Another excellent Kari production, as usual. It's a lot
of fun. And even though you learn a lot of routines in
only 40 minutes, you don't slow down much for the
learning segments. Both the intensity and the
choreography are what I would call higher-intermediate or
lower-advanced. I get a really good workout with it (as
well as have a good time), and I give it an A.
I think this video is technically called Great Moves Step: 102. It's the first of the now two-part series of step tapes in the Great Moves series by Kari. I kept this tape for about a year, but decided, with some reluctance, that it was time to put it on the block (video exchange block, that is). It has some interesting moves -- lots of kicks, and straddles, and those flappy arms that Kari is so known for. I mainly got rid of it because of this dorky "the rock" move (remember, from the 70s, and Michael Jackson's "I Wanna Rock With You?? :~) ) that really got under my skin, for some reason. It felt so goofy and lame. Also, my heartrate plummeted when she taught this straddle move really *really* slowly. Yawn. It's a nice intermed/advanced tape that I got lots of use of; just not one of my faves from Kari.
This tape is one of the reasons I like the exchange so much (thanks Mandy!) One-on-one instruction, usual Dynamix fare. A well-lit studio setting with a shiny wood floor and some plants. There is kind of a warm-up but no stretches, and the cool down consists of rocking back and forth while Kari continues to give instruction tips. I use this as an opportunity to do the warm-up and cool down portions of other tapes that I used to enjoy so much but have become bored with or out-grown (e.g. Kathy Smith Step Workout, Fitness Formula, Aerostep, etc.). It's a lot of tape-switching but at least I feel I'm using my whole video collection!
You begin straddling the step right away. The choreography is taught very quickly, avoiding boredom with repeated use. there are quite a few kick and straddle combinations. My favorite move is the straddle down-hop, hop with knee-up-turning back to the front. The complexity lies more in the foot work and less in silly funky arm moves added to a basic. I would rate the choreography as advanced and I suppose fairly dancy, though it is broken down very well. It is by no means impossible but you do have to really concentrate. The intensity is mid to high-intermediate intensity wise on a 6-inch step. Mixed-impact: no power moves for the purpose of increasing intensity, but quite a few hop and turns on the step.
Instructor comments: Kari Anderson is one of my all-time favorite instructors. She is warm and professional -- and she doesn't use repetitive catch-phrases. She miscues a couple of times in this video, but it doesn't detract from the overall quality (she also apologizes).
Step tapes have certainly gotten faster and more complex since this release from 1995, but I still feel that this has withstood the test of time. Kari provides a solid, enjoyable workout here. As you might expect, there is a lot of fun choreography, with jumps and turns. The workout is definitely more intense than Fitness Formula, although not as intense as United Steps (probably mostly because the bpm are slightly lower). As others have mentioned, the warm-up and cool-down are a bit skimpy, and Kari suggests DIY stretching. I always know I'll have a great time when I reach for this one.