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Although I really enjoy dance workouts, I was a little wary of this one, as I had heard that instructor MaDonna Grimes didn't cue very well and that there was a lot of "take-it-from-the-top" movements, which I dislike. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I LOVED this video! The workout basically breaks down into 3 segments: warm-up, dance routine, and cool-down (these are not chaptered on the DVD). The 10-minute warm-up gets right into some basic dance steps such as the merengue, getting your heart rate up right away. MaDonna sometimes fails to fully explain the movements, but my minimal experience with just a few prior dance videos allowed me to follow along with no problems. There are a few small jumps included in this segment, but they don't appear until about 5 minutes into it, when you're already well warmed up; some basic stretches conclude this section.

During the 12-minute dance routine section, MaDonna introduces new moves one at a time, gradually building up to a complete dance routine. When teaching the moves, she did something I'd never seen before that I really liked: instead of teaching one segment with 3 different moves, a second segment with 3 different moves, and then stringing the two segments together (I always find it difficult to remember the first segment), she'll teach 3 moves and then introduce 2 new ones, but she combines the last move from the first 3 with the 2 new ones (I hope this makes sense!). This method makes it very easy to remember the order of the moves, as you're constantly combining the older moves that you've already learned with the new moves. Even more importantly, the moves are FUN--mambos, hops, hip swings, etc.--and the time just flew by!

The workout ends with a brief (4-minute) cool-down. I liked the neck stretches that were included here, although some people might have to be careful with these. The DVD also includes a 10-minute bonus workout for the lower body: MaDonna leads you through 4 different types of squats, performing several sets of each, and she ends with some brief standing and floor abs work. An additional DVD feature is a music-only workout option. Some people might complain that this workout is too short (about 26 minutes overall), but MaDonna packs a lot of both exertion and fun into that time period, making this video perfect for anyone who wants to get in some quick, intense, yet extremely enjoybable cardio work. Highly recommended!
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on June 9, 2006
The first time I tried this workout, I loved it so much that I instantly had to do it again. On the cover of the DVD it says, 'leaves you sweating for more', and with regards to my experience with it so far, that is exactly what it did. It left me sweating, and wanting more!

Here's what you get:

10MIN WARMUP - This combines a few low impact dance moves with a few stretches. Some of the stretches are a bit 'hmmm...', but you only do them after you're VERY warm. This is around 10 minutes, which is a good length for a warmup. Some of the moves you learn in the warmup will be re-used in the dance portion of the workout.

15MIN DANCE - Madonna teaches you the moves one by one, building together a longer routine. One thing that I love about her teaching is that once she's taught you a move, she practices what I like to call 'the transition'. This is where you practice the move that comes just before the new move, as well as the new move. If that doesn't make sense, say that she's taught moves 1-3 and is teaching you the 4th move. Once she's taught the 4th move, she practices moves 3 and 4, before going through the whole routine from the 1st move. This Latin combination includes hip swings, mambos, cha-chas, and a very tricky samba-travel step.

5MIN COOL DOWN - Here, Madonna takes you through some of the stretches that you did in the warmup, as well as some neck stretches - some people will need to be careful with these.

10MIN BONUS - This is not a african-latin dance segment, but rather a set of intense toning moves. She teaches 4 different types of squats, as well as some ab work.

Madonna and her group of exercisers - both male and female - exercise in a nice street-dance-studio-esque set. If that doesn't set the scene, the floors are polished wood, and the walls are dark red brick, with pillars, potplants, and windows scattered throughout. The windows in the room don't overlook anything, but seem to have a screen of turqoise light outside it; emulating a blue sky. It kind of reminds of the old Ricki Lake sets (back in the day!).

In terms of instructor personality, Madonna is a breath of fresh air. She is relaxed, laid back, and interacts with the other exercisers in a 'hey-wassup-mate' manner. In addition, they also interact with her the same way - giving a fun atmosphere; like being in a class, but not an extreme 'whoop-it-up' atmosphere like in Kathy Smith's Timesaver Cardio.

