Video Fitness

Funky Fitness

Annie Niland, Michael Stephens

This 1992 CIA release is a 50-minute funk workout with about 30 minutes of aerobics. It's sort of like a longer, intermediate-level MTV's The Grind workout: a less structured, more free-form dance class in which the class members (who look like they robbed the Step Reebok wardrobe) often improvise instead of following the steps exactly. Annie and Michael take turns leading; after the warmup, Annie shows us an add-on combo containing standard funk moves with some creative arms and several "poses" where you just freeze into whatever position makes you feel good. The combo is fun, but got a little boring after being repeated for the fourth or fifth time. Then in the second half of the aerobics, Michael does "hip-hop" moves (personally, I can't tell the difference between hip-hop and funk). He also puts them together into a combo, but instead of a final run-through, it just abruptly ends and they go right to the cooldown and a good stretch. Like most early CIAs, this video suffers from "chopped-off legs" syndrome, and sometimes the camera zooms in on someone's face or shoulders for no good reason. Also the music sometimes stops before a segment is over. The overall intensity is intermediate, and if you have some prior funk experience, the steps aren't hard to pick up. As one-hour funk workouts go, I personally prefer Charlotte Williams' Power Dance Mix (also from CIA) which is slightly more intense and more structured. But Funky Fitness isn't bad, if you don't mind its laid-back, homemade quality, and I feel I got my 8 bucks worth. Grade: B

Instructor comments: Annie and Michael are very likable and easy to follow along with, as well as good dancers, and everyone seems to be having fun. It would be nice to see these two in another video, with the benefit of CIA's newer, better production values.

Sue Bryant

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