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Keeping Up With Some Fitness Vids Is A Stretch

3 Feb, 2003 By: Jessica Wolf

I'm just going to come right out and say it: Darrin's Dance Grooves is hard.

I mean, it's hard to the point of not being enjoyable, even with the high-energy music and fun, funky moves that mimic Britney and other young chart-toppers.

Or maybe it's just me. I certainly am not the most graceful person in the world. But good old Darrin moves so fast when teaching the two-minute routines of the video and assumes so much prior knowledge of dance terminology that I was often left standing hands on hips or scratching my head, staring perplexed at the TV screen in the middle of a combo.

Not the greatest workout I've ever had, to say the least. And I'm a fitness video junkie, so I have plenty with which to compare it. I taught aerobics all through college and have never before had a problem picking up complicated choreography from a video. But Darrin's Dance Grooves had me plopping right back into my overstuffed chair and reaching for the snacks. So I was really surprised to see how the video is ranked on exercise sales charts. As of Jan. 5, VideoScan had tracked the VHS at No.2, and the DVD was No. 1.

To me, this says a lot about the power of the teenage discretionary dollar, because that's really the market for Darrin's Dance Grooves -- the teens and young adults who are firmly ensconced in the music and the artists Darrin himself trains for their videos. I think I fit the average demographic of home workout enthusiasts -- female, late 20s to early 30s, busy people with a history of body image problems that makes working out at home sometimes a popular option, etc. -- and Grooves doesn't really fit into our mold — or our spandex. Or maybe it's us who don't fit into theirs.

Now I see that no matter how many fitness releases out there are marketed and designed for us -- the perennial fitness video consumers -- it really only takes some snazzy moves and hip-hop video clips to draw a different, younger, hipper crowd to our market in droves.

Not that it bothers me. There are still plenty of my favorites out there. But Darrin and his groovetastic moves made me feel old, uncoordinated and unmotivated -- pretty much the opposite of what you want from a workout. I have no doubt that the kids who it's really meant for had the exact opposite reaction. I guess I just halfway wish I was still one of them.

What the heck, back to my “Step Reebok” tapes. I'll just continue to pound my knees into oblivion and shake my cane at Darrin's Dance Grooves Vol. XXII when it arrives.

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