For those of you who are absolute beginners to dance, you will find this difficult. What I suggest you do is ignore the arm movements for the first couple of times that you try the DVD, and focus on the getting your legs right. Also, ignore the samba-travel step and just shuffle here; thats a very difficult step, and it'll only take practice-practice-and-more-practice to get it right. Madonna moves through the moves pretty quickly, only giving a couple of opportunities to learn the steps before incorporating them into the routine. She is good at cueing, but not so good at teaching the moves.

A word of warning, the second move that she teaches in the dance portion (which also appears in the warmup) involves you swinging your arms and your head. Take it easy on this move, since I really got into it, and it was inevitable that I heard a big CRACK from my neck, oops! It looks like Madonna and one of the other girls are going hard out with this move, but thats because their hair is long, so for your safety, don't try to emulate them.

A refreshing, intense, short workout that is LOADS of fun! Cheers!
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on February 11, 2005
I love this workout! Since moving out of the city, I have been unable to find a gym that offers a good variety of group aerobic classes, so although I use a gym for weight training - I had to find another way to get my cardio in. I did a lot of searching in stores and online and came upon this DVD. I was nervous to order it, but I am glad I did. It is basically just dance moves. For the record, I trained in dance for over 20 years including studying African and Caribbean Dance. The moves in this routine really aren't as complex as those found in the African and Latin Dance forms - which is good - African Dance is difficult! The moves are simple but fun. VERY FUN! And simple enough that you can pace yourself - making it as easy or as demanding as you wish - WHICH IS THE MARK OF A GOOD AEROBIC ROUTINE AND INSTRUCTOR!

I also love MaDonna Grimes' personality - she is so easy going and cool - I much prefer her to the typical tan and blonde buffy video instructor!

Although I rated it 5 stars - I don't like the music, it lacked oomph for me, but I never like the music in classes or DVD's so don't listen to me!

If you are looking for a fun way to workout - check this out - it will get the heart pumping and burn the fat - and routine is so much fun that time flies when you follow this!
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on August 14, 2006
Hey everybody! I figured that I would leave a review because the reveiws from other people are what made me buy this tape in the first place. So here goes nothing..... This DVD was awesome. I really enjoyed the high energy and friendly MaDonna Grimes teaching style. I do this workout 4 times a week and I haven't tired of it yet. The dance steps are a bit tricky at first but if you stick with it two or three times then you'll get it and have a blast. I've lost 48lbs in the past two months and I love it. I throw in some light weights twice a week and I'm looking great!!
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I have many dancing DVDs I love & been doing for about 2 years now, but I still need a breakdown. She incorporates cute, aerobic movements to increase heart rate, but not something you'd want to be caught dead on the dance floor. She start a new movement does it only 2-3x in normal speed, no slowing down or break-down, then moves on the next, to build a routine.
They say you can rewind if you can't get it. I'd be very frustrated by having to keep stopping, grab the remote & rewind to right spot over & over & in slow-mo.... What's wrong with teaching it 1/2 times several times? Once you have mastered the steps, you can just do it normal while the dancers go slow.
I like DVDs more where you stick to it more then 1-2x to really get a feel for it before turning it into a whole routine. The music had a nice beat, but it was about one step from elevator music. She does have a nice, upbeat, friendly personality & talks to the other dancer which is nice.
The entire workout is ONLY 28 minutes long INCLUDING the warm up & cool down.
The bonus workout w/Madonna is 2 min of warm up with basic 80s/90s aerobics fast-paced arm & high kick leg movements, then 3 min of a $*#!load of squats, then 1.5 min of basic plies, then 1 min of standing toning abs/leg pose, then on the floor for 1 min for basic ab crunches w/legs in air, then 3 stretches for legs & spine. She does it in your basic gym aerobics instructor, no dance or flair.
The DVD also has a "performance" after the cool down of her & the 3 girls & 2 guys dancing in a modern dance & most had moves that looked learned in dance school & some break dancing. There's trailers for her other video & the Havana one & a belly dancing one.
Madonna Grimes had made previous simple stage, very complex dance steps videos which she breaks down into 8-count & teaches in 1/2 time at first & assumed this would be broken down as well.

