Video Fitness

Viva! Latin Rhythm Workout

Elise Foss

This was a really cute work out which uses basic brazillian dance moves.

Overall its a very nice tape which is dancey, but quite doable. The combinations are very short (in terms of adding on long complex moves). The overall length is good, maybe a wee bit short but within range. there are essentially three build-on combos. Elise's cueing is good. The cool down and warm up are both nice, nice stretching, a couple of balancing moves which I found do-able. I would call it low intermediate in terms of coreography and advanced beginner in terms of cardio.

Here are the downsides:

Music is the standard "synth machine" stuff that plagues so many videos (this is one of my main objections to The Firm), with a latin twist.

She uses three *very* inexperienced students as her class. The one on the left has *some* idea of what latin dance is but the other two are completely hopeless. I like it that she's using an array of body types, ages, ethnic backgrounds, etc., but I think I would have thrown a couple of ringers into the mix the way, say Richard Simmons does.

The camera work is occasionally goofy.

The sound quality could be better. I put on Corey Everson's Get Hard afterwords and the sound blasted out of the TV by comparison.

Still, it's a very likable tape which I would happily do again.

Instructor Comments: Elise is very likable in that Brazilian woman way. If I was a guy I'd be completely powerless in the face of Brazilian women!

Jane C.
3/6/01

It's refreshing to see a dance video that doesn't need to be slowed down to half time. This is a fun, low impact video that would be perfect for beginners and intermediates who like to dance yet don't want lots of complex combinations.

I agree with Jane's comments about the background exercisers, though--I found them quite distracting.

I liked the setting for this video--it reminded me of some of the pretty old buildings on university campuses, though the credits say this one was filmed at a cafe in Chicago.

Also worth noting is the fact that this video is also available in Spanish--the title is Aeróbicos con Ritmo Latino and you can get it from Elise's Web site (www.vivaelise.com). Instructor comments: Elise is quite a presence on video--dynamic, friendly, and fun to watch.

Wendy Niemi Kremer
wendy@videofitness.com 3/10/01

The comments made in the first review of this tape are generally right. I would just like to add a few other observations.

One, the first reviewer describes this tape as high beginner level aerobically. By videofitness standards, this may be true. However, Collage rates Viva as intermediate, and it's about as difficult as other tapes it rates the same way.

For another, I would like to emphasize something the first reviewer touched on: That is, this is one of the most fun tapes I've ever done. Maybe it's the subtle combinations of variation and order in the routines, maybe it's the way the moves make you feel like dancing, maybe it's some other secret only a Latin dancer knows. But whatever it is, this is a tape you can't put down.

Admittedly, the music isn't the most original and two of the helpers don't move very expertly. But to me, these touches just add to the originality and authenticity of the tape. It's like eating at a good barbecue; you really want to sop up your sauce with white bread, not something created by a French chef.

Another point I'd like to make is that Viva is a space hog. If you're asked to do two grapevines in a row (or worse), this is not a video to do in a tiny dorm room.

Bottom line? Viva's a keeper. Unless you're absolutely sure this video's not for you, get out your credit card and try it.

Lenore Levine
7/17/01

I enjoy almost any kind of dancing and several VFers know this. This tape was recommended to me by some of those VFers during a Christi roadtrip and I’m glad it was. I had some experience with Kathy Smith’s Latin Rhythms Workout but found it to be more of a “take your shoes off, have some fun” kind of tape. I also really feel that tape in my knees, shins, ankles, and feet when I’m done with it so I don’t do it that often. I wanted a Latin dance tape that was a little more aerobic and wouldn’t kill my knees, shins, and ankles. I have found that in Viva!

I’m just getting back into exercise after having been extremely inconsistent because of chronic back problems. The first aerobic section of the tape (warm-up plus first aerobic section equals approximately 30 minutes) can be done all low impact. Very important to me! The second aerobic section is titled “Higher Intensity” and the moves shown are definitely higher impact.

I really like this video and in my opinion, it’s a bit better than Kathy Smith’s Latin Rhythms Workout.

Grade: A-

Sharon Muha
smuha@nc.rr.com
1-23-2002

This is a fun workout for this choreographically-challenged exerciser. The video begins with a brief demonstration of the basic dance steps used during the workout, which gives the you the chance to practice if you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the steps. Elise says that you should just have fun, and not worry about how you look while doing it.

The aerobics segment runs just under 30 minutes. About halfway through, Elise gives you the option to fast forward to the cooldown, or continue on with the "high energy" aerobics. The moves are low-impact, and generally easy to learn on the first try. If you can do a grapevine, cha-cha, mambo, and jazz square, then you can probably do this workout. However, if you don't have much space, you will need to modify or avoid this workout, since there are lots of travelling moves. I found it adapted well to my carpeted floor, with the exception of a few turns that I had to modify. I found the intensity level to be low intermediate, and of course this can be modified by the amount of hip shaking and arm movements that you do. The workout closes with a nice cool down and stretch that actually succeeded in bringing my heart rate down.

Some people may find the cast distracting, as others have noted in previous reviews. Elise introduces them as three of her friends who are not dancers. Although the two ladies in front seem to have a good time, the exerciser in the back seems very self-conscious throughout, and often misses cues. When I previewed the tape, I found this to be quite distracting, and it seemed that the cast detracted from the overall energy of the workout. However, when I actually did the workout, I had a lot of fun. I found the fact that the cast members were not dancers to be strangely comforting, since my dance skills aren't great either, and it added to the general idea that you should just have fun with this workout.

I would recommend this one to the advanced-beginner or intermediate who has mastered the basic steps and would like to move on to something that is fun, but not terribly hard to learn. This is the sort of workout that could give you the practice and confidence you may need to move up to more challenging choreography. Elise gives you a lot of time to master the moves, so those who don't like a lot of repetition should beware. This is my first Latin-dance workout, so I cannot compare it to the others out there, but I found it to be very enjoyable, and great for a less-intense cardio workout.

Instructor comments: Elise is very energetic and encouraging, without being overly perky. She comes across as very warm and likeable. I would definitely like to see her do another video.

Mary K.

7/1/02

The DVD contains workouts in both English and Spanish. I liked the cueing, which broke down the moves in each section very clearly. Two of the three background exercisers were "real women," which I also liked.

After 30 minutes has passed, Elise tells you go to the cooldown if you have had enough; if not you can continue. The music is good, and the time passed quickly, since this workout is a lot of fun.

Instructor comments: Friendly, motivating, provides excellent cueing.

Linda

12/31/03



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