Year Released: 2005
Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance
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I am a 9-year vidiot, at an advanced fitness level for my age (over 50, which means
I don?t do much high intensity high impact cardio for the sake of my knees and feet),
and love doing complex choreography, but hate learning it when it's not well taught.
With over 350 workouts in my collection, I rarely reach for even my favorite cardio
workouts more than once every 3 months or so. Even with new workouts that I'm still
learning, I rarely go back to them in less than a month. Marcus' latest Evolution
workouts are the first in years that I?ve felt compelled to do again in the same
week! I've done Airborne twice in the last 4 days! This workout is hi-lo as it
was meant to be. (Just watching it now as I'm writing this review makes me want
to get up and do it again!)
This is a long workout - cardio 71 minutes, cool-down & stretch 4 minutes, total 75 minutes. The workout consists of 6 32-count combos; there is no separate warm-up. There is TIFTTing but not a lot of it - you only TIFTT after combo 4 and after combo 6. The TIFTTing takes a split form, i.e. combo 1 right lead, combo 2 left lead, combo 3 right lead, etc. so that the final TIFTT feels like one long 192-count combo. The choreography is fairly complex (about the same level as Rob Glick or Christi Taylor) but is so well taught that it's more easily learnable because Marcus breaks it down very logically and does a good job of layering. I was able to get all the combos individually the first time, but tripped all over myself trying to keep up during the TIFTTing, especially with all the turns and twirls. (Marcus makes a remark at one point that it feels like "being in a blender".) The intensity is moderate. The impact is low to moderate. The music, new to this series, is energetic and motivating, but nothing that I recognized.
Here's a list of the moves from the DVD chapter menu, which should give you a good idea of the type of choreography: mambo reverse hitch; mambo swivel; quickie; chasse tango; kick ball change; grapevine double Elvis; 3 curl swivel; pivot mambo cha cha; freeze. The tango, ball-change, and swivel/Elvis seem to be Marcus' moves du jour.
The set is industrial looking, with concrete floors, a green backdrop, and several screens with giant floating/twirling green letter e's (the Evolution logo). There are two new female ?backup babes?, one from Germany and one from Belgium. Marcus wears white pants with a black stripe down the side and a black short-sleeved t-shirt. The babes wear white pants and white tops.
The DVD also includes previews from other videos produced by Marcus - 20 minutes from the Evolution line and 12 minutes from the Free2Be line.
Marcus has a great personality and a good rapport with the backup babes. The charming Aussie accent adds to the attraction.
On cardio work, I am an intermediate to advanced exerciser who enjoys with complex
choreography at some level. I also enjoy my "easier" workouts on those mornings
I don't feel like thinking that much. After trying many different cardio workouts
with varying complexity, I have found that I enjoy many different workouts, but
my absolute favorites are those that many complexity lovers on VF would classify
as intermediate because the instructor takes awhile to build combinations and/or
explains more than the most complex instructors (like Christi, Patrick, or Andre).
Airborne is Marcus Irwin's newest hi/lo workout. The set has changed and is much lighter than the set in previous workouts. The floor and walls are white and the exercisers are dressed mostly in white. Marcus is backed up by two "backup babes" and has a lot of interaction with them throughout the workout. He is his usual personable, pleasant, funny self. This workout moves faster than his previous workouts. He still builds each combination block, layering complexity as he goes, but there is less down time, or holding patterns, between moves, so the workout flows faster. The complexity of the moves is intermediate, maybe low advanced at times. He starts with fairly simple patterns and layers on complexity as he goes.
The workout is well done and pretty typical of other Marcus Irwin workouts, except that it flows faster. Those that read the VF Forum may know that I LOVE Marcus Irwin workouts - he is probably my favorite instructor. Imagine my shock and surprise, then, to find that I did not enjoy this workout. And, I am not sure why. The paragraph above pretty much describes what the intellectual side of my brain thinks of this workout. However, I just could not bond with the workout ? I just didn't enjoy it while I was doing it. There is nothing specific I can point to as to why though. I just didn?t bond with it. Go figure.
Marcus is his usual laid-back, humorous, motivating instructor.
Iím reviewing this workout after doing it several times.
General workout breakdown: Pam and Laura have already described this workout well, so Iíll just add a few thoughts of my own.
I actually love this workout. I found myself spontaneously bursting into a big goofy grin multiple times while doing it the other day. Marcus makes me happy. What can I say?
Iím a home exerciser who loves choreography. Iím not an aerobics instructor, so I use the Evolutions for access to fun, interesting choreography that I can do to work out both mind and body rather than to pick up combos or techniques to teach to others. This works perfectly fine for that, and I donít mind the occasional ďWhen you teach this to your classÖĒ statement. The lack of an official warm-up isnít an issue for me, as it starts off with some simple steps and gradually builds up, so by the time of the full first block Iím good. And the cool-down / stretch is fine, but since I usually follow my cardio with yoga Iím fine with Marcusí few stretches for the lower body, upper body, and low back here.
This is a long workout. Thereís a natural place to stop after the first four blocks are TIFTed together, and even if you add in the cool-down youíll still be under the hour mark. Iím not sure if itís mental fatigue or what, but the last two blocks are my least favorite anyway, so IMHO youíve already done the best part of the workout with the more interesting choreography by the time you get to that point.
