Latin Rhythm Moves

Kathy Smith
Year Released: 1999

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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Kathy Smith's Latin Rhythm Workout is a fun, cardiovascular fitness routine which combines latin dance moves with a few more traditional exercises. Kathy works out with two dance instructors, Clara and Ashley, in front of a class of about 10 additional participants. The setting is on a dance floor in front of a band on a stage, although the camera occasionally shows the group in a smaller, carpeted room. Prior to the start of the workout, Kathy provides a brief overview of the three main moves that will be used: the salsa, the merengue, and the cha-cha.

The video is actually broken into two separate workouts, although they flow together nicely for a longer session. Workout 1 starts with a 5-minute warm-up consisting of simple steps to get you moving; you'll really shake your hips and begin to raise your heart rate from the start. Next, you'll focus on each of the three dance moves in turn, spending approximately 5 minutes on each segment. Because you are just learning the footwork, Kathy does not specifically teach any upper body moves, but I found that by involving my shoulders and hips in the movements, my heart rate was really getting up by the end of this workout, which lasted about 19 1/2 minutes total. Workout 2 starts right up with a slow merengue segment that serves as a kind of warm-up. Following this, the workout again focuses on each of the three dance moves in turn, starting with a fast merengue, moving to the salsa, and ending with the cha-cha. This time, you'll add some more traditional exercises to the dance steps--eg, there are lunges, knee lifts, etc. You'll also do slightly more complicated versions of the basic steps as well as add a bit more upper body into the movements. The second workout is about 18 minutes long, and then Kathy leads you through a short series of stretches to cool-down, bringing the entire workout in at about 41 minutes. As a bonus, the the video ends with a brief segment where Clara and Ashley display how to perform each of the three dance moves with a partner (this was the only part of the video that was true dance instruction).

After doing both workouts in one longer session, I wasn't quite sweating, but I definitely felt like I got a good, low-impact cardio workout. I'm not a fan of complex choreography, but I found the dance moves to be simple to learn and fun to perform. At times, I'm sure I was moving in ways that didn't quite match what Kathy and the others were doing, but the great thing was that it didn't matter since I was moving, keeping my heart rate up, and having a good time. Overall, I found this to be a fun cardio workout which I know I will use frequently, especially when I don't feel like doing a more traditional aerobic workout.

Instructor Comments:
I thought that Kathy cued well as always and that she did a nice job with the dance moves--she certain danced better than I did! She provided mostly live instruction, but there were also occasional voiceovers in which she gave additional cueing and form pointers.

Beth C (aka toaster)


cuing: ok
style: very Latin-dance influenced, club atmosphere with a live band--very laid-back and fun! form & form pointers: since this is a dance class in a club, the form wasn't emphasized as much as just having fun was. However, people have to follow very closely and really throw themselves into each move if they want to raise their heart rate.
creativity of choreography: excellent
personality: Kathy is having fun here--she is here to encourage and motivate--the other two instructors teach the moves--they are very knowlegable and look like they're having a ball.

Information about yourself
I've tried most of her cardio workouts and while I loved dancing around with this one, it didn't raise my heart rate enough to make me want to keep it.

The dance sections are very fun and well-taught, though I'm guessing that those who hate fancy footwork will also hate this tape.

Others have mentioned their knees hurting from all the twisting and gyrating. I heeded their warnings and put down a piece of thick cardboard on the carpet and danced in my socks and didn't have any troubles at all (though I don't think the AFAA safety guidelines would approve).

Instructor Comments:
I'd avoided Kathy Smith for years, thinking that she might be too easy for me. After seeing her "Fat Burning Workout" on a number of top 10 lists, I tried her out. As it turns out I thought I was at an intermediate/high-intermediate level but all of her beg-intermediate workouts really make me sweat! I've tried most of her cardio videos and now I'm addicted. Kathy Smith comes across as approachable, friendly, and very knowledgeable and concerned about safety. I feel like I can trust her workouts to be effective, safe, and fun.

cindy k.


