2004, $2.99, at Goodwill on Brand, in Glendale

First Impression: She’s rocking the glamourflage!

Second Impression: It’s the least flattering angle from which to photograph a woman’s upper arm. There’s a reason “after” fitness photos are posed with hands on hips.

This DVD has three ten-minute hip-hop routines that, the host helpfully explains, are taught in sections called “eight counts.” This is how you would explain choreography to a visitor from Mars. That information is so basic, even I can follow along.

I am not disappointed! The instructor is very good at demonstrating the elements of each move and then connecting them together. Incidentally, her hair’s been done by the same person who inflicted the inch-wide caramel highlights upon Kelly Clarkson during her American Idol days. On camera, the highlighted pieces join at the crown, and it looks as if a giant claw is grabbing her head. It’s actually kind of badass. I might start doing it.

Each routine builds gradually from a “lifeline,” a simple move that you can always go back to if you get lost. This is the squarest hip-hop I’ve ever encountered. I think all three routines involved some sort of Grapevine, which I also learned how to do from Richard Simmons and Christy Lane.

Other moves in the repertoire are Waterfall Arms, Step Back and Cross Arms, and Kick and Pump Fist. There’s a move called Outrageous, which isn’t really, it’s just holding your forearms in front of you while moving your elbows to the side. But by far my favorite move is the Brush Off. You brush off each knee, then each shoulder, then jump with your feet together and one arm to the side. It’s a fun little move to break out while waiting for the elevator to impress your co-workers, if they are not dancers.

Flush with my elevator lobby success, I am determined to commit at least one of these routines to memory. Busting out a Mickey Mouse Club-appropriate hip-hop sequence is a great party trick. So this DVD is now in my regular rotation, and each time I do it, the patient, helpful instructor grows on me a little bit more. I don’t even cringe when she says, “This move is called the Saltshaker. Why? Because you’re shakin’ up your salt!”


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