Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dance Workout for Dummies

THE WORKOUT: Dance Workout for Dummies ($12.99 from Amazon)


WHO CAN DO THIS: Dummies, obviously. Bring the will to try and leave your inhibitions elsewhere and the simple steps, no-brainer beats and careful instructions should have you dancing eventually. If you’re fit but no hardbody, the nifty little dances make a nice little busy-day workout or a fun cardio segment of a longer workout.

THE BREAKDOWN: The Dummies format that created an empire in books translates well to the DVD workout format. The DVD includes two 20-minute routines taught by the pleasantly straightforward Michelle LeMay. Dressed in black and belly button against a simple background, Ms. LeMay looks like text on a page.

The choreography is low-impact and un-intimidating with lots of room for flavor. The music is uninteresting but the sledge-hammer beat is obviously (and successfully) designed to be helpful to dummies.

From time to time, the main screen shrinks for sidebars against a black screen--a woman dressed in the books’ trademark black and yellow demonstrates higher- or lower-energy options; the familiar little triangle-head Dummies guy gives us Jargon Alerts (tempo, quads, flavor, grapevine…), written tips and reminders (“Let go of all self-judgment and have fun!”). A separate Tutorial section breaks down steps slowly, so you can go directly to tutorials on any choreography that that give you fits.

THE SWEAT FACTOR: Not grueling, but crank up the flavor and you’ll crank up the sweat.

BUT IS IT FUN? Yup, it’s easy enough and routines are built slowly enough to let you have fun with what you’re doing instead of watching what Ms. LeMay is doing.

WHEN IT'S OVER: You'll be energized but not worn out.

GEAR AND APPAREL: Good shoes and uncarpeted floor. If you’re self-conscious, skip the mirror and forget about how you look. Pretend you look just like LeMay.

FINAL WORD: It went directly into regular rotation.

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