A mixed review. I was looking forward to this video because I have been dancing salsa and merengue for about five years now. However, I was disappointed. As far as fitness level I think that I am an intermediate. This video was intermediate for dance moves, but definitely beginner for cardio. The entire video is only 40 minutes long and by 30 minutes, I had not even broken a sweat. And since the moves were not even that fun (repetitive) I felt like I was wasting my time. So, I admit I did not watch the last 10 minutes, so it might have gotten a whole lot better. I liked the instructor, so maybe I'll try some of her other videos. However, I don't think this video is staying in my collection.

Instructor Comments:
This was my first Kathy Smith Video, so I cannot compare this to her other works.



I love the live music in this video and the instructors are very good. I also like the Latin dance moves but the way theyíre put together is very hard on my knees, shins, and ankles. I canít do this workout in shoes so I either go barefoot or I wear slippery socks.

I sweat a lot doing the video because I really try to get into it and my breathing picks up quite a bit. However, I just donít like the way my lower legs and feet feel when Iím finished so I donít do this workout very often. Iíd like it a whole lot more if my ankles, shins, and knees didnít feel strange while doing it and didnít hurt a lot after doing it because I like the music and the moves but I just canít do this tape very often.

Grade: B+

Sharon Muha


I purchased this tape because I love dancing and I love Latin Music. Unfortunately I hate this video and was sorely disappointed in it. Kathy doesn't always move in time to the beat (very distracting), and for some reason the camera man seemed to spend about half the time showing upper bodies only (hard to follow foot patterns that way!). I expected much more after reading so many other reviews that waxed poetic about how FUN FUN FUN it was. It wasn't fun - it was a waste of time. I am so disappointed that I wasted money on this video; the only consolation is that I got it for half price).

Kathy's cueing is poor (when compared to the likes of Keli Roberts or Karen Voight) and she doesn't always dance to the beat (I ended up watching the other people to see what I should be doing).



This is one of my video favorites!

The tape is divided into a warm-up, section #1 (beginners to beginners/intermediate section), section #2 (intermediate section), and a cool-down. There is even a partner dance lesson at the end of the workout, so that you can use your new latin dance skills during partner dance!

If you are intermediate or intermeditate/advanced, you *should* be able to get a good workout by doing the entire tape straight through with maximum effort. (But even the extra effort is FUN!)

The infectious, upbeat Latin music is performed by a live band. The two lead exercisers (other than Kathy) are actual Latin dance instructors. Kathy refers to them when demenstrating the most excellent form.

This is a FUN workout where you can learn actual dance moves that are not very complex. The time FLYS by, it doesn't even occur like you are working out. What more can you want?

Instructor Comments:
Kathy Smith is a smart instructor who knows how to have fun! I think that is a key motivator in cardio-only tapes. She gives excellent cueing and really gets into the workout herself. Very motivating!

Sometimes I find myself laughing at the sounds she makes during the workout when she is really getting into it, but it is all in fun.

Amy Buchheit


As other have said, unbelievably fun! I was worried about being able to keep up with the dances, but they really were easy to learn. I was able to do both 20 minute workouts my first time using the video. The music makes you want to keep moving. The marketing for this video says you won't notice how hard you're working, and for once, that's so true. When I continued on with the second section, I figured I hadn't elevated my heart rate at all, until I noticed how much I was sweating. It is somewhat difficult to do on carpeting, and I wish I had a wood floor room for working out, but it wasn't an obstacle I couldn't overcome. The instructor on the right is a blast--I'd love to be in her dance class!

Instructor Comments:
Kathy is having a blast, which is so contagious!

Lisa Greenwood


I really enjoy this video for a "light day" workout (I'm high intermediate/low advanced). The music, provided by a live band, is great and Kathy Smith and the rest of the cast appear to be having a great time. I am not the most co-ordinated person, and was able to follow the moves pretty easily on my first time through. I was actually smiling while doing this workout! I can't remember the last time that happened. Usually I'm working too hard to do anything other than sweat and try to keep up. That is what is nice about this video, its slower pace, low impact style allows you to just have a good time. And, the better you get to know the steps the more you can "work it" (like some of the cast do) and get a good sweat going! I know I will reach for this workout when I'm having a slug day with no motivation to exercise because it is so fun it does not even seem like working out! .

