I'm only reviewing the step portion of this tape, because the high/low didn't look like much fun to me. I may go back and try it someday, but for now, I'll just stick with the step part.
The first time I did this, I really didn't know whether I liked it or not! The music is PHENOMENAL -- vocal renditions of songs like Celebration, Black & White, and a bunch of other really great songs that I'm forgetting the names of. This music really makes you want to move.
I don't think the choreography really goes with the music all that well. I've decided that I do like it, but the music just screams for someone like Franny or Cathe or Patrick -- or anyone more athletic-oriented -- who can really add the energy that the music deserves. Sherry's choreography is a little dancy and not as energetic as what would "feel good" with the music.
That doesn't mean, however, that her choreography is not intense. Once you start putting the combos together, you're working! Especially at the end, when you put all the combos together. She does it once all the way through at the end, but I'd like to do it one more time.
I'll rank this step portion as an A-. I'll use it mostly in combination with other tapes (the step is about 37 minutes).
I dearly hope CIA will use this soundtrack in some other tapes. But one suggestion -- the second song (the one after Celebration) is horrible, whatever it is! I hope it can be dropped out if this soundtrack is used in future videos.
Instructor comments: Sherry is sort of low-key but an effective instructor nevertheless. She's a little on the dancy side, but not so much so that I couldn't do/follow the moves.
This video consists of a hi/lo warm-up, 35 min. of hi/lo, a step warm-up, 37 min of step and then a cooldown & stretch of 12 min.(100 min total). These are VERY DANCY workouts. The music is a Dynamix soundtrack that is used only 1 other video that I know-Sharon Money-Twombley's power step segment in CIA 9002. That's a good thing, but I'm still not thrilled with it. It reminds me of Braodway musicals,BUT I'd rather listen to this than the old soundtracks. The hi/lo is somewhat fast paced(lots of spins, turns and jumps!!), but she does march time to time to explain what's coming next. (you can jog if you feel your HR drop). The step section is also dancy, but some power moves are laced in between. Leaps, high kicks, turns and spins are common elements to the routine(I LOVE to turn and spin). Her background exercisers are obviously dancers, but the one I find rather annoying. The one word I could use to describe her is a MIME! The cute little "OOOO's and AAAHHH " and over playing of the moves is a little over-dramactic and not necessary, but it can be annoyed. Overall, I really like this video and enjoy a "taste" of Broadway from time to time.
Instructor comments: Sherry is a very creative instructor, seems a little "laid back", I suppose to some people. Definitely not bubbly(a good thing); she's not monotone, but a calm in between. I found myself liking her in CIA 7001(with Junior Carvalho) and even more so in this video.
If it hadn't been for CIA's Christmas coupon, I might have never experienced this wonderful workout. Sherry and her partner, Junior, had failed to impress me in CIA 5001, but on her own, Sherry breaks loose with a dancy, uplifting video backed by good music ("good" in the CIA context, meaning that we haven't heard it ten times already!). Everyone knows by now that finding a good floor routine makes me feel like I struck gold, and this one is a nugget. The warmup really warms you up with heel digs and other fast moves, then Sherry teaches four "blocks" of choreography filled with the mambos, spinning and leaping that dancers like me crave. There's a grapevine where you do a quick spin at each end, turning chasses and much more fun stuff. It takes up some room, but not as much as 9801 and I was able to do most of it in place. I'd rate both the intensity and complexity the same as 9802 with Faith Scarinzi. At the end, Sherry takes it from the top a couple of times, then does the whole thing on the right and then on the left.
For the step half, I had to lower my step to 6 inches to learn the moves - it's not quite as complex as 9801, but it's close. Again, there are four blocks, and Sherry wakes you up almost immediately with lateral lunges like in Body Max, followed by dizzying twirls and even a leap over the step! The cooldown is one of my favorites, a sensual, flowing routine which is a refreshing change from the usual funky cooldowns. Sherry's cueing isn't the best, and learning her moves requires some patience. But just approach it with a relaxed, "gotta dance" spirit, and it may grab you too. Grade: A
Instructor comments: Bubbly and perky she's not, but Sherry strikes me as a dance instructor with a heart. It's too bad she isn't more thorough with her cueing - saying "left" and "right" would make this workout 100% easier to learn. But she has great potential and I hope she does more CIAs on her own.
