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I have had this DVD for many years now and it is the only one which I have consistently got out the cupboard over the years. It features Erin Boag and Karen Hardy guiding through all of the dances and it is a great fitness DVD to dance along to. There are 5 different sections on the DVD for 5 different dances like Salsa and Samba. Each one is broken down into an instruction section whereby one of the ladies will walk through all of the different steps which will appear in the routine, followed by the actual routine itself. The music is very fitting to the actual dance and routine and will assist you to get in the mood! The routines don't last too long but are long enough for you to feel out of breath and like your muscles have done a good workout. There is also a cooling down section at the end which just help relax the muscles after all of the exertion. A great fitness DVD to do if you like dancing and if you do it often enough you should see the results!
Having always watched and enjoyed Strictly come dancing on the TV, throughout all of its past series, it is little wonder that a fitness DVD working on the principle of 'Strictly' has appeared on the market.
After Christmas, many of us are feeling the pressure to loose weight and feel great and of course, we buy these DVD's, use them once and then pack them off away as a big mistake, so will Strictly Come Dancercize be any different?
I have to admit, this is the first fitness DVD I have ever bought. As a child and teenager, I had danced tap, ballet, modern, jazz and a bit of ballroom too. The pull of this DVD was that I could learn to dance again (after 9-10 years) and I would be getting fit at the same time. I bought this for £12.99 in my local Morrisons supermarket, but it is freely available everywhere.
ABOUT THE DVD
The DVD is instructed by Karen Hardy and Erin Boag, both professional dancers who have appeared on Strictly Come Dancing with celebrity partners.
The DVD, I would say, is primarily aimed at women, as it is packaged in lovely pinks and purples and it is quite clear what the DVD offers, 5 dances and warm up and cool downs.
From the TV advertising, I thought this was a primarily about ballroom dancing for fitness and fun and that is the primary emphasis of this DVD.
After the obligatory health warning stating you shouldn't exercise whilst pregnant or on pain killers and consulting your GP before commencing any new exercise regime. It is obviously up to you whether you do this and I am not advocating either way but I haven't consulted my GP because I believe I am a young, healthy and slightly under fit woman, I didn't feel the need to, however, if you have ANY health concerns, please see your GP beforehand as the regimes are quite tiring at times.
Moral lecture over, the menu pops up on my screen and gives you the options of:
My first foray was into the introduction.
Karen and Erin host this and tell us the reasons why they have done this DVD and the principles behind it. Karen is actually quite enthusiastic about the DVD and you really get a sense of her being quite please about doing this. Erin is slightly more reserved and serious and you can sort of get the gist that Karen is a bit more about the fitness side of the DVD and Erin is more the dance coach. In that respect, you have quite a balanced DVD on the outset.
Both Karen and Erin take you through which dances they do:
Karen: Salsa, Jive
Erin: Cha Cha Cha, Quickstep
Both: Samba, Warm Up & Cool Down
What I liked was each of the girls told us what their dances were going to be good for, e.g. Karen's Salsa is good for your hips and your arms, so if you have a particular problem area, you can target that through going to the dance that works that area.
After you have been motivated, you can pick your dance when you go back to the main menu and to the 'Workouts' or Play All section.
Play all means going back to the introduction and starting again with the introduction, so I opted to go to the Workouts section.
THE WARM UP:
Before you go rushing into the dances, you are encouraged to warm up with Karen & Erin. The warm up takes approximately 3 minutes and in that time you are taken through some basic aerobic steps, such as side stepping, grapevine and general stretches. You will be doing this to the music from the Black Eyed Peas.
Even though I have danced before and have been to aerobic classes, I found this quite invigorating, the steps aren't hard, themselves but they can be quite fast, especially when Karen & Erin take them double time or in English, double the speed. I rather thought the warm up was a bit of a routine in itself but it didn't leave me too tired to attempt the dances, but it you are particularly unfit, I'd suggest leaving a break between the warm up and dances.
Each dance is split up into the steps and the dance/workout.
1. CHA CHA CHA:
This is Erin's Cha Cha Cha. This is good for working the waist, bum and legs.
In this routine, you will learn time steps, turns and the New York.
The cha cha cha is quite a co-ordinated dance, but it is fun, so I was expecting this to be great fun and loosely based on my tap dancing days.
