Angles, Lines & Curves IIKari Anderson
Year Released: 2002
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Please note that I wrote this review about 4 years ago; I've copied and pasted it as originally written. At the time of the review I had done it 2-3 times.
Although there was much I loved about this workout, I eventually passed it on because it was sitting on my shelf unused, which was such a shame for such a lovely workout. I just ended up not being a fusion type of gal, for whatever reason. This was probably the hardest workout for me to part with when I divested my collection of its fusion section.
General workout breakdown: After about a 5 min. warm up, there are approximately 35 min. of ballet-, Pilates-, and yoga-inspired toning and stretching, with 15 min. of additional stretching and strength movements for a total of 55 minutes. The moves alternate between standing and floor and focus primarily on the lower body and abs.
Level: Iíd recommend this to a mid-intermediate to high-intermediate/low advanced exerciser. I personally find this challenging (oh, those side planks!), although itís more doable now than it was when I got it a year ago. Iím at a low intermediate level of yoga and Pilates and a mid- to high intermediate level of cardio and weights. I have over two years of experiences with Pilates and almost three with yoga, but my strength and especially my flexibility are still limited. In addition, I took ballet and other dance classes for a combined total of 10-12 years when I was younger. All of these disciplines come in handy when tackling this workout. I would think it would be difficult without any prior dance experience, and the yoga and Pilates (or similar disciplines) are also central to the workout.
Class: 6 women of various ages join Kari. The class members donít appear to be dancers yet complete the moves gracefully.
Music / Set / Production Notes: The pleasant instrumental music complements workout very well. I actually like the music. (Janis uses some selections for her Dynamic Stretch, if youíre looking to find a clip.) The interior set has bright, energizing colors: azure blues, reds and pinks, a little orange. The class appears to be on carpet. The picture and sound quality are very good, and I found the camera angles helpful.
Equipment: mat (or equivalent) or just cushy surface. All exercisers are barefoot.
Comments: You do need a little space for this. You should be able to move your arms and legs around freely while standing and while on the floor. Youíll want to be able to spread out horizontally with no problems.
No modifications are shown, although Kari mentions a couple in passing (e.g. ďYou can always stay here and work up to this moveĒ).
DVD Notes: The DVD lets you skip the introduction and choose two shortened workouts: Strength & Flexibility Emphasis for 16 min., Standing & Balance Emphasis for 12 min.
Conclusion: I like Kari, the idea of this workout, the music, and those red velvet pants so much that I canít seem to part with this DVD, even though I donít do it much at all. Even though this program is challenging, particularly if you still need to work on flexibility and strength like I do, itís so flowing and enjoyable that, although I struggle to complete every move (much less do it as gracefully as Kari), I feel great and ten feet tall after finishing. There isnít really anything else like this. Itís not quite Pilates, not quite yoga, not quite dance, but a smooth mixture of all three disciplines and a little something more. For that reason, I can never quite figure out how to work it into my rotation. It works my muscles too much to be a rest day workout, yet itís too relaxing and not enough strength-oriented to be a regular strength workout.
Kariís cueing is precise and accurate, although not always plentiful, and her technique and form are superb and graceful. Kariís on screen persona is warm and encouraging but never too chatty. She works both sides evenly and intends for you to mirror her movements.
I am an intermediate exerciser who is
getting more and more into complex
choreography with cardio. With
strength work, I flirt with advanced
workouts, but prefer a more
intermediate level. To balance
traditional strength work with weights, I
do Pilates and ball workouts. Kari
Anderson is one of my most favorite
instructors and I like MOST of her
workouts - some of her older workouts
didn't click with me, but the newer stuff
I like a lot.
Kari leads a group of background exercisers through this workout. I thought the production values were high: the music was good and flowing and helped define the workout; the set was nice and simple; the camera angles were good and there was no trouble seeing what she was doing. Plus, as usual, Kari cues and describes what she wants you to do impeccably. She is just one of those instructors that convinces me I can do anything she wants me to.
Given that, I was really disappointed that I did not enjoy this workout. A lot of it has to do with the number of moves which require you to prop yourself on your hands in this workout. There are a LOT and, given that I have major hand and wrist issues with arthritis, it was not pleasant. Plus, I felt like I was working harder than I wanted for the payoff I was getting out of the workout.
She is warm and supportive and convinces me I can do lots of stuff.
