Video Fitness

Advanced Step

(aka Great Step)

Andre Houle

Mini Review: "Major Party!"

Andre's tape is very choreographically difficult. I'm not kidding. Not for the faint of heart. However, it is difficult because it is innovative and it's a ball to do when you get the hang of it.

I am far from achieving total ball status! I find myself on the wrong side of the step more than I care to confess. However, the secret sauce in this tape is its capacity to motivate me to continue. Even with some rewinds the time just flew buy.

The music is one of the best tracks I've heard on video, and Andre references it on occasion ("don't call me baby!") It's the same set as Harold Sanco's Urban Training - sort of Japanese warrior. Andre's male background exerciser (Jeff?) is a complete babe (there's a man and a woman). Anyway the net effect of everybody and everything is quite gorgeous.

The actual beat pace of the tape is fast, and the choreography add ons are also fast. While daunting at first attempt, this is ultimately a good thing. Very little in the way of marching, and very little in the way of annoying repetition.

Many times I'll do a tape and roll my eyes in the middle of it thinking "just why, exactly, should I do what your asking me to do, (lady or guy)??? Not so hear. I am intensely motivated to do it the way Andre wants me to do it!!!

Jon
4/29/01

This one kind of grew on me. The first time through, I thought it was a little disjointed and not very well-taught -- but I was interested enough to give it another try. The second time I found myself halfway enjoying it. The third time I decided it's a keeper. It's a 50-minute step workout of higher-intermediate to advanced intensity, with somewhat complex choreography, but not as complex as, say, Franny Benedetto's or the Anderson sisters' 9806(?) step tape. I do still think it's overly difficult to learn, and it doesn't need to be -- if Andre had taught this better, it would be an A+ tape. The music is pretty good and the routines, once you go through them a couple of times and "get" them, are great. But as it is, it's an A- tape. Andre is very creative and good at choreography, but I'd like to see him improve his cueing and teaching.

Annie S.
5-4-01

I just love this video. It is a lot of fun and the music is great. Andre's enthusiasm in this video is extremely catching and it is hard for me not to feel good when I do this workout.

I like this workout more than 9901, because it is newer, faster paced and has better music. However, I think on some technical points, CIA 9901 is a better video. He teaches and breaks down the moves better and I prefered the way he TIFTED. (My favorite method - combos 1&2, then 3&4, and finally 1&2&3&4.) In this video some of the moves are thrown at you. He does break down some, but there are a few times where you might stare at the TV in confusion.

The choreography is fun and I think there are 3 combos. It seems like there are more, but at the end, that is what I counted. The warm up is a pretty good combo by itself and he actually does it again after teaching the first cardio combo. I was afraid he would include it throughout the workout, which is a pet peeve of mine, but he only did it one time.

I think the real reason I love this workout is Andre's enthusiasm. My initial reaction is that the choreography is great, but I wonder if someone else was teaching if I might just categorize it as "good". For example, he does the 360 move which is in a lot of videos. I have never been especially excited by this move before. However, in this video I just love it. He calls it "jump" and every time he cues it, he yells "jump, jump" and lifts his arms up out to the side, and for some reason it really motivates me. The music also motivates, energizes and fits in well with the choreography.

Intensity wise and choreography wise I think this video is more advanced than CIA 9901. There were portions of CIA 9901 where it was a little slow with his breaking down of the moves. This workout is more non-stop. I would say it compares in intensity to a Christi Taylor step workout, but it is less complex in choreography.

For Andre fans, I think this video is a must!

Lisa C
5/07/01

I am probably in the minority but these workouts were not for me and I traded them away after trying them only once. These were my first Andres videos but I had recently attended his live step class at Cardio Classic in SF. The choreography was tough but I made it through. Andre's great personality and enthusiasm were very motivating for me and his music was great.

This one I did all the way through but again it just didn't appeal to me. The music was good and Andre was charming. The choreo was innovative but there were too many turns and it just didn't seem to flow. I like complex choreo a la Christi and Franny but in this case I felt like the choreo took precedence over the workout. Christi's Step Heaven and Franny's 9905 make you sweat while challenging you mentally with the complicated moves.

Overall I don't think these workouts are bad but they're just not for me. I thought the step video was better than the hi-lo.

Caroline Kim
5/12/2001

This tape is pure joy. Andre Houle has put together a workout that flows so well, with such great music, that it is more like dancing with friends than a workout.

The entire workout clocks in at a mere 52 minutes, including warmup and cooldown, and it goes by quickly. The warmup is later included in the main workout. What I found really striking was the way Andre teaches and builds up the moves, you think you're doing fairly simple footwork, then realize it's actually fairly complex. The warmup includes a fairly unusual move where you step down in front of the step.

The core of the workout has four sections that all flow together really well. Andre builds up each combo, runs you through a few times, goes to the next, adds them together. It's got the right balance of enough repetition for you to get the move, but never to the point of the dreaded TIFTing. And in between, he does higher intensity drills to get your heart rate up. There are lots of turns, but I edit a lot of them out (which is easy enough to do). I would say this is a solid high intermediate/low advanced workout (depending on how many power moves you do).

As fun as the moves and routine is, it is Andre that really makes this tape shine. He has such enthusiasm, and seems like he is having such a great time - I love the way he sings along with the moves! One of my favorite moments is in the calf stretch where he starts bouncing and says not to copy him, but he's just so excited about the workout. It's very endearing. More importantly, though Andre's cueing is just flawless. Even as complex as the routine ends up, I had no problem picking it up and following along.

Even though I love variety and own well over 100 tapes, this is the one I keep reaching for over and over. When I feel unenthused, Andre perks me up. I give this one A++++++!

Celia M.
6/4/01

Spin baby spin! The choreography in this tape is complex, moves quickly and is lots of fun. Beware doing it with a queasy stomach because you spent lots of time going in circles. It's much more complex than 9901; perhaps more on the order of a Christi Taylor step tape. It took me a few tries to get the the steps but it was well worth the time and effort in the end because it makes me feel like I'm dancing and I forget that I'm also working out.

The intensity of this tape is intermediate but it's possible to increase the intensity by making the moves bigger. The intensity drops sometimes during some of the teaching but there are a few intensity blasts in the tape to make up for it.

Overall? A fun tape that I don't want to do so often that I wear it out. Andre rationing has begun.

Instructor comments: Andre is enthusiastic in this tape and lots of fun. At the beginning when you're stretching he's bouncing but tells you not to bounce, that he's just excited.

Anne V
avandon@yahoo.com
3/14/02

Party in a box! This video needs to be put out in DVD so it won't wear out. I love it so much that I find myself choosing Andre's Advanced step over my other favorite step workouts. The music is great which is a first for CIA productions. The stepping is just pure fun and dancy with lots of turns. Andre's choreography has some complex moves where you turn and high impact moves where you have to jump. But Andre will give you a nice low impact move to catch your breath. Working out this video is pure fun and doesn't feel like exercise. Andre's smile and energy just keep me motivated throughout the workout and he holds the stretches at the beginning and end.
I would put his intensity level as equal to Donna Read or Christi Taylor.

Instructor comments: Enthusiastic that leaps out of the tv , charming, handsome and you can tell he loves his job!

Mandy Lee

3/10/04



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