Although Erin starts off her steps quickly simply and slowly at first, she did seem to speed up towards the end and started using a bit of dance jargon 'this is a lock step' without explaining what exactly a lock step meant.
Realistically, this is split into to 2 levels, beginners and intermediates, so it is something you can start with and work up to, but if you don't feel confident in attempting all the steps, you can stick with the basic cha cha cha steps, if you are more confident you shouldn't have much problem attempting most of the steps.
I have to admit, even as quite an accomplished dancer myself, I did struggle with this routine.
Erin dances to Toploaders 'Dancing in The Moonlight'. This starts of slow but soon becomes fast and I found it hard at first, so I just carried on going slowly. I would suggest it may have been better to take the first half of the song slowly then work up to becoming faster rather than swooping straight in however, it has to be said, this isn't solely a dancing DVD, this is an exercise DVD and the principle is based on aerobic exercise.
I quite liked this dance myself and I found myself out of breath after completing it
What I would say about this routine and indeed all the others, is to watch the steps a few times and be comfortable with them before attempting the dance, you will get quite a good basic work out from the warm up, steps and cool down themselves, so, if you are particularly unfit or unaccustomed to aerobic exercise, this is the way I would attempt this DVD.
Karen introduces the Salsa, which is good for your abdominal muscles and arm muscles.
You will learn Mambo steps in this dance and these range from a simple step and replace to the African walks, which are really quite fun. Karen is a slower and more vocal teacher than Erin, she does have an encouraging attitude to her routine and this is good for someone who might need a little more motivation.
The Salsa is full of sexy turns and full of hip swinging action and you get some great stretches here too and it comes across, even at this early stage as a workout that is great for increasing your cardio vascular capacity.
Also important in this dance is the arm movements, but again, you may not feel able to go with the arm action straightaway.
Dancing to 'Feeling Hot Hot Hot', this is a great start for a workout; it really gets you in the mood. Karen, like Erin, takes you quite slowly and steady which is quite good and if you get stuck you can go back to the basic steps. Quite quickly, you are speeded up but you should feel OK with this because you are repeating the basic steps again, but faster.
It is important to remember you aren't supposed to be a great dancer and the Salsa does allow you to make errors but still get a great workout at the same time.
Karen delivers a bit more dialogue than Erin but it just depends on what you want from an instructor as to which presenter you prefer. Some people may not feel comfortable with someone talking all the time but I have found I have had my best workouts from this Salsa, because it is so much fun and if you get lost you can just wiggle your hips and go back to the basic steps. This is a great routine and I defy anyone not to enjoy this.
Erin takes the Quickstep class.
Erin suggests this is the quickest and easiest dance to follow and this is great for fat burning.
First up are posture and arm movements, introducing full holds and Fred & Ginger arms, which is really fun.
There is a basic step, like an L shape step, which is what you should go back to if you get stuck and you can speed this up and slow it down.
You also go through scatter chassis, which are light and bouncy and you can really feel yourself achieving steps from Strictly, which is really the first time on the DVD you can feel yourself doing the moves.
Also included are squats and instructions about not taking too many big steps and not putting your knees across your toes when squatting.
This already comes across as a quick dance, so it may not be the best starter dance.
What makes this is the pendulum swings and taps and these are quite easy if you get lost but like before, these steps were featured quite a lot on Strictly, so you feel like you are learning a dance routine as well as an exercise routine too.
The only downside is Erin says a lot of things are quite difficult but please don't be put off, they can be picked up fairly quickly.
My suggestion for this dance would be to watch the steps a few times before attempting the workout, unless you are familiar with the Quickstep already.
The music for this one is great, it's called Sing Sing Sing and you may recognise it from Strictly or other dance shows.
Erin encourages you to keep a light and bright attitude to the dance, which means you will get a better workout.
Erin is quite clear on her intentions for you in this dance, which is quite good if you want to keep on eye on the TV and the other on the TV.
Unlike the cha cha cha, this routine starts slowly and the pace is retained for bit longer than in the other dances and Erin is clear about when she's taking it faster for you but the music allows you to continue at the slower pace if you need to.
The Quickstep is fun but you do need to be fairly confident in your balance to be able to go for the faster moves but this routine is so fun, even if you do fall over, it is easy to jump back up and get back into the basic step if you need to.
This dance has the ability to make you feel like a dancer with a bit of practice.
