DVD Review: Step-by-Step Bellydance with Leilainia

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All in all, keeping my New Year’s resolution to exercise more than I did last year is becoming quite easy as my collection of exercise DVDs slowly piles up, providing me with an array of exercises that target different parts of my body as well as appeal to my various tastes and moods. The most recent addition to my collection is Acacia’s Step-by-Step Bellydance with Leilainia, which is said to tighten and trim the entire body, to burn fat and calories all while having fun and consequently feeling good.

And yes, however terribly cliché that sounded, this is quite the fun workout. I don’t quite know how efficient it’s going to be to tighten and trim my entire body, as I only started using it last week, but it definitely provides a top to bottom workout.

For those of you who have never belly danced, the DVD provides not only an introduction (well it’s quite a brief one; you’re better off reading the Wikipedia entry about the topic if you want to learn more about the origins of belly dancing), but also a tutorial on the basics of belly dancing, starting with the belly dancing posture, then basic moves such as the hip lifts, moving your hips side to side, the shimmy, the hip up movement, and the arm snake movement. I would recommend taking advantage of this tutorial by doing it a couple of times before heading onto the workout, as it ensures that you do not strain either your back or your knees. It also helps to have a little idea of what is coming up, thus avoiding frustration.

A great feature of this DVD is the fact that you can choose if you’d like to have both the music and the instructions running at the same time or only the music (for once you have grasped the basics and can just follow Leilainia rather than have to listen to her instructions). This seems to be a basic fixture of many of Acacia’s recent dance/fitness DVDs that I have come to appreciate.

The workout itself includes a seven-minute warm-up, a seven-minute cool down, and three 15-minutes sets. The first is a cardio workout, the second is mostly a toning workout for your core, and the third and last one involves more stretching and is the most ‘danceable’ one by far. All three are set to original, upbeat Arabic-inspired music that I didn’t feel compelled to replace with my own music.

For those of you who know how to belly dance, Step-by-Step Bellydance with Leilainia will serve more as a guided dance exercise regimen, as you can do away with the simpler steps while at the same time paying more attention than usual to tightening your abs and your glutes so as to achieve the most from your workout.

Bonus features include a dance performance by Leilainia, an extract from Hemalayaa: Bollywood Dance Blast and one from Dance & Be Fit: Brazilian Body, a history of belly dance (interesting, but I still prefer the Wikipedia page, to be honest), Leilainia’s biography, and a little blurb about the music composers.

Yet another great addition to the growing Acacia library of dance/fitness DVDs, Step-by-Step Bellydance with Leilainia is a great workout option for those days when you don’t feel like working out and just want to have some fun.

First published here on Blogcritics.

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