Instructor Comments:
She seems very professional, upbeat and outgoing.

Katie Humphrey


I'm a returning beginner who loves fun choreography and motivating music but I also needed to work within my fitness level.

Kathy gives a brief introduction to the basic latin steps you'll be learning, Salsa, Merengue and Cha-Cha, and is humble enough to include a couple of pros who really know their steps. I really love dance and latin music so this gave the video an authentic latin flavor.

I absolutely loved the live latin band,club setting, and the enthusiastic participants. This workout was quite adaptable, expecially for beginners and low-intermediates IMO. Depending on the amount of "dip in my hip" or "glide in my stride" I was able to adjust the intensity. Along with everyone else, I couldn't help but be motivated by Kathy's class especially Senorita "Tank Top" (dancing behind Kathy on viewers left). I think I have her to thank for the soreness in my glutes, shoulders and back I felt the next day. There's a big fun, bonus partner dancing section at the end that shows you how to execute the dances couple's style. My husband and I can't wait to show off our steps on our next cruise!

If you're beginner/int you can get a good low-impact workout and if you love music, dance, and fun you'll love Kathy Smith's Latin Rhythm's

Instructor Comments:
Kathy is one of the best. I can always count on her for a high quality video workout. In Latin Rhythm's she has just the right balance of instruction, and enthusiasm.



This may sound a little strange, but I've had an injury lately that has prevented me from doing high impact, and in a way I'm glad. It's made me consider tapes that before, as an advanced exerciser, I would have overlooked. This video is a great example. It's so much fun to do, and it really can be done by all levels of exercisers. Of course it would be used differently--beginners (who like to dance--that's an absolute prerequisite for enjoying this tape, but it's not difficult to learn the steps at all) can do either one or both sections for a fun cardio workout. More advanced people can use the entire tape as a light cardio workout for slug days or following strength training (I did it after doing a Firm tape). As has been mentioned, you really have to move those knees and hips to get your heartrate up, but if you're alone, who cares what you look like?! The music is what you'd expect for a latin tape. I've got to say that my favorite part of the tape is during the second section where you do the salsa (you can't miss it--it's to the song with the vocals). Fun! Oh, and did I mention that it's a great workout for the kids? My 6-year old son walked in the room during that part. First, he got a great ab workout from laughing, and then a great cardio workout from jumping around the room with me! Wonderful for a change of pace. If you're in slugville, pull out this one!

Instructor Comments:
Kathy is excellent in this video! I really think that she has been at her best in her two latest videos (this one and her kickboxing video). She blends the right amount of teaching and enthusiasm, and boy, can she move! It's actually a bit amusing--Kathy seems to be having such fun that she forgets to cue sometimes, but during the editing process, voice-overs were added. Her troupe includes latin dance professionals, who are incredible to watch.

Kristin Aziz


I can only make positive comments about this video. However, it is not for me.

I agree with other reviewers that this is one of those rare videos that can be used by people of all fitness levels. But advanced exercisers will really need to get into it and give it their all. That is hard for me to do, because part of giving it your all means making your body move in ways my body doesn't want to move. I have decent coordination, I love dancy choreography - the more complex the better, and I always have the patience to learn something new, but there is something about this type of dancing that I just can't do. While I can get the feet and arm movements, it is the area in between my feet and arms that get screwed up. Your hips need to be going in one direction and your knees in another.

If I were a beginner/intermediate or a hip-swiveling advanced exerciser I could really enjoy this tape though. It really is a nice routine, and I did have fun with a few of the dances. Overall, I would say it is another excellent production from Kathy Smith, but it is just not what I need right now in my rotation.

Instructor Comments:
Kathy is her usual self in this video, very energetic and encouraging. She looks great, but I found the twin-set she wore to be a little out of place in this video.

