Esprit De DanseStephanie Herman
Year Released: 1998
Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance
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Stephanie Herman, a dancer, has created a mostly low-impact aerobics workout which incorporates ballet, jazz, and both yoga and Pilates principles. She begins with simple stretches combined with a focus on breathing. The warmup then seamlessly flows into a low-impact workout with moves reminiscent of Tai Chi (similar to Petra Kobler's BREATHE). She then turns up the heat with more medium impact moves (much like in the video Tantric Toning). The next section, which she calls "Olympic," is even more challenging, and it includes balance moves as well as ballet-type kicks. This is followed by a dance-y jazz segment which Stephanie says is supposed to be fun. Finally, Stephanie ends the workout with a series of ballet stretches; the total length comes in at 42 minutes. more detailed instruction. Although there were some good things about this workout, I found myself looking forward to it being over, so I don't think I'll be reaching for this one again.
Stephanie was a likeable instructor, but her voice was often muffled and difficult to hear. In addition, she frequently failed to cue new movements, and she provided little explanation of how to perform the exercises. However, she does mention that all of the exercises can be learned through one of her other videos, Fitness Through Conscious movement--I've never done this one, but I assume that it provides more detailed instruction. One thing I did like is how Stephanie gave repeated reminders to be aware of your abdominals while performing the movements.
I like this video; it was just what I was hoping it would be. I had liked Stephanie's portion of the Perfect Balance tape - the flowing and graceful ballet aerobic moves. I bought the tape Heartbeat Ballet (the expanded version of Perfect Balance) hoping to get more of those moves, but the rest of it turned out to be just ballet toning moves. Esprit De Danse is more of those wonderful aerobic ballet moves that I liked so much. I always wanted to take ballet when I was younger, but never did. I felt like I was much too ungraceful and I know when I do this tape, I probably don't look very graceful, but I FEEL graceful and it's such a nice feeling. I didn't pick up all the moves in this the first time, but I got most of them and I know I will have them all within the next time or two. She teaches about 4 or 5 moves in each section and we repeat them about 3 times before going to the next section. The time went pretty quickly (the tape is about 40 minutes) and I really enjoyed it. The tape is definitely at a beginner/intermediate level, but it was perfect for me today because I'm finally getting over a cold I've had for three weeks and I wanted to start back exercising with something light. I recommend this tape for a light aerobic day.
I like the way Stephanie teaches. You can tell she's a great ballerina, but her teaching is very down-to-earth and she gives great pointers. She also uses simple ways of describing moves, like "stirring the soup" or "zipping the jeans".