Online belly dance DVD hire – is it worth it?

It has recently come to my attention that one can hire belly dance DVDs online and stream them for the week (or time frame you have hired them for). I found myself wondering “Why would anyone want to do that?” Is it worth it?

Whether or not it’s worth it entirely depends upon your preferred learning methods or maybe I should say – what you realistically can do within your lifestyle.

TIME

Hiring a DVD can add a sense of urgency to your practice and will likely mean you actually make a real effort to get through the material. I am sure I am not the only one that has purchased belly dance DVD’s and left them languishing in a draw untouched for weeks or months at a time. The sense of urgency is not going to make the slightest difference to you if, however, you don’t have more than one afternoon a week free to view it, your kids get sick or whatever. Most dance DVD’s need at least several viewings to really assimilate the material. I personally love to revisit DVD’s at later dates and revise techniques and combinations that I may have gotten a bit rusty with but if you hire rather than buy you will have to repurchase.

SHIPPING FEES

So I mentioned the idle DVD phenomenon – for me this happens both because I have a busy life style and can only dance part –time 😦 , but it is also because I live in Australia and most Belly dance DVD’s are produced overseas – to save on shipping I tend to buy a lot of them at once. With online streaming, shipping is no longer an expense – YAY!

URGENT

The best reason to hire, I believe is the instantaneousness of the format. You don’t have to wait for your parcel to arrive – you can learn right now – no waiting – and the hire cost is less than the average class costs to attend. You could decide at 11pm on a Sunday night that you are just dying to learn some hot combos and go online and learn straight away. Maybe you want to have an easy night in and watch a performance DVD? Or, and this is what I think I would be most likely to use it for, you get hired for a gig and at last minute a request is made for you include a dance style you are not that experienced with e.g.  Moroccan and you mostly dance Egyptian. You can go online and take a quick class!

TRAVELLING LIGHT

Ok, this is so not me, but I do aspire to the idea of travelling light. Hiring a DVD online means you can take that class on your laptop or tablet anywhere in the world and not have to plan in advance. Also it means you don’t clutter up your home with DVD’s you may only want to watch a couple of times. I love to revisit old videos but to be honest there are only a few that are really worth the effort.

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT

Zoe Jakes has original material not found on regular DVD’s that you can hire. It allows instructors to make more money from their work so if this idea takes off I am sure others will join in.

Over all, I am still going to purchase most of my DVD’s in a hard copy format because in the long term it tends to be cheaper but hiring a DVD via online streaming has more merit that I first thought. So far it is mostly cheeky girls material that I have found available through www.raqstv.com – current hire price is $6.99 US for a week.

What are your thoughts? Would you hire?

UPDATE: Zari from raqsTV wrote to me about possible upcoming features and said she is thinking “about doing a “Combo Club” subscription where for a low price you can get a mix of constantly changing features from a variety of teachers. There will also be ways to obtain videos at discount, user rewards programs etc. But for now our focus is on the core features.”. Sounds exciting ! Also, the initial influx of Cheeky girls material (which, by the way, I love) is apparently because Michelle is a friend and is supporting raqsTV, material from other sources is available and more artists are being added regularly. If you like the sounds of it, get behind the project and try an online hire soon.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Samimi
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 14:23:16

    While I do like owning my own DVDs, waiting for them to get here is a freaking pain! I’m still waiting on one that’s scheduled to be SHIPPED in about a month. I’d hire to skip that.

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  2. Jade
    May 02, 2012 @ 01:27:26

    This is the first I have heard about this. I did notice that Fat Chance Belly Dance now has an option to buy an electronic copy where you can just downlaod the file. It is about $10 cheaper than buying the DVD, before shipping cost. I’m sure this is because they save money on materials. I think it’s a great idea, but I would have to let go of my sentimnetal feelings about fancy pictures on my DVDs and feeling proud of my collection of pretty belly dance DVD cases sitting on display.

    WIth the way I practice, I don’t think I would rent dance DVDs. I like to practice with mine routinely (when I have time) so the info becomes second nature. And there are some dance moves or combos that took me a long time to really get. However, I might consider renting a DVD before buying to make sure it’s one I really want to own. I hate it when I buy a DVD and don’t like it enough to get my money’s worth out of it.

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    • jadebellydance
      May 02, 2012 @ 20:12:10

      Yes it is disappointing to be looking forward to a dvd and to not like it. I too am very attached to my extensive collection but when I thought about it I realised there is a place for the online model. There are times when I would consider renting first. In rural and regional areas it is very difficult to get to big performances, I tend to only go to the ones I am in or that are apart of a festival I am attending. When you consider a show can cost $45 a ticket, then having the luxury to decide on a whim you want to watch some dancing, pay $7 and see it from home sounds pretty good really.
      Zari the founder of raqstv wrote me a lovely letter after I published this blog and said her main motivation was to get more artists work known. She felt that the cost of producing a DVD is prohibitive for many great dancers and she didn’t want the wisdom of such dancers being lost over time. Its a wonderful motivation !! She is so right, I am even more likely to keep an eye on Raqstv now.

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    • jadebellydance
      May 02, 2012 @ 20:23:47

      I didn’t know fat chance was providing an electronic option now – thanks for the heads up.

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