Video Fitness

Block Party Step

Franny Benedetto

First thing - This is a Sara's City Production; which means the production quality is only fair. It's better than earlier Sara City videos, but still not as good as CIA or Cathe videos. I don't feel that it takes away from the workout though. The music could've been louder for me, but it is new/different music, and refreshing not to have to listen to the same music tracks from other videos. Also, the video is shot live(of course, it is, you say!); meaning any and all mistakes are not edited out. The music cuts out once, and Franny continues to talk thru the break, like a live class. I found it nice to see(being an instructor myself).

Now, the workout was made with instructors in mind; something an instructor can use with their classes-so it's do-able choregraphy. I would say it is moderate complexity and advanced intensity (but not killer). The actual aerobic segment is almost an hour of stepping. She does have one combo that has some kicks from kickboxing, but no punches or drills. She ahs some fun moves like a pendulum, whirlybird, lunge and skip across the step (I really like that move). Franny really keeps you hopping and moving. I definitely recommend this tape for an Franny fan, or anyone wanting to get familiar with her choreography. It's just plain FUN!

Instructor comments: Franny is such a great instructor. I put her up there with Cathe and Kari. She's creative, has good cueing and simply fun.

germaine
germ@infonline.net
4/22/00

Make sure you have plenty of water on hand when you do this workout. While not as intense as Franny's CIA 9905 tape, it still ranks right up there. The complexity of the choreography is similar to 9905, but it's done at a little slower tempo. It's also taught in the same manner -- 7 combos, and you learn 1, 2, and 3, put those together, learn 4 and 5, put together 1 through 5, and then learn 6 and 7. Except with this one, she runs out of time, and you don't put together combos 1-7 like you do in 9905. While I thought 7 combos were "choreography overload," since I went to the trouble of learning the last two, I really would have liked to put them together.

If I sound like I'm dwelling on 9905, there are two reasons for this: one is that this workout is extremely similar, and also 9905 is one of my favorite step tapes of all time. So I will make one more comparison with 9905, and then I'll move on: Block Party is not as much fun. It's fun enough that I will keep it, but it won't be one of what I call my "classics."

Now that the 9905 comparison is behind me, I'll talk about other things. This is a Sara's City Production. The picture and sound quality are better than in many of the Sara's tapes, but the set is extremely drab. That does have some effect on my enjoyment of the workout. It didn't used to a few years ago, but I'm noticing more and more that I like nice/interesting visuals. Also, the music in this tape is not your typical bland, boring Sara's City music. It's much more like CIA music. It's not outstanding or anything, but a big improvement over many of the Sara's tapes.

As for the choreography, you will recognize Franny's complex but un-dancy style from other tapes. She does the Whirlybird in this one (one of my favorite moves), but it's done just slightly differently. There were a couple of moves that I found extremely awkward -- mainly because I'm short -- but I modified them to suit my needs. There is one combo where you do a back kick - front kick - back kick - front kick that I really like. It just feels good! When you do the back kicks, you stretch your hip flexors and torso out a little bit, which just feels really nice at that point.

Finally, at the end, there is a very short stretch. I would have preferred much more stretching, but I'm pretty sure she shortened it because of the running out of time problem. Overall, I give this an A- for the workout, and a B for production. If we had either put together combos 1-7 or just limited it to 5 combos, I would have ranked this an A.

Annie S.
ann.s@worldnet.att.net
8-20-2000

On cardio work, I am an intermediate exerciser who enjoys with intermediate to advanced choreography. I also enjoy my ďeasierĒ workouts on those mornings I donít feel like thinking that much.

This is my second time to try a Franny workout. The first one was a CIA workout that I started it, loved the warm up and then found myself staring at the screen as they moved into an ALL high-impact hi/lo routine. I immediately ejected it and traded it. But, I keep hearing raves at VF about Franny, so I ordered this Sara City workout since it was only $10. And, I really enjoy it.

Franny is by herself in an empty studio presenting a workout for other aerobic instructors to get ideas from. However, she usually cues the workout like a ďregularĒ workout for the exerciser and only talks like she is speaking to other instructors periodically.

She cues well, except for once in awhile, when she is teaching a combo and there are extra temporary steps, she doesnít cue the steps that will go away in a minute as well. She does a combination and then takes it from the top after each combination. She includes some really fun combinations and seems to be having a lot of fun herself. Her teaching style is so natural and free flowing. Itís fun and easy to follow. She does give options for lower impact on some of the moves, which is important to me.

The production values in this workout are not topnotch, but I didnít think they were bad either. The music is okay. They use the picture in picture some, although I didnít find it extremely effective. And, once in awhile, the camera focuses on her feet when I want to see her whole body, but, that doesnít happen too often.

Instructor comments: She is such a natural teacher and has fun while doing it.

Laura S.

February 25, 2004 UPDATE: I wanted to give an update on this workout.

I gave this workout a positive review when I first reviewed it. Since then, I decided to trade the workout. I enjoyed learning this workout and thought it had a lot of fun moves. However, in the end, it was just one that I couldnít finish. Iím not sure what it was.

Since then, I have tried Cardio Parties and immediately fell in love. So, if you are deciding on a Franny workout, Iíd suggest Cardio Parties. I will post a review on that workout once Iíve done it a few more times.

Laura S.

April 17, 2005



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