Conductorcise, vol. 1

Maestro David Dworkin
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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This review is written only partly by me. The rest is from my aunt, a self-proclaimed 74-year-old fat lady (we are our own worst critics.) We argued briefly over whether being a self-proclaimed 74-year-old fat lady makes one a better or worse candidate to write an exercise video review. I won out and therefore got permission to post her thoughts here. I should point out her thoughts are very valid for this particular DVD, since she teaches classical piano and has some background in low-impact exercise videos, including George Foremans.

The workout is roughly a half hour long. You can see the clip for vol. 1 at if you need a visual. But mostly you stand while you pretend to conduct an orchestra to various pieces of music.

As for equipment, you can of course use a conductor's baton (the DVD includes a form to send away for one). Or you can use a chopstick or pencil or screwdriver. I suppose you could use your finger, but that just doesn't seem right (maybe someone will put out a Pointercise video one day). If you really want to trip up your imaginary orchestra, you can use a laser pointer. My aunt experimented with a three foot long dowel which required her to stand outside of the room. We don't recommend that. In short, chopstick good, long dowel bad, and finger sadly inadequate.

What we liked:
This is a very gentle workout. You need very little room, and you won't likely disturb any downstairs neighbors doing the workout as is. But if the mood strikes you, you may move your lower body more. This will boost the intensity of the DVD. Dworkin jumps a teeny tiny bit and encourages you to march around the room at one point. My wonderful mother has osteo-arthritis and uses this DVD while sitting. (Or at least she tells me she's using the DVD. You never know with my mom. She finds lying perfectly acceptable, though if you ask her she'll deny saying it and you won't know what to think anymore.) Some VF'ers recommended using this on the rebounder. In order to keep the beat for the songs in 2/4, I had to bounce either very low or very high.

The music is also nice. As my aunt said, “I think Maestro Dworkin had a genius idea for an exercise routine---one of the most objectionable things about most exercise routines is the abominable, so-called "music" they use.

We liked the set. It's a big, open ball room or meeting room. There is a large group of background exercisers, mostly women. They are of various body types and ages. Most seem to have a great time working out and listening to the music. My aunt felt one lady over on the left had very graceful movements and is possibly a conductor herself. Dworkin has Conductorcise programs for children, and even though I usually find large pools of kids sorta creepy I admit it would have been fun & sweet for one of the three Conductorcise volumes to have children as the background exercisers. (The third one might already, I'm not sure.) The second one has pumpkins in with the background exercises, as they are also good.

The music became progressively faster, with slower warm up and cool down selections. We both especially liked "conducting" the jumpier polka piece with the percussion accent (you can get some aggression out by conducting that one). This is a fun DVD, really.

What we didn't love:
No mirror cueing. Even though there isn't much involved in getting the movements down, seeing your instructor use the same arm you are using would have been nice. (Or maybe this is one of those few benefits for left-handed people. DH is always telling me how the world is stacked against them. Rightly so, I say. Bunch of freaks.)

And while there are three volumes of conductorcise, my aunt points out you could of course "conduct" to ANY music as long as it is up-tempo. "Spend your money on--for instance--a Brahms Symphony & conduct the WHOLE THING. You can conduct YO YO MA!! You can conduct RENEE FLEMMING! I mean the world's your oyster as far as music to conduct," says my aunt.

You probably guessed this isn't a high calorie burn workout, but here are some comparison factoids from my heart rate monitor to you:
Conductorcise v. 1, regular style: 104 calories
With rebounder: 188
Me, just sitting on my duff for a half hour: 34 calories

Instructor Comments:
We both like Dworkin! He's silly and cute and makes you smile with old jokes your dad probably told you. He tells you a little bit about music and conducting along the way too. Very likable guy with a nice concept here.

Sarah-lara & her lovely aunt