Video Fitness

Work it Off! Cardio Dance (formerly Breakthru Cardio Dance)

Tracy York and Michelle Dozois

I was very excited about this being an advanced tape, and was so disappointed when I previewed it. When I hear "march in place" or "hold it," I know I will not get my heartrate up. I have to compare this tape to Calvin Wiley and Patrick Goudeau on other CIAs. This totally is not my style (being a Franny and Greg fan), and even on a day when I want a lower intensity, there are many other tapes I can use like Kari Anderson, Candace Copeland, Tim Culwell, and numerous other CIA segments. I actually tried it this morning, and after ten minutes, said "no way." The Pilates conditioning is also not for me, so this tape goes into the "dud" bin. Tracy was great on Fitness Pros where she did some nice high intensity stuff, and Michelle was much better on NAC working with intervals. There is only one plus on this tape: Jeff Vandiver from Fitness Pros is a background exerciser, but he is not enough to let me pull this out of the bin.

Instructor comments:

maryann parker

I did not like the aerobics portion of this workout at all. It is very dancy, which I have no talent for. Dance-lovers will have a blast with this. The intensity, if you manage to learn the routines, looks to be intermediate. I did, however, like the 30-minute ending segment, "Hard-Core Conditioning." It's core strengthening using Pilates/Method-type exercises. I liked the flow of it, the personality of the instructors, and the "laid-backness" as compared to the Method tapes and the Stott tapes. I recently bought Breakthru Core Conditioning as well, and I thought that tape would replace this one. However, I've decided to keep both. While the two tapes are very similar in the exercises taught, this one is a little easier and a little shorter also. I'll use this one when I don't want to get too "hard-core" but still want a great core workout. I'm also a big fan of the Method tapes, but I really don't feel I'm wasting my money/time by having these as well, because the whole atmosphere and the flow of the exercises are different. Anyway, I've said a lot more about the toning part than the main part of this video, but that's the part that I think stands out here. Grade A-

Instructor Commments: Both instructors are very personable and work well together in this video. They come across as being "fun" people.

Annie S.

I'm happy because this video is one of the few truly purely "dancy" hi-lo videos that have come out in a few years. And let me take a minute to define my terms. When I say dancy, I mean, whirly twirly, modern dance moves or hip-hop moves like you see on music videos. Kari Anderson and Christi Taylor (who are both complex and "dancy") would be on the dancy spectrum (in my mind), but towards the middle of the range, since they weave in "dancy" moves like box steps, ponies, and a few funk and hip-hop moves, while still filling out the majority of their routines with traditional aerobics moves like hamstring curls, knee-ups, grapevines, and hoppy moves, which, thankfully, keep the intensity high.

Even though I'm happy to get my hands on a new dance video, I'm of two minds about this tape. It's a fairly creative, well put together little routine. You move around your space alot, do big, sweeping arm movements, sayshay, and move your hips. That's the good part. It feels good to do something totally different every now and then.

On the other hand, this video's strength --the dance element -- is it's own undoing. Michelle and Tracy place too much emphasis on the "dance" element and not enough on the fitness part of the equation. I posted one thread here at VF asking, "Where's the cardio in Breakthru Cardio.?"

I sometimes don't mind a lot of marches (ala Patrick Goudeau), but I do want to have some sweat to show for my troubles. Didn't get that here. I think I can get more of a workout with Donnamite. I'm really disappointed in the intensity.

But you know, even if I said, "Forget the intensity, let's just dance," I still have other dancer-videos I prefer more, such as Calvin Wiley's and Barry Joyce's, even Paula Abdul. I feel like this routine is cute, but it doesn't have that "umph" of flowing together seamlessly and perfectly, and having the polish and finesse of the very best dance tapes.

Finally, I think Tracy York cues slightly better than Michelle, but they're about even. The tape is not terribly complex. If you listen carefully, and have done the likes of Christi Taylor, you should have no

problem doing it. I didn't do the Pilates section at the end, so I can't comment on that. Looks interesting enough, though, but I'm sort of a "exercise and move on" type of person. Rolling around on the floor and doing up and down dog and cobra has never captivated me, but this one doesn't look as boring as some of the other "yoga/pilates" routines I've seen before.

The music, I can't recall, so it's fairly forgettable, I suppose.

Sorry about this disjointed review. I still can't make up my mind about this video. Given my limited time to workout and my current fitness and vanity goals (fitting into my pre-preg jeans), I don't have time to waste on just prancing around my house for fun. Every minute has to count. I think this tape my find a happier home, and I'm considering putting it on the exchange soon.

