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Dancing with the Stars: Latin Cardio Dance

Lionsgate Home Entertainment // Unrated // September 16, 2008
List Price: $16.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by David Cornelius | posted October 29, 2008 | E-mail the Author
If "Dancing with the Stars: Cardio Dance" is starting to go stale on you as a workout, you'll be happy to discover a follow-up variant, "Dancing with the Stars: Latin Cardio Dance."

The idea is the same: the professional dancers from the hit ABC reality series lead you through a series of solo dance numbers that double as heart-healthy exercises. This time, the emphasis is put on routines with a Latin rhythm. While it's doubtful these routines will make you a winner on the dance floor, they do allow you to get a handle on the basic steps of each dance. (And I do mean basic - much of the routines involve stepping in place, while the bigger moves are far from complicated.) More importantly, of course, each routine is designed to work up a sweat and shed the pounds.

Dancers Cheryl and Maksim are the hosts for this entry (with nameless dancers filling the background). They lead you through four dance routines running ten minutes apiece, each one starting off slowly, as the instructors introduce you to the steps before really getting you moving. These dances were apparently chosen for their ability to target key areas of the body: the Merengue focuses on hips and abs; the Cha-Cha offers all-purpose slimming; the Samba works on thighs; and the Mambo goes after abs and legs. Really, though, there's so much emphasis on the steps that you'll feel most of the burn in your legs.

The duo make for fine hosts, clearly explaining each step. Once you familiarize yourself with these routines, you may opt for the music-only audio track, which eliminates the dancer's verbal instructions, which are aimed at beginners. Which makes sense, as the majority of the workout is for beginners; experienced fitness buffs may find these routines too easy or too repetitive, but for folks like me, such a simple approach is quite welcome. The music-only track allows you to ignore the host and concentrate on the background dancers, who mostly keep things moving without the slow explanations.

Advanced users may also find that despite the title, there's not really much cardio to these workouts, although, again, that probably won't be an issue for beginners who just need to get up and get moving.

Also included are two additional sections: a four-minute warm-up, where stretching prepares you for the dance workout, and a fifteen-minute "Dancer's Toning Workout," a straight-up aerobic set that Maksim describes as the regular workout routine for the show's dancers.

The disc includes the option of creating your own custom workout playlist, in case you want to go with a shorter routine, repeat favorite dances, or (like me) wish to get the boring aerobics part out of the way first, before the fun stuff kicks in.

The DVD

Video & Audio


There's no need for fancy visuals when it comes to workout videos, so the 1.33:1 full frame transfer for "Latin Cardio Dance" is perfectly fine in its basic presentation. The clean, crisp look would've looked better in widescreen (to better match the show's dazzling hi-def image), but there are no complaints here.

The soundtrack is a simple Dolby stereo, with the pleasant Latin beats coming through nicely, never overpowering the hosts' narration. As mentioned above, an alternate music-only track is included, and it, too, works quite well. No subtitles are offered, although the disc does support closed captioning.

Extras

Found via the extras menu is the disc's credits, which are separated from the main feature for some reason.

Also included are previews for other workout videos.

Final Thoughts

"Dancing with the Stars: Latin Cardio Dance" is a lively yet simple exercise program and a welcome companion to the previous "Dancing" workout disc. It's aimed mainly at beginners, so keep that in mind. It's to those beginners that this workout is Recommended.
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