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DVD review: "Isis Wings with Khalida"

By Safran

I should start this review by stating that up until last week I had never danced with Isis Wings. Actually, I had never even tried them on for fun. But, of course, I did not let that stop me from getting the wings' DVD from Khalida the moment pre-ordering opened. When the DVD arrived, I borrowed a pair of wings and gave my very first try accompanied by the DVD.

Khalida starts the DVD with briefly introducing where the wings are used. She tells how the wings exaggerate movements, and reminds that one should not forget to actually dance when using them. In this section and in other parts of the DVD Khalida explains what type of wings she uses - I consider that very sensible, as different types of wings act differently and not knowing this can cause quite a bit of frustration in the beginning.

The next section of the DVD includes a brief warm-up, which focuses mainly on the upper body. It is followed by stretches to get rid of the tension in your neck and shoulders. I must say it is especially useful for those of us who work at an office daily. Then Khalida instructs how to put the wings on and how to take them off.

The technique and combinations section includes three parts - intros and poses, transitions and turns, and spins and crescendos. Khalida will demonstrate most of the combinations without the wings first, so it is easy to figure out what is really going on. I am also glad she does that because the wings she uses are of a very similar colour to the background, and sometimes it is hard to make out what is happening.

Khalida repeats each combination several times, so that you can practice along without having to click the "back" button every few seconds. In addition to demonstrating the technique, Khalida gives little tips on how to make turns and spins easier.

The DVD features a freestyle dance-along, which is a cool idea. Basically, Khalida is dancing on the screen giving you a little warning before starting a new element or combination, and all you have to do is follow. However, if you are as new to wings as I am, I suggest you sit and watch that part through several times before attempting to actually dance.

Another great idea on this DVD is the duo combinations section. Wings can be wonderfully effective when used by a duet or troupe, and I don't think there are too many DVDs catering to them on the market. The duo techniques include mirroring, parallels, shadowing and back-to-back.

The special features include two performances by Khalida. One of them is a very dramatic piece, while another carrys a more Egyptian feeling where she uses the wings only for the first part of the song. I'd also like to mention the "Pictures behind the scenes" and "Credits", as these make me wish I had been there on the set - it just seems to have been so much fun.

On the technical side, my copy does tend to have a problem with transitioning from one chapter to another - the endings are often abrupt, cutting the last word in half or just freezing my player for five to ten seconds. However, I still think it is great material for my first wings instruction, and I am seriously considering doing push-ups and purchasing a pair of wings of my own.