You can see a trailer at collagevideo
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on February 16, 2008
I bought this workout DVD hoping it would truly be for beginners. I was sadly mistaken because evidently you need to know how to do the Salsa, Samba & Mambo before participating in this workout. I was very disappointed with MaDonna Grimes indicating this was for beginners. I love her energy, but I like a workout where the instructor explains the moves much more slowly. I've watched her on Fit TV, along with other instructors, but this workout wasn't for me as a newbie.
Auntiec in Wisconsin
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on September 2, 2011
After reading some of the one star reviews, I wanted to say something about this workout DVD. I am in no way trying to discount the experiences of others, but I think some of the reviews were misleading and may turn off potential beginners from participating in this workout. I think this is a really great video for beginners, as almost all of the moves are simple.

First off, yes Madonna Grimes does use terminology that most people do not know without having dance experience. That being said, she DOES show you how to do them (the camera focuses on her footwork as she does the step 3-4 times). Most of them (Samba, Meringue) are actually really easy. No, she does not show you in slow motion or use words to explain the steps, but they're REALLY self explanatory if you watch the video.

Second off, just to be clear, I am not a professional dancer by any means. I am quite awkward, my balance is awful, and I am waaay clumsy. Still, I like to wiggle and shake so I decided to get this dance DVD. I'll admit it - the first 2 times I did it, it was difficult and seemingly impossible to master the moves. But dance and fitness are not about being be easy - it's about challenging yourself and rising to the occasion, so I kept with it. I've done this video several times and have been able to master everything except for one move (I'm way too clumsy to do a traveling cross legged samba step). So I modify that part slightly so that it's a move I can do. I still try to do it sometimes, but at the end of the day I just want to make sure that I get a workout.

Madonna Grimes has a lot of style when she dances. I think that can be intimidating for some beginners. I know for myself, I was trying to match her style, and it made me mess up a lot. But once I got over it and let my own body carry me through the moves, I was able to get a really good workout. After doing the video a lot now, I have my own style. I mean, it's an awkward nerdy style, but it is still a style and I feel more confident about myself.

I only give this DVD 4 stars because I didn't like it as much as her hip-hop workout.
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on April 30, 2010
I bought this dvd because it says "for beginners." I was disappointed and angry that I wasted my money and can't return an opened package. Ms. Grimes just starts dancing, with her team, but gives no specific instruction..., uses names that a beginner won't understand and goes into high speed aerobic exercise moves. Only someone with experience doing this type of exercise could call this a beginners routine. I expect instruction on a beginners tape and not an exhibit of what the instructor can do. It really does seem to be all about her.
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on August 25, 2009
This DVD is NOT for beginners. I'm not a dancer and she was throwing dance moves out that I had no idea what they meant. I bought this from the reviews, but I was really disappointed. It's not much fun to do when you don't know what the heck is going on. The music is boring and even if I knew what she was talking about, it wouldn't be something I'd want to listen to over and over. Would not recommend for anyone.
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on March 4, 2006
Just did this workout for the first time today... Was I sweating? Yes. Moving? Yes. Heart pumping? Yes. Having fun? YES! It begins with a warm up that already has your heart going and introduces some of the moves you'll use later. During the dance section be ready because she goes fast. There are no slow-downs, or break-downs. It's a full dive in and dance from the very beginning. Would this be the best first dance DVD? Probably not. But if you're used to some of these moves, follow easily, or are willing to do it over and over until you get it, the this quick under 30 minute work out packs a real punch. There is a short cool down that wasn't quite long enough for me (hence the 4 stars) so I did some extra strechting after it was over. But MaDonna's energy is high and was very appealing to me, and despite some huffing and puffing I had fun making it to the end. I expect this DVD to become a favorite.
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