Keti Sharif – A-Z Bellydance
Keti Sherif's A-Z system is similar in concept to Bahaia's Combin-ography and Leyla Najma's Hip Phylosophy. All three teach short combinations, which can be used like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle to build a dance.
This approach makes a lot of sense. By the time a dancer is at performance level, she knows a wide range of steps, and trying to pluck exactly the right single move from her head "on the fly" is almost impossible. With these systems, the dancer can string together several pre-choreographed combos instead of having to find individual steps, giving herself breathing space. I notice many experienced performers do this naturally: most dancers have a "signature move" that they fall back on, and many develop a habit of always associating two moves (my teacher, for instance, would always follow hip lifts walking forward with undulations moving back).
The difference between Sherif's A to Z and the rest is that Sherif presents it as an entire teaching syllabus. Teachers can gain certification in the method. At its core are twenty-six 16-count combinations, based on the "rule of fours" which most dancers will be familiar with, meaning four repetitions of four each.
I notice teachers who have attended face-to-face teacher training with Keti are full of praise for her method. Reviews from teachers who've tried to learn the method from the DVD's seem more mixed. For myself, I'm not totally convinced about it as a complete teaching method - however, I can see how the different combinations offer an interesting way to teach not just the steps, but also spatial awareness and performance techniques at the same time.
I don't ascribe to the view of bellydance as some kind of superior, mystical dance form, so I do find some of Sherif's terminology irritating (calling directions of travel "Sacred Geometry", for instance, when they are the exact same directions you'll learn in any dance genre!). But if that doesn't bother you - or if it suits you - then you'll find value in this DVD.