Step Sensation

Robert Steinbacher
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Step Aerobics

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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it once.

General workout breakdown: This almost 70-min. DVD contains four step aerobics blocks and a stretch. There is no warm-up. Robert launches right into the choreography, alternating between symmetrical and asymmetrical (meaning done only on one side) blocks; segments run approximately 18.5, 14.5, 15, and 12 min., for 60 min. of stepping. He layers on move changes without lots of repetition. One thing that eases the learning curve is that Robert brings back steps from block to block, although fortunately he doesn’t repeat whole segments, so you’re not doing the exact same thing over and over. Robert’s style begins with basic aerobics moves but adds a definite dance flair. As with all Evolution instructors he’s fond of pivots, spins, and other turns.
Robert ends with a long yoga-inspired stretch (about 9 min.) done mostly sitting on the step, doing pigeon and a king pigeon variation, seated forward bend w/ both legs forward, seated stretch w/ 1 leg raised, seated pigeon / half firelog (with 1 ankle over opposite knee), straddle, straddle with forward bends over 1 leg (several variations shown), neck stretch, and forward bend with legs cross-legged / in easy pose. Robert doesn’t do the exact same thing on both sides, just as an FYI.

Level: I’d recommend this to at least intermediate exercisers comfortable with at least moderately complex step choreography.
I consider myself an intermediate / advanced in cardio, although I’m more of an intermediate plus when it comes to step, since I haven’t had mine that long and am still working my way through more complex step aerobics workouts. I pick choreography up pretty quickly if it’s broken down and cued well. I felt reasonably confident with the choreography after just one run through (again, be aware I think I’m better than average at picking up – although probably not exactly executing – choreography) but could have used more time to polish things up. According to my new heartreat monitor, I was in a moderate to moderately high zone.

Class: 2 women join Robert, who instructs live. They also wear mics, for the usual slightly awkward exchanges of “You got it?” [pause] “Yes.”

Music: upbeat, mostly instrumental, that’s fine but nothing spectacular. If you have a lot of the Evolutions you’ve probably heard some of this before.

Set: the kind of bare bones warehouse setting of the past few Evolution filmings, with screens and TV monitors with the spinning E along the back wall and blue lights highlighting the back wall.

Production: clear picture and sound, with Robert’s voice clearly audible over the music. The camera angles sometimes show faces when they should show feet (there’s at least one instance where Robert is introducing the next layer, but you can’t see what the footfall change is because only his upper half is visible), but for the most part they are helpful rather than distracting.

Equipment: step (Robert and crew use just the step bench, no risers) and sneakers.

Space Requirements: You need enough space all around your step to move comfortably with both feet on the floor, plus a little extra behind your step.

DVD Notes: One side of this disc is in PAL format, the other in NTSC (Region 1, i.e. US and Canada).
The main menu’s choices are Play All, Symmetrical Step 1, Asymmetrical Step 1, Symmetrical Step 2, Asymmetrical Step 2, Bonus Features (Behind the Scenes, Bloopers & More, Robert Interview, Bonus Blocks - which here is Robert’s Dance 4 You – Jazz Funk, Evolution DVD Previews, and How to Make an Evolution Video?), and Evolution Montage. Playing All plays the long Evolution intro first, then Robert’s introduction. Choosing a block brings you to a menu with the individual chapters within that block (2-5), with another chapter containing the run through of the entire block. I like this new trend of more extensive chaptering! Note, however, that the stretch is available at the end of Asymmetrical Block 2’s chapter menu instead of being available from the main menu.

Comments: Robert primarily intends this DVD to be used by instructors looking for ideas for their live classes (“when you’re with the people, you can…”). To that end, he doesn’t spend a lot of time repeating the combos to make sure you’ve got it. He explains you could easily stretch any one of the blocks into a full class, which should give you an idea of how much choreography some of the blocks contain.

Instructor Comments:
That said, as an at home exerciser I found this worked all right for a workout. Instead of doing it straight through, as I did, it would probably work better for someone like me to use blocks as add ons. And be prepared for your heartrate to drop a little during the filler moves and first basic versions, then jump up when running through combos. Robert, from Switzerland (born in Germany), instructs all in English. He’s not the most prolific cuer, but his cues are clear. He teaches using the “watch me” method, showing you the next layer while you do the version you’ve just learned, but he doesn’t tend to explain what he’s doing until you run through yourself. Robert has a good sense of humor and is definitely enjoying himself, but he doesn’t lose sight of the fact that he’s instructing choreography. Those sensitive to language should be aware that Robert uses a** (as in “shake your ___”).