Well, I don't consider myself funk impaired, and I can even get hip hop moves if I rewind enough, but alas, I have no "latin rhythm!" I really hope that someone who does will review this tape, because it looks like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I think that your ability to get your whole body into the shimmies, shakes and wiggles like Hugo does will dramatically affect the intensity level, and I just couldn't do it--boo! These very fluid movements require body awareness and control to do properly.
The Collage catalog description recommends against using this video w/ a carpeted floor, and I'd have to say that makes sense. The steps are tricky enough without the friction of carpet slowing you down.
The workout itself clocks in just under 50 minutes, with a warmup, cardio workout, and a very short cooldown and stretch. For those without a large workout area, Hugo's combos don't require very much room, except possibly the last combo, which requires a bit more room side to side. The rest of the routine requires far less space than your average hi/lo video.
Many of Hugo's moves are unlike any I've ever seen before. I don't even really know how to describe them accurately. Even old standby moves like mambo's and cha chas look totally different with Hugo's touch. He just really gets his whole body into the move and makes it his own.
Like many video instructors, Hugo teaches several combinations, then at the end you run through them all several times. There is a fair amount of marching in place as you learn new moves, which will probably annoy those who don't like their heart rate to dip too much. Nonetheless, this video is likely to please those looking for something different, those who love Latin music/dance, and those who like a handsome face to keep them motivated.
Wendy Niemi Kremer
This video definately has fun choreography but it also has it's flaws. First what I like about this tape. The music is great and the moves are hot! I was in Mexico this summer and many of the moves were ones we saw down there. Not your average dancy version of an athletic move but real dance steps - you will feel sexy once you get your hips moving! Hugo breaks everything down VERY well, teaching at half time then speeding it up to full tempo - you shouldn't get lost - if you can move at a club you can do this workout. If it takes a while to get the moves, keep at it - the end result is FUN! You do lots of hip shakes, a shimmy that you lean into, pivots, a moving cha cha, and hip grinds. Even the warmup is full of dance moves.
Things I didn't like. He used the warmup combination throughout the workout - while the combo was really fun, I don't like doing a warmup series throughout the cardio stage of a workout. Also, while I know that most dance moves need slow tempo then tempo teaching to get the move across, he annoyed me to no avail when he would teach at half time, speed up to full time tempo then go back and redo the move at half time. I'd get the move and my heart rate would start to increase and then it would plummet when he went back to half time. This tape is made for instructors but the intensity is intermediate at best - I barely broke a sweat. Finally, the tape quality is so poor - I have bought blank tapes at Walmart for $2 and they are better quality than this! I realize the tape is pretty cheap to purchase but this tape looks like it will self distruct if I play it more than 10 times (hopefully not the case because this is a fun tape!).
The flaw part of this review may be a little strong but I will say that I am keeping this tape. It may be intermediate but it is so much fun that I have to do it! Not a tape for strong cardio days but it is an absolute feel good and have fun kind of tape.
Hugo is great! He seems to be having fun and to care about how you are doing with the tape. I hope he does more latin tapes but at an advanced level.
October 10, 1999
This is the best low-impact floor tape that I own. It is higher in intensity than the 9901 floor section, it is much higher in intensity than Donna-Mite, and it is so much more fun than Strong and Smooth Moves. It isn't an advanced tape, but it is _so_ worth getting if you like Latin music (which is awesome, and by MusicFlex). It doesn't take much space (7'x8' is what I have) mostly because Hugo Diez uses a right lead throughout the tape.
He teaches a little in half-time, but there are no big blocks of time that you are waiting around while he shows you something. I still thought that the moves that he would break down once or twice were easy, but I am pretty good with choreography. Like Andre Houle, Hugo makes it all look easy, while making it complex enough to be interesting. There are some moves that I wouldn't do in public, but I had a great time doing them with Hugo in the privacy of my own home. Hugo's cues often consist of "sexy!", or "work it!" It sounds vague, but it works perfectly and it makes me laugh.