Despite what they say later on in the DVD, if you only have time for one workout, do this one, although do clear a space as you move around quite a bit!
Karen introduces the Jive.
The Jive is fast paced and really fun but it also requires posture and balance and it is good for your legs and buttocks.
The basic principle of the jive is the kick steps and Karen tells you that if you get stuck, go back to her basic kick steps and she offers you variations on the kick steps and she says you can use a chair if you need to, for balance.
Karen encourages you to keep your jive springy whilst also introducing you to moves like the Grapevine and she goes through these quite slowly so you can get a hold of the moves quite quickly.
If you want to work your waist and abs, Karen has put in a simple twist, which you can advance if you need to.
My favourite step in this jive is the toe-heel taps and these are easy to pick up.
Like the Salsa, Karen goes through the steps quite slowly and allows you time to perfect the steps before moving on to the workout.
Dancing to Elton John's 'I'm Still Standing', which is quite an irony as you won't feel like standing after this routine as it is so high impact and fast moving.
Starting gently and fairly slowly, the jive looks quite easy but don't be deceived, it is harder than it looks but it is so much fun. Karen takes this slowly first of all then she takes you into fast kicks which are so much fun but hard work, even though they look so simple.
The jive is quite flamboyant and even though this is technically a workout, you get a real sense of the dance and you wouldn't know you any different if you are new to dancing.
There is a real twenties feel to this dance as well and although you might find this dance quite hard at first, before too long, you will be jiving with the best of them.
Strictly fans will recognise a lot of the steps and feel they are learning steps used.
The dance is really quite a workout, not one for the faint hearted but fun nonetheless.
Jointly taught by Karen & Erin
The Samba is a high impact workout which is good for fat burning.
The Samba is quite bouncy and for my liking, it is a little too technical for my liking because it involves moving your hips, moving forwards and back and using your arms, so co-ordination is quite important during this dance.
Lunges and squats are featured in this dance, so you get your basic workout through those.
What I dislike about these steps is that they change, the faster you go and neither Karen nor Erin explains this, so it is important you watch the steps a few times before attempting them.
Steps also included are a Vaulter, steps that cross in front of your legs whilst staying on the balls of your feet. This is one of the simpler steps of this routine, add kicks for more impact.
Personally, I wouldn't attempt to do this dance yet, it is one I'd leaving until later I felt comfortable with the other dances
You'll be dancing to the Strcitly Come Dancing theme tune.
This dance is quite fast paced from the outset and it is quite sultry too but make no mistake, this isn't the easiest dance/workout of the DVD. It isn't highly technical by any means but it requires a certain level of ability and concentration, which is hard to acquire if you are learning something for the first time.
I lost count of how many times I got lost throughout this dance.
There are elements of the dance you can do if you get lost but by doing this you aren't going to get as good a workout as if you were attempting all the steps.
Aside from this, it is a fun dance but not one to attempt on your first play of the DVD, I would strongly advocate watching the steps a good few times and learning the other dances first too.
Again, both Karen & Erin present the cool down.
Set to the Strictly theme tune, slowed right down to an ambient track. You start off which soft stretches but then you go into hip and body rolls, these have been featured in the dances, so if you only attempt one dance before cooling down, you may not be familiar with the steps, but as they are slow, you can pick them up easily.
The cool down is about relaxing, so there isn't too much pressure on you to get things accurate, as long as you have a basic grasp, you will be fine.
Continuing through the cool down, you have soft lunges and calf and hamstring stretches, before letting your body completely relax.
I love the cool down, it is quite relaxing and it does what is says on the tin. Anyone will enjoy this cool down, it really is great.
Despite it not being plugged as a 'learn to dance' DVD, this is really what it is and it is great.
I haven't danced in this style for a long time and it was fairly easy to pick up most of the steps, admittedly there is a few steps which are a little bit more complicated than other but it adds to the fact that this is a DVD which you can take from just starting out to a more advance level, at your own pace.
The amount of dances covered is just right, in my opinion, you get to learn the ballroom basics and the Latin favourites, all of which will give you a good, solid grounding in ballroom, if you did want to take it further and learn to dance.
As a fitness DVD, I am finding this DVD quite good, I am following and perfecting one dance every few days, I am currently trying to master the Salsa but I have just finished the Quickstep but I know in a few weeks I'll be able to take it to a faster level and get a better workout.
