Classic StepKari Anderson, Jay Blahnik
Year Released: 2000
Categories: Step Aerobics
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Overall, I like this workout, but I don't love it as I do some of Kari's other videos. The intensity is solidly intermediate and I prefer more of a cardiovascular challenge. And there's just a little too much time spent teaching for my taste. With that said, the qualities that disappoint me in Classic Step might be the very qualities that make this tape a beloved favorite for someone who is seeking an intermediate level tape that slowly eases you into complex, interesting choreography.
Kari and Jay have good chemistry together and they're very likeable on their own. They alternate teaching the 4 combos. The warm-up combo is also the first combo of the whole routine. Jay teaches the warm-up combo, a fun little combination using turn-straddles, shuffles, stomps and a little "skate and slide" move on the step. He does some dynamic stretching, then does the warm-up another time. Next, Kari steps in with a very basic combo using basic steps, L steps, a reverse V step, knee ups and a pivot. This combo didn't thrill me and the individual elements were repeated way too many times. Jay comes back for a combo with a fun little variation of a triple repeater, a jumping V step and some pendulums. Kari really shines in the last combo, which is the best of all with a lot of hip shaking, shuffling and little kicky steps. After each combo is taught at its most sophisticated level, you run through the whole routine from the top. They layer the combos so they start fairly simple and they keep introducing variations until they're more complex. For some reason, I mess up a lot during the "simpler" variations, but I'm on the money when we finally do the tougher variation.
Kari leads the cool down, a simple toe, leg kick out and swing behind with a dancy feel to it. Then Jay does the stretch, which is very nice, very thorough.
This is a "shorty" workout. Fifty-two minutes total. If you skipped the stretch, it's more like 45 minutes. The intensity is intermediate. The music is good. I recognized a song that I don't like on Cardio Kicks, but it's speeded up on Classic Step and I liked it a lot better at the faster speed.
I really, really like this video. I have several of Kari's videos and I also have Jay's Step Revival, and I like both instructors individually, but I think this video combines the best of both of their styles: Kari's graceful choreography is a great foil to Jay's more athletic style, and the two mesh together almost flawlessly.
There's a really lively, energetic feel to this workout and I believe it's due to the clean, well-lighted set, fresh new moves and a genuine rapport between Kari and Jay. Kari is cheerful as usual, but her cheeriness seems much more genuine in this tape. Jay is clearly having a good time, and his athletic style, which shines during his step combos, is clearly influenced by Kari's more graceful style in the more new-agey final stretch. I will say that Jay whoops and hollers a lot more in Classic Step than in Step Revival, but for some reason I don't mind. In fact, I usually find myself trying to time my "Oh yeah!"s to sync with his. :)
The choreography is complex enough to be fun the zillionth time around (and I should know!) but not so tough that you get too frustrated, at least not by the second or third time around. I found that the cueing was fine, except that there's a tricky transition when you're TIFTing, and Kari doesn't let you know until you're on top of it: after Jay finishes his combo ending with the kick-ball-change in one corner, it goes straight into Kari's "knee-hip-hip" and you have to be at the opposite end of the step. Watch out for it!
I also found that my heart rate plummeted during Kari's final combo, due to all the marching she has you do. I am still trying to figure out a way to modify this section because I really love this tape! I hope that Kari and Jay will team up again and that the success this video has enjoyed will lead to many more step videos from Jay.
I've only done this workout three times, but it's a new release, so here are my impressions.
Comments on the Workout: As to be expected, Kari's choregraphy is quite dancy in Classic Step. I've been doing step aerobics for 7 or 8 years, so I don't usually have trouble picking up step moves. Kari's choreography proved to be a bit of challenge for me, though. I got snagged more than a couple times during Classic Step. I even found myself fantasizing about the VF Exchange during Kari's segment, whining, "I don't do that much step anyway ... who has time to mess with this?" Then Jay Blahnik came on. Oh, joy! I love his athletic step style! He resurrected the entire experience for me. The video turned into a keeper. (I even bought his Step Revival the very next day, but I didn't like nearly as well as his step section in Classic Step . Odd.)
If you want a video that will choregraphically challenge you, Classic Step is for you. If you like simpler, athletic choreography on the step -- or, like me, do step aerobics infrequently -- you might get frustrated here. It's still worth buying, though. The production quality is good (but not superb the way it is in Body Tech -- is it me?). The workout is solidly high intermediate/advanced level, yet still kind to the knees and feet. The set and music are the usual, high Great-Moves quality. The cast members were a nice mix. Overall, I give this workout video a B+..
Comments on Kari Anderson: Kari Anderson's natural exhuberance is turned down a notch or two in Classic Step. She seems less vibrant here than she is in Two the Max, Fitness Formula, Body Tech, United Moves. That surprised me. I missed that. It doesn't affect the workout one bit, though. She is superb, as always.
