Dance Off the Inches: Hip Hop Party

Jennifer Galardi
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it three times.

General workout breakdown: This almost 41.5-min. workout uses dance for steady state cardio.
The warm-up (4 min.) leads you through some simple cardio moves with some shoulder and arm rolls before moving onto ribcage and hip isolations.
The three workout portions, Basic Hip Hop (10.5 min.), Sexy Smooth Hip Hop (just over 11 min.), and World Hip Hop (11 min.), lead you through a separate combo in each. The Basic Hip Hop probably best met what I expected a hip hop dance routine to look like, although there are a few moves like the kickboxing punches that I wasn’t anticipating, and is probably the simplest to learn; Sexy Smooth has a lot of hip shakin’; and World throws in some salsa, some Bollywood, and some jazz squares, too. Jennifer will teach you a few steps, you’ll take it from the top, learn a few more steps, do the whole routine, and repeat until you know the full thing. You’ll then do 3 full TIFTs. After that, it’s onto the next section. Jennifer does most steps on both the right and left, although the combos aren’t fully symmetrical.
Cool Down (about 4.5 min.) takes you through some moves to release tension in your side torso (obliques), legs, and low back; you’ll also hold some quick stretches for the hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves.
Just to give you a sense of moves included in the video, the Step Guide (almost 15.5 min.) covers the butterfly, throw down, kick ball change, body roll, salsa twist, box step, chest pump / pop, heel dig, sway, and shimmy shakes. The back cover claims that you just need 10 minutes to learn 10 steps and you’re good to go with this DVD, which is perhaps optimistic, depending upon your comfort with dance choreography.
There are some small hops, most of which you can take out. Something to note if you work out on carpet is that there are some quick pivots, slides, and other moves where your shoe could catch on your flooring, and those who have cranky joints may want to find alternatives to moves like the knee drop in the butterfly, etc.

Level: I’d recommend this to exercisers at the beginner / intermediate level who are comfortable with somewhat moderately complex dance choreography. Beginners and restarters with a dance background will also be able to do this; if you can’t do the full workout at once, you can always do a combo at a time until you work up to the full thing. More intermediate exercisers will have to get into the moves a lot to make this feel like a workout for the body, but unless you’re a major choreo hound your brain may also get a workout!
Normally I consider myself an intermediate/advanced exerciser, but for various reasons I’ve been at the lower end of intermediate for a while. I picked up several DOTI videos last summer to use in my then exercise space, which did not have air conditioning, while I was at an intermediate level, and I’ve revisited this lately as I worked back up to a low intermediate level (in my new exercise space, in a cool basement). At both times this was appropriate, leaving me feeling like I got a decent cardio workout in that didn’t wipe me out physically, although it did work me out mentally.

Class: 4 women join Jennifer, who instructs live as she does the full routine. No one shows modifications.

Music: instrumental music with a strong beat, somewhat hip hop and later “Eastern” and then “Latin” flavored.

Set: bright interior set sort of made to look like a living room with a cathedral ceiling, with furniture off to the sides and “windows” onto a patio along the back wall.

Production: clear picture and sound, with Jennifer’s voice significantly louder than the music. The camera angles were overall helpful.

Equipment: shoes that won’t catch on your flooring (this would be a good time to break out your dance sneakers, if you have them).

Space Requirements: At 5’8” I was able to fit this workout within an area 4’ wide by 6’ deep, although I used every inch of that 4’. This definitely needs more front to back space than side to side space, but it’s not a huge space hog, and you can shorten up the movements if you don’t have much room as I do (or as long legs).

DVD Notes: The main menu’s options are Hip Hop Party – Play, Chapters (Introduction, Warm Up, Basic Hip Hop, Sexy Smooth Hip Hop, World Hip Hop, Cool Down, End Credits), and Step Guide – Play.

Comments: DOTI Hip Hop Party vs. Cardio Hip Hop – Here’s my compare and contrast of Jennifer’s earlier two DOTI hip hop workouts (she now has a third out, Hip Hop Body Blast, which I haven’t tried):
- Both are about the same length.
- Party is more of a hip hop dance mix or hip hop-inspired, with some Latin, Bollywood, and other dance styles mixed in; Cardio is all about hip hop.
- Party has 4 background exercisers; Cardio has 2. Neither has a modifier. (This appears to be something Jennifer corrects in her newest DOTI, Body Blast.) Party’s crew mugs for the camera a bit more and follows Jennifer’s invitation to whoop and say, “Oh yeah” and “Uh huh.”
- Party leans more towards the usual workout wardrobe while Cardio leans a little more towards a “street clothes” look (continuing the Cardio is more “authentic” hip hop vibe).
- As someone without much hip in my hop, I found Party easier to pick up and execute. Not that I found it easy, just that I found Cardio even harder and trickier. I don’t think this is just me, however, as I’ve peeked at reviews at other sites and looked through some other threads, and I’m not alone. I also see that the “No complicated steps” logo present on most of the DOTI DVDs, including the Party one, is conspicuously absent from Cardio.

I have to be honest: I feel like I’ve given both of these a fair shot, and I’m just not feeling them. Often when I reach for a lighter day cardio workout I need something that’s not too taxing both physically and mentally, and these have been almost more frustrating than fun. If I wanted complex choreo, I’d reach for one of my DVDs with complex choreo instead. I do have some dance background from my childhood, but it was in ballet, tap, and jazz, and I’m comfortable with aerobics and kickboxing, but I’m having a hard time adapting to hip hop. My preordered Amy Bento’s Hip Hop Walk recently arrived, and honestly that’s more my speed when it comes to hip hop: a workout that’s not really a dance routine but still has some hip hop flavor. I have a lot of respect for the genre of hip hop; it’s an incredibly diverse style that requires a great amount of skill, as I’m finding out. But I think I’ll pass this DVD onto someone else who has more skillz than I.

Instructor Comments:
Jennifer cues pretty well. In the past I’ve found she often doesn’t fully describe all steps and/or arm movements, and she’s a little better here; perhaps since she broke so much down in the Step Guide she feels free to talk about some other moves more. Jennifer mirror cues, meaning that when she says “right” she means the viewer’s rather than her own, and she does a good job of including a sufficient number of directional cues.
Note for those with an underage audience, who are thinking of gifting this to a teenager, or who prefer to keep things on the G side: Jennifer talks about the sexy vibe of hip hop and cues “sexy hips” several times plus tells you that you’re “looking hot”; she also calls one arm pattern “take off your shirt.”