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What’s a DVD and its advantages?

This question, to my surprise, was one of the most popular questions asked of me at the 2002 Rakkasah Festival. (It should be interesting to see how long it takes for this article to be old news, because if you don’t know yet, you soon will.) You know those thinner, squarer boxes taking up more and more shelf space at the video rental store? Those are DVDs.

The phenomena of this question goes to show women are not as technically oriented as the men folk. If you’re confused after reading this article just ask any teenager, husband, brother or other male friend. They seem to have a firmer grip on the remote control. I assure you the DVD is here to stay for a while, there are just too many advantages.

Dear dancers, I am also a bit slow on the draw about this new technology, but I’ll share with you what I’ve learned about DVDs in the last few months. It’s really not hard to understand once you get started.

What does DVD stand for?

According to one of our DVD manuals, the initials officially stand for nothing. Then they say, “Well, it sometimes stands for Digital Video Disk or Digital Versatile Disk.” Then one of my students said, “I thought it stood for Delilah’s Visionary Dance.” Well, not exactly.

It’s basically digital video on CD format and that means computers can read it, so if your computer has a DVD port you can stick it in there too.

Order our Belly Dancing DVDs now!


Dancers are buying DVDs so they can watch them on their laptops while they are on the road during business trips and vacations, or at work during lunch.

The picture and sound quality are much better!

The ability to jump around from point to point is much more convenient than with video. They are lighter weight and hold more information.

The producers can do a lot of layering of sound tracks and pictures. What DVDs are famous for is extra tracks and alternative scenes and scene endings.

Hmmm. . . you mean like you could show where everything flows smoothly and then the uncut version where I slip and fall on a banana peel? I guess that's a possibility for the bloopers. Or the alternative ending to a instructional video where “you” the student turn into a super dancer after studying the program, or an alternate ending where your hair is all messed up and you are totally confused? I hope not! Hmmm . . .


It’s a new technology and not all DVD players work right. So, some people get a little frustrated that their DVDs don’t work 100% of the time in all capacities. The newer the player, the less likely there will be any compatibility problems. So if you are thinking about buying one today, take my advice and buy a new one.

How to work them?

They are totally remote-control based. So whatever you do, don’t loose your remote control unit!

First, you turn it on and get past the FBI and the logos and you come to a menu. This will be your first stop. You will need to select where you want to go. You do this by clicking an arrow on your remote. Not all remotes are the same, so it’ll take you a few seconds to figure this out. The names of the choices will light up when you select them. Then you must push the ENTER button to start what you have selected.

Sometimes the graphic element on the menus can be very arty so you don’t know you are looking at a menu (movement on the menus is done in what is called a video loop). On Absolute Beginning Bellydance, one of our menus is an undulating belly, and with the sound turned down at Rakkasah mixed with the unfamiliarity with the DVD format, some dancers did not know they were looking at the menu. They soon became hypnotized looking at the undulating waist line and started joining in by hypnotically undulating back and forth in front of the TV set. I caught this out of the corner of my eye and handed them the remote controls.

You can choose to PLAY ALL and the show will run from beginning to end, but not to any of the EXTRAS (some people didn’t know there were extras on their DVD because they didn’t click on the EXTRAS button on their menu). With movies, there are SCENE numbers and names with little pictures to remind you of the order when you are fast forwarding or backing up. Kind of cool!

On Absolute Beginning Bellydance with Delilah, you have CHAPTERS of the instructional program. In the BAZAAR, you will find sponsors and resources. In TRAILERS, you’ll see previews of other videos we offer, and in EXTRAS, you will see three extra dance performances not on the VHS version. 1: The Cane Dance, 2: The Rose Dance, 3: The Blue Enchantress Dance.

On Fire at the IAO with A Retro Choreography, your first menu choice is to go to the THEATER or the DANCE STUDIO. The THEATER takes you to “Fire at the IAO” performance options, and DANCE STUDIO takes you to “A Retro Choreography” lesson. In the Dance Studio, you have PLAY ALL or INSTRUCTIONAL CHAPTERS.
When it comes to viewing the dance segment you are learning, you have four choices of sound tracks;
• Music only,
• Music with the counts,
• Music with the steps called,
• all three at once, Music, Count, Steps.

See there is a lot to this and it’s really useful!

In the THEATER, you have Delilah and Sirocco's full 30-minute Bellydance performance and Nikki Conti and Suliman El Coyote’s Flemenco Dance Performances. Under EXTRAS, we have 3 extra artist commentary sound tracks.: 1. Nikki and Sol about Flamenco 2. Delilah and Sirocco about Middle Eastern 3. Delilah alone on her dance. (I think they are really cool and I hope you do too.)
In the future, DVDs will be able to utilize web sites as well but for right now that technology is too problematic (it messes with the DVD programing in many computers). We decided to wait on that, and instead we give you the password-accessible Visionary Bellydance Web Clubs off our Web site with additional notes and information related to the programs .

So there you have it, all at the touch of your remote control.

More Articles:

Interviews with the producers

Fire at the Iao story

12 months later: A Retro Choreography

Enter Belly Dancing Web Clubs Here

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