Dance Step 4

Julian Crespo, Petra Kluike, Pat Seifried
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Step Aerobics

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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it twice, although I think I’ve done bits and pieces a few more times than that, because at least one and possibly two (Petra’s and I’m pretty sure also Julian’s) are found on Evolution compilations.

General workout breakdown: This very dancey step aerobics workout will have you spinning around your step like a top! People in Motion has their own brand of dance aerobics that takes very simple base moves, like basics, repeater knees, and marches, and turns them into moves from Latin, jazz, modern dance, musical theater, hip hop, and even ballet. All three instructors move through the breakdown – or is it build-up? – quickly, often giving you only one pass at the next layer before you’re moving onto the next one after that. Add to that the many directional changes, and this is one even the choreo hounds may have to give a few spins before they can pick it all up.
Although this is technically intended for instructors to get choreography ideas and review instructional techniques for their classes, it’s perfectly usable as a workout. (I don’t have any plans to teach step aerobics, so keep that in mind as you read my review.)

The total running time is just over 71 min.
Petra, from Germany, starts you off with a warm-up (just over 9 min.) that consists of a simple - well, simple compared to the rest of the routine - combo and some quick mostly static stretches.
Petra leads you through two blocks (16.5 min.), the first of which she builds using the “triple cut method,” meaning you learn three symmetrical combos, and then you cut or weave them together (so you end up with A on the right, B on the left, and C on the right, then vice versa) and the second of which she layers up in a more common method, adding on pieces to the end, a technique she calls “direct insertion.” Petra is probably the chattiest of the three (she jokes about how her English isn’t always spot on, and she’ll tease a background exerciser who spins off on the wrong foot), and when she’s not leading she’s having a good time in the background because she is a born dancer.
Pat, from Switzerland, leads you through two more blocks (22.5 min.), using the triple cut method for the first and a technique he calls “12/4” for the second. Pat is the shyest of the three; he not only doesn’t really have any extraneous chatter but he also cues the least. Pat’s segment to me was the least intense because he had a lot of down time, with even more step taps corner to corner in between run-throughs. His style of choreography is close to Petra’s, although he likes to move all around the step a little more.
Julian, from Spain, uses a different method he calls “floors”: he teaches you four mini combos (22.5 min.), which you end up doing as 1 on one side – 2 on the other – 3 on the first side – 4 on the other – 4 on the first side – 3 on the other – 2 on the first side – 1 on the other, which he compares to going up and down the hotel looking for your room (trust me, it makes more sense during the workout). Although he still has plenty of pivots, turns, and directional changes, he has significantly less than the other two, and his choreography has a slightly different feel, more funky than twirly, I guess. Because of that, I find his easier to pick up, and as a result his is currently my favorite.
Note that there’s no final TIFT (take it from the top, or running through the different parts all together), nor is there any sort of cool-down or stretch.

There’s very little impact here. But if your knees are at all sensitive to twisty, torque-y moves, be very, very cautious with this one. Ditto if you’re prone to dizziness.

Level: I’d recommend this to at least intermediate exercisers who are experienced steppers comfortable with complex choreography. This is for the choreography lovers, not the intensity junkies.
I consider myself an int./adv. exerciser, although I feel more like an intermediate plus when it comes to step, not because I find choreography tricky – in fact, I consider myself a big choreo hound, able to pick up choreography that’s taught at least halfway decently with relative ease – but because I just don’t have the cardio endurance on the step that others do. This for me is not quite moderately challenging in terms of intensity and is pretty challenging in terms of choreography.

Class: Petra, Pat, and Julian take turns leading; when they’re not leading, they’re in the background, with their microphones still on.

Music: upbeat stuff, some instrumental, some vocal (think dance club type of stuff). It’s fine, but if you have any number of recent Evolutions you’ll have heard it before.

Set: This is the more recent industrial warehouse set, with bare concrete floor, red, orange, and yellow lights on the back wall and screens onto which revolving es are projected.

Production: clear picture and sound, although the music almost threatens to overpower the instructors’ voices. There are some wacky camera angles, including some close-ups of someone’s head when you want to see feet and things like that, but I find it still usable.

Equipment: All three use only the platform of a full-sized club step, without any risers. As someone prone to tripping over my own feet on level surfaces I’ll gladly follow suit until I feel like I can do the routines in my sleep.
You’ll want sneakers that won’t catch on your step and will turn easily on your workout room’s flooring.

Space Requirements: You’ll need to be able to move comfortably all around your step, which you’ll want to have in the middle of your space. I had little trouble in the area I have for cardio (8’ wide by 6’ deep), but I wouldn’t want to try to squeeze it into a significantly smaller space.

DVD Notes: After the Evolution logo flashes across the screen, your main menu pops up with these options: Play All, Intro (and that includes a long, as in about 5 min., Evolution intro running through all of their instructors plus a shorter intro from the three instructors), Petra, Pat, Julian, Evolution Montage, and Bonus Features (Behind the Scenes; Bonus Blocks, which here is a segment from Rebecca Small’s Step Mechanic; People in Motion Previews; Evolution Aerobic, Dance & Step Previews; and How to Make an Evolution Video?). The main workout is actually divided into distinct chapters for each combo, grouped together in the different blocks under 3 sub menus (one for each instructor).

Instructor Comments:
Note that all instructors cue in English and, for the most part, mirror cue when they do use verbal directional cues. There are some holding patterns (for example, step tap corner to corner) between run-throughs as the instructors verbally review or preview moves. Also, none of them consistently verbally break down the next layer, so it’s safe to say they all employ the “watch me” technique to some degree.