Video Fitness

Island Girl Dance Fitness Workout for Beginner Hula Abs & Buns

Kili Kilihune

this is a 30 minute workout (incl. warm up & cool down) featuring Kili and 2 women (1 of which does easier modifications) who are all barefoot. there is also a bonus performance that features Kili alone. all footage is filmed outdoors on O'ahu facing Manana Island (aka "rabbit" island) on the windward side. music consists of drums and vocal chants in Hawaiian.

music consists of drums and men chanting in Hawaiian.

about me: i took hula lessons as a child and basically dropped out. i usually avoid dance videos because they tend to be too light for my tastes and i have 3 left feet when it comes to complex choreography! however, hula in the 1960-70s is nothing like how it is nowadays, thanks to the popularity of programs such as the Merrie Monarch festival that features authentic hula. hula these days incorporates culture, language, proper technique and history. it began as a men's activity in ancient times (for self defense), and now that this is more widely known, hula has more authenticity. this is not discussed in the video, but the movements and discussion of proper terminology in the video is a nod to the trend toward authenticity.

that said, Kili incorporates athletic movements in the workout that involve hip movements, half squating, oblique postures, and fast lunges. she says the hawaiian word for each of these moves, and the word is graphically printed on screen when it first appears. she usually shows the move at a moderate beat, and then speeds up the tempo, allowing you to learn the move and benefit by the quickened pace. it can be intense if you really engage the abs and really tighten the glutes.

i skipped the 2 minute intro using my DVD skip button, bringing me to the beginning of the workout. she started out doing a routine with the 2 women, without cueing, and i started following along. then wondered if the whole workout was cue-less! thankfully, she ends this brief demo (takes about 2 min) and starts the warm-up using cues and form pointers.

the body of the workout has very little TIFTTing and she uses about 7 different moves. the workout must take about 20 min.

the cool down consists of slower side to side steps, and some good stretching of the buttocks, obliques, and thighs. everything (warm up, workout, cool down) is done standing.

the bonus performance is not cued and shows Kili wearing ethnic dance attire. it is very intense, showing deep and fast squats to a fast drum beat/chant. she quickly changes direction in this segment. these movements are not taught in the workout.

i liked this better than Rania's bellydance quickies (which i donated to the library). you can get a good workout with Hula Abs & Buns for a light day or as an add-on or second workout. you do move a lot and in some cases, very quickly.

when she introduced the 2 women in the beginning, they each did a "shaka" sign when she said their name and the camera focused on each of them! very cute.

Instructor comments: mirror cues, precise movements, graceful, athletic, encouraging.

she has a slightly high voice (not squeeky) and i can tell that she is either from hawaii or grew up here based on her accent. i wasn't annoyed, but felt good that they used someone from hawaii.

directed by Andrea Ambandos for Goldhil/Natural Journeys



This DVD was my first experience with the Island Girl Dance Fitness series, taught by instructor Kili Kilihune. Kili teaches the workout barefoot with two background exercisers against a gorgeous Hawaiian backdrop. The music is mostly a strong drum beat throughout the approximately 32-minute workout. The DVD is chaptered, breaking up the workout itself into the warm-up, dance instruction, dance, and cool-down.

Prior to the start of the workout, Kili and friends begin with a very brief dance demonstration. The 4-minute warm-up begins slowly with hip swings, but Kili quickly brings these up to tempo. Additional moves include side-to-side steps and standing obliques; the warm-up concludes with a standing glute stretch.

During the main portion of the workout, Kili introduces various hula steps, starting slow, then bringing them up to tempo. The DVD case states that the workout "combines traditional hula with modern fitness moves," and Kili does a nice job at making this combination appear seamless. For example, one of the first steps she teaches is kaholo, what she says is the most important basic step in hula--sort of a hip sway while stepping from side-to-side. To this move, she ups the intensity by adding level changes and knee lifts. Similarly, after you learn another hula step, ka'o, which involves alternately lifting the heels, Kili adds a basic squat. Some of the steps, such as hela (a sort of lunge) focus more on the glutes, where as others, such as 'ami (waist rotation) target the abs.

Once Kili has taught you seven basic hula steps, she leads you through the simple dance that she and the other two women demonstrated at the start of the workout. The first time, Kili cues the various steps, but then the dance is repeated two more times without the cueing--I found this a bit tricky and would have preferred if she had cued throughout. The workout concludes with an approximately 6-minute cool-down. Here Kili again slows down the moves, performing gentle side stretches, hip rolls, side steps, and the same glute stretch that she did in the warm-up.

Overall, this is a nice little light cardio/light toning workout. I was impressed that Kili provided very good, mirrored cueing and that workout did move quick enough to get my heart rate up a little at times. If you are looking for intense cardio or sculpting, this DVD probably isn't for you, but if you want a lighter, easy-to-follow dance workout, this might fit the bill.

Instructor Comments: As mentioned above, Kili cues very well. The only thing that I found slightly annoying was that EVERY time she introduced a new move, she stated "this is what it looks like"--a minor complaint. ;)

Beth C (aka toaster)


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