Sunday, January 23, 2011

Review-- Simply Ballet

This is a review for the Simply Ballet: A Master Class for Beginners. This is not a review of an exercise video (though you do exercise) as much as it's a supplement to ballet class. They recommend you already have one to two years of training, and I tend to agree with them since she doesn't go into acute detail on the correct forms. 
The DVD opens up with three beautiful young dancers. I just love watching them! They are quite talented.

The setting is in a studio. The lighting is not too great, but it's enough to be able to see all the dancers. The quality is also not fantastic, even on DVD, but it's passable. (My screenshots are worse than the actual quality of the disc. I'm not quite sure why.)

The instructor does a great job of fully demonstrating the exercises. She is clearly talented, knows what she's talking about, and a good dancer. She covers some really important things to remember as you perform these exercises, especially if you're a beginner like me.
The camera does a great job of zooming in to focus on the individual dancer as the instructor works with them. What I like is how they'll demonstrate the correct way, but also the incorrect way for some moves so can see these in yourself and correct it.
They also have a girl facing back and a girl facing front so you can see the correct forms from both angles. It's really helpful. I say girls, but there's also a boy dancer. I really like when they have boy dancers, too, so boys using the DVD won't feel left out. When it's time to go to the other side, the camera will cut and the dancers will now be facing the other way. However, they don't always go to the other side, so you'll have to get up and rewind. You can't just hit the back button because she'll start giving the exercise instructions again. This can get a tad tedious. I wish they broke up the exercise and her instructions so you can jump to and fro with the next button.
The instructor leads you through the combinations she has designed for both the barre and floorwork. There are also combinations specifically for male students. When she teaches a combination, she'll go through it herself. Then she'll demonstrate the correct and incorrect form on the student dancers. After she gives her final instructions, you practice with the students as a pianist plays some rendition of a classical piece. She only gives instructions before the exercises, not during. I prefer during since then if I forget to put one of her methods into practice, I'll be reminded. Usually I'm so busy concentrating I don't notice I'm performing a move incorrectly. Comments during the exercise would improve this.

I truly enjoy this video. Not only did I learn something from it, but I feel confident as we go through the motions. This is not a video to buy if you haven't taken a studio class yet, since she does expect you to know the terminology for the most part. If you are unsure of some ballet terms, then this might not be the best video for you yet.
This DVD delivers exactly what it promises to do, which I respect from it. It's an easy-to-follow master class for beginners. And this really is only for beginners. There's a lot of instruction and the combinations are simpler. Sometimes there's even variations put into some of the floorwork for those super new to ballet.

However, the price is pretty steep: $27. For a little bit more, I think you'll be able to find better instruction videos and one with better quality. Still, not to bad! I'm glad my library had this.

Verdict: If you can get it for a cheaper price than $27, give it a shot.

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