Eulonda Skyles

This is a good video that got off on the wrong foot, so to speak. CIA touted it as very complex and advanced, and Collage also continues to list it as such - up there with Christi Taylor and Kari Anderson - which only reinforces my opinion that they no longer actually do every video they sell, or test them with experienced exercisers. The main routine consists of mambos, cha-chas, twirls and other Latin/hip-hop inspired moves done to a lively Crunch soundtrack. It is taught very slowly, though, and with lots of in-between marching. This is a big drawback for advanced exercisers trying to keep their heartrates up, but for intermediates who have trouble catching on to dancy moves, this type of instruction could be very helpful. I'm not into "core conditioning" so I can't comment on that part. But I'd like to see more intermediate "klutzes" give BCD a try, and give their thoughts. It doesn't deserve to be forgotten just because of a marketing misfire.

Instructor Comments: Tracy and Michelle are fun, laid-back "Crunch types". Their cueing isn't the greatest, but they should get better as they continue to work together.

Sue Bryant

On cardio work, I am an intermediate exerciser who is playing with advanced choreography. I have fallen in love with all the Breakthru workouts; this one seemed to be the exception for me. However, it seemed to be less the workout itself than the fact that this is the workout which convinced me once and for all that although I love _dancey_ choreography, I just don’t like DANCE workouts.

Michelle and Tracy seemed to be their usual selves in this workout and they led a group of several exercises, other dancers. The moves weren’t very hard to follow, although there was a few times that I stood and watched them a few seconds in order to be able to translate what they had cued into what they were doing.

The workout does take some room forward and backward and side to side. The music didn’t even register with me.

Instructor comments: They seemed to be encouraging and peppy.

Laura S.

September 2, 2004

I am new to cardio dance dvd's, and this was my first purchase. I found it very fun, 40 minutes where they break down four halves of a continuous dance routine. It was a little hard to follow my first pass at it, but I know with a few runs I will improve. I personally rather that then it being so easy I master it on my first attempt. It kept my heart rate up in the lower threshold, not intense cardio but a great pick me up workout. the dvd has a bonus 16 minute pilates workout that was a great way to end the workout. It does abs, back, arms, and legs, all mild easy moves but it felt nice after all that dancing. All in all I would definitely keep this tape and do it again.

Instructor comments: The instructors are easy to watch with nice instruction and are not annoying. They switch between who leads a certain excerise which is a fun element


video date 2004

This is a 40-minute dancy cardio routine followed by a 30-minute bonus Pilates section (times taken from the DVD cover). Tracy and Michelle take turns leading. While one leads, the other is part of the class, which also includes one other female and two male dancers.

Tracy leads both the warm-up and the first combination. I found the warm-up to progress to jumping a bit too fast for my taste, and a little hard on the knees. The combinations are all taught add-on style, so there’s a fair amount of TIFTing.

It turns out I just don’t care for Tracy York all that much. I found her combination to be difficult to catch on to, in part because she doesn’t cue well (if at all—at one point she actually says “what was that?” as if she really didn’t know), in part because a good chunk of the combination faces the side. Maybe it was the choreography, but I doubt I’ll be spending enough time with this workout to figure that out. The second combination was led by Michelle, and I like her much better. The combination was a lot more fun, and I was able to follow along with no problems.

The third section puts Tracy’s and Michelle’s combinations together—it’s led by Tracy, and I fast-forwarded because she bugs me so. (I almost turned off the workout before Michelle took over, and I was glad I didn’t, but I wasn’t going to deal with Tracy a second time around.) Michelle leads the cool down, which is just long enough and still a little dancy. There’s not much stretching.

The bonus Pilates section is titled “Hardcore Conditioning” and is led, at least at first, by Tracy (or the fact that she was tapping her feet during her Pilates warm-up). I didn’t care for Tracy or for the music (80’s-type sythesizer music), so I turned the DVD off and did my own Pilates routine. I can’t comment on the rest of it, but there are about four variations on the roll-up.

As half of a 2-pack that retailed for under $6 at Wal-Mart, this was a bargain. An intermediate who likes Tracy York, doesn’t mind moderate choreography, doesn’t have knee problems, and doesn’t care that the DVD has absolutely NO chaptering (no, not even to get you to the beginning of the Pilates section) might like this. As for myself, I prefer Crunch’s Fat Burning Dance Party and Tamilee’s Motown Moves for dancy cardio.

Instructor comments: I disliked Tracy York, mostly because of her poor cueing. Michelle Dozois does a much better job. If the DVD were led by just her, my review would most likely be much more positive.


29 December 2005

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