Lisa C


This is without a doubt the most fun I have ever had doing an exercise video. It is broken down into 2 segments, the first teaches you the moves, and the second puts it all together. It is broken down so you can do one segment one day and the other the next. But I was having so much fun I didn't want to stop and did the entire 40 minute video. I just wish it was longer. I felt like I could keep on dancing for hours!! I believe Collage doesn't recommend it for carpeted floors but my floors have thick carpet and I really didn't have any problems. I recommend this video highly for any exercisers who like to have alot of fun and dance. If you are a advanced sports oriented exerciser you probably won't enjoy it but I LOVED it!!!!!! It will probably be my highest rotation video.

Instructor Comments:
As always with Kathy her expert cueing is at work here. She really seems to be having fun. Like others have said watch the blonde behind her and copy her if you want a little more intensity.



I just absolutely love this video. It is very very fun. I feel like I'm really learning a dance. I rewind and do the merengue sections twice and feel like I get a pretty good workout. I fluctuate between int/adv and advanced. Right now, I'm a low advanced. To get a decent workout, I feel like I really need to move my hips and shoulder and get into the music. I use this tape for moderate days when I don't feel the need to drip with sweat. I'm sure my heartrate is in the lower to middle part of my zone instead of the 80% I usually work out at. All right, that's more than you care to know about me, but I just want to encourage int/adv and low advanced people to try this tape. If you are looking for something fun and a little different, get this tape!

Instructor Comments:
The usual Kathy Smith. This is the best Kathy Smith tape I've tried, and I've tried 8 or 9.



FUN, FUN, FUN! Everything about this video is fun. For starters, it is a club setting with a live band playing Latin music. Just listening to this music makes you want to get up and dance! Kathy's team of dancers are all wearing cute dancewear instead of the usual athletic gear. And everyone genuinely seems to be having a good time. Kathy teaches actual Latin dance steps - salsa, meringue, and cha cha, mixing them up with a few more aerobic moves, such as (just a few) squats and lunges. The workout starts with an interesting, dance-based warmup (figure 8 lunges, rib cage isolations). Then the workout is divided into different "blocks" - salsa, meringue, cha cha - end of workout one. Workout two has slow meringue (including a few macarena moves) fast meringue, salsa, a cha cha cooldown, and final stretch. (41 minutes total if you do both workouts.) For beginners, I would recommend doing the first workout following Kathy's moves. As you progress, you could continue adding on a block at a time. Intermediates should do both workouts (the whole 41 minutes) and maybe follow Clara's moves (the dark haired dancer in black beside Kathy). Clara keeps to the basics, but adds a few more flourishes - note her hand positions, arm movements, and hip swivels. And for a more advanced intermediate workout (and the way I use this tape) do the whole workout and really cut loose with arm, hip, and shoulder movements. There's a blonde girl just behind Kathy wearing a white tank top you can get inspiration from. If you don't mind cutting loose and swiveling those hips, you can work up quite a sweat!

Other things I like about this video:

1.It's very low impact. I have found very few low impact videos that can make me sweat! 2. You gain a very good understanding of these basic latin moves. (There's even a bonus section at the end showing how to put these moves together to dance with a partner.) This would be a good tape to try before trying some of the other Latin tapes out there, such as Ritmos Latinos.

Small Caveats: A few of the pivots are a little difficult to do on a carpeted floor, but after a few tries, I found my own modification. Kathy and her dancers even demonstrate a few of the moves on a blue carpeted floor, so really this is just a small problem.

Also, this tape would probably not be a favorite for those super-advanced-cardio freaks who are looking for high powered workouts. And those who feel uncomfortable swinging and swiveling their hips might also want to bypass this one - there's a lot of hip action, and unless you feel comfortable cutting loose a little you won't build up the intensity.

Instructor Comments:
Wonderful instructor. Cues very clearly - you never get "lost." Gives you form pointers that really help. Low key but obviously having a good time.