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UnderReview: A Dance DVD Trifecta

Jenn and I love to review dance DVDs. Some of them are huge hits, some of them make us feel incompetent, and some of them don’t even wring out a drop of sweat. Given the great disparity when it comes to dance workouts, we’re here to separate the good from the bad. Of the three more dance workouts that have recently hit the market, which ones are worth a hip swivel or two or three? Here’s the dance DVD 411!

TribalEnergyDanceTribal Energy Cardio

No matter how good, bad or ugly a dance workout is, I usually feel incompetent doing it. My hips don’t swivel, and I’m unnaturally awkward. So I was amazed to find that the Tribal Energy Cardio workout didn’t make me feel like a bumbling fool. Even at eight months pregnant! Now that’s a feat.

Suzanne Forbes-Vierling instructs this hour-long video, which adapts Western African dance movements into a total-body workout. Suzanne warms you up, teaches you two dance segments, and then puts them together for the third workout section. There is also a grand finale that is like the third segment, but more of a party with more people. The music is cool—live drummers are beating out a rhythm the whole time—and the moves are simple, yet really fun. Maybe more fun because they’re so simple!

The moves are very tribal feeling and free-flowing, and they have fun names, such as “Life is Good”  (during which you prance side to side), and the drum beats really help you get into the groove. My favorite move was one where you pretend to be lifting a basket over your head while you’re stomping your feet. In another one, you squat low while drawing your elbows out to the sides like a monster—just goofy fun. Suzanne doesn’t always cue perfectly, but as I said before, the moves are so simple that even if you have two or three left feet, you’ll be able to catch on. I promise.

As with any dance workout, the drawback is that once you’ve learned the moves, the workout can seem repetitive. But with the third workout segment and the grand finale, you get a good portion of time to dance your butt off full speed. This dance is genuinely fun, got my heart rate up and even though it might lack some of the sophistication of a high-budget DVD, it proves that simple is sometimes better.

FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Instruction: ★★★
Long-Term Likeability:★★★
Music: ★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★

Overall: ★★★★

Best for: Those who have a hard time following intricate dance steps but want a fun, unique dance workout experience.

cardio stripteaseDance Off the Inches: Cardio Striptease

I know that the sexiest thing on anyone is confidence, but it never hurts to have the moves, too. (‘Cause I may feel awesome about myself, but when it comes to stripping my clothes off and prancing around in little to no clothing, I sorta kinda freak out just thinking about it.) So I was intrigued by this DVD that promised a workout with some, ahem, spice.

The hour-long Dance Off the Inches: Cardio Striptease DVD includes a 22-minute step guide that breaks down each and every move you do in the DVD. So that when “show time” comes, you’re ready and less clumsy. And with names like “Work the Room,” the moves are pretty tongue-in-cheek. (Think a low squat while you pop your booty out or seductively shimmy around a pretend chair.)

Then for the regular workout, you put all of the moves together into three different dance segments: Work It, Too Hot to Handle and Total Tease. All three are pretty corny (the instructor just never seems to stop with the over-the-top sexual clichés) and although they don’t really get your heart rate up high enough to be considered intense or even moderate exercise, they are kinda fun. I wish that there was an option on the DVD to do all three segments back to back for a longer cardio striptease par-tay, but maybe that’s just too much sexiness.

FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Instruction: ★★★
Long-Term Likeability:★★★
Music: ★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★

Overall: ★★★

Best for: Those who want an easier,  dance-based workout—and some sexy moves to boot!

stomperobicsStomperobics, Version One: The Nutkracker

With a title like Stomperobics, Version One: The Nutkracker, you’re probably already intrigued and scratching your head, right? I was. But after about 30 seconds of this DVD’s warm-up, I was like WHOA. Very rarely do we get to try a workout so different and so unique that my jaw drops to the floor in awe, but this was one of those DVDs. Yes, the DVD’s production quality was abysmally poor. And at times you couldn’t hear the instructor’s cuing at all, but despite all of these things, the workout and the idea was energizing, fun and intense. Just as any really good DVD should be!

The entire cardio workout is just shy of an hour and includes a warm-up and cool down. Stomperobics creator and instructor Tony Victory leads you through a series of high-intense moves that are based on the college fraternity and sorority dance tradition stepping/stomping. So basically you’re constantly doing a strong march with leg lifts, kicks, punches, claps under your legs and more fun and funky stuff. There are a number of different choreographed moves—the “Nutkracker” being the most famous and hardest of them all. There’s a bit of a learning curve on some of the moves, but it’s one of those things where I know if I did the DVD regularly, I’d be stomping the yard in no time. It’s intense (and fun!) cardio, yo.

My favorite part of it though is the music! Tony composed an original soundtrack for it, and there’s a DJ in the DVD just happily spinning and jamming away to it. It’s hard to describe the music (you can hear and see the Stomperobics DVD here), but it’s uber-aerobics-y with some hip-hop flair and a touch of goofiness. Plus, it has a funny little voice that is constantly counting down how many reps to go. Love it.

FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Instruction: ★★★
Long-Term Likeability:★★★★★
Music: ★★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★★

Overall: ★★★★

Best for: Those who want cardio that’s fresh, funky AND fun!


Get your groove on! —Erin & Jenn

Want to try Cardio Striptease or Stomperobics yourself? Leave a comment, and we’ll randomly select a couple U.S. readers to win! Winners will be notified via email.

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