April 2, 2009

Work it Out: Dirty Dancing Official Dance Workout

"I carried a watermelon."

I haven't done a workout DVD review in a while, but I guess that's because my Netflix queue is too full of movies like The Last King of Scotland and Hotel Rwanda. Much to my relief, the Dirty Dancing Official Dance Workout arrived the other day, so I was way excited to take a break from my usual workout DVD rotation and give this one a try.

As someone who has years of dance experience behind me, it's hard to find a dance workout that a) challenges me with the step combinations and/or b) provides a good workout. The short story on the Dirty Dancing workout is that it satisfies the 'a' category pretty well, but don't go trying to get shredded with this one. It's just for fun.

Unless I missed something, I thought the format was a little strange for a workout DVD, as each dance segment has to be selected a la carte as you go. In other words, there are instruction and performance segments for each of four different routines, so you're picking up the remote every 10 minutes or so to move on to whatever you want to do next. Hard to keep your heart rate up when you're trying to figure out what the next dance should be.

There are other segments that you can select, such running all the routines straight through in performance mode, meaning that you do the final result of each instructional segment back to back, all four routines in a row. Those routines, by the way, are "Love Man," "Yes," "Johnny's Mambo" and "Do You Love Me?" Um, hello? Apparently I don't get to have the Time of My Life during this particular workout! MAJOR oversight here. There is also the "Saturday Night Dance Party" segment, in which the dancers are just wearing sluttier clothing and there is no spoken instruction. Same routines, basically.

Due to time constraints, I wasn't able to explore absolutely every minute of this DVD, but I definitely got the idea - I did two dances' worth of instruction and performance, as well as the string of all four routines done back to back. Once you've had the steps broken down for you in a couple of instructional segments, you'll start to recognize them in all of the routines, so I was kind of able to follow along in the routines for which I'd skipped the tutorial. By the way, there is yet ANOTHER supplemental segment that they recommend you begin with, which is the Dance Syllabus, during which you're taught some of the most basic steps that the routines have in common, slow-mo style.

The Good/The Time of My Life:
  • Once you're in performance mode for each dance, the moves are set to the actual songs from the movie, which is a welcome break from the musacky fakery most DVDs try to pass off as workout music. This is the same stuff that would be coming out of your iPod, were you as cool as me with the Dirty Dancing soundtrack uploaded and ready to go.
  • Many of the moves are actually taken from the routines in the movie. You're gonna want to channel more Penny, less Baby though, trust me. And if there's ever an aisle/runway that needs walking, why not take a page from Johnny's book and throw in the kick-ball-change you learned from this DVD? Bonus points if you can get a horde of extras to follow you in kind.
  • Once I'd learned the steps and was able to do the routines without thinking too hard, it was just good fun. It felt much more like turning up the music at a party and rocking out than working out. I smiled. A lot. I admit it.
  • While there are a lot of grapevines and step-touch-es in the routines, there's enough flair involved that it's a bit of a challenge to string the moves together, but you feel like hot stuff once you do.

The Bad/The Pachanga:

  • I know I said that the routines were set to the actual songs from the movie, but it must also be noted that the instructional segments are set to very lame, standard-issue workout musack. That kind of annoyed me - obviously they'd gone to the trouble and expense of being able to use the original tracks in this video - why not use them throughout?
  • Bare-bones beginner dancers might find this DVD frustrating. While everything is broken down in the instructional segments, these dances require a decent amount of coordination and style. Ballroom experience would be a serious plus here; I don't have any formal ballroom training, but what I do know helped a LOT.
  • Don't count on this DVD for more than a bit of light cardio. In fact, I would probably only do it on a rest day, as insane as that sounds. I only just broke a sweat by the end of the hour I spent with it.
The Confusing/Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner:
  • If you're still not sure what this DVD would be like, even after reading all the above disjointed rambling, I don't blame you. I didn't find it straightforward, and I won't be buying myself a copy anytime soon, but it put a smile on my face for the time being, and I remember thinking to myself that I was really having fun during the "workout," which is not something I can say for any of Jillian's shred sessions.
Like any dancer worth her shoes, I've seen Dirty Dancing more times than I can count, and I could likely recite the lines word for word in tandem with the movie. Oh, and I always watch the last scene twice. That's a definite must. We will not, however, speak of the sequel, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. That was a bastardization of a cinematic gem and I vastly prefer to go kwazy for Schwayze pre-cancer, thank you.

Obviously, I rented the workout for the novelty of it, and I'm not sorry I did, but I'm going to have to find a better way to keep up my dancing chops. This makes me nostalgic. Care to take a trip down memory lane with me? No? Too bad. Maybe you should be watching Havana Nights instead.

Believe it or not, in college, I was an unexpectedly-gangsta white girl in a hip-hop troupe...

(Far left, hair aloft.)

...but did you know I was an athlete as well?

See, basketball:

(Far left again.)

And football:

(Third from right.)

Quick! Someone get me some sequins! I'm languishing over here. :(

Must be time for a Kombucha. (Smooth segue, no?)

This is the Trilogy flavor, and I think it's my favorite so far (though Strawberry and Guava were both delish). It has raspberry, lemon and ginger juices. Love, love, and more love. Try being tired or hungry after drinking one of these. I dare you.

I also had another of Rachel's cottage cheeses in Pear Mangosteen (3rd day with Rachel's in a row! #4 is on deck for tomorrow!).

MAN is this a good flavor. So exotic for boring ol' cottage cheese, eh? I don't even know what a mangosteen is! What, like a fruit-livestock hybrid or something? Whatevs, it's freaking delicious, and I wanted to tell you so.

If I haven't put you to sleep yet, hop over to Bites of the Day and enter Becca's giveaway so you can pretend you're in culinary school too.


FoodsThatFit said...

I've always wished I knew how to dance! I swear I have no coordination and end up embarrassing myself.

Your pics are super cute! I love the gansta hip-hop one the best :)

Becca said...

Wow, a dirty dancing workout video...I'm not sure what to say about that!

Love the dance pics!

Lane/Big Sis said...

What, no pictures of the halftime wardrobe malfunction? Miss Jackson was SO copying you...

Diana said...

Bite your tongue! We must never speak of that!

Those pictures have mysteriously disappeared, anyway...

Missy said...

Great review! Sounds like fun but I think I would have to go with a more beginner dance video knowing me! I love the Zumba dvds! I can actually keep up with them!

Good idea renting the workout videos. I need to startd doing that since I don't have On Demand!

ElleMigliore said...

wow.. thanks for the review! I think i'm going to look for that dvd!!!

Dori said...

Great review, I never knew that existed! Now you inspired me to get those songs on my gym iPod!

Anonymous said...

omg, my roommate had this a couple weekends ago, but i didn't get to try it before it went back. i feel like i'm not really missing out on much now, though. thanks for the review! and i LOVE dd. in first grade, i'd rush home from school EVERY DAY so i could pop the vhs in and watch it in its entirety AGAIN (though i often fast forwarded through the boring penny parts).

your trip down memory lane was fun :-)

healthy ashley said...

I've never seen the Rachel's cottage cheese!

I am looking for a good dance workout DVD. I am so uncoordinated but want to learn SOMETHING while getting in a good workout. Too bad this dvd isn't for me! :(