Belly dancing is about sensuality and power, about embracing one’s body and being open to life. It would be unreasonable to expect to encapsulate all this in a workout video, and Step-by-Step Belly Dance with Leilainia doesn’t really try. Rather, it offers the curious woman who wants to tone key muscles and have fun doing it a nice introduction to some of the moves associated with belly dance.
The best aspect of Step-by-Step Belly Dance, and the reason to consider this over other belly dance workout videos, is the tutorial aspect of it. The DVD offers a wonderful, if short, tutorial segment that is separate from the workout combinations. In this tutorial, which I highly recommend, Leilainia breaks down the moves she will use throughout the video, namely hip lifts, hips side-to-side, shimmies, hip ups, snake arms, and the grapevine; the last of which I don’t really think necessitates a tutorial, but it is there. In these tutorials, she not only explains how to do the moves, but what posture you should have and what muscles you should be working while doing them.
This tutorial is wonderful for beginners, and in fact the “step-by-step” concept continues throughout the DVD. At the beginning of the workout combinations, Leilainia again reminds the viewer of correct posture, and gives detailed explanations of the moves throughout the routines. If you want to learn some basic belly dancing moves, but think you might mess up even simple steps, then head straight for this workout, because Leilainia will not consider letting you do the moves incorrectly.
The down-side to all of this detail is that you learn about five moves very well. There are three 15-minute long dance segments, but each one only covers a few moves that you repeat over and over again, and those always include the shimmy and some form of hip lift.
For example, in the first segment, High Energy Basics, Leilainia does the hips side-to-side move for about five minutes, then hip lifts for a few minutes, then back to hips side-to-side, and then, what do you know, back to hip lifts, and then throws in a whole lot of shimmying. And that is it. I imagine this is a good approach for getting these moves in your muscle memory and really working particular muscle groups, but I would have liked to see more diversity in each segment. Although perhaps lots of shimmying is important, as it is good for the lymphatic system, according to Leilainia.