Video Fitness

Evolution: Twirl

Marcus Irwin

This is my favorite Marcus Irwin workout, and in my top 3 favorite hi-lo workouts (along with Christi Taylor’s CIA 9801 and Kari Anderson’s Danceworks). Needless to say, if you don’t like to twirl you will not like this workout – there are twirls in every combo. There are also a lot of pivot turns and 6-point mambos. The final choreography is fairly complex, but Marcus starts with simple steps and builds slowly and logically, making his workouts much easier to learn than others of similar complexity.

The workout is broken down into a 5-minute warmup, 53 minutes main workout in two sections, and 4-minute cooldown, for a total of 62 minutes. The main workout is 7 combos and uses TIFTTing (i.e. “take it from the top”). The first combo is 32 counts of chroeography on each side. Combos 2 through 7 are 16 counts of choreography each, so by the time you are done you end up with 4 32-count blocks of moderately complex choreography.

Section 1: The warmup is a 32-count combo; you never see it again after the warmup.

Section 2: After learning combo 1 right and left, you learn combo 2, then practice both right and left. Then you learn combo 3, practice 1-3 right and left, then split them (i.e. 1R, 2L, 3R, 1L, 2R, 3L).

Section 3: You learn combo 4 and 5 separately, then put them together. Then you TIFTT 1-5 by splitting them. You learn combo 6 and 7 separately, then put them together, then TIFTT 4-7. Finally you TIFTT 1-7 all together, once on each side. (I would have preferred less TIFTTing in the early part of the workout, and going through the final product a couple more times.)

Section 4: The cooldown consists of gentle movements and stretches; there is no more choreo.

The intensity of the workout can get fairly high if you have enough room to move, but is lowered by Marcus’ breaks to catch his breath. The workout is best done with lots of space (I use 15X10) but you can probably get by with much less. Marcus appears to be using about 8X6 himself, but makes comments about keeping his movements small due to not having enough space.

The production quality in Marcus’ Evolution series is much improved over his early Choreography 2 Go workouts, and is now comparable to CIA. The music is mostly instrumental, nothing I recognized but I found it enjoyable. There are two female background exercisers, Nicole and Johanna. The color scheme is blue and black. The set has a black background with several TV monitors, sitting on top of cabinets, playing what appear to be Window Media Player backgrounds in blue. Marcus wears a black sleeveless top and long blue pants. The women wear blue tops and long black pants.

Instructor comments: Marcus is charming as usual. His self-deprecating sense of humor comes through as he makes fun of his manliness on the Cheerleader move, his “wobbly bits”, and his occasional mistakes.

Pam Larson
December 26, 2004

To give a bit of background, I am an advanced exerciser who adores complex choreography. Christi Taylor, Patrick Goudeau, Seasun Z., and Rob Glick are all close, personal, workout buddies ( on my TV screen only, of course . . .SIGH ). I was recently introduced to Marcus, and it was love at 1st sight. :) If you are NOT a choreography lover, let me say right up front that Twirl is NOT the workout for you. But if you love everything the name of this workout implies: turns galore, along with lots of mambo, cha chas, and chasses, read on. Twirl is a 60 minute hi/lo workout that is part of the Evolution series. The set is very dark, as usual, with 4 monitors in the back with blue, swirling patterns on them throughout the workout. The music was stuff I had heard before on other workouts, but nothing I disliked. Unlike many of Marcus Irwin's workouts, this one includes a warmup and cooldown. There are 2 main sections within the body of the workout. There is a fair amount of taking it from the top, especially in the 1st half. There is less of it as we move on, but every time you finish a major block, you do go back to the very beginning. I happen to love that. If you have a low tolerance for it, you might find this frustrating. The really cool part ( to me ) is that at the very end we get to go through ALL of the choreography from the very beginning, twice on each side.

Within the workout itself, Marcus does his usual method of adding on counts by adding marches as place holders. He then adds the next move while you and the “background babes” are marching. While this can reduce the intensity of the workout, simply substituting jogging helps bring it up a notch. It's mixed impact, but unlike some of his other hi/lo, it would relatively easy to stick with a lower impact move he uses when building the block, without interrupting the flow of the choreography when everything starts getting put together. Noone demonstrates the lower impact version, so it would be up to the user to remember what to do when Marcus cues the final version of the move. Twirl is my number one favorite of Marcus's hi/lo, and perhaps my favorite of all of his workouts, which is odd, considering my favorite cardio is usually step. This workout is so much fun, though, that I may have to humbly admit that hi/lo can actually surpass step on a few ( rare ) occasions. :) The choreography really flows beautifully, especially when the turns get thrown in. Marcus is, as usual, a blast to workout with. He has a great energy with his background babes. He messes up at one point. They mess up occasionally. He laughes it off or calls it “doing their own version” of the move. He even said that some of his best choreography ideas come from people's “own versions” in his classes. His cuing is excellent! Even when brain freeze starts to set in, I can still keep up because his cues are right on. This is not a killer workout. It's an incredibly fun, moderate intensity workout that makes you WANT to give it your all because you're having such a good time!

The DVD version is beautifully chaptered, which makes it easy to do only what you want on any given day. I will warn you, however, that some of the chapter names don't really match up with what he calls the moves during the workout. For example: Chapter 7 is called “Boing!” on the chapter menu. In the workout, that move in its final version is called “Cheerleader.” So if you're looking for something in particular, you may have to think back to what was around it to figure out which chapter you want.

Instructor comments: Excellent cuing and a wonderful, friendly personality make Marcus one of the best instructors out there for lovers of complex choreography!


On cardio work, I am an intermediate exerciser who enjoys with intermediate to advanced choreography. Recently, I’ve been on a Marcus Irwin kick – and what fun it has been! This workout was loaned to me by a fellow VFer and I plan on adding it to my collection soon.

This is one of the few workouts Marcus does in which he TIFTs (Takes It From the Top) and I enjoyed that. I enjoyed having multiple shots at the choreography in the same workout and really getting into it by the end. However, if you don’t enjoy TIFTing, you might want to look at some of his other workouts.

Here are the approximate times of the workout: Warm up and cool down, five minutes each; floor aerobics section, 52 minutes. It is a nice length, long enough to a good cardio workout and short enough to fit in most days except the most time crunched. Some general information about the workout includes:

> It is a dark set with a small space for the exercisers. Marcus leads the workout with two background exercisers.

> I enjoyed the music in the workout; it helped drive it for me. Some of the music did repeat. At that point, I didn’t really care because I was so into the workout. However, I usually do not care about the music overly much.

There is a warm up, three cardio sections, and then a cool down. In the first section of cardio, he teaches three combos and TIFTs after each combination. In the second section, there are four combos. He does the first two combos, puts them together, and then TIFTs, including the combinations from the first section. The third section is purely putting all the combinations together from the beginning of the workout. He then moves into the cool down and stretch.

The best thing about this workout is that it is just FUN. He builds combinations in a way that you start simply and then end up doing complex combinations with lots of turns and spins (hence the name of the workout – Twirl). He has such a great sense of humor and I laugh with him through the entire workout. He also talks to the exerciser as well as his “back up babes”. This is a great workout.

Instructor comments: Marcus is a master a layering moves so that you start simply and end up doing complex moves. He is also sooooo much fun!

Laura S.

January 31, 2005

Video Fitness copyright © 1996 - 2009 Wendy Niemi Kremer    All rights reserved