To give a bit of background, I am an advanced exerciser who adores complex choreography. Christi Taylor, Patrick Goudeau, Seasun Z., Rob Glick, and Marcus Irwin ( of course ) are among my favorite instructors for both hi/lo and step. If you are NOT a choreography lover, let me say right up front that Step Fusion is NOT the workout for you. Step Fusion is a 100 minute step workout in the Evolution series, and it is PACKED with fun, dancy choreography. There are lots of mambos, cha chas, and other treasures as you work your way through. The set is pretty dark, as usual, but not quite as much as some of his other workouts because instead of just 4 monitors in the back with a rotating “e” in blue on them throughout the workout, there is also a large screen in the middle with a bigger rotating “e.” There are 4 red, flame-shaped lights along the back, which also helped it seem less gloomy than some of the other sets. The music was stuff I had heard before on other workouts, but nothing I disliked. There is no warmup or cooldown, but intensity builds gradually in combo one, so I was nice and warm before the intensity got too high. I definitely needed to cool down on my own, because you end right after finishing a big combo. There are 4 sections. The amount of taking it from the top ( TIFT ) was very reasonable. There was some as Marcus built the combos, but not so much that you got sick of the beginning before ever catching sight of the end. In each major section you put the combos from that section together and go through twice on each side, but there is no TIFT from the very beginning of section 1 to the very end of section 4, which was a disappointment to me. Then again, I'm known to be a bit strange. :) Interestingly, the red flame lights flashed on and off rhythmically during the parts where the whole section was being put together. They were steadily on during the teaching sections.
Within the workout there were 2 tendencies of Marcus's teaching style that served to reduce the intensity. One is that he often adds marches as place holders to fill out a block of choreography, and then shows you what goes there while you march. The other is that he does a LOT of step taps on the step while he explains the next change or demonstrates the next step. Both of these are easily remedied if you're looking for more intensity by throwing in jogs or other power moves. Sometimes I did that. Other times the intensity of the workout was enough that I was perfectly happy to march in place, thank you very much. :) Marcus has put together some really great combos that combine athletic and dancy moves. For example, you do an L-mambo into an over the top, straight into a pendulem over the top. Clearly there is a mix of impact in this workout, but as usual, Marcus builds up to each higher impact move with lower impact ones that use the same counts. You could certainly stick with a lower impact move if the higher impact was not your thing that day. That said, since noone is doing lower impact, and this IS so packed with choreography, you would have to be really on the ball to remember just what your version is supposed to be. Plus the higher impact versions are so darn fun, how could I NOT want to do them? There aren't as many turns as in some of Marcus's workouts, but he gets a few in there, and they flow so well! This workout qualifies for me as “party in a box” material. Marcus has his usual great, positive energy with his “background babes,” and the workout itself is a choreography lover's dream! I do have 1 major peeve with this workout. At several points in the workout they throw in a break with a screen with a red, rotating “e.”Some of the places they put these breaks made sense, like between the 4 sections. Other places it seemed rather random and broke up the flow. I was rarely in step with Marcus and “babes” when it came back. At least they usually were doing “holding” moves when these breaks came and went. But in 1 spot in section 4 they come back on count 1 of starting through a finshed combo, and it's practically impossible to catch up quickly because by the time you figure out they aren't step tapping, they're on the other side of the step. Very annoying.
The 1st 2 sections clock in at about 30 minutes, while the 3rd and 4th are about 20 minutes each, making this a workout that lends itself beautifully for tailoring to the workout needs of the day. The DVD is chaptered very well, so adding them onto another workout or putting sections together to match your time available would be no problem at all. I personally found sections 1 and 2 to be more intense, but that can be pretty subjective. None of the sections are killer, but they are a solid, moderate intensity. And really, with such fun choreography to tempt you to keep going, who wants to physically incapable? :) Even though this DVD is pretty pricey, given the length of the workout and the flexibility of the workout's superior chaptering, I think it was well worth my money.
Marcus is excellent at cuing and has a unique way of combining dancy and athletic choreography. He is a complexity lover's instructor all the way! He has a great, upbeat personality that makes working out with him a pleasure.