Video Fitness

Masala Bhangra Workout Vol. 1

with Sarina Jain

Here is why I never preview videos. I'm sitting there resting and watching the video, and the warm-up starts with this really cool drum beat and the dancers are doing this basic but still kinda funky heel dig with shrugging shoulders and it was just too much for me--I had to get up and do the workout!

The set: Dance floor with white backdrop. Colored lights. 5 dancers: 3 women in front including Sarina Jain, the instructor. All are in black pants with red crop tops (Sarina's pants are satin and her top has pink sleeves and beaded fringe along the hem); two men in back wearing black pants and black zip-up jackets with *flames* embroidered on them. All of the dancers are smiling and attractive and look like they're having a blast. (at the end of the video they introduce the dancers and the two women besides Sarina are "professional international dancers" and the men are Mr. Calcutta 1999 and Mr. India-LA 1996. Yes, they are very attractive.)

The workout consists of the warm-up/stretch, the cardio section, and a cool down. During the cardio section you learn 4 combinations of 3-4 moves each. The first combination was actually the hardest for me, because the moves were a little hard to figure out and rather high impact--I got a side stitch almost immediately. The following combinations include moves that you've pretty much done in most hi-lo tapes (low jacks, knee ups, forward kicks) but done with sort a hip-hop quality to it and all the while doing little shoulder shrugs. You watch a move (in the lower corner of the screen is the name of the move, the combination number, and the move number, ex: "Power Bhangra, Combination 1, Move 2") do it a few times, and then go on to the next move in the combination. When you've done all 3-4 moves in a combination, you run through the combination 5 or 6 times. Then you go on to the first move of the next combination. Once you have done all 4 combinations, you get to do combo 1 and 2 in sequence and then combo 3 and 4 in sequence. Finally, a live dhol (drum) player comes on the set and the cast all kinda go crazy to the beat. You can too, or you can fast forward to the cool down.

Sarina does *not* break down the moves. (Which is why I say you "watch" them and you "do" them, rather than you "learn" them.) You have to just kind of watch and follow along until you think you've got it. It's a little frustrating, but not unlike the way you learn most folk or social dances, which is what bhangra is.

Impact: There is a lot of hopping. There are some moves you could probably modify to low impact, but there are no suggestions or low-impact dancers to follow--you'd just have to kind of improvise.

Music: You get the same drum beat throughout the cardio section. Given what you're doing, I think it works, but some might find it monotonous.

$25 for a 33 minute workout may seem like a lot, but I really enjoyed the workout, expect to do it again, and will definitely be buying volume 2 when it comes out.

Renee Drellishak

I was getting bored with the same old same old exercise videos that I had, so I thought I'd try something new. I bought Volumes 1,2,and 3 of the Masala Bhangra Workouts. Very fun and different indeed.

I really liked Volume 1. I would have to say that it's my favorite of the 3 because of the way it is arranged. You start with a short warm-up and stretch. Then into a break-down of the moves. Sarina doesn't really explain how to do the moves she just does them and cues along and you follow.

After teaching 3 or 4 moves, she has you put those moves together in a combination. I liked that!!! You then do the combination 4 or more times. Then onto the next 3 or 4 moves and then combo practice. There are 4 combination chunks taught in all. After that you do combinations 1 and 2 together a couple of times and then 3 and 4 together a couple of times. (I wish she would have do all the combos in a row.)

After that she does a short cool-down and then she and her group improvise some Bhangra steps while a live drummer performs.

I must point out that some of the moves are higher impact so if you have bad knees be careful.

Also, in between learning new moves and having her tell you what's coming next, Sarina has you do "basics" (heel touches while your shoulders go up and down). I wish there had been fewer of these and more technique practice. The basics really lowered my heart rate.

I'm glad I bought the DVD version of this workout. So now that I understand the steps, I can scene select and just do the combos and final practice parts.

I give this video a B+

Instructor comments: Very upbeat and fun. Cues well. If you are allergic to the words "hup" and "awesome" beware.

Barb Price

December 18, 2003

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