This review comes to us from ICAN Education Director Krista Cornish Scott. The DVD is available from the ICAN online bookstore for $39.95. Click here to check it out!
DVD Review: Dance of the Womb: Belly Dance for Pregnancy and Birth
By Maha Al Musa, 2009
This elegant and arrestingly beautiful DVD is a very personal and heartfelt offering from Maha Al Musa, a dancer with a passion for birth. She was born in Kuwait to Lebanese and Palestinian parents but has spent most of her life in Australia where she now resides. Although when I first heard about this DVD I was most interested in the practical belly dancing aspect, an unexpected bonus was the artful and inspiring video and stills of the birth (at age 46!) of her third child, a daughter. A wonderful conversation about birth with her midwives is also interspersed with the footage.
I am not one to promote the idea that all women should have a particular experience of childbirth, and I do not believe that all of us were meant to have a painless experience. Al Musa and her midwives talk frankly about pain as well. Yet seeing beautiful labors and births like this should inspire and encourage those trying to block out the intense and all-pervasive cultural message that birth must be frightening and painful, and that women in labor are screaming and out of control. The beautiful images of Al Musa swaying, dancing and undulating to her own internal rhythm as she labors are enhanced by the gorgeous accompanying music and some wise words about birth that come from her midwives. Their clearly close relationship and care for her are evidenced in their thoughtful reflections upon her recent birth. Seeing Al Musa effortlessly meet her young baby’s needs while they sit and chat was a great reminder of how deeply personal and yet how completely open this DVD is to the observer.
If the birth video “bonus” were all that were on this DVD, it would still be worth the price. But luckily for pregnant women looking for something a little exotic and nurturing of their new shape, the DVD’s main focus is an easy-to-follow guide for prenatal belly dance. Even a woman who has previously taken belly dance lessons will gain from this DVD as movements during pregnancy are certainly different than those one would undertake when not pregnant. After a gentle but thorough warm-up and stretches, there are individual chapters which go more in-depth into belly dance moves. This would be a great addition to any pregnant woman’s prenatal self-care.
WARNING: Watching this DVD made me yearn to get pregnant again just so I could dance. Perhaps it will have the same powerful effect on you! You can order from the ICAN Bookstore.