Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dance Off the Inches: Sizzling Salsa

THE WORKOUT: Dance Off the Inches Sizzling Salsa ($10.99 at Amazon)

WHO CAN DO THIS: Suitable for moderately coordinated beginners.

THE BREAKDOWN: The low-impact cardio workout is three eight-ish, 10-ish minute Latin-flavor dances—the Spicy Salsa Mix, the Latin Lime Twist and the Mucho Mambo Combo, plus warm-up and cool-down. Let your hips get loose for the very basic choreography that gets no more complicated than a little cha-cha-cha here and mambo there. I had to delay adding arms to a few steps for a while, until I could get my feet to cooperate, but I got all the steps the first time through without consulting the Step Guide.

However, the 17-minute Step Guide is one of my favorite features of this series, since it means the workouts can move briskly without long breakdowns of steps.

The setting for the workout is a fitness studio. Instructor Stella Sandoval is assisted by a chorus line of four toned missies who dance with varying levels of sizzle—which is nice for those of us who are only fair-to-middlin’ sizzlin’. I didn’t feel too terribly inadequate, sizzle-wise, comparing myself to a couple of the girls. (Toned tummy-wise is a different story.)

THE SWEAT FACTOR: I danced as hard as I could and still worked up only a light sweat.

THE ENERGY LEVEL: This workout—as with too many dance workouts—would benefit from better, louder, livelier music. The low murmur with a drab beat is disappointing and sorely lacking in sizzle. Everyone knows music is motivating--why don't these companies invest in this key component?

BUT IS IT FUN? The dances are a great deal of fun because they’re simple and leave plenty of room for tapping your inner hoochie mama. But alas—the drab music is a liability.

WHEN IT'S OVER: If you’re new to exercising, you should feel energized. If you’re moderately fit, you’ll want to keep going. I recommend a little one-on-one with Tamilee.

GEAR AND APPAREL: Fitness shoes and an uncarpeted space with room to move four to six steps forward and back.

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