Fiesta Latina Vol. 1: Luly’s Latino Workout

Luly Mitchell
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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About me: I’m an advanced exerciser who also teaches group fitness. I am an avid salsa dancer and also love samba and merengue. Fiesta Latina is a workout by Luly Mitchell that covers several dance styles, including salsa, samba, tango. There is an English and Spanish version of the workout. I did the Spanish version, and viewed the English version for this review. The Spanish version had some ‘flavor’ and since I am planning a trip to Mexico soon, it was a welcome opportunity to practice my Spanish. I do think that you could do the workout even if you don’t understand Spanish. The English version, unfortunately, is simply a voiceover. You can also hear Luly speaking Spanish in the background. I’m not sure why they did it this way (perhaps to save on production costs), but I think it would have detracted from the workout if I did the English version.

I was in a foul mood when I did this workout, and one thing I can say is that it made me feel a lot better. The moves are all fairly simple but actually kind of fun. I liked the fact that Luly teaches in add-on style, once a section is done, you go on to do a completely new dance style and set of moves. I’ve developed a rather short attention span when it comes to videos, so this style of teaching was right up my alley. I appreciated the diversity of the cast (something that is sorely missing in many videos). Some of them were a bit stiff-especially Jennifer Galardi (of Crunch Fitness videos and the All-Star Workouts on FitTV) but they all look they’re having fun. The background crew consists of 3 men and 2 women.

The warmup (merengue-cumbia) is about 5 minutes long. The music is not bad, but not great. It is definitely an authentic merengue, but sounds a bit canned (I like my horns a bit stronger.) The moves are:
Walk up and back with hands waving
Walk side, squat and shimmy
Mambo Cha-Cha
There are also some hip rolls and shakes as well. Less than three minutes into the warmup, Luly stops for static stretches, which I can’t stand. Static stretching in the warmup causes the heart rate to drop, and hasn’t been shown to prevent injury. Even the people who do advocate stretching in the warmup say that the stretches should only be held for about 3-5 seconds, and Luly holds them longer. After a little more hip-shaking, Luly moves on to the first section consisting of salsa. By the way, what is really cool is how there is a short section between each song where the authentic dance (e.g. salsa, tango, norteña, samba) is demonstrated by professional dancers. There are also behind the scenes clips shown as well. All of the dances in the aerobic section are about 8 minutes or so. The dances are chaptered so you can skip through and use them as add-ons to another workout.

I love good salsa music, but like the warmup, this music was kind of canned (but not awful). It didn’t quite feel like salsa that makes me want to move. As I mentioned before, Luly teaches add-on style. The moves are:
Tap in and out
Crossover 4x’s, hop back
Cross mambo cha-cha, cross 2xs (or turn)
Side salsa
Cross Salsa
Hip roll (‘sexy hips’) and shimmy.

Some of the moves are definitely authentic-the crossover is a common styling move in salsa. I think a person wouldn’t have to be particularly coordinated to do any of these moves. You can also add as much flavor and flair as you’d like. She also teaches some of the moves half-time to give you a chance to learn them. Once you’ve done the video a few times, you could skip doing them half time and do them full speed. I wouldn’t say these moves would get you ready for the dance floor but it was fun!

After a short section demonstrating an authentic Brazilian samba, Luly teaches the samba section. Again, music is pretty canned but keeps you moving. The routine is:
Step-2 cha-cha-cha
Single Single Double Hips
Samba Front-Back Side
Travel Samba (front back) and turn
This section and the following norteña section might make you sweat a bit. They are a lot of fun.

The norteña section (music from the North of Mexico) has a bit of impact, whereas the other sections are more low-impact. You can easily modify (although Luly doesn’t) the bouncing norteña march. I was surprised that I liked this section, especially because I don’t particularly like norteña music (sort of a Mexican polka). The cast has all changed into cowboy hats, which was kind of corny, but all in fun. The moves are:
Norteña march
Step front back, turn
Heel/toe shuffle (polka step)
Brush step (you’re kicking that back leg behind you in a quick hamstring curl)
Horse step, toe tap, march back to center

The flamenco section is pretty dramatic. You have:
Flamenco hands with flamenco stomp
2 stomps, travel side with claps
Matador stomp around, arms up, sweep side
Lunge 4xs, hands up
Ole! Step
I really liked the ole! move.  I really loved seeing flamenco when I visited the south of Spain last year, so it was fun to do it again.

Cooldown (Tango)
Tango Step side to side (1-2-1-1-2-3)
Paso 8 (Front and back)
Shoulder rolls and arm rolls
Luly ends with some static stretches for the calf, quads/hip flexors (although it looked more like a calf stretch) and back rolls.

All in all, this is a cute workout that would be most appropriate for beginners (or intermediates on a very light day). The moves aren’t too difficult for people that are choreographically challenged and will keep you interested. I probably won’t buy this one for myself, but I’d definitely recommend it to the type of exerciser I mentioned above. Luly has a fun personality and cues fairly well most of the time. I’d like to check out more of her workouts. There is also a bonus section where Luly shares her beauty tips.

Instructor Comments:
Fun, charming personality and obviously wants you to have a good time.