Just Dance: Dance ShowdownDavid Van DeVelde, Marc-Oliver Kluike, Robert Steinbacher, MaDonna Grimes, Balazs Fuzessy, Tom Woll, Caroline Mervielde, Christiane Reiter
Year Released: 2008
Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance
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Iím reviewing this workout after doing each segment several times (usually 2-3).
General workout breakdown: This sampler DVD contains eight segments from Evolution videos containing dance or dancy cardio. Many segments include the original intro plus one full combo. As you might expect from an Evolution video, the focus is on learning choreography, so instructors are usually good cuers who repeat the combos several times as they build the complexity, although because this is a compilation you never get to do the final TIFT (take it from the top). There are breaks between run throughs, and these breaks usually involve filler moves (e.g. step touch). Most routines are low impact (one or both feet on the ground at all times, which basically means little to no jumping), although there are a lot of pivots, both full and partial, plus many other twisty turny moves.
*Madonna Grimes from the USA (Just Madonna!) leads you through almost 10 min. of hip hop. She jumps right in with a completed combo, and then she breaks down a new one, teaching the steps slowly and then speeding them up. Madonna definitely shows some sass and spunk, with a little freestyling between run throughs.
*Balazs Fuzessy from Germany, but originally from Hungary, (Energy Dance Aerobics) moves and grooves through some creative dancy aerobics for 13 min. Youíll recognize many of the basic moves (chasse, mambo, repeater, kick, cha cha), but Balazs manages to make them fresh and funky, especially by adding in some fun arms. Balazs will inspire you to move after you watch his graceful movements. I have to remind myself not to read anything into his whistling at the viewer, though; heís just alerting you to a TIFT or something like that.
*Tom Woll of Germany (Street Dance) brings an urban edge to his 6 min. segment. The steps are pretty basic, but some funky arms, some hip swivels, and locks make them into something thatís anything but basic. He says ďUh huhĒ a lot, and heís meticulous about attaching each move to a beat, so he cues by counting rather than calling out move names.
*Robert Steinbacher of Germany (Dance 4 You: Jazz Funk) combines jazzy, funky, and hip hop moves; this particular 8 min. segment is more jazzy, with some more suggestive moves like hair twirl, hip slapping, and a**-shaking. If you can get over his, ahem, close relationship with his background exerciser (just in the intro), heís a good cuer with some interesting choreography. Like Tom, he cues by beats rather than move names. His routines also speed up as time goes along.
*David Van De Velde from Belgium (Daveís Hip Hop Battle) presents a 9 min. hip hop segment. David emphasizes feeling the beat, and his crisp movements underscore this. He uses the ďshow meĒ method, where heíll add in the next move during the last run through, then quickly break it down before another few run throughs, during which heíll add in the next bit. Like the other more dance-focused routines he teaches at half time, and finally at real time. I have to admit that I felt silliest doing Davidís segment, because itís the farthest from my comfort zone, but I think heís a very good instructor and maybe even one of the better dancers featured on this disc. I wanted to succeed at this one because of him.
*Caroline Mervielde of Belgium (Latin Dance) leads you through some Latin dance-inspired moves for 10 min. She starts with basic steps and then layers on the Latin flavor. Iíd probably call this Latinized aerobics rather than straight up Latin dance. Caroline uses a lot of hand gestures to cue (e.g. she points right and left, she taps her head to indicate ďfrom the topĒ), and she also includes a lot of arm movements with her legs. Thereís some woo-ing here from both her and her background dancers. She, Madonna, and Marc-Oliver appear to be having the most fun, or at least have the most energy.
*Christiane Reiter from Germany (Reit House Moves) for 7 min. demonstrates some of her signature Reit House dance moves, with tightly choreographed combos drawing from her own version of dance (sort of street, sort of music video, sort of nightclub, that sort of thing Ė yet at the same time thereís an element of lightness and fun that doesnít always come through in the other styles). The base lower body moves are familiar, but Christiane brings lots of new ideas as to how to use them in combos plus includes some interesting arms. She also teaches at half and then real time.
*Marc-Oliver Kluike of Germany (also released as a bonus on Dance Aerobic 4) takes you through 14 min. of dancy hi/lo aerobics; he draws his dancified moves from musical theater and movies more than anything else. Marc-Oliver is a real goofball who cracks a lot of jokes. Some may find him over the top (at one point he winks that maybe youíre not upset that his pants keep falling down, and he also spends a lot of time talking or even making faces into the camera), but I appreciate the extra chuckles (hey, extra calories burned, right?). This is my favorite segment on the DVD, not only because it turns out Iím much more of a dancy aerobics gal than a dancer but also because I heart Marc-Oliver. (He could lead a video of just marching in place and Iíd probably still enjoy it because his personality is so much fun.)
Level: Iíd recommend this to someone at an intermediate level or so of cardio ability with lots of experience in (complex) choreography, particularly dance / dancy stuff.
Class: A couple of instructors appear by themselves, but most have a class of 1-4 other people. Some background crew members are other fitness instructors; some may just be friends with the instructor. Fortunately they donít appear to be wearing microphones here, as they do on some other Evolutions, and there are some fewer flubs than you sometimes see (The background exercisers often have very little time to learn the choreography and often appear in multiple videos, making their jobs even harder!). Oh, and this video has a collection of some of the most, um, interesting outfits to appear on background exercisers and even instructors - whatís with the one pants leg rolled up? - Iíve ever seen (but then I donít have many of them video classics).
Music: some use new and different music, some (usually the more aerobics-oriented) use more typical Evolution stuff. Itís all something with a beat, whether instrumentals or vocals. The music is appropriate to the type of workout: hip hop segments have an urban flavor, Latin a Latin flavor, and aerobics more poppy stuff.
Set: the kind of industrial-looking interior set from the last few rounds of Evolution videos. It has colored lights in the background (which change with each workout) plus a couple of big white screens and a few TV screens with the Evolution E.
Production: clear picture and sound (although the latter is a little on the quiet side, itís not as bad as some of the older Evolutions). There are some funky camera angles and close-ups of faces when you need to see whole bodies, as per usual with Evolution productions.
Equipment: shoes that can pivot! (Iíd recommend dance sneakers / dansneakers / split sole sneakers, or you can put a piece of slick tape over the toe box of an older pair of cross trainers.)
Space Requirements: Some routines hog more space than others. If you can take several big steps in each direction you can probably make these work. If you live in a shoebox, well, good luckÖ
DVD Notes: One side of this DVD is PAL format, the other NTSC.
The main menu has these options: Play All, Select Chapter (with the first being an Instructors Montage), and Bonus Features (How to Make an Evolution Video, Behind the Scenes, and Evolution Video Previews). There are no chapters within individual segments; they are chaptered separately, however.
See my general workout breakdown for more information on each instructor.
All instructors cue in English.