I think, in terms of longevity of an exercise DVD, this is quite good, 5 routines make it last, like me you can go through and perfect the routines or you can do something different every few days.
I like the fact that you learn the steps before and these can be watched again and again in order for you to get a gist of the steps. If you are starting out, I'd say that doing the steps themselves at first could give you quite a workout.
I'm not sure, if in a few months, it will be relegated to my bookshelf, never to be looked at again, but somehow, I don't think it will, I enjoy dancing too much and I am not thinking of this as an exercise DVD and I would recommend this to any fans of Strictly Come Dancing or anyone who wants a different exercise routine for the new year.
I have had this DVD for 10 days now but I haven't noticed any difference in my body shape although I feel a tad fitter now.
If you enjoy aerobics, dancing and Strictly Come Dancing, you will enjoy this DVD.
I have been watching and doing the DVD for a while now, and I have to admit to not noticing much difference in my body shape or overall fitness. Disappointly also, despite being a dancer for many years, I am still not quite getting the dance steps quite right and have now twisted my back and my knee in the course of the DVD.
Have now decided that this DVD isn't as good as I thought it would be and it will probably end up in the back of the cupboard very soon!
Price: £12.99 (Morrisons)
2 Entertain Video 2007
Release Date: 3rd December 2007
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Main Soundtrack: English stereo
Disc Format: DVD9
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Region: 2 Colour PAL UK
Classification: E (Exempt)
Review also on Ciao- without update.
As you may have worked out from some of my previous reviews I'm a bit of a fan of fitness videos. Actually that's an understatement as I've loads and am constantly looking out for new and different ones (keep an eye out for my Hulaerobics review coming soon!!).
So you can imagine my sheer delight when I noticed that Strictly stars Karen and Erin were bringing out an exercise DVD. I didn't really need to drop any hints for Christmas I was just worried I might end up with 7 copies from all my loved ones!!
So onto the review - Karen and Erin present a workout DVD with a difference. All the sections are ballroom dance orientated with a tiny bit of aerobics thrown in. The routines are done to music that both of them have danced to on the show, for example Karen does a Salsa to 'Feeling Hot Hot Hot', the number she did with Mark Ramprakash. If you're a fan of the show, memories of the dances will come flooding back and Karen really tries to squeeze as many of the actual moves from the show into her routine.
The DVD starts off with an introduction from the two. Karen comes across as much more comfortable with presenting than Erin who seems a little unnatural at times but both do a good job. Then they both take you through a short warm up which again is very dancey. There are then 5 different dance routines to try out. Karen presents a Jive and Salsa and Erin a Cha Cha Cha and Quick Step. They both then do a Samba routine to the Strictly theme tune. Lastly there is a rhumba style cool down.
Having done ballroom dancing (and other styles) in the past I was looking for a DVD which was challenging but suspected that I would be able to keep up quite well. To my surprise I found that I was out of breath and having trouble remembering the steps. This is partly to do with the format though - for each routine the girls show you all the steps first (normally about 20) and then they start the routine and call out the names of the steps as they do them. As most of the dances are fast paced this means that if you can't remember the step from the name by the time you've worked it out they've moved onto the next one. Luckily there is some repetition on the choruses so you can at least join in for them if you are struggling.
All of this means that if you haven't danced before you may have problems with keeping up. Don't let that put you off though, if you have patience and don't mind practising lots before you attempt the routine you can still have a good go at learning to ballroom dance. The other advantage is that it really is a good way to lose weight and tone up. Each of the routines target different areas of the body and all have a cardiovascular content too.
Of course it wouldn't be Strictly without some glitzy costumes - for each routine the girls wear a different sparkly outfit (no ballgowns though) along with matching shoes.! (Not too sure about the silver dance trainers though). I would do anything for Erins abs (I'll keep working at the DVD and maybe one day......), in fact both girls look fantastic and Karen is an inspiration as like me she has had a baby and has used dance as a way to get back in shape.
The DVD is 100 minutes long and considering there are no extras this means you really get your moneys worth. It's retailing for between £11 and £12 (cheapest at Amazon I think) and there are a few available on ebay too.
So my final verdict is if you want a challenge and a different way to keep trim give this a go. If you're a strictly fan you'll love watching this let alone joining in. It's one of my favourites already.
Thanks for reading - sorry it's a bit long but I get carried away when it's something I'm passionate about.