Trudie Styler's Cardio Dance Flow

James D'Silva, Trudie Styler
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Athletic Stretch , Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Foam Roller

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As usual thoroughly reviewed by other members, I just want to chime in on my impressions.

I really like this DVD but this isn't a vigorous workout if you are a regular exerciser. It's more suited to your off days or on days when you want good but not overwhelming cardio to pair with weights or pilates. I'm not sure if it's suited to people starting out because I'm guessing they would be unfamiliar with some of the yoga poses like Warrior II and Reverse Warrior and some of the ballet terminology like releve and port de bras and might find it frustrating. I don't want to discourage anyone though. If the jargon (which you certainly can catch onto) doesn't bother you, this is a workout that will leave you feeling peaceful and graceful and elevate your heart rate.

If you are returning to working out after an injury, it's fantastic. There is minimal high impact and it's not really that high (no jacks or plyometrics) and easy to adjust.

As others have said, Trudie just works out along with James D'Silva who is the instructor. He does teach by voice-over, which bothered some reviewers but I didn't mind. D'Silva obviously has ballet training and is mad graceful. I really enjoy watching him and he has a lovely British accent.

The music is, naturally, provided by Sting.

Depending on how familiar you are with the moves, you might have to do this DVD more than once to get comfortable with it. There is little to no explanation or cuing in advance. I don't claim to be an expert by any means but I've done yoga for 10 years and if you are familiar with it, you won't have any problems. The moves are innovative and fun. Most of the combinations I can't describe but one he does frequently is Warrior II, Reverse Warrior, Extended Side Angle, back to Warrior II, switch sides. A little like a fusion of vinyasa and dance--you are constantly moving.

You don't need much floor room except for the Warrior Dance segment which seems to be a sort of box step but I can't really get the hang of it. There is a tutorial included that will help with some of the more basic moves. Still not working for me and the Warrior Dance but I can anticipate where they will end up and fake it, if that makes sense.

You do need enough room to the front, side and back to do leg extensions. To get the most out of all the leg lifts, stand up straight and engage your core (I learned this from Ellen Barrett. That's probably a no-brainer to most people but I'm a bad sloucher.)

I like this because you can do it barefoot. I don't have a foam roller so I haven't done that part of the DVD. I didn't realize when I bought it I was missing some equipment. I've tried to do it with a regular mat but you need the roller.

Instructor Comments:
D'Silva has a peaceful presence and is very graceful. He clearly has training in and loves what he does. I want to get more of his workouts, maybe the new Pure Sculpt DVD.



This workout was very enjoyable for me. It consists of three parts: A warm-up, Cardio Dance Flow and a foam roller stretch. The warm-up is optional and can be done separately just as a warm up for the stretch segment or the dance workout. I usually skip it. The dance segment warms up slowly anyway and if you want a shorter workout, there is a 10 minute version of the dance flow that can be used as a warm-up for the stretch. The workout is narrated voice-over style by James de Silva. Trudie Styler follows along. The choreography was easy for me to follow and I am choreographically challenged. The only step that was a little tricky was the "warrior dance." It's a kind of box step, but the way he changes directions was a little hard for me to follow. Other than that, it was very simple. James does the dance barefoot. Trudie wears dance sneakers. For me the dance is very relaxing and fun, but somehow, I still get a decent sweat. I would say that intensity-wise it's beginner level. Choreography-wise, it's beginner-intermediate. My favorite part of this DVD is the foam roller stretch. It's taught solo by James. He does an excellent job of demonstrating the stretches and I always feel very relaxed afterwards. There are some modified pilates moves in the routine too. I use two-pound weights in the section of the workout where you lie down on the roller. This seems to help the exercise be a little more effective. The setting of the workout is outdoors at Trudie's estate. It's pretty. I give this workout an A. It's a good recovery, light, or beginner's workout.

Instructor Comments:
I like James' instruction. It is very clear and easy to follow. He's very encouraging and non-threatening.

carole ramirez


I’m reviewing this workout after doing the warm-up, cardio dance workout, and express workout once each and the stretch about a dozen times.