I love this workout. I am by nature, a one-dimensional exerciser. I love cardio, but I always have to force myself to add strength, balance, and flexibility routines into my rotation. So I was amazed that I liked this video so much. I have ALC I and I find ALC II much more challenging, and even more enjoyable.
The first time I did ALC II, it was after I had finished one of Christi Taylorís step tapes. That was a mistake. This video is not easy for me. There are a number of strength/balance combinations that I find really tough. The one in particular that stands out, is where Kari has you on all fours and you start out by lifting one leg towards the ceiling with your hip turned out slightly. Then you take the same leg out to the side and touch your toe to the floor. You bring the leg back up and finish the move by bringing your knee to meet your nose. The kicker is when Kari has you repeat this move, but now youíre supporting your self on only one arm. I can barely keep myself upright on this one. I havenít tipped over yet, but I do sway and shake quite a bit.
You can make this video as hard or as easy as youíd like. For instance, you can take your lunges as deep or as shallow as youíre comfortable with, the same thing applies to the pushups. The more I do this video, it seems as if the strength aspects are getting harder. I think itís because my form is improving. Iíve only done this video four times and Iíve already noticed a difference in muscle tone. My triceps have more definition and my thighs donít jiggle as much. In addition, I have more flexibility, and my balance has improved.
I like the way Kari integrates stretching segments between strength sections; it really flows well. The music fits the choreography nicely and the background exercisers are all terrific. Kariís a natural in front of the camera. Her cueing is impeccable and her form is perfect. I canít wait till she releases ALC III.
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this video! This workout is a wonderful combination of stretch, toning, yoga, pilates and dance. It is challenging enough for an advanced exerciser and yet it can be modified for an intermediate (and possibly a beginner, although I am not certain this would be suitable for a beginner because it is quite challenging).
I can't think of one flaw with this video. The exercises flow seamlessly into each other in a very natural progression. The only way I can think to describe this form of exercise is "Pilates in motion". It definitely seems like Pilates is the main emphasis - with dance elements. A couple exercises were variations of yoga poses, although slightly different. I love Pilates but what makes this even better (in my opinion) is that the fluid dance element makes the workout more interesting and exciting.
The music is beautiful (light piano and guitar, similar to Windham Hill recordings), the production is flawless, and I love the colorful set which is very pretty.
After this workout, I felt not only toned and stretched, but relaxed and happy. I think this workout is good for the soul!
Kari is such a wonderful instructor. She is poised, confident, encouraging and has a very pleasant demeanor and speaking voice. Her cueing is excellent and she is so beautiful and graceful and inspiring to watch.
In essence, Angles, Lines & Curves II is an exploration of movement, as well thought out as it is executed. The format of this tape is very similar to the structure of Kariís earlier Angles, Lines & Curves tape and, like that production, is a fluid blend of dance, pilates and yoga. This one, however, is much more challenging Ė like an expanded version of the toning segment of DanceWorks.
As in the first ALC tape, the design is segmented (I counted 8 parts), with the basic position of the next segment prefigured in the transition. The flow is pleasant and natural, starting with a standing warm-up involving balancing and centering. From there the sections build on each other -- moving basically from lunges/side arm balances to exercises from a kneeling position to reclining moves (including side leg lifts, cobra, front and back planks, scissors and bridge) to cooling seated forward bends/downward dog. Thereís even some chi catching in the cool-down.
This is a dance-based fusion workout that is so smooth I couldnít see the stitches. For example, when she begins a combination in a yoga lunge position she doesnít go yogish -- she makes it entirely her own thing. In general, and in my opinion, Kari brings a sense of sureness and integrity to the elements included in this tape and thereís a pay-off in the resulting product.
Kari is, as usual, an excellent cuer and she is wonderful to watch. I also like the other participants in this workout (including Kariís daughter Danielle) Ė they donít appear to be exclusively fitness pros or models.
The music is pleasantly piano-like.
My only real quibble is the set. I usually love Kariís simple brick-walled, often windowed, set. This one is a little trade show graphic design (you know, those portable panels) Ė busy and unappealing (to me). But the rest of this workout is so terrific I donít mind a great deal.
My fitness level: I have been involved in a regular exercise program for over 20 years, am 57 years old, and like to stay at an advanced intermediate level. My preferred fitness activities are yoga and strength training.
Kari can cue with the best of them and it's a joy to watch her move. She is also completely natural in front of the camera -- a very engaging instructor.