I thought I'd share my first impressions of this video which is available from homeworkout.com. The setting is the same bare bones studio where the Step Express and Xtra Flow HiLo videos were shot. The camera seemed to be positioned further away than in those videos and the lighting was awful. Because of the glare I had an even harder time seeing the backgrounders. Usual 'background babes' (Angie and Johnny) plus one (Donna). The sound quality is about the same as the previously mentioned videos, but I thought the picture quality is worse. It's in SP mode. The style of the music is about the same. The songs seemed familiar to me from other videos, but I don't know if these are songs that have already appeared in his videos. The music went well with the choreography. The choreography is a BLAST. 28 minutes of step (12 combos- some were recycled and put in a different order), 42 minutes of hilo (12 combos- all stand alone). This one is different from his other videos in that he starts out with intermediate moves and goes on to advanced. He states in the beginning that he assumes you know the basics. For example, you would already have to know the reverse basic, straddle down and chasse moves. There are a lot of chasses in this video. There is a lot less marching in place and a lot fewer basic moves than in his other videos. He builds into complex moves very quickly. The intensity was medium in the step sectin, at least the first time through for me. It was higher in the hilo section where you could add bigger arm movements and power moves. Marcus had the usual self deprecating charm and ease with the camera. He had some really funny comments that caused me to LOL. Bottom line: the production quality is as bad as ever, the choreography is more challenging and fun. If you are a Marcus Irwin fan, you will really like this one.
First rate instructor who needs a new video production company.
April 25, 2002
Another great workout by Marcus. This one is half step and half high/low. The choreography, as usual with Marcus, is advanced, but Marcus is known for his outstanding ability to teach complicated moves and he keeps the tradition here. The music is fun – Pointer Sisters and other songs of that style. The intensity is intermediate/advanced. The only drawback to Marcus’ tapes is the production quality, which is generally fair to below average. Normally that would make me get rid of a tape but Marcus is just too good. Grade A- (A+ if the production quality were better).
WARNING: I got this video from the VHS liquidation sale at www.homeworkout.com, which is where I always knew I could get it. Now that they are divesting themselves of this video, I assume that it will be hard to get.
DISCLAIMER: I love, love, love Marcus Irwin’s older workouts, so keep that in mind in case of any gushing that ensues in this review. I can’t claim much objectivity.
On cardio work, I am an intermediate to advanced exerciser who enjoys with complex choreography at some level. After trying many different cardio workouts with varying complexity, I have found my absolute favorites are those that many complexity lovers on VF would classify as intermediate because the instructor takes awhile to build combinations and/or explains more than the most complex instructors. Marcus Irwin’s older workouts (aka, anything pre-2005 – Airborne and Step Pro) fall solidly in this category. This workout is one of the “really old” ones that predate his Evolution series. Someone loaned me this workout a year and a half to two years ago and it has been on my wish list ever since. I finally broke down and bought it recently before it disappeared from the market entirely.
The set and exercisers are the same as in Step Xpress and Xtra Flow Hi/Lo. The production values are simply awful – worse than in those other two workouts of the same era. There is something about the lighting in this workout that makes it hard to see the background exercisers clearly. The set is a plain studio set with a wall at the back. The music is standard to his workouts of the era, but it really works with this workout. There is a lot of humor and interaction between Marcus and the background exercisers. One of them is his wife, which probably encouraged some of the interaction.
The video is divided into two sections. First there is the step section, aka the “stomp” section. Then, there is the “jump” section, aka the hi/lo. (So, why wasn’t this video called Stomp & Jump?) This workout was intended to give instructors choreography ideas, so he just does block after block of choreography and doesn’t go back once he is done with a block. The blocks are numbered, so when he moves on to the next block, a number will appear to indicate which block it is. There are times when he will combine two blocks together as a unit, but that is the only TIFTing you see in the video. He uses a “watch me” style of teaching where he debuts a move and then he talks you through it. The moves get to the advanced level, but he builds the combinations slowly, so the workout feels like an intermediate workout. There are quite a few turns and chasses and mambos.
I smile through much of this video. It’s just plain fun – both the moves and what he says as he is instructing the video. I like workout instructors that make me laugh and Marcus does that. There were times in the hi/lo section, I had flashes of some of his other videos like Twirl and Aerodynamics, so I think this video was a direct predecessor to some of his later choreography.
He cues really well throughout the workout, and when he doesn't he laughs at himself and corrects the situation. He is relaxed and informative and humorous throughout this workout. He interacts with the background exercisers and the person at home, so I feel drawn into the workout by him.
March 18, 2006