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Review of "Hemalayaa: Bollywood Booty"

By James Wvinner (Director)
Acacia, 2008
Review by Beth T. Cholette, Ph.D. on May 12th 2009
Hemalayaa: Bollywood Booty

In the introduction to this DVD, instructor Hemalayaa (or just Hema, as she is sometimes referred to throughout) explains that the workout combines classical and modern Indian dance.  Although she acknowledges that part of the goal is to burn calories and to stay fit, she places a strong emphasis on wanting to help women (sorry, guys, but I don't think this workout is meant for you!) of all shapes and sizes love their bodies.  Admittedly, her enthusiasm is not only infectious but also appears genuine--Hemalayaa and her two female background exercisers really do seem to be enjoying themselves during this workout.  They are dancing on a set adorned with Oriental rugs and Indian-themed décor, and they are wearing exercise apparel with Indian touches as well.

If you choose "Select Workout" from the Main Menu, you'll find that this DVD actually offers four short workouts (each less than 15 minutes in length) in addition to the warm-up and cool-down, thus allowing users to customize the length of their workout.  I have broken down each of these segments in greater detail below.

Warm-Up (4 min).  Here Hemalayaa introduces the "walk," a move that replaces the basic march seen in many other workouts.  This is sort of a hip sway from side-to-side, and she uses it in place, moving forward, and moving back.  She also performs mini-pliés and teaches the arm movements that are used throughout the workout.  Although Hemalayaa gives the Indian names for these exercises, she explains them by asking users to envision everyday movements--e.g., lightbulb arms, painting the walls, etc.

Workout 1 (5.5 min).  Hemalayaa calls this segment "Butt Monster Moves."  She returns to the mini-plié introduced in the warm-up but adds many different variations, including toe taps, side reaches, butt kicks, leg lifts, etc.

Workout 2 (8 min).  The first half of this workout includes a series of side-to-side lunge variations; Hemalayaa cues different arm movements (including "Indian vogue arms") and moves at a relatively quick pace.  The second half includes some pliés as well as mini hops. Hemalayaa has you hop around so that you are facing away from the TV, and then you swivel just your head back over your shoulder while doing some fast hip flicks--this was a lot of fun!

Workout 3 (12 min).  This workout begins with the swan, a figure eight move with the hips.  Hemalayaa adds in a hip flick, going back and forth from side-to-side and constantly changing up the tempo.  However, because the swan and the hip flick were the only moves in this longer segment, it started to feel quite repetitive after awhile.

Workout 4 (11 min).  For this final section, Hemalayaa does not teach anything new; rather, she incorporates parts of each of the three prior workout segments above.

Cool-Down (3.5 min).  Hemalayaa concludes the workout by leading fluid, yoga-like stretching.

In addition to the above, this DVD has a Bonus Features section which includes several bonus dance segments.  First, there is the Bonus Classical Indian Dance, Odissi, a 7-minute dance which features Hemalayaa alone.  This is a very slow-moving sequence that really wouldn't qualify as a workout.  Then there are two additional bonus dances taken from other Acacia DVDs:  Liberation Dance (6 min), from Shiva Rea's Yoga Trance Dance, and Samba Reggae, from Dance and Be Fit: Brazilian Body featuring Kimberly Migel Mullen.  Both of these offer a more intense workout, but the first is more freeform, while the second is more traditionally choreographed.

Overall, Bollywood Booty offers users a fun, playful dance workout.  The moves are basic enough for beginners, and very little space is required.  However, more experienced exercisers are likely to find the intensity level of this workout to be lacking--when I performed the entire workout (44 minutes), I was in my target heart rate zone for only 15 minutes.  Furthermore, I didn't feel that the moves necessarily targeted my "booty" more than any other particular area.  Overall, this DVD is probably best suited to users looking for a light cardio workout; if you are in the mood to shake your booty, Hemalayaa is sure to bring a smile to your face.

© 2009 Beth Cholette

Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students at SUNY Geneseo. She is also a Top 100 Reviewer at Amazon.com and the official yoga media reviewer for iHanuman.com.

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