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DVD Review: So You Think You Can Dance – Cardio Funk & Tone and Groove

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Written by la familia de Musgo del Jefe

Musgo likes the TV show So You Think You Can Dance. It's a favorite summertime passion of the Musgo family. I also like working out. Maybe "like" is too strong a word, but I do go to the gym on a regular basis. What I've never been able to find is an "at-home" workout that would hold my attention for multiple viewings.

I was intrigued to find out that the cast of SYTYCD was putting out some fitness DVDs. The weight-loss market is a huge one to be sure. That area of the market is currently dominated by the powerhouse of Biggest Loser and the related marketing machine of that show – with workout videos, protein shakes, diet books and more. This seems like a safe way to initially market the likable kids that we get to know each summer on the show. Many of them will be appearing in films over the next year and this is a good way to keep them fresh in the public mind.

I turned over the actual workouts to my in-house experts – Senora Musgo (a workout veteran since the Jane Fonda days) and Pequeña Senorita Bailarín Musgo (my 11-year-old who dances five days a week in classes and is a stellar performer). Here's some of their thoughts on the routines.

So You Think You Can Dance Get Fit: Cardio Funk

Hip Hop: Lauren. Sra. Musgo found this to be a fun and energetic routine. Lauren's youth made this a little hard to match move for move.

Contemporary: Travis. Pequeña Srta. Musgo liked the moves that Travis came up with. Sra. Musgo thought the moves were much easier to follow than the Hip Hop. This is a favorite of the ladies who found it unique. It's probably not a coincidence that Travis is an up-and-coming choreographer on the show this season.

Disco: Courtney. This is Pequeña Srta. Musgo's favorite section of all the workouts. She liked the speed and moves of the dance. Sra. Musgo found those same things to be a drawback. The workout moves quickly and there's lots of moves to learn.

Cardio Funk Bonus Workout / Cool Down. In the "bonus workout", the dancers all get together and do a combined workout with parts of all three workouts combined. It's the same movements, just combined into a single workout. The exercisers in this house found this to be a section you might go to in future viewings when you've mastered the basic moves of each workout.

Bonus Interviews. Interviews with creator Nigel Lithgow and the three dancers who choreograph the workouts. Not much new information here but it's a lot of cheerleading and rah-rah to keep you interested while sitting on your couch.


So You Think You Can Dance Get Fit: Tone and Groove

Hip Hop: Twitch. This was the favorite of Bebé Musgo (my six-year-old). But he didn't really get out and do the moves. Both Sra. Musgo and Pequeña Srta. Musgo found Twitch's Hip Hop routine to be easier than Lauren's from the other disc. It doesn't move as fast and was easier to keep up with. Twitch was one of our family's favorites on the show last season – his personality is infectious and I expect we'll see him branching out beyond just dancing very soon.

Jazz: Katee. The Musgo family thought that the routine was relatively difficult. The moves were "weird" according to Pequeña Srta. Musgo. The workout as a whole didn't leave much of an impression on either of them.

Cha Cha: Dmitry. There were lots of hip action in this workout. That made it one of the most difficult routines of both discs. Dmitry worked pretty quickly and the viewer has to work to keep up once he starts his counts.

Tone and Groove Bonus Workout / Cool Down. Same "bonus workout" as the previous disc with moves from all three routines.

Bonus Interviews. Also the same Nigel interview and the same behind-the-scenes type of interviews, just with three different choreographers.

Overall impressions of the discs from the Musgo ladies: The slow teaching of the moves makes it easier to pick up the moves than most workout discs. The choreography is pretty basic compared to what they do on the show, but still challenging enough to feel like your learning something new. The cardio workout portion of each section has a good pace of movement that will certainly make the most experienced dancer break out in a sweat. Overall it's a fun way to get in your cardio workout. The discs are great for fans of the show that don't get much of their favorite dancers once the season is over.

The discs weren't without their problems. All of the dancers were guilty of over repeating "just have fun" and "if you're not ready to move on, go back on the DVD to review." That seems like common sense for anyone that's used a DVD or DVR in the past 20 years. These are dancers not fitness instructors. And while they probably received lots of fitness advice, there is not any true "fitness" advice. There's no reference to muscle groups or advice during warm-up and cool down. Even the Tone video didn't focus on specific muscle groups as the title would suggest. Most other fitness videos offer modifications to the exercises. There were not alternatives offered for those that are true beginners or can not follow the moves exactly. All of the background dancers performed the same moves – one or more could be showing simpler versions of the same moves.

The discs are a nice addition to the So You Think You Can Dance family. The dancers are energetic and fun to watch do what they do best. As strictly an exercise video, they can't live up to the standard set by Jillian Michaels and the other Biggest Loser trainers. Those people are exercise professionals who know how to motivate through an entire workout. I don't discount that these will appeal to fans looking for an occasional break from their other routines. I think the Musgo women here found them to be very entertaining. But if it's a true workout your looking for, keep looking.

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