Bellydance for Beginners with Suhaila: Fitness Fusion Pilates
I debated how to rate this DVD, because some dancers will find the drills useful between classes. However I finally decided against it on principle - because the title is grossly misleading.
Watch a Pilates matwork class with the sound switched off, and you will see some of the moves Suhaila uses here. But turn the sound on, and you'll discover the difference. Pilates is a very precise exercise method, and you won't get the benefits if you aren't told exactly which muscles to use. Suhaila is using the same exercises, but she doesn't explain how to engage your core or maintain a neutral spine - so they're not Pilates exercises in this workout, they're just stretches.
As I said, that doesn't mean it's totally useless - just that you won't learn any Pilates from it, if you don't already know how. I also doubt raw bellydance beginners could handle the isolations, as Suhaila doesn't break them down.
On the positive side, the workout includes Suhaila's famous glute isolations and some challenging chest and ab drills. The "bonus workout" gives you more of the same but with the added challenge of moving across the floor.
A couple of warning notes. One, please warm up before you start. If you play the DVD in sequence, the class begins with static stretches - and stretches are not a warm-up! Do this section at the end of your routine, not the beginning, for safety's sake. Two, in the pelvic locks she tells you to contract your lower back muscles to lock back. These days, most instructors will tell you to simply release back, because you can over-arch and damage your back if you actually lock backwards.
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