Video Fitness

The Next Step

Yeah, Charlene! For all who are used to Charlene's rather basic choreography in her older tapes, you will be surprised and maybe even delighted (as I am) with the "new" Charlene. She still is not Patrick Goudeau by any means, but this new step workout incorporates some intermediate-level moves that were previously unheard of for Charlene. She does a pivot, a funky cha-cha, over-the-top the long way, and shuffles over-the-top the long way. Granted, these are not innovative moves. However, this is the first time Charlene has gone beyond basic choreography, and it has really turned out well. She changes things around a lot more and there's not a point in here where I get bored, even though the choreography might sound boring. She even does one move that I consider advanced. I don't know the name of it, but it's when you're doing a repeater and you alternate leg front, leg back, leg front. (Forgive me if that doesn't make any sense; it's so hard to describe moves in words!)

But don't let beginner/intermediate choreography fool you. Charlene always gives high-intensity, long workouts. The cardio part of this one is about 40-42 minutes. I would call the intensity mostly advanced, but with some "breaks" that get into intermediate intensity.

The highlight of the workout for me is when Charlene does a funky cha-cha on the step. No, it's not hard, but it's just so out of character for Charlene that it makes me smile really big everytime! And guess what, she looks as silly as I do doing funk moves, and it doesn't bother her at all! She laughs along with everyone else.

This workout is a winner and a keeper. I know Charlene's style isn't for everyone, but I'm pretty sure that all who have liked Charlene's older step workouts will love this one. And it's also nice to know that even the "pros" can change their styles and keep improving with the times. Grade A+.

Instructor comments: Yes, I am anal about Charlene, as VF old-timers probably know by now. But I can't help it -- the more I see of this woman, the more I like her. She is someone I would choose as a friend, not just an instructor.

Annie S.

I've had this video for a couple of years, but hardly ever do it. It's because I think this is an odd Charlene step video.

The cuing is good, Charlene and the crew are great (one woman is 5 or 6 months pregnant and looks great!). The set is a nice bright atrium set.

That said, I just don't think the choreography flows well in this video. Usually, Charlene will teach you a couple of steps, then tell you "put that in your memory bank", then she teaches another couple of steps, then puts them together into a more complex pattern.

In this video, there really aren't any complex patterns. You do a few steps, (Example: step up on the side, over the top, step up on the other side, over the top) then, you just move on to something else.

There is one part in this workout that I think really drags. Its a simple, "basic step, basic step, (something to switch feet), repeat on other foot again and again and again. Everybody takes turns, round robin, deciding what the "switch foot" step is (knee up, tap, cha-cha, or on step cha-cha). By the time it ended, I was bored to death.

There isn't a lot of propulsion in this video. In fact, I think you can do the whole thing without any propulsion, so it might be a good tape for bridging from beginner to intermediate.

So, I guess this is a good tape for people who hate to keep "taking it from the top", but it's not so great for us people who love to try to remember a long complicated pattern.

Instructor comments: I love Charlene. She is SOOO in shape and she is always in such good spirits. I just love the way she chats with her co-work-outers and enjoys herself. And her cuing is superb, "I'll count you down to it",always warning you before she changes the steps.



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