Dance Off the Inches: Fat Burning Jam

Michelle Dozois
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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love it



I’m reviewing this workout after doing it twice.

General workout breakdown: This approximately 34-min. steady state cardio workout is meant to “take the work out of the workout” and replace it with a dance party. While I think “dance party” is a bit optimistic, this is a decently fun dance-inspired routine that gets me moving on days when I need something interesting but not too complicated, different but not too fancy, easy-ish but not too easy, etc.
After a short introduction (just over 1 min.), Michelle begins with a warm-up (just over 3 min.) of various upper and then lower body moves to get the blood flowing. You’ll moves like shoulder rolls, rib cage isolation moves, hip shakes, dynamic calf and hamstring stretches, and lower back rolls.
After that you’ll do three separate routines: the first (about 7.5 min.) is the most basic and involves a lot of variations on marches and hip swings, the second the most Latin with some mambos and cha chas (9.5 min.), and the third (almost 11 min.) the jazziest with its box steps and even a turn. Michelle does TIFT (take it from the top, or run through all of the moves in order) at the end of each routine 4 times, but she never combines the three together for a big TIFT, so each routine stands alone. I do like that in the course of each TIFT for each dance Michelle picks out a move to which Marie, then Stella, and then the two others contribute a different flair (usually an arm movement); this makes the repetition just that much more bearable. Michelle’s choreography isn’t the most exciting or even the danciest, but it’s decently interesting and flows together decently well. Just to give you an idea of the moves you’ll see, here are the moves covered in the Step Guide: double hip shake, circle hip walk, grapevine, cross bounce, mambo, cha cha cha, kick ball change (or “kickball [sic] change”), chasse, quick lunge (a triple lunge side to side), and box step. Most of the moves are low impact, but there are a few that are slightly higher impact, and there is a full pivot and some partial turns.
You’ll end with a cool-down with a few quick (and I mean quick) stretches thrown in (just under 3 min.).

Level: I’d recommend this to those probably at an experienced beginner through a low intermediate level. This is meant for those who want workouts with more interesting choreography than just walking in place, for example, but because it’s meant to be approachable you don’t need to be a dancer, although some experience with basic choreography helps.
I’m usually an int./adv. exerciser, but I’ve backed down to a more intermediate level in my workouts this year between health issues and a long, hot, muggy summer that had me sweating while just standing still in my current exercise space. These DOTI workouts came in handy because they’ve helped me break up the monotony of Leslie after Leslie. Even now these aren’t particularly challenging or intense, but they get the job done, which is to get me moving at a low to moderate level of intensity, and that’s all I wanted. Once I get back up to my normal level of intensity I’ll keep them for times like these, sick days, recovery days, lighter days, add-ons, etc.
In addition to not being too challenging to do, I found the choreography not too challenging to pick up. I did watch the Step Guide beforehand, but for me it wasn’t really necessary; I would have been fine without it. I was comfortable with the routine after one run-through and very comfortable with it after my second. Now, I must disclose that a) I pick up choreography easily and b) I’m familiar with Michelle Dozois (I’ve used her Prevention Walk Your Way Slim and Your Body Breakthru Rockin’ Body Cardio Jam multiple times each), so it’s no surprise I found this one so doable. Others who aren’t such choreo hounds and/or who are new(er) to Michelle’s stuff are likely to find it’ll take some time to figure out her cuing and how some of the moves fit together.

Class: 4 women, including Stella Sandoval and Marie Forleo, two other DOTI instructors, join Michelle, who does the full workout. Stella and Marie also wear mikes. All pretty much do the same thing; except for some arm variations, no one shows modifications, substitutions, etc.

Music: upbeat, standard-issue exercise video stuff.

Set: bright interior studio made to look like the inside of a house (although few of us have rooms that large!), with a view onto an “outdoor” patio on a “sunny” day.

Production: clear picture and sound, camera angles more helpful than not (although I wish the close-ups on hip moves were better thought out to avoid some of the seemingly unintentional crotch shots).

Equipment: sneakers that won’t catch on your workout room’s flooring.

Space Requirements: You should be able to take several steps in each direction (front, back, left, right). I currently have a space about 7-8’ long by 5-6’ deep, and at 5’8” I didn’t feel at all squeezed when doing this routine.

DVD Notes: Your main menu options are Play, Chapters (Introduction, Shake Those Hips, Latin Spice, Jazz It Up, Cool Down, and End Credits), and Step Guide (note: this runs about 10.5 min. and doesn’t have any chapters in it, which is disappointing because it means you can’t jump to a particular step).

Comments: I have 6 of the DOTIs – Fat Burning Jam, Sizzlin’ Salsa, Dance It Off Ballroom, Hip Hop Party, Cardio Hip Hop, and Fat Burning Belly Dance – and of those I think FBJ is probably the least dance-y (it’s more dance aerobics than dance, which is fine by this non-dancer / hi/lo or floor aerobics fan) and was the easiest for me to pick up on the first run-through (with Sizzlin’ Salsa a very close second). I’d consider it kind of in the middle of that pack in terms of intensity if done as is, although it’s easy enough to put some oomph into it. It’s not the most exciting of the half dozen I have because it doesn’t have as distinctive of a hook as, say, the hip hop ones, but since I like Michelle and dance aerobics-type stuff I’m fine with what this is.

I was a little hesitant about getting this because the dance-y parts of Michelle’s Your Body Breakthru Rockin’ Body Cardio Jam were often my least favorite moves in the combos. Although some of those same or similar moves do appear here, too, they make more sense in this context, so they don’t bother me as much (not that I really hated them in the Cardio Jam).
I guess this could serve as a good bridge between Prevention Walk Your Way Slim, which has slightly more basic choreography, and Rockin’ Body Cardio Jam, which has longer combos, but isn’t exactly more complex. FBJ is the shortest of the three, interesting, although it runs about the same length as the premix on RBCJ, so it may be an option for those who are doing a Your Body Breakthrough rotation and want something, perhaps something of slightly less intensity and/or impact, to alternate with the RBCJ premix.

Instructor Comments:
Michelle is definitely peppy and encouraging, but she’s not over the top perky or patronizing. She interacts well with her background crew; it’s cheesy, but her positive take on their individual differences (“I like how you do that, Marie,” or “Stella, show us you how make this move your own”) made me feel more comfortable with my show-stopping-in-not-really-a-good-way attempts at dancing. Michelle cues well enough: there are a few times when she cues right on or right after the move change or isn’t particularly descriptive, but the second time through I found they were fewer. She does mirror cue (meaning when she says “right” she means the viewer’s, not hers).