General workout breakdown: Beth’s done such a great job describing the workout segments there’s little more to say, but I’ll add a few thoughts anyway.
- The warm-up: This is very gentle. Actually, this pairs better with the Express segment, which jumps right in, than with the Cardio Dance, which works its way up slowly; like Beth I also didn’t feel the need to do any warming up before this segment.
- The cardio dance: This is an interesting blend of ballet, modern dance, and yoga moves. You’ll do a little bit of one style, a few moves from another, and then kind of a yoga interlude. There are definite blocks of choreography, some of which are repeated several times, but there’s no real TIFTing (taking it from the top, or making them all into one big dance).
- There is a good deal of overlap between the warm-up, cardio dance, and express segments, not least because the express is a premix made from the main cardio dance. It’s nice to see the premix and other options, but if you don’t love one you probably won’t like the others.
- I was also a little disappointed in the tutorial, which does not break down the steps but instead, as Beth says, runs through the entire routine more slowly than in the workout itself. James instructs with his back to you. Those of you with dance backgrounds will be familiar with this type of instructional, however, and given James’ background I’m not surprised this is what he chose to do. I didn’t actually need the tutorial, however, as the steps weren’t that tricky, but there were one or two sequences that tripped me up, which is why I peeked at the tutorial in the hopes that James broke down which foot went where when.
- The stretch: James introduces this as self-myofascial release and core training on the foam roller; I’m going to repeat Beth’s heads up that this is NOT AT ALL how this is labeled on the DVD cover or even in the DVD menu. It’s also 25 minutes rather than the 20 minutes promised on the cover. Does Gaiam’s marketing department even speak to the part of the company that makes their products?

Level: I’d recommend this to exercisers with a little bit of experience in dance, yoga, and maybe also foam rolling. Beginner through intermediate level exercisers may feel that they get more out of this than more advanced exercisers.
I consider myself an intermediate / advanced exerciser, with some dance experience (as a child I took ballet, jazz, and modern dance) and some yoga experience (I’ve been practicing yoga for the past 8+ years), although I was still relatively new to foam rolling when I got this. The benefits I got from the dance portions were more along the lines of warming or loosening my muscles up rather than working my heart; I did the main workout on a lighter day and the express as part of a warm-up before another workout, and they worked well for that purpose.

Class: James and Trudie for the warm-up, cardio dance workout, and express workout, James alone for the stretch and footwork tutorial. For all segments instruction comes from James via voiceover.
Trudie is a game participant; she may not be the most graceful, talented dancer, but she makes up for that with her enthusiasm and willingness to give it her all. But then most people would find it hard to match James, who moves so fluidly and purposefully.

Music: instrumental songs taken from Songs from the Labyrinth. An acoustic version of Sting singing “Message in a Bottle” plays during the main menu.

Set: The entire video was filmed on the grounds of Trudie and Sting’s Tuscan villa (Il Palagio). The warm-up and footwork tutorial are set inside a former chapel where a Buddha surrounded by candles supervises James. The cardio, express, and stretch segments are on a patio outside, with shots of the green, rolling Tuscan countryside visible in the distance.

Production: clear picture and sound, with the music and James’ instruction audible. Camera angles get a little artsy at times, but for the most part you can see what’s going on.

Equipment: James is barefoot throughout the entire workout. Trudie wears soft-soled shoes for the cardio dance portions, so if you feel more comfortable with shoes follow her lead, just make sure you can pivot on your floor surface (you won’t be doing spins, but you will need to do partial turns to get your feet into position). You will need, as Beth mentions, a 3’ long round foam roller for the stretch portion.

Space Requirements: For the cardio portions you should be able to take a few steps in each direction, but you don’t need a huge space at all do to this. I think I at 5’8” managed to do this in a 4’x6’ area, although I may have reached past that a little bit. For the stretch you should be able to lie down with your limbs extended way out.