The most fabulous DANCE complex hi/lo and step workout chuck full of turns, jumps, pivots, leaps, twirls! All new incredibly tough choreography.. This is the danciest CIA ever! During the hi/lo, I felt like I was doing a dance preformance. It uses a lot of room because you need to run forward for eight counts as well as back. So move the furniture!! My favorite part was the move in the hi/lo section like a pendulum knee up with a unique reverse mambo then pivot scoop to the back then V back to the front and then you run up and lift your knee up. The moves flow so nicely together and the music is wonderful during this part. I felt myself really putting my all into it like Sherry. It is so fun! Lot's of running forward and back and lots of fun mambos with new twists and jumps. I thought hi/lo was kinda boring! Not anymore! I was so busy with the choreography that I forgot I was exercising untill I noticed sweat falling into my eyes!
The music is very upbeat and new. Not like the same ol' CIA music that I get so tired of hearing that I want to throw my shoe at the tv! It's a nice variety of upbeat songs mostly vocal. I like this hi/lo better than CIA 9801 with Christie Taylor. Sherry's hi/lo is only 35 minutes! I wish it was longer! Plus I like the hi/lo music in Sherry's section more then CIA 9801 hi/lo.
The step is the some of the most complex combinations I've ever done. IT took me a while to get it. It is just as complex as CIA 9001 with Patrick Goudeau. A lot of complex reverse turns and even a jump forward over your step! You might have to lower your step for this routine! It is very dancy but not high intensity like Cathe's tapes. I mean I was sweating hard in Sherry's step section but my intensity was in my BRAIN more then in my heartrate even though I was definately in my target heartrate. IT was an awesomely tough complex step but also loads of fun once I got the choreography. I used my 6 inch step since my knees aren't too happy with complex stepping on a high step platform.
The hi/lo has a very dancy upbeat warmup with stretching but does not have a cooldown so if you want a cool down you will have to fast forward after the stepping. The stepping section has a good warmup and cool down. The cooldown is the best CIA cooldown. Very dancy and sensual moves to "You'll See" music by Madonna. She also does a very thorough stretch for your upper body as well as your lower body. I like it how Sherry reaches her hand out towards the TV during the inner thigh stretch.
During the hi/lo, Sherry wears a black tank top with black pants and shoes. Then for the step she changes to a white tank with white pants and shoes so its a nice change. There is one background exerciser on the right of the TV that has hardly any hair that over does a lot of the moves. It was kinda irritating. She also doesn't have much muscle tone. But it's nice to have different type bodies on the video. The other background exerciser to the left is definately a ballerina with her kicks that almost bonk her head! Woe! Even Sherry's kicks are incredibly high.
Some of her repetative comments are,"Thats what I want," or "Oh my god!",or she will repeat a word for times like,"Go!Go!Go!Go!". It wasn't as annyoing as CIA 9809 with Janis Saffel's millions of "Awesomes". I noticed Sherry's comments more when I previewed the video. When I actually did the video, I didn't notice that much because my concentration was heavily on the cueing of the choreography.
The workout takes loads of patience to learn. I didn't get it the first time and I'm still learning with each time I do it. It was a challenge to learn. This isn't for beginners! A brainer of a cardiovascular challenge to the advanced exerciser who loves to learn new complex dancy choreography. I was thrilled to get this workout! I highly recomend this video to anyone who wants a challenge workout not only for their heart but also for their mind. Excellent!