Some comments on Jay Blahnik: I've experienced Jay's work in Step Revival. I've also seen him in action with Linda McHugh in Low Impact & Stretch Challenge and now this, Classic Step, with Kari Anderson. He is a very clear and precise cuer.
But what I like most about Jay Blahnik is that he clearly enjoys working with women. He's very warm and generous in his interactions with Kari and Linda, and seems happy -- even more comfortable -- to be sharing the spotlight. This is one of his unique strengths on video. Alone, he is like any other professional instructor on video -- clear, precise, friendly but not over-the-top. However, when paired up with an equally competent female instructor, Jay seems to come alive on film. A lighter quality comes over his work. I hope we get to see more collaborations from Jay.
What fun! This is the most complicated choreography Kari has put out, but it's not so complicated that it's frustrating. I'd say it's a little less complex than Franny's step choreography -- maybe comparable to Donna Read or the Anderson sisters. As far as intensity, it is high-intermediate to lower-advanced once you get going with it. Jay adds some power moves that are really fun and bring up the intensity. Kari does a fantastic "shuffle special" that's great. If you are not used to complex choreography, this might leave you frustrated -- however, in many routines you can stick to a base pattern until you learn the rest. Grade A+.
I have three Kari Anderson step videos and I would put this one in second place behind Fitness Formula.
Kari and Jay have a class behind them, which I always find motivating and they get kudos for putting people of normal body types in the video--no superfit gym junkies to leave you feeling inadequate.
I really enjoy the tag team approach, Kari and Jay alternately adding combinations and then all the combinations being put together.
I do find this video to be unnecessarily challenging because of funky camera angles at times. It's hard enough to learn tricky choreography when you're doing a mirror-image of the instructor, but when the camera is overhead from a 45 degree angle it is unnecessarily hard.
I like the combinations, and since I have knee problems I appreciate the mainly low-impact moves. Advanced steppers may find some parts slower than desired as Kari and Jay work to build combinations, but overall I think the video is a good challenge for all.
This video will become a regular choice for me. I'm still learning the choreography after doing the tape six times, so it's a challenge and makes the workout time go quickly.
If you like Kari and Jay I think this is a good addition to your video collection!
This video is one of the two new videos in the Great Moves Classic Cardio Series. This video is tag-team taught by Jay Blahnik & Kari Anderson. I really enjoyed this video. It was fun and creative and had a good flow even though two instructors teach it. The video is approximately 45 minutes in length, consisting of a short warm up, 3 step sections, and a cool down and stretch.
The warm up is lead by Jay. He begins a bit slower paced doing some fancier moves like stomps, skates on the board, turn steps and shuffles on the step. You do a mini combo them move into active stretching. Holding a stretch while engaging the arm movements. This warm up section will pop back up in the cardio section
Kari leads the first stepping section. She does some nice L-Step variations. You begin a regular L-Step but instead you step to the side and then to the back while keeping the one-foot on the step. She also does a lot of variations on basic steps, adding turns and footwork. Also move that Kari uses in this section are V-Steps and some pivots and turns on the floor.
Then you combine Jay's warm up combo with Kari's first segment. You repeat this a few times.
Jay leads the second step section. This section reminds me a lot of Jay's Step Revival. Its has the same kind of feel to it. Jay does lots of variations of basic step adding some direction and footwork. He does some jump leaps, similar to the jump leaps from the first section of Power Max with Cathe Friedrich. He then moves into a series of moves with lots of power V-Step on to the step with pulses and attitude.
Kari leads the third step section. She does a fun move she calls a Knee-Hip-Hip. She does lots of turn step and shuffles on the step. And she does a step kick move, which is a half pendulum move, in that you don't pendulum both feet but one foot stays on the step while only one leg kicks. After the combo is taught Kari goes back through it and changes the direction of the moves. Instead of doing all of the moves long ways using the step she changes the moves so that you are working the moves on the narrow end of the step. It's a really fun combo.
Then you repeat all the combos from the beginning to the end.
Kari leads the cool down and Jay leads the stretching segment. I really enjoyed some of the stretches that Jay did. Lots of good ankles and Solis stretches.
I really enjoyed the tape. If you like the style and intensity of Step Revival you will love this tape. It is mostly low impact but you can easily add power to a lot of the moves to increase the intensity. The setting is the same as the recent Great Moves videos with great quality sound and picture. All of the transitions moved smoothly and they both seemed to be having a blast. The only complaint that I have is that while over all the music is great one song during Kari's first segment drug on and on. After it was over I could still hear the lyrics of "Stand Up" for a while. I think you will find that this tape is great for lower impact days where you still want to have fun and work up a sweat.