Monday, August 23, 2010

Dancing with the Stars: Dance off the Pounds

NEW DVD 613.715 DAN
Find it in the catalog!

I recommend checking out this DVD if you are looking for a fun way to exercise. Fans of the show Dancing with the Stars will recognize professional ballroom dancers Kym Johnson, Lacey Schwimmer, and Dmitry Chaplain as the instructors. Your choices on the DVD menu are straightforward: pick from the dances Swing, Jive, Quickstep, or the Cooldown. Each dance segment lasts 15 minutes, and the Cooldown is 5 minutes. For each dance the instructor teaches you combinations of steps, adding one combination on top of the other, until you work up to a full routine. Even if the first time you try a combination you don't have the steps completely down, don't panic or allow yourself to get too frustrated. Because the routine keeps returning to the beginning after you learn something new, the repetition helps you master the steps. Or, if a certain combination really has you stumped you can always rewind that part of the instruction so you can focus on that area. I'll admit that out of all the routines it took me the longest to get down the shuffle-hops in the Quickstep.

Kym does a great job of teaching you the steps in each combination in the Swing. When you go through the entire routine from the start to incorporate the new combination, she often reminds you which leg to start on, which is helpful. If you haven't gotten up to speed with the Swing portion, the Jive will be a challenge. Lacey runs through the Jive at a quicker pace, which you'll notice right from the start with the speed of the triple step-rock step combination. I do enjoy that this routine is more difficult, because you definitely feel the workout from the quick footwork. Just be prepared to sweat. When this segment is about 14 minutes or so in I'll think Lacey is taking us through the routine for the final time, but guess what? "Let's do it again!" she yells. While this may sound funny, the encouragement from Lacey (and Kym and Dmitry) does help me to push on during the routines instead of giving up and stopping. Whenever the Quickstep is performed on shows like Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance you hear about how much the contestants hate it, so I wasn't expecting to have fun doing these steps. Well, after going through the routine once I was hooked. Dmitry does a good job of explaining the steps and the Quickstep is a great workout for your legs. The kicker is that Dmitry has you do squats at the very end of the routine, and usually by that time my legs are about to turn into jelly. But instead of thinking of the pain I just think about how good-looking Dmitry is.

Even if you are a dance novice you will be able to pick up the steps in these routines. I like to do the routines in different combinations-- sometimes I'll repeat Swing or the Quickstep twice before going on to another routine. Instead of following the order on the menu I like to start with the Quickstep and then continue on to the Swing and then the Jive. If all you do is just go through each dance once, that is 45 minutes of aerobic activity. Every time I've worked out to this DVD I'm sweating buckets by the end, so I think this DVD helps you get a worthwhile workout!