Shall We Dance?
March 18, 2013
Hello again, readers. In this month’s blog, I’m revisiting January’s workout theme (but with a slightly different twist) by reviewing a (very) few of my favorite dance workouts. Here’s an abbreviated list.
The Core Rhythms DVD collection, featuring dancers Jaana Kunitz and Julia Powers. These DVDs are some of my favorites. They were never really well publicized and, to my knowledge, haven’t been terribly popular, but I use them any time I need a really sweaty, tough dance workout. The moves used are quite simple -- basic ballroom steps with lots of repetition. The pace is demanding and punctuated two or three times (during a thirty-five or forty-minute workout) with a sprint that will make you gasp for breath. There are lots of hip circles, hip drops, and traveling moves, as well as level changes and plenty of reminders about how to hold your upper body to improve muscle tone while you burn calories with your lower body. The instructors (award-winning dancers on an international level) are cheerful but never cloying or cutesy. Their instructions are clear and easy to follow. The sets are unimpressive, and the music and backup dancers are unremarkable. The results I’ve experienced from these workouts, however, both in tone and endurance, have proven to be worth far more than the money I spent on the DVDs.
If you’ve ever purchased one of the Ten Minute Solutions or Dance off the Inches! workouts, you probably don’t need to read this. These workouts are great for burning calories and include moves that range from the very simple to the semi-complex. My favorite video dance instructor has to be Jennifer Galardi, who’s got quite a few videos and DVDs out there. Some of her older workouts are available on VCR tape (put out by Crunch Fitness); I also own some of her more recent offerings like Hip Hop Body Blast, Hip Hop Party, and Cardio Hip Hop. These workouts will really make you sweat, but in a fun way. I like Galardi’s delivery. She’s no-nonsense and cheerful, and I enjoy the music. Granted, some of the moves taught in these workouts aren’t anything you’d willingly break out at a club (or in public, ever), but they are, nevertheless, fun to do.
I would, in addition, suggest Stella Sandoval’s great Sizzling Salsa dance workout (from Dance Off the Inches). Some of the music is pretty cheesy, as are her backup dancers, but the workout is what it claims to be: simple, fun, salsa moves that will get your heart rate up there (there’s also a great part near the end of the last dance with a lot of tuba music that makes me laugh every time). Kristin Jacobs has a Ten Minute Solutions hip-hop workout that I enjoy as well.
Okay, now we’re moving into different territory. My favorite new discovery in the dance DVD world are Yesenia Adame’s DVDs, Salsa…Solo! from WorldDance New York. Thus far, Yesenia has put out two DVDs: one for beginners, one for more advanced dancers. These DVDs are not cardio workouts. They are, rather, step-by-step instructionals for women who’d like to learn (or improve on) salsa dance skills. In each DVD, you will learn three short salsa combinations, one move at a time, slowly increasing your speed as you progress. Then, each dance’s instructional portion ends with a practice segment wherein the moves are combined. Both DVDs start with a very simple routine, and end with a somewhat more advanced one (nothing you can’t learn with a little repetition). Yesenia is a skilled dancer who delivers articulate, precise instructions that are simple to grasp, even for those of us (like myself) whose only dance instructors have been on the television screen. The music on these DVDs is excellent; the second DVD features a great live band, which is both fun to watch and to listen to. Yesenia’s backup dancers are two lovely and graceful women who dance beautifully. Additionally, though I’ve noted that these can’t really be classified as "cardio" workouts, once you’ve learned the basic moves for each routine, you’ll be practicing them repeatedly to polish them up. So, the cardio benefits will come as you learn the moves and then progress through to the combination portions of these workouts. Enjoy!
Lone Jack Branch