Another review? Merry, what were you thinking?
I was thinking that I needed to balance out the last review with a positive one.
(Can I mention here that the vast majority of PR people are all kind, professional, polite, and nice to work with?)
I reviewed the Core Rhythms Starter Pack, a 4-DVD set featuring Jaana Kunitz and Julia Powers. There's a Kick Start DVD, a Quick Workout, a Full Workout, and a DVD called "Latin Dance Made Easy."
Have to confess, the title of that last one made me nervous. I liked the instructors, Jaana and Julia, but they were definitely slim and flexible, like lithe greyhounds.
Me, I resemble a different kind of greyhound.
Also, I had thought that salsa was something you ate with chips while you were waiting for your enchilada. Not the hippest chica on the block, in other words. I wasn't sure how they could turn me into a hot Latin dancer, but I was curious to see whether I liked the DVDs.
They passed the first test. My new criterion for whether I like a DVD or not is how much talking takes place before they start the warm up. In this case, I estimate it to have been about 12 seconds. Very impressive. Also impressive was the enthusiasm both women displayed. I got the impression they really thought these exercises were fun. They took the time to explain the movements, using the backup dancers as demonstrators. Most of the moves are similar to those in belly dancing, lots of emphasis on using all the core muscles around your waist, but the Latin dance rhythm gives the workout a different tone.
Below is the quick summary. If you click on the Read More, you'll see the full review and details about the giveaway, which incidentally is open to Canadians.
Good: The workouts were fast enough to get me sweating, but not so fast that I felt I couldn't keep up.
Better: The Latin beat made me want to get moving
Ugly: In most of the DVDs, there was a huge close-up of a dancing torso in the background; it was both distracting and surreal. (See the picture at the top of the page to get an idea of what it's like.)
Also, it was also really cool that these DVD workouts were bi-sexual.
Um, no, not like that.
What I meant was that while most workout DVDs are exclusively women-centric, these workouts had male and female backup dancers. In the Latin Dance DVD, Julia taught the woman's dance moves and her husband demonstrated the man's dance moves.
The workout DVDs all have front and back views, so you can watch the instructors from different sides to follow along easily.
The Help section of the Full workout was really cool. If you are following the workout and can't remember how to do a particular movement, clicking Help pauses the action and shows a video clip demonstrating the movement. I approve of this.
The Quick Workout DVD is good for days when you don't have time for the whole enchilada. A 20-minute workout can still work up a sweat, and this one qualifies.
I loved how the Kick Start DVD had a 'split screen' option so you could see a close-up of the torso one one side of the screen while following the instructor on the other. (This DVD did not have the huge surreal dancing torso in the background.)
The Kick Start is designed to show you the basic moves, while the Quick Workout and Full Workout use the moves to make you sweat. The Latin Dance DVD doesn't give you an aerobic workout; it's a dance video designed to train you in basic Latin dance moves. Which it turns out you've been learning all along unbeknownst.
It was fascinating to try the Latin Dance DVD after going through all the core rhythm workout DVDs. I could see each move as it had been shown earlier: the Salsa, the Rumba, and the Merengue. [Note: Some of the other DVDs demonstrate the Samba but the Latin Dance DVD shows the Rumba. Most of the moves in the Rumba are familiar from the workouts.]
While I was sweating off the calories, I was also learning Latin dance moves! Who knew? (Um... probably people who'd read the fine print on the box, but I'm not that kind of girl.) It's difficult for me to think of myself as having "slinky hips" but so long as the drapes were shut tight, what the hell.
I noted some complaints while I was doing the workout.
- The full workout, I complained at the beginnning that it felt like I was marching in place half the time. However, by the end of the workout I'd scratched this note out. I think the marching was phased out in favor of Latin moves about halfway in to the routine. I do remember stopping and feeling the muscles in my core section. It seemed easy while I was doing it, but the workout did have an effect.
- With the Quick workout, I have a note complaining that the exercises were absurdly easy. Again, by the end of the workout I wasn't complaining. My muscles were.
- Yes, the two instructors talked throughout, but at least it was about the workout. They were good at cueing you for the next move.
- Really, the only complaint I have about these DVDs is that dancing torso in the background. And since I can ignore it to concentrate on the instructors, this isn't a huge drawback.
Core Rhythm DVD Giveaway -- U.S. and Canada!
The people at Core Rhythms are so cool that they'll even ship a copy of the Core Rhythms to Canadians (as well as to USians). Clearly, they're worried about how cold it is in the Frozen North and want to send hot Latin rhythms to keep you from getting frostbite.
To win this DVD set, please leave a comment about how you see yourself: Hot Latin dancer? Or the other kind of Greyhound?
The giveaway ends on Thursday, January 29th at Midnight, Rio de Janerio time. Which by an odd coincidence is 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. ('Cause I ain't staying up 'til Midnight my time to meet up with Mr. Random Number Generator, that's why.)
Note to Anonymous: Hmmmn... either Anonymous has entered several comments, or different people have left comments anonymously. If you would like to leave an anonymous comment, but want to be entered in the giveaway contest, could you please leave a name (thanks Sara and Messymimi!) or other means of identification in the comment? A code word, a recognition symbol, e.g. "I'm the anonymous commenter who will be standing by the clock in Grand Central Station at 11 pm next Tuesday, wearing a red carnation." Something like that would be very helpful. Thank you.
This contest is now closed. Sorry.