This is a very fun dvd – a simple but energetic dance workout.
There is a nice warmup/easier section that I think is supposed to be club dancing (9:20), followed by a Latin dance section (about 10 minutes). Then comes my favorite – a big band type swing routine complete with Charleston kicks (about 10 minutes). My heart rate gets pretty high during the Latin and big band segments – high as it can when I run. Then comes a segment I find bizarre (around 9:30). I think it is the cooldown. Alison does say she wants you to bring it down a tad, I really miss those formerly-annoying chapter titles from Bootcamp. The bizarre segment includes lots of plies combined with lifting your leg, chassees going into lunges (a move that THIS almost 50 year old needs to do very cautiously), and some balance work. I like it, but my hr crashes which I assume is the purpose.
Then there is a very nice segment that is again unannounced but seems to be stretching. It is about 5:30 Again a little balance work which I very much appreciated. The stretching seemed very thorough to me (more so than most Firms) and I really liked it. I feel great after doing this, I get that nice buzzed I-worked-out-but-not-too-hard-and-nothing-hurts feeling.
I don’t really agree with reviews I’ve seen elsewhere that say Alison’s cuing is poor. There is one step I find confusing – it starts out as four taps and then becomes two kicks (IMO). Alison calls this “four kicks”. I think it’s because she’s counting kicking front and kicking back as two separate kicks. Otherwise, I can follow this. I sometimes have trouble with Alison’s accent but not in this tape. There is a lot of TIFT-ing – I enjoy it but an experienced dancer/choreo hound might not. In fact I could do that big band section a few extra times.
I do agree with comments that the production values on the tape seem poor. First, Emily’s makeup is very distracting to me. It is way too heavy and I keep on wondering who she is when she is on-camera – she looks very different and about my age. Alison’s vocal tracks seem not to have had the usual editing during the cool-down – you can hear her breathing heavily. I assume that usually happens and gets edited out. Like a lot of people, I felt it would be helpful to see the dancers’ feet more often. On the plus side, the backup exercisers are NOT wearing matching clothing and have mostly minimal makeup. Alison is wearing enough makeup not to look washed out. The look is mostly nice and not very Stepford-firm at all.
There is some of what I’d call impact – ponies, jumping moves, etc. Maybe this is less impact than plyometric moves? You could make this low impact and I think it would still be a fun, good workout but there is no modifier.
I don’t think this is appropriate for a beginning exerciser at all unless they were very young. Some moves – the chassee into a lunge – were uncomfortable for me so I took it easy with them. You should at least be a confident enough exerciser to know what’s not good for you and modify.
This is much more difficult and the choreography is harder than Cardio Dance Slimdown. Both are fun but this is a less cheesy fun – it seems more like a serious dance video (although I’m not a dancer and I bet it’s too easy for those who really love dance).
Now, there are premixes. There is a club dance, a Latin dance, and a jive dance premix. All are one segment of the workout plus the cooldown and the stretch, and all are about 24-25 minutes long. I find the jive dance routine too intense to do without something a little warm-up-y so I tend to think I would do club dance, jive dance, my own kind of shorter cool down, and a stretch if I wanted a shorter workout from this dvd.
She's great! Alison looks great and does a nice job cueing. When she says “I love this move” you actually believe her. She makes a few comments about weight loss which sound like Gaiam scripted them but mostly seems very natural and likeable.