Marcusí blocks are all symmetrical, but he may not build them up evenly on both sides. Sometimes heíll do most of a block entirely on one side, then have you try the finished or almost finished block on the other side. Marcus does repeat blocks a good deal as he builds them up, but the TIFTing is actually on the low side. This makes it somewhat challenging as youíre learning, but once you have a better feel for things that increases the wearing well with repeat washings factor.
The title ďAirborneĒ is misleading, as there are few moves here where you leave the ground, and none where you catch serious air (no tuck jumps or anything like that, thatís for sure!). ďBlenderĒ might be a better title. ;)
Level: Iíd recommend this to intermediate on up exercisers who are comfortable with decently complex hi/lo choreography. If youíre looking for intensity, for non-stop action, for no learning curve, etc., this isnít going to be for you.
I consider myself an int./adv. exerciser who loves choreography. I can pick things up quickly, provided theyíre taught at least somewhat decently. The choreography here is interesting enough to keep me reaching for it, while the teaching is so good that Iím not frustrated with learning and executing the moves. In terms of intensity I find this is on the low side of moderately challenging. Itís more comparable to the vigorous walking workouts I have (Leslie Sansoneís walks with ďboostsĒ aka jogging and/or fast pace) than some of the hi/lo I reach for when I want to work up a real sweat (Christi Taylor, Amy Bento), but Iím totally fine with that. Sometimes I just wanna do some good olí fashioned floor aerobics and walk away after without being drenched in sweat, completely out of breath, and totally zapped of energy.
Music: upbeat mostly instrumental music, but there are some songs with vocals (more repetitive club-type stuff than long, thoughtful verses with chorus). The Evolution soundtracks all kind of blend together in my mind to the point where I stop really paying attention to them, but Iím pretty sure this is on other Evolutions and/or it loops at one point.
Production: clear picture and sound. Fortunately the sound here is at a normal level (compared to earlier Evolutions, where the overall level is very quiet), with Marcusí voice clearly audible over the music but the music still audible without having to crank the volume up. The camerawork isnít ideal, with some artsy close-ups, including some of faces when you need to see feet and an overhead shot that has a different color contrast and level of focus. Oh, and as per usual a black screen with a revolving E will cut in between run-throughs, usually between blocks or big TIFTs.
Equipment: sneakers that can pivot on your workout roomís flooring. I break out my dance sneakers for this, but a cheap alternative is to put a piece of slick tape over the toebox of an older pair of sneakers.
Space Requirements: How much do you have? Ideally youíd be able to do two big grapevines across your space and then move from back to front with a few steps, a grapevine, and a few more steps. I feel a little cramped in my current workout space, where I have about 8í long by 5-6í deep of room to roam freely; I was all right side to side but really could have used some more front to back space. So far Iíve managed not to smash my nose into my back wall or knock myself out by running into the low sloping ceiling at the extreme front of my space, thankfully, as those would be weird injuries to explain in the emergency room.
Twirl vs. Aerodynamics vs. Airborne
As of the writing of this review, these along with the hi/lo section on Topless Blocks are the only hi/lo or floor aerobics workouts by Marcus Irwin on DVD, and due to his retirement from presenting on film (such a loss!), the economy, etc., they are likely to remain so.
Airborne is smack dab in between Twirl and Aerodynamics in terms of length. However, Aerodynamics is three separate segments while Airborne is one long complete workout (Twirl is also one complete workout, with a warm-up in there to boot). Airborne is definitely the most complex and intense of the three, although itís still not the most complex workout out there (it may be getting close, though) and isnít particularly intense by any stretch of the imagination. Marcus demonstrates a good deal of consistency throughout his repertoire, so the moves in Airborne arenít dramatically different than those in Twirl or Aerodynamics. In fact, if you do them all in a row, as I recently did, youíll recognize a lot of little combos, just with extra swivels. Like Twirl and parts of Aerodynamics youíll be pivoting, turning, and spinning galore and doing blocks facing to the front, sides, and back. But Airborne plows through significantly more choreography in less time and has a few more rhythm moves and things like that which makes it feel different than the others.
Airborne is my current favorite of the bunch. It just narrowly edges out Twirl for me for a few reasons: I like that thereís less down time, I appreciate the slightly more challenging intensity and choreography, and I like seeing how Marcus takes many of his classic combos to the next level. The brighter set and lack of sound issues shouldnít make that much difference to me (Iím not a stickler for sets or production values), but they certainly donít hurt. That said, I think I can see why this might not click with everyone, including Marcus Irwin fans, because it is every so slightly different in feel and look than his previous efforts. Iíd recommend Twirl over Airborne for people who want something a little more straightforward, who want to get a better sense of what Marcus Irwin is about (his last series, Airborne, Step Pro, and Step Tools, are a bit of a departure for him), and who might not have quite as much space.
Marcus is one of the better cuers out there. He breaks down everything and cues descriptively enough that I can dust this video off after too long of a break from it and have little trouble following it. Marcus mirror cues, but he tends to provide directional cues somewhat sparingly, waiting until just when you need them, and he also provides some additional directional guidance like telling you to turn to the inside or to use the leg thatís closest to the television. Sometimes he relies on gestures (pointing, grabbing his pants on the leg youíre starting on) rather than verbal cues, not just for direction but also for the name of combos, but since he frequently uses the ďwatch meĒ method to show the next layer youíll want to watch him closely anyway.
I love Marcusí personality, with his giggle, his concern for and joking with his back-up crew, and his self-deprecating humor. Heís so natural on camera you feel like youíre right there with him, and yet he never loses sight of the fact that heís filming a video.