2002, $2.99 (in the original shrink wrapper!), at Goodwill Superstore on San Fernando

First Impression: Are we stretching? Are we marching in place?

Second Impression: Or both at once? Anything is possible!

Need to burn off some nervous energy while waiting for something to be announced?  Fearful to put down your phone for very long, but want to fit in some exercise? Look no further. This set of two, 20-minute workouts has you covered.

I hit Play with great anticipation. Another New Method DVD first introduced me, several years ago, to the surprising yet inevitable association between Pilates and bongo drums.  There’s been a featured bongo player in workout videos from Crunch Fitness, Yoga Booty Ballet, Mari Winsor, and even Jane Fonda.  I don’t understand it, but I’ve come to a place of radical acceptance.  And so, when I start up Workout One and there’s some guys playing bongos over in the corner, it feels like home.

The camera cuts to another angle, and there’s two more musicians Stage Right.  

This lady rocks out on her shakers with every bit of her soul. Oh, the freedom and joy lived by a shaker player in a Pilates video, filmed 18 years before a worldwide pandemic! How blissfully unaware she is of lockdowns, and face masks, and murder hornets. I live vicariously through her.

As the dancers gather in this abandoned Kabuki theatre, our workout begins.

We do some breathing, some stretching, and some stretchy breathing. We do some pliés, squatty things, and then a fancy, elaborate lunge. I find myself wiggling around to the intoxicating bongo beat. I’m having fun! I’m into it! The inexorable rhythm is working!

We do some little steppy-steps, attitude leg lifts, and then there’s an abrupt cut that takes us to the floor for core exercises.  Somehow, while they distract me with elaborate World Beat counter rhythms, my abs get a really good workout.

Now for the second session. We finally get a good look at the set piece behind the teacher.

That bridge is meant for a fair maiden to stand on while she sings of the sorrow of love lost. Why is no one singing on that bridge?

The music is a lot softer during this routine. The musicians play timidly because this instructor is all business and no one drowns out the sound of her voice! “There will be no singing on bridges, and only a very light tapping of bongos!” I’m sure she hissed right before cameras rolled.

Nevertheless, we get in some good stretches with twists, and some rollups. But then she’s asking for this:

Not today, Satan.

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