Saturday, January 21, 2012

Brass Butterflies

Even though this is an advanced finger cymbals DVD beginning and intermediate dancers should not let that stop them from adding this to their library.  You can always concentrate on just learning the rhythms before including the dance steps.

In this DVD from IAMED, Ansuya covers 6/8, 9/8, and Masmoudi.  She gives a through break down of each pattern and allows for plenty of time to familiarize yourself with each one before adding music and a simple dance step like Figure 8's with a step ball change.  Have your brains and fingers at the ready because the one thing she doesn't do in this DVD is stop, turn to the camera and say "Now, let's speed it up,"  before increasing the tempo.

When it's time to put the playing and the dancing together she demonstrates each step completely, walking it out and talking through the rhythm, before adding zills and music.  Beginners can focus solely on playing the rhythm or follow along, while you intermediate students can trying adding a little of your own flavor to the mix.   

The drill at the end that combines all 3 rhythms is done without music and she just jumps straight into them with no walking through it.  I'm not sure of how I feel about this section.  Maybe the lack of music was meant to make this part less intimidating, but it just felt awkward to me. 

The last chapter covers different ways of playing zils in order to elicit different sounds, ie. a bell like ringing vs. a flatter clacking sound; a quick review of the Ayub and Beledi patterns that were taught in the "Finger Cymbals" DVD; a section on embellishing the three rhythms learned in this DVD with singles; and ends with a brief explanation on how to safely build up strength and stamina in the wrists and fore arms.  

At the end Ansuya, gives an electrifying and inspiring performance; beautiful brass butterflies fluttering at her finger tips. She's wearing a bedlah and skirt of fresh chartreuse with accented with sky blue turquoise and shimmering silver, and most fabulous necklace that I'm totally in love with.  The bead artist/jewelry designer in me is just itching to make something like that for myself.

My only complaint with the DVD is that the audio is somewhat fuzzy and muffled. 


  1. Thank you for the good review. Ansuya is a wonderful teacher! Here's a link to Advanced Finger Cymbals for belly dancers.

  2. You're welcome, Suzy. I agree! Ansuya is a wonderful teacher. I'm hoping to be able to take a workshop or two from her someday. ;-)

  3. Thank you for the review SaraBeth! I love your descriptive writing, "brass butterflies", "fresh chartreuse". Very nice!

  4. You're welcom, Ansuya. Next to all shades purple and violet chartreuse is my one of my all time favorite colors.