Instructor comments: Sherry looks so much like Celine Dion it's amazing but she has an incredibly toned body with beautiful muscles which Celine does not. I felt like I was working out with Celine! Sherry has blonde hair that is pulled back into a ponytail. Her form is very elegant and she has a no nonsense,"Firm" instructor way of teaching. Not bubbly or super friendly. Celine..oops, Sherry from the warmup through the hi/lo and step to the cool down shines forth the beauty of dance. Even her inhales and exhales choreography have graceful moves with Ballet arms. Her presence in this video is exquisite as well as her form. She does make some mistakes but she is only human and boy does she SWEAT in this video! I'm not alone! I thought the cover of the video was a little misleading because Sherry is holding a loaded barbell. But there is no weight training in this video. Just tons of dancy choreography. Sherry has a "Firm" body with a "Firm" disposition way of teaching. I think she should lead one of the next advanced Firm videos. She has got some incredible muscle tone. She must come out with some weight training video to show us how she got those wonderful muscles!
I have benefitted so much from reviews on this site, I promised myself that I would start writing them! I have chosen to start with this tape because I don't think it has received the attention it deserves. I consider myself an intermediate / advanced exerciser, with a love of complex, dancy choreography. For me, the step portion of CIA 9808 is right up there with Christi Taylor's 9801 and Franny Benedetto's 9905. It really deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, at least for CIA fans.
I have done the hi/lo portion of this tape only a couple of times, and don't think I'll do it again. Compared with the hi/lo segments of 9801 and 9905, it is disappointing in terms of both interest and intensity. The step section, however, more than makes up for this lack!
The step workout consists of four combinations of 32 counts each. According to Collage, it's 36 minutes long. From the opening sequence, Sherry Catlin's dance background is apparent. Her step choreography is extremely creative, full of graceful, flowing moves, rhythm changes, and surprising transitions. The first combination begins with two knees up, a front-back straddle, and a flying leap-squat-leap across the step. There are several sequences in the workout that involve moving over and around the step in very innovative ways, incorporating dance moves I haven't seen done on a step by anyone else. (The "shoot out" is one of my favorites.)
The joy of the movement itself is really enhanced by the music: a mostly-vocal selection that includes some old favorites from the 70's ("We Are Family," "Fame," and "Let the Sun Shine In"). The beat is an easy one, allowing for a full range of movement and expression. Still, Sherry manages to keep the intensity high through the use of power, locomotion, and variations in pace.
As others have said, Sherry is not great with cuing, and those who are challenged by complex choreography will certainly find this a source of frustration. Sometimes Sherry cues late, sometimes incompletely. For example, she'll say something like "do that again," and it's not clear how much of the sequence she is talking about. She often neglects to specify "left" or "right," but sometimes helps out with a non-verbal cue.
Another flaw in Sherry's instruction is her tendency to give unbalanced attention to right and left sides of the body. The warm-up and cool-down are exclusively done on the right, and the left lead is neglected in some of the combinations. A final complaint is the length of time devoted to teaching the simple moves at the beginning of each combination -- especially the first one! Combination #3 is also belabored in my opinion, but that may just be because it is my least favorite of the four.
In the end, there is only one chance to put the four combinations together, alternating right and left leads. The result is exhilarating, making it easy to forgive any flaws along the way. I always rewind at least once to repeat the four combinations in sequence, and end up feeling extremely satisfied with the cardio workout -- as well as the esthetic experience!
Instructor comments: As others have commented, Sherry Catlin is not the cheerleader type, and this is fine with me! As an instructor, Sherry is low-key, calm, and easy to "live with" over time. I love the obvious dance influence that Sherry brings to this workout, and appreciate the fact that her background exercisers are also dancers. I'd like to see more CIA videos featuring instructors who have a dance background and also know how to put together a solid cardio workout.
The female Patrick Goudeau. Sherry showed signs of hope with a great
warm-up followed by 2 "blocks" of decent hi/lo dancy choreography
that was smoothly done with no breaks and very few marching in place.
But then the Patrick syndrome set in - marching in place, saying
"hold it" numerous times, feet-fumbling and constantly on the wrong
foot, and poor frustrated me trying to keep my heartrate up to get a
decent workout. The music was all vocals and awful. There was no
cool-down when there should have been, since the step workout is
considered a separate workout. When I heard "Celebrate" during the
step routine, I almost barfed and just couldn't continue. Another
tape that goes in the "dud" bin to use during my upcoming geriatric
years to keep my joints in tip-top shape.