Overall: Good cardio workout, lots of fun
Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
Recommended for any dancer who loves the show and is tired of their usual bellydance DVDs
Being a huge fan of the show, its not at all surprising that I liked this DVD. The routines were fun, and just challenging enough that I had something to work towards, but not so challenging that it was frustrating. The dancers gave the right amount of instruction and came across as sincerely having a good time. This DVD features routines led by Travis, Courtney and Lauren but also includes Twitch, Dimitri and Katie in the ensemble, who I assume are teaching on the other DVD in this series.
It starts with a 15 minute warm up, which includes a lot dynamic isolations that any bellydancer would appreciate: chest circles, shoulder rolls, and even hips. Each of the 6 dancers takes a turn leading you through in aerobics/Amy Sigil style - just follow along.
The 3 dance routines are led by Lauren (Hip Hop dance set to house music - my only critique of her piece. The music just didn't fit the dance.), Travis (contemporary set to rock music, which was a nice surprise) and Courtney (disco, set to disco). Each routine consists of about 4 unique eight counts of material, repeated in various ways and then all strung together. There's about 15 minutes of instruction, and then 5 minutes of running it at various speeds, sometimes with just counts, sometimes counts and music, and then eventually full speed with music only.
There's lots of encouragement to "add your own flavour", "have fun with it", and "put some funk into it", which I liked. Each dancer was doing the same steps but adding their own flare. There was lots of shouting, cheering and laughing throughout, which made you feel like you were part of a dance party, not just working out. The dancers are all in casual workout gear, though their outfits were slightly different for each routine - disco meant everyone had some bling, hip hop was a little more street etc.
The final routine was called Cardio Funk Bonus, where they basically stitched together bits of each routine, plus the occasional 8 counts of freestyle.
The cool down was 5 minutes long and can only be described as "slow jams". Just when I thought the DVD was going to turn south, Twitch took the lead and made it seem natural and fun, and the stretches were certainly welcome after all the jumping around.
The DVD also includes interviews with Travis, Courtney and Lauren, who all talk about how they got into dance and their experiences making the video. I enjoyed watching them and the outtakes from filming the video were fun. (Courtney curses a lot.) And then there's Nigel, who just sounds like an ass - instead of just encouraging people to dance more and be active, he lectures on how its too late to be a dancer, but you can always move around your living room or something like that. It was really pompous and unnecessarily condescending.
All in all, I'm definitely adding this to regular rotation of my dance DVDs, and am excited for the arrival of the second disc in the series!
Available from Amazon