference/philosophy (always good to know this kind of stuff, helps the student know where the instructor is coming from), she demonstrates how to hold the veil while wearing Zills. My instructor holds her veil between her ring and pinkie finger when she's wearing her Zills. So does Cory - BUT Cory adds her index finger as an option and show us how to do several typical veil moves step by step. She shows us which finger to use and why. Very cool...
The veilwork is mostly elemental and can be mastered fairly quickly by anyone who is willing to put in the practice and spend the time tangled up while learning (just like learning any other veil moves). This makes it easy for the "veil challenged" to get their feed wet. Yet at the same time, more advanced students of the dance can try it with Zills, as demonstrated. So two needs are met with one segment.
Next (with Zills removed, thank Goddess!), Cory goes into detail how to setup the "Roman Tie" veilwrap. Its not the easiest wrap in the world to do, but it isn't all that hard either as long as attention is paid to detail.
Note to males:
This wrap, like many, depends on bra straps - adaptation and/or costume mods may be necessary to pull this one off. It may be possible to tuck the veil under the top of a vest - depends on the vest and how you tuck it as most vests are not as tight as a bra strap. I have yet to experiment with this particular wrap, but it does look do-able.
She then does a walk through of the choreography shown earlier with her students, pausing at critical moments to show us what fingers she's using, what edge she's grasping, etc. as she goes (remember, she's wearing Zills!). She spends considerable time with this, and her instruction here is very clear and we can see what she's doing as she goes to the trouble of showing us!
Now its time to actually dance the choreography. A nice Brothers of the Baladi tune goes on, and Cory demonstrates the sequence - calling out tips and encouragement as she goes, just like being in a live class...
Next, we get a "round two", she re-dances the piece to a Tsiftetelli rhythm, which changes the entire aspect of the dance. The veilwork is a similar sequence as before. yet Cory's actual dancing is different. Shows versatility. As before, she calls out tips as she goes. She also adds a bit more to the end of the routine, calling out and showing us as she goes.
An added bonus, she shows us the Bourrée (Ballet term, often called "that floaty step" by us Belly Dancers). As this step is often used in veil routines, it is a nice, and appropriate, addition. She then shows us a slight variation to the "Roman Tie" wrap, and a couple of more veil moves - and proceeds directly into a performance.
I always enjoy performances of the subject matter being taught. I also expect such performances to be in a "real" costume. Cory does her performance in the same power net leotard she taught the rest of the video in - and it suddenly doesn't matter. She dances well here, projects through the camera (an almost impossible feat), and is clearly enjoying herself, playing with the music.
What I liked about this video:
Cory's clear instruction, good demonstrations, wonderful movements and good lighting so we can see what she's doing. Her dance skill, and her skill with her veil whilst wearing Zills is impressive. Editing and camera work have improved from some of her earlier videos.
Its a DVD! YAY!
What I didn't like about this video:
Although I enjoyed the first part with her class, the "Monkey-Cam" was a bit much. Sound quality was variable, but always clear/loud enough.
You can purchase this video from Cory's WebSite.