As I said in my last post, my first library review is about a “exercise” video called Intro to Bellydance with Dolphina. Keep in mind, product quality is not the aim of my public library exploration, it is the variety, the hidden gems, the “what on earth were they doing with our tax money when they put that into circulation?”.

I did this video at about 4 p.m. thinking it would re-energize me and prevent me from having a cup of coffee and/or falling asleep on the couch. I was sitting in self-pity on the couch, wishing I hadn’t just gotten a job interview for this week. (Yes, you read that correctly and can think “Who feels that way!?”) I put on some running shorts and my running shoes, keeping my smart wool socks on, mind you. Well as the video started, boy, was I overdressed and under adorned!

I was ready to go!

As I started the video, I quickly realized Dolphina probably had/has a career in an industry that I’m not too familiar with. I also realized I wasn’t going to break a sweat and just should have kept my jeans on. Or I should have put on the most sparkle-clad dress I have, cut out the mid-section, and then put some tights on underneath. After all, that is what Dophina’s 8 outfits in a 45 minute video, had in common. Each outfit of hers was very, um, exotic and really helped me to learn all the moves in a precise and technical manner. I could see what she would make shake, and I’d just try to copy that. Really, if I would have had the right costume I think I could have really gotten into it. Too bad this year I decided not to go as a slutty Jasmine from Aladdin. Rats.

There are some highlights I must summarize for you so that you can make a well-informed decision as to whether or not you will check this out from your local library. (And this is where I had made a jab about how Pella people were going to have to seek this DVD elsewhere because of its reference to goddesses, but then I erased that part.)

Besides the outfit and location changes for every one of the 8 sections of the video, I learned some key things about belly dancing. It was started by women and for women, to celebrate the goddess. In the warm-up part where you get a little history lesson, Dolphina also tells you how “intoxicating” this dance is and that it is a “journey to wholeness.” It also, ” femininely tones and contours the muscles in an exciting and pleasurable way” and helps you “open yourself up and allow yourself to be transported to the magical, playful and mystical place.”

I will say, my arms did burn a bit when we were in “key to the symbol of the universe” position for a minute at a time. Tough. During the hips section I learned about a part of my lower spine called the Kundalini. Not only did the word make me laugh, but then when I found out a little later that that is the serpent that lies asleep at the end of our spine I ran in circles trying to get away from my spine because I hate serpents! Plus, then she freaked me out and said if I awake my Kundalini magical things would happen and I could cause lightening and thunder and earthquakes, oh my!

In the Chest and Shoulders portion, I learned that belly dancing is not just for the belly and that the “shimmy” is not a nickname or socially created dance move name, but the pure, technical name. THAT, was disappointing. Belly dancing was seeming so sophisticated, but no, they really call it “shimmy.” So I guess we can all call ourselves belly dancers after that revelation because who hasn’t shimmied a time or two?

After working on some hip shaking we moved to Undulations and Snakes. Appetizing. Then more Shimmy…a whole section of it. And here I learned that the Shimmy is, “the greatest cardiovascular workout there is.” So, all you runners out there, you have been so wrong! Besides the fact that all I need to do is shimmy to stay in shape, I also took away that I can, “shimmy with everything”! Shimmy while you grocery shop, shimmy while you sit, and shimmy while you shower.

The video ended with yet another outfit and a cool down. The cool down was complete with superimposed pictures of her while she was giving instruction. Think portraits you took at JCPenney a la 1989 where your face profile was in the background of your straight-on shot. Dramatic.

For those who love a little bonus feature on their DVDs, this one came with two bonuses. 1) A performance by Dolphina and 2) How to Bellydance for your man.

So overall this was worth the laughs, but not worth the “workout.”  Belly dancing is a respectable art form, but in terms of this DVD maybe I just couldn’t shimmy or undulate well enough because I had shoes on or because my belly was not exposed? Pretty sure you better put it on reserve today because there is probably at least a two week wait list for this DVD. And by wait list, I mean I don’t even know how this thing got produced. Be

Next find: A documentary about Forks, WA. The town where the fictional (or actually real) Twilight Saga takes place. Team Edward.


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