Great Moves: Low JamAndre Houle
Year Released: 1997
Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance
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I bought this video because I love everything about Andre’s CIA 9901. This video leaves me with mixed feelings.
I’m glad that I have it, because it’s fun to do. It’s filled with interesting moves, which while lively and off-the-beaten-path, aren’t too hard to learn. (Easier to learn than 9901’s step portion.) Andre is one of my very favorite instructors—he’s personable, cues well, and his choreography just tickles me.
But…this tape appears, in many ways, to be a bunch of junk. I care deeply about music & production quality—which are sorely lacking in this tape. Actually the music itself is lively and stimulating, but the way it was recorded is tinny and annoying. It sounds like they had the music volume turned up so high that it caused two problems—it sounds like it’s played on my childhood record player and it keeps me from hearing Andre as well as I should.
I know what a terrific video personality Andre has. But between the sound quality, poor lighting, and graininess of the video . I feel like I can’t see him or hear him--he’s just too far away for me to experience.
If you don’t mind the peripheral annoyances, you might enjoy what could have been a super workout.
p.s. I sent a copy of this to Great Moves Video, asking if the graininess & sound quality were unique to my copy. I never heard from them.
I've done this video three times, and I like it! I really wasn't expecting to, because I tried his Great Moves Just Step video and had a difficult time following it (my heart rate also kept dropping with that one). Something about this tape, though, is better. Maybe it's that Andre likes to teach hi-lo better and therefore his cuing is easier to follow, or maybe the steps aren't as complex. But for me it was better. This is a mostly low-impact workout, with a few hops and jumps here and there. I disagree with Collage's rating of intermediate/advanced; I would say that at most the intensity is intermediate. As Annie O. mentioned, the warm-up and cool-down are of the same intensity as the rest of the workout. My heart rate stayed in the low end of my training range (about 60% of max.) throughout most of the workout. There are no stretches, as is characteristic of the Great Moves tapes; Andre mentions that you should stretch on your own. The choreography is complex, but not impossible to get on the first or second try (if you like complex, dancy choreography, as I do). There is some marching in place while the routines are being taught, but not too much to where it would get too repetitive once you've learned the routine. There are A LOT of pivots and turns; I didn't do all of them since I exercise on carpet and didn't feel that it was completely safe. You will need a fair amount of space for the workout--I have about 10' across and 8' back and that was about right. I am an advanced exerciser, and I will admit that this is not too challenging cardiovascularly; however, I thought the choreography was fun and interesting. This is a 38 minute tape (32 minutes of aerobics), which for me makes it a perfect length to pair with strength training. I got this one through the exchange, and I'm glad I did!
Andre is a friendly instructor. He really seems to want to make sure that you understand the choreography. Very down-to earth. Something about his cuing, though, is somewhat confusing to me. It's almost like on some of the combinations he misses a cue here and there. Once you know the routine, though, it flows better. My other experience with Andre Houle was with his other Great Moves tape: Just Step. His cuing on this tape, IMO, is better. He seems better suited to hi-lo than to step.
Grade: A-. If you like dancey floor aerobics with original, intermediate level choreography with some high-impact moves this tape is for you.
Although I’m a funk addict, I find this non-funk-based workout a lot of fun with certain expansive moves making me feel like a Broadway jazz dancer. Andre Houle and a buff male partner present the steps with comparatively few slow-downs so the intensity stays around advanced-beginner to low-intermediate throughout the tape, about 40 minutes overall. Despite the comparatively short length of the tape, there are quite a few different step combinations. The number of repetitions of the segments is just about right to get the moves when you’re first learning but still avoid boredom later. Cueing is mostly good, with gestures as well as words, but a little lagging here & there. Some of the sequences can be hard to adapt to a small space.
The Great Moves series of tapes are supposed to be geared to instructors but I see nothing that distinguishes them from tapes for regular home exercisers. Great Moves includes a printed list of the steps inside their clamshell cases which some might find useful although I don't refer to them.
The warm-up and cooldown are different than the main routine but their intensity levels are about the same so the tape feels like a seamless whole. There is NO stretching at the end, a big lapse. The music is fast vocals, kind of night-club bubblegum that works well with the style and Andrea’s upbeat presentation. Production values are excellent—-nice studio set, good sound quality and level, no cheesiness except possibly the black spandex outfits they wear (but, they’re attractive men so I’ll be generous and forgive them!). I look forward to more tapes from Andre Houle.
Andre Houle is both muscular and lithe; he’s a very good choreographer with a fun, upbeat style. He was a Bronze Medalist at the World Aerobic Championship & he appears on a fitness show called "The Body Squad." I like Andre’s gravelly voice and encouraging comments. He appears to love what he’s doing which makes me want to join the fun.
I have tried to like this video but I just don't. I'm not sure what it is but it doesn't seem to flow for me. On a positive note however, there are some fun individual parts of the routine but overall I don't really care for it.
The routine is (as the title says) low impact with a few jumps and leaps inserted in which really helps to create more intensity. I was three-fourths of the way through the workout before I even broke a sweat. Maybe low impact is by nature not going to be as intense as step, for example, but on a perceived exertion chart I was barely even a 1.
This is a dancy workout. I felt like I was back in high school learning a dance routine for a half-time show. So all you VF'ers that don't like dancy videos, don't go near this one. Some of the combos I liked were a chasse', 3 step turn, 2 double time jumps, 2 leaps and 2 step touches pulling your opposite arm across your body. It's hard to describe well but this part is especially fun when he puts it all together. There is a power scissor-like move which when put into the routine is a little fast but still a fun move.
The routine becomes more intense as he adds some impact to the combos but it's not soon enough because the video is almost over by then.
I give it a C.
Andre is a very upbeat instructor. His cueing is okay once you know what the steps are that he is referring to but learning some of this tape was frustrating. He used different terminology than what I am accustomed to. For example, he called two hamstring curls heel lifts. One other flub was he says step on your right foot and come to me. Okay...what does that mean? March forward? As it turns out this is a step with two knee lifts moving forward, then switch to the other foot and do the same. He doesn't refer to the knee lifts until much later in the routine.