URBAN HEAT HIP HOP WORKOUT

UrbanHeat

2003, $3.99, at Goodwill Superstore on San Fernando

First Impression: This is the right way to present a light saber.

Second Impression: But the wrong hat, no matter what the occasion.

After the host introduces herself, the camera pans over to her four backup dancers, posing on top of a prop taxicab. They look so edgy and cool. They wish someone would bring back Fame so they could pose on top of a taxicab every day.

They slide gracefully to their feet and start the warmup. The taxicab remains next to them throughout the workout as an inspiration to anyone who aspires to bring a motor vehicle onto a sound stage.

Because this is hip-hop, the dancers all wear baggy trousers. The two in the pink pants in the back row are supposed to show modified moves for beginners. I wonder if that’s because they are not good dancers. There’s a few times the camera catches them messing up as they attempt to clap along, and then giggling about it.

This DVD suffers from that peculiar editing choice of using gratuitous close-ups. Every time there’s a new move, they cut to the dancers’ smiling faces as they demonstrate it. I’m supposed to guess what their legs and feet are doing below frame, because I’m a mind reader.

My favorite move in this routine I’ll call “I’m a Little Teapot.” With feet wide, you fling arms above your head, then bend one arm to touch that shoulder. Here is your handle, the other arm becomes your spout when you bend your body towards that hand. When you tip it over, tea comes out!

Next, you circle the hand around your head while sliding your foot across the floor. That part looks really cool. This routine also has a few moves where you jump and land with feet crossed.

I tried to keep up with all the jumping stuff, because I really would like to learn to be a better dancer. But that night in bed I woke up to the loud protestations of my Achilles tendons. So maybe not so much jumping for a few days. And more stretching, gentle stretching, never enough stretching.

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