DVD Notes: When you pop in the DVD, a quick Gaiam intro pops up, which then launches into Trudie’s introduction to her workout series, a trailer for Ana Caban’s Quick Start Pilates for Weight Loss, and another trailer for Patricia Moreno’s Dance Core Cross Train; fortunately I found I could skip through these rather long promos to get to the main menu, although I had to hit skip several times to get there. Your main menu options are Warm Up, Cardio Dance Workout, Express Workout, Stretch Workout, and Bonus Materials (Interviews – Trudie Styler, James D’Silva, and Sting; Footwork Tutorial; The Making of Sting’s Album, If on a Winter’s Night).
Trudie introduces the cardio dance workout, and James introduces the stretch workout; fortunately these are very brief, but they will play every time you push play on either segment.

Comments: Portions of the proceeds from sales of new copies of this DVD benefit Unicef’s Ecuador Water Project, according to the front cover.

I acquired this one for the foam roller segment, but I’m finding I don’t use that as often as I had originally planned. I’ve been foam rolling on average 3 times a week since December as a complement to my strength training, and I personally find Denise Beatty’s Fitness Fix foam roller massage segment more suitable for my needs. Specifically, I like Denise’s thorough rolling of the lower body muscles; James spends much less time on the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes and leaves out the calves and shins entirely. Admittedly James does much more for the upper body plus a few nice moves for the area around the sacrum, but I find that I prefer to do more focused trigger point-type work, specifically Jill Miller’s stuff with her Yoga Tune Up balls than foam rolling when it comes to that half of me. I have gotten some good ideas for upper body moves from James that I sub in while working along with Denise, however, so I’m glad to have given this a try.

I think I would have enjoyed the dance portion earlier on in my fitness video journey; when I first started I had a number of other dancey routines like this, including several from The Method, plus more ballet and fusion workouts. Now I’m finding that I prefer to keep my yoga separate and if I want dance I’d rather reach for something like Chantal Pierrat’s Soul Sweat or even Shiva Rea’s Yoga Trance Dance. I’m sure some people reading this are thinking, “Really? You prefer those to this? What’s wrong with you?” I think, like so many things, whether or not this works for you depends upon your personal preferences. Fortunately this video, even with its quirks, provides yet another great option for those looking for a flowing workout that leaves them feeling great without feeling like they’ve been run over.

Instructor Comments:
James has a very professional persona. I would have loved to have seen a little bit more of the warmth and good humor he exhibits in his interview make their way into the workout itself, especially since he stresses how important it is to have fun. As things stand he’s pleasant but doesn’t show a lot of personality during the workout itself, as he’s rather down to business. He’s clearly a well-trained dancer and an intelligent instructor who’s given some real thought to the routines; you feel focused on the task at hand when working along with him.
James, originally from Goa, India, has an English-inflected accent that’s easy to understand.



NOTE: I received a free copy of this DVD to review for the site

This DVD is one of three new releases from Gaiam which feature Trudie Styler, wife of the musician Sting, in a workout led by James D’Silva (sometimes known as a “fitness trainer to the stars” due to his previous work with Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, and others). Cardio Dance Flow is set against the backdrop of Styler’s and Sting’s beautiful Tuscan villa. The music (as one might guess) is provided by Sting: soft, instrumental selections from his Songs from the Labyrinth album. The Main Menu of the DVD offers the following options: Warm-Up – Cardio Dance Workout – Express Workout – Stretch Workout – Bonus Materials. The Bonus Materials section includes interviews with Styler, Sting, and D’Silva (each about 6 minutes long), a Footwork Tutorial segment, and finally, the Making of Sting’s Album, If On a Winter’s Night…. Unfortunately the tutorial is not truly instructional, as it is taught by D’Silva via voiceover (I have never seen this in a tutorial before!), and he is simply doing a slightly slowed down version of the cardio routine.

