The Dance Off the Inches (DOTI) series offers various dance workout DVDs, usually with different themes. "Cardio Hip Hop Party" provides three routines which, according to the DVD case, feature "hot dance styles." This video is led by Jennifer Galardi, a star of several prior DOTI releases as well. Galardi instructs this 41-minute workout live and is accompanied by two background exercisers, Dawn and Jenny. No modifications are shown for the choreography, which is moderately complex and with moderate impact. However, Galardi teaches a separate 26-minute "Step Guide" segment which breaks down some (not all) of the dance steps featured in the DVD. The guide includes instruction on the following ten moves: 1) Cabbage Patch, 2) Old School Shuffle, 3) Roger Rabbit, 4) House Hop, 5) Glide, 6) Sweep, 7) Slide, 8) Push, 9) Dig & Snake, and 10) Swivel Step.
The Main Menu of the DVD has options for Play—Chapters—Step Guide. Selecting Chapters brings up a submenu that lists the Warm-Up, Cool-Down, and each of the three dance segments separately. I have broken down each of these chapters in greater detail below.
WARM UP (5 minutes)
Galardi begins with an out-out in-in step. She then stands in place for isolations of various parts of the body, including neck, shoulders, chest, waist, and hips. Returning to the out-out in-in, she adds a heel-knee step and a few dynamic stretches to finish.
OLD SCHOOL (10.5 minutes)
This segment brings the heart rate up. Apparently, many of the moves—such as "Cabbage Patch," sort of wide march with triple step, and "Roger Rabbit," a backward step—are supposed to be familiar dance steps. However, I graduated from high school in the 80s and went to dance clubs in the 90s, and nothing Galardi did here looked familiar to me. What was a big odd about this section was that after running through the moves several times, Galardi adds an entirely new sequence. It seemed like she was starting a completely new routine (with small side kicks), but eventually, she does add this to the first series, taking it from the top.
HIP HOP HOUSE (10.5 minutes)
This was the highest energy segment, but also the one with the most impact. The "House Hop" is a relatively simple heel-side knee move, but the energy continues with the Glide, Sweep, and Slide. The final two combinations were a lot of fun: a high knee with opposite arm punch and a standing crunch with heel push.
VIDEO JAM (10 minutes)
This last routine is performed at a slower pace; in fact, I found it difficult to keep my heart rate elevated (one move is actually called "Stroll"!). The other issue I had with this section is that many of the moves (such as the opening "Push") required twisting your foot on the ground, which is difficult to execute on carpet—definitely not ideal for many home exercisers. This was my least-favorite section.
COOL-DOWN (5 minutes)
Galardi begins the cool-down with reaching side stretches, moving through plié. She also performs pelvic scoops, upper body circles, shoulder stretch, triceps stretch, and chest stretch. For the lower body, she moves through a forward bend and lunge to stretch the hip flexors.
As an instructor, Jennifer Galardi does an excellent job: her mirrored cueing is clear, and her instructions are easy-to-follow. Personally, however, I do not like dance workouts which are so complex as to require a separate tutorial to teach the moves. Most home exercisers like myself have limited time for our workouts, and so we certainly do NOT want to spend half as much time learning the moves as it takes to complete the actual workout! That being said, I did not watch the Step Guide prior to trying the dance routines, and I was mostly able to follow along, although it required a good deal of concentration. As noted above, some of the moves on this DVD are quite fun, and for those who easily learn new choreography, DOTI "Cardio Hip Hop Party" may be a good choice.
© 2013 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.