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Learning With Libby:
A Video Review

by Shira

This video is sometimes marketed under the title Learning to Move & Play Finger Cymbals "The Easy Way".

 

Women of all sizWomen of all sizes can bellydance! Try it even if you think you are overweight!

Summary

Rating: StarStarStar (out of 5)

This 45-minute instructional video by a full-figured dancer in New Mexico named Libby focuses on how to play finger cymbals and dance at the same time. It contains a collection of finger cymbal rhythms, and teaches a step combination to go with each. Although I felt the video had room for improvement, I did like several things about it. If you don't mind no-frills production quality, you may find it to be helpful in learning to play finger cymbals along with your dancing. Libby

 

Women of all siWomen of all sizes can bellydance! Try it even if you think you are overweight!

Detailed Description

On this video, Libby provides an introduction to finger cymbals for dancers who have had no previous experience with them. She focuses on the practical issues such as how to put elastic on them, how to play them, and how to move while playing them. There is minimal discussion of their history, cultural heritage, or role as musical instruments. Based on brief things she said in passing, she gave me the impression that she knows something about these topics, but didn't want to take the time to address them on this video.

The video is definitely aimed at beginning-level dancers. It might make a good next step for dancers who have learned basic moves such as hip drops from an elementary fundamentals video and now want to add finger cymbals to their skill set. It assembles the building blocks taught in those elementary videos into step combinations, while at the same time adding finger cymbals to them.

The heart of this video consists of Libby presenting an assortment of finger cymbal patterns, each one accompanied by a corresponding dance move. She covers 4 different musical rhythms: baladi (masmoudi saghir), chiftetelli, 6/8, and karsilama. For each rhythm, Libby proceeds as follows:

  • Writes the structure of the rhythm on the chalkboard
  • Explains how it would sound
  • Plays it on her cymbals
  • Teaches a step combination that works with this rhythm
  • Puts the cymbals together with the steps at slow speed
  • Picks up the speed
  • Practices it to drum accompaniment

This flows reasonably well. I find her style of explanation to be quite easy to grasp, and I think it could be quite helpful to a beginning cymbal player.

Her presentation is quite effective. For a beginner who has just "graduated" from an introductory video, "Learning From Libby" realistically offers assistance in assembling basic moves into combinations, and adding finger cymbals to them.

I wish Libby would have focused the full teaching time a single common musical rhythm such as baladi (masmoudi saghir), rather than offer a tiny sample of each of four different musical rhythms. There's not much a dancer can do with just one cymbal pattern and one step combination for a given musical rhythm as given on this video, but if Libby had given 4-5 patterns and combinations for a single musical rhythm a dancer studying with her video could then possibly build her own simple 2-3 minute routine. That lack of focus is why I didn't rate this video higher.

After approximately a half hour of teaching, the video moves on to show a performance that was done in the past by Zamarost Troupe. Although I normally think it's great to feature some sort of performance footage as part of an instructional video, this time Libby should have used that extra 13 minutes to teach a more cymbal patterns and step combinations. The lighting and video clarity are bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. I could scarcely make out torso movements or costumes--all I could discern were general formations, hands, and feet. I really couldn't tell you whether the troupe was good or not because the footage was so blurry I couldn't tell whether they were well synchronized.

 

Women of all sizes can bellydance! Try it even if you think you are overweight!Women of all sizes can bellydance! Try it even if you think you are overweight!

In Conclusion

Libby teaches her topic well. Her format of teaching a dance move to go with each cymbal rhythm is an interesting idea for introducing cymbals and helping beginners learn to pair cymbals with movement from the beginning. Unfortunately, the execution is not as strong as I would like. I'd consider this video to be strong enough to be worth the money, but not special.

 

Women of all sizWomen of all sizes can bellydance! Try it even if you think you are overweight!

Contacting Libby

To purchase this video, contact Libby as follows:

Angel Productions
Box 741
Cedar Crest, NM 87008
U.S.A.

Phone: (+1) (505) 286-0755 (this is different from the one on the video package)

E-mail dancinglibby@aol.com

 

Women of all siWomen of all sizes can bellydance! Try it even if you think you are overweight!

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