I get better cardio workouts from any of the step tapes that I use regularly. That said, this is the best cardio workout that I have ever gotten from a standard, non-kickboxing, low-impact floor workout, and it is soooo much fun. I have been really busy lately, and I need a workout that I cannot wait to do - this is one of those tapes. Since I am pregnant, I have been staying at a high intermediate, so I get the cardio I need. Is it in a Cathe category or CC1 or CC2 level? No way. Not even close. But Hugo delivers the best cardio I have seen from a low-impact floor tape that does not take up much room.
Almost every combination has a pivot turn in it. I can do pivot turns on my carpet in the living room, but some people do not like to. There is one move that is a quick four-count 360 degree pivot that I don't see doing on carpet (I workout on hardwood), but it would be pretty easy to do another move, since you end up in the exact same place. In fact, he pivots backwards, and I pivot forwards, since that is easier for me. This tape is very forgiving in its moves, and he uses the music perfectly (which was one of the flaws, I thought, with Step Salsations). Hugo and the music make it worth the few substitutions that you might need, IMO.
Ritmos Latinos will be my favorite tape for a while. I haven't loved a tape and an instructor like this in a while.
It is cheaper ordering it from greatmovesvideo.com than Collage, and I am very pleased with the way they responded to my needs. I am going to order many more videos through them and their off-shoot homeworkout.com (when that website opens).
Hugo is hot. There, I said it. When he ran his hands over his stomach to show how to "pump," I thought I would faint. He seems so comfortable with himself, and he isn't off-putting at all. He is much better here than in Step Salsation, and I thought he was fine in that tape. He just out-does himself in Ritmos Latinos.
Addendum to Pilar's 1999 review:
After two and a half years, I did this tape again. I feel obligated to post an update to my earlier enthusiastic review. This is a good tape for a beginner/intermediate or athletic pregnant woman with a good sense of rhythm and dance. It is fun, but it is not even in its intensity. And in the two and a half years since it (and Step Salsation) were released, many better (and better-made) Latin tapes have been made. Viva and Kathy Smith’s Latin tape are much better Latin tapes to incorporate into a workout program. Compared to Kathy’s tape, in particular, Hugo’s tape seems improvised and the cuing, sporadic. The soundtrack music and the Latin moves are no longer uncommon on video tapes. There is a certain charm to Hugo and his tape, but my initial enthusiasm was due largely to the fact that this was the only Latin tape out there. That is no longer the case. And Hugo’s use of the right lead drove me to distraction yesterday. This tape has not aged well, and I wanted my temper my previous review.
I think some of the dissatisfied comments about this video stem from Collage's ranking it intermediate/advanced. That, it's definitely not: I agree with the reviewer who called it a beginner/intermediate workout for dancy types, or for an athletic pregnant woman. But I do think this workout is a hoot -- a lot more fun than Kathy Smith's Latin Dance video, and without the phoney asides ("you got those hips!") that always make me want to throw something at Kathy. There's a lot of marching, yes, but that's easy enough to modify or make more intense. And Hugo is having such a great time teaching this video that I always laugh out loud. The steps are stylish and sexy and fun, more inventive than the other Latin dance videos out there.
I put this on the exchange, because I've moved up to high intermediate/advanced level, and it's not hard enough for me anymore. But I'll miss it! And I hope Hugo makes a more advanced video someday.
adorable -- doesn't always cue perfectly, but his great personality makes up for it, in my eyes.
13 June 2002
Fun, all dance moves some mambos, cha-chas, merengue, and latin house steps. It helps to have good amount of floor space (for the side to side moves) and no carpet (easier to do turns).
This is for the latin dance enthusiast. The music is pumping Latin house and merengue (all songs I have heard in NYC clubs).
Andre teaches by himself in a studio. He tells you to shake it, look sexy, and move those hips. He has a short warmup w/ hamstring/calf stretch, then he does a few combos. What annoys me is that he'll throw a new move in at the end of a combo then break it down, instead of teaching it first. He teaches each step well by breaking it down and his cueing is good. I caught on to all the steps, the choreography is not difficult. However, as I do this tape more, all his teaching segments slows down my heartrate.
This tape is good for those days you want a light fun workout or just in the mood to dance. It is not an intense workout, it's all dance and what you put into it is what you get.
He's a good teacher and has good choreography. He's kinda cute w/ a nice spanish accent. He cues well but he did mess up about 2x with the steps.