The Warm-Up, Cardio Dance Workout, and Express Workout are all taught by D’Silva via voiceover as well; each of these segments is chaptered separately. The Warm-Up is just under 7 minutes long and shows D’Silva alone in an indoor setting. He performs a gentle series of standing-in-place moves such as prancing, relevés, side stretches, forward bends, arm circles, static side lunges, warrior 2, reverse warrior, and arabesque. For the 22.5-minute Cardio Dance Workout, D’Silva and Styler are exercising together on a patio outdoors (note: D’Silva is barefoot, but Styler is wearing what appears to be soft dance slippers). This workout also begins with prancing, and D’Silva incorporates many basic ballet terms, from utilizing fifth position to adding a développé series to the end of the routine. As with the warm-up, D’Silva starts off rather gently here, stepping side-to-side and cuing either foot-to-ankle or foot-to-knee; he combines this with side and forward bends, providing what feels like an extended warm-up. Eventually (about 6 minutes into the routine), D’Silva begins to up the cardio challenge a bit, adding knee lifts and quick side-side-side-side hops. Not only was this portion of the workout fun, but it also was the one interval that was truly aerobic. In the next section, D’Silva incorporates pliés and knee lifts—these moved a bit slower, but he continued to alternate with the faster side-to-side hops. Following this, however, he moves into a sequence in which he stands in place to perform a plié, warrior 2, side stretch, reverse warrior, and warrior 2, repeating on the second side. This series felt more appropriate to a final cool-down, not the middle of a cardio workout! D’Silva does continue to introduce new cardio moves, including a side-to-side gallop and a more complex “side-font-side, side-back-side,” but this is also the point in which he inserts the développé series, which felt more like toning than cardio work. All of the above sequences are repeated several times. For the last few minutes of the workout, D’Silva returns to prancing, performed from both a parallel and a turned out position. He concludes as he began, with side and front stretches.

The Express Workout is just over 11 minutes long. It contains the exact same footage as the Cardio Dance Workout, but it has been seamlessly reduced. Although shorter, is more cardio-intensive, as it skips most of the slower, extended warm-up series and jumps right in with the faster-paced moves. However, it does still include two rounds of the développé series. The Stretch Workout, which is just under 26 minutes, utilizes a foam roller to provide myofascial release, or deep tissue massage. (Note: the roller is a must-have piece of equipment for this segment; any substitutions are not likely to be the appropriate size or density to provide the desired massage effect.) D’Silva is featured alone for this segment, and he uses the roller in various positions, beginning with it under the back of the neck for a series of neck stretches. Next, he moves to lying vertically on the roller, continuing the upper body work with shoulder circles, arm reaches, and torso hugs. Moving into the lower body, D’Silva performs pelvic tilts, balance work, and some brief abs crunches. He then switches the roller to under the hips for additional pelvic tilts as well as leg lifts. Coming to a seated position, D’Silva rolls out the hamstrings. After that, he places the roller under the shoulder blades for some additional upper body work. Then it’s back to seated, stretching the arms behind you to roll out the forearms. D’Silva concludes by rolling the hips and thighs (first side-lying, then face-down) as well as some brief additional rolling of the forearms, finishing the stretch by resting in child’s pose.

I feel very conflicted about this DVD. Portions of the cardio dance were definitely enjoyable, and my heart rate did go up at times. Overall, however, I did not find it to be a sufficient aerobic workout. Rather than simply cardio dance, I would describe the routine to be a more uneven mismatch of dance-y cardio, ballet, and yoga. Furthermore, having a separately chaptered warm-up was awkward and completely unnecessary here given that the main workout begins so slowly. The foam roller stretch segment is much more successful, as D’Silva does a very nice job of hitting all of the major muscle groups and includes some particularly nice moves for the often-tight areas of the neck, shoulders, and upper back. However, some consumers may be disappointed to find that the need for a foam roller is not mentioned anywhere on the DVD case. In conclusion, this DVD might appeal to someone who simply wants a fun, fusion-type workout, but I would be more hesitant to recommend it to someone hoping for more of an aerobic benefit (as I did).

Instructor Comments:
I liked D'Silva in Styler's Warrior Yoga, but I have to admit, I am simply not a big fan of voiceover instruction for cardio; it just doesn't really make sense to me. He does a nice job for the foam roller stretch, although even that seemed to have some random, unnecessary toning moves thrown in, like the abs crunches.

Beth C (aka toaster)