Video Fitness

Esquire's Dance Away Series

(Oldies But Goodies, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's)

Instructor: Lori Sunderman for Oldies; Molly Fox for the rest
Music: decade pop vocals (each tape contains a list of the songs on the back cover)
Length: 30 minutes. 3 minute aerobic warmup, 2 minute stretch, 20 minute aerobics including a cooldown routine, 2 minute final stretches
Energy Level: high
Choreography: generally easy
Production: low

If you don't like the music, don't get the tapes. I have favorites on each tape, as well as a couple "I wish I didn't have to listen to this". Each tape begins with a motion warmup followed by a static stretch, aerobic dances, cooldown aerobic dance, and static stretch. Some of the steps are a little complex (I especially had trouble with the "sideways" mirror-image routines, like the H steps where the steps were easy but the direction of movement wasn't.) There are some jumps, especially in the Oldies, that are hard on the knees and for which there aren't any obvious alternatives. You can vary your intensity level to some extent, but these are hard to do "slow". Most of the stretches are the same from tape to tape and some basic steps (the Pony, the Twist) turn up in multiple tapes, but the variations are such that I've never felt I was repeating the same routines to different music. It's a short workout; you can do a different tape each day. If you like the music, don't need fancy choreography, and don't mind poor video quality, these are good tapes to get.

Diane Danielle

Dance Away - Get Fit with the Hits (Beginner/Intermediate-Floor Aerobics)

This series features music from various decades; I have the 60's and the 80's tapes. Choreographer Molly Fox is the instructor, and while she comes up with some interesting combos, her cueing is not very good, especially annoying because you have your back to the TV sometimes. The (low-budget) sets, outfits and dance steps reflect their theme decades; the 60's tape has ponies and twists, the 80's features funky, breakdance-inspired moves. What stands out are the songs, the Original Hits by the Original Artists - the Monkees' "I'm A Believer", Aretha Franklin's "Who's Zoomin Who", etc. If you're really fed up with generic workout music, you might like these, as a friend of mine did. Otherwise, not much bang for the buck. Fuzzy EP recordings. Grade: C

Sue Bryant


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