CIA 9701: The CIA Step WorkoutDonna Read
Year Released: 1997
Categories: Step Aerobics
When I took a sneak peek at 9701 after receiving the four 9700 tapes, I couldn't shut it off!! This workout is made to order for the experienced, advanced stepper, who's been there and done that and gets sick and tired of being spoon-fed the same old stuff, or tapping and marching for ages while the instructor runs her mouth. Not Donna Read - she just dives right in and pumps out the jams, and it's up to you to keep up. The 45-minute aerobic section is divided into three segments, each with a long step combo, and following each combo is a sprint consisting of a power move done for a minute or two to get your heart rate up. At the end, you do the entire routine, the power sprints, and the routine again. The combos themselves are very creative and dancy, weaving over and all around the step until your head spins, and I like the fact that the moves are mostly low impact, with little strain on the knees. (But don't let that fool you - this WILL work you out!) The music, mainly instrumental, is new and invigorating also. I especially like the lively, Latino-like music that kicks off the aerobic section. Even the cooldown is a super-funky combo, which Donna swings right into until you're chilling out with the music. 9701 just keeps getting more fun the more I do it, and I know it will continue to challenge me for a long time. Grade: A+
Donna Read has a personality like Candice Copeland's - friendly, fun and sincere. Her teaching style is somewhat different from other step instructors. Instead of building up a step slowly or little by little, she just does it at tempo and repeats it several times, to let you practice, before moving on. Even though you might find this frustrating at first if you have trouble learning dancy steps, I like it on a video because I won't have to constantly "learn" steps I already know, plus it helps me get better at learning dancy steps.