Symmetrical Step SolutionsRebecca Small
Year Released: 2005
Categories: Step Aerobics
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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it once.
General workout breakdown: Thanya and Erin have already described this one well, so I’ll just add a few more details.
This approximately 52.5-min. step workout contains 8 separate blocks of symmetrical and tapless choreography that are divided into the three sections of (slightly) increasing complexity. No TIFTing, no warm-up, and no cool-down, but that’s OK by me when Rebecca’s teaching. I agree that I didn’t really miss the warm-up.
I concur with the description of Rebecca’s style as taking basic, standard moves yet combining them in ways that feel fresh and interesting. Filler steps in between run throughs or as place markers while building up combos include marching, step touch, basics, heel lift / curl, and repeater knee; you’ll do mambos, v-steps, cha chas, stomps, and straddles; and the final variations include weaving over the step, sweeps around the corners, playing with rhythm, reverse turns, and lots of pivots. It’s true that there isn’t a lot of high impact, but those with cranky knees who don’t like torque may want to be careful here because there are some pivots, both on the step and on the floor.
The teaching method Rebecca uses begins always with simple base moves that are layered and tweaked until the final combo emerges. You’ll see many of the same base moves, but Rebecca combines them differently, and the final products each have their own personality. Rebecca mentions that she hasn’t spent as much time with the breakdown and build up as she would do in a class; she says these combos might take more like 15 minutes in a live class, but here they’re taught in about half that time. That means there’s a little bit of a learning curve, as you don’t have as much of a chance to repeat things before moving on. Even so, because Rebecca only adds on a bit at a time, clearly giving you a heads up that a change is coming and then using the show me method, to which she adds a clear verbal breakdown, before asking you to do the new or changed move, you may be surprised at how quickly you pick up these combinations.
Level: I’d recommend this to at least intermediate exercisers comfortable with complex step choreography. I’m also an intermediate / advanced exerciser who loves choreography (yep, I’m another one who loves Christi Taylor, Marcus Irwin, etc.), and I also found this one fun and doable. I generally pick up choreography easily if it’s broken down and cued well, which is certainly true here; I felt confident in the combos after the first run through. I agree: it’s not super intense, but my heart rate got up there decently.
Class: 2 other Evolution instructors, including Marcus Irwin, serve as “back-up babes.” Note that there are a few mess-ups; Evolution is known for running straight through such things.
Music: upbeat instrumentals and vocals. I’ve heard the exact same soundtrack on other Evolutions, including Marc Oliver Kluike’s Dance Aerobic 3.
Set: the “black abyss” Evolution set, which is an all black studio with monitors along the back featuring a revolving E (the Evolution logo).
Production: clear picture and sound, the usual Evolution mix of mostly helpful camera angles with close-ups at times when you’d rather not see them. There are only a few cutaways to that black screen with the revolving E in between sections.
Equipment: step (Rebecca and company use those Reebok steps) and sneakers that can pivot on your workout room flooring.
Space Requirements: You’ll be doing moves all around the step, so make sure you have enough space to take a few big steps behind your step, to put your foot to each side, and to do a v-step in front.
DVD Notes: This is now available on DVD, which is good news for those of us without VHS players! This looks exactly the same as the other Evolution workouts previously released in DVD format of this era; no signs of VHS transfer here.
The DVD main menu has Play All (note that hitting skip as soon as the Evolution promo comes up again will also skip Rebecca’s intro and get you right to the first block), Zap to a Block, and Evolution DVD previews.
Comments: Like many Evolution productions, this was made for step instructors to learn new combos to teach to their class as well as ways to break down choreography. However, this works perfectly fine for an at home exerciser, including one who doesn’t intend to teach aerobics. Rebecca does say things like, “When you’re teaching this to your students…”, and she points out several times that she’s teaching things rather quickly in an effort to include as much choreography as possible on the tape. This actually kind of works to the home exerciser’s advantage because it means that she’s very conscious of cuing and spends most of her time running through the routine rather than marching about.’
This is my fourth Rebecca Small (and I have three more to try – yippee!). I fell in love with her step stuff instantly and snapped up all of her DVDs available to US audiences via places like Fitness Organica. Even after four of her videos I’m not at all bored with her choreography and style; she makes each video seem fresh and exciting. One thing I like about this particular video is how distinct each combo is, but then could I possibly not like a Rebecca Small step video?
I’ll be a broken record and mention Rebecca’s great cuing yet again. She mirror cues, too. And I have to join the lovefest for her personality (and accent); she’s fun and alive and positive while still taking care of business. Few people prepare as carefully as she does, which is a real shame because it makes such a difference.
This is my 1st experience with Rebecca, and I'm planning to make sure it isn't my last! Rebecca, like Marcus, is from Australia, and her Aussie accent adds to the enjoyment of this workout. To give you some background, I'm an advanced exerciser who is also a choreography junkie. I recently discovered Marucs Irwin, which naturally led to trying workouts with other instructors his company has produced. I have seen Rebecca referred to as "a female Marcus," which is a great description. Her style of teaching, as well as her style of choreography in general are very similar to that of Marcus. Like Marcus, Rebecca loves to mambo, cha cha, and twirl. If you don't, you might as well stop reading now, because this workout isn't for you. If you're an intensity junkie who doesn't want to bother with a workout that isn't killer, this workout isn't for you. If, however, you're a choreography lover who likes to let their inner dancer out to play every now and then, and, oh yeah, get a moderate intensity workout at the same time, READ ON! This workout is 50 minutes and has no warmup or cooldown. Buildup of intensity is pretty gradual, so I don't feel the need to add a warmup, but the length makes it so one would be easy to add one on without making the workout unreasonably long. It is the usual dark set with monitors in the back displaying swirling colors. The music, while not of stellar quality, is enjoyable. There is a lot of crossover in music in the Evolution series of workouts, so the music was familiar. Production values aren't as high as CIAs, but better than Sara City workouts. As stated earlier, this isn't a killer intensity workout, but gosh, is it ever fun! Rebecca's cues are right on, and really make it seem natural to be flowing through these complex combos. There's not much high impact at all, although there are places where it could be modified upward to increase intensity. My one complaint is that there's no taking it from the top putting all of the combos together. Once you finish a combo, it's gone forever. I know some people would see that as a plus, but I always love best the sections where instructors put a bunch of combos together from the very beginning of the workout and run through it 2 or 3 times. I borrowed this workout from a fellow VFer, and it is now on my wish list, along with any other workouts Rebecca has out there!
Rebecca is upbeat without being overly perky. Her cueing is excellent, and makes even complex choreography easier to follow.
A little background about me, I'm an intermediate-advanced exerciser who likes complex choreography. My favorite instructors are Patrick,Seasun,Marcus, Christi,Andre etc.
This workout is currently available in the VHS format only, but it's well worth every penny IMO. If you like Marcus Irwin, I think you will like her. She teaches layered style - atheletic mixed with dancy (not as dancy as Christi's or Patrick's but enough that the workout is not boring).
The workout is separated into 3 sections...the choreography gets more complex in each section but don't worry...she knows how to teach that you will not get lost. She will teach the easiest version of that move and then layer the more difficult...let you have the option to stay with the easier one.
The routines are the mixes of all the classic step moves...but somehow Rebecca put them together in a way that make the workout so much fun.
The music is similar to other evolution workouts (recycling). But I usually can live with that if the workouts are good.
Rebecca is a great cuer. Her instruction is clear and easy to follow. She is becoming one of my favorite step instructor.