Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review-- Trudie Styler's Scult & Tone Ballet

Last but not least for my exercise reviews is the Trudie Styler's Scult & Tone Ballet. Trudie Styler isn't an exercise guru or a professional dancer and probably isn't qualified for this type of exercise, but luckily, she is joined with a man who is. Let's take a look into this to see how I found this particular exercise DVD.

This DVD has several parts. First there are the exercises, a footwork tutorial, and then some bonus material. The two exercises are 25 minutes each and, though they can be completed all at once, are really meant to be completely separately at different times. In fact, both exercises are identical; they just swap out the barre with a chair. So if you think you're getting two exercises in one, think again. It's the exact same thing.

The footwork tutorial doesn't really go over proper ballet form as much as it just slows down the exercise. This is nice, but if you have ballet training, it shouldn't be too hard to be able to keep up with the exercises. Also, since you are doing pliés, it's probably best if you get some ballet training before completing this video. If you've never learned proper form, you could damage your knees. (Trust me, it will hurt after awhile if you don't get a professional to help you.)

Despite the slight rip-off with the identical exercises, I really liked the choreography for the exercise. I felt really stretched out and was sweating by the end of the workout. This exercise is heavily based on ballet, so there are no periods of crunches, push-ups (well, adapted push-ups where you use the barre), or other similar exercises that you'd find in a bootcamp video. Though this video has strong ballet influences, there are no jumps, so if you're worried about too heavy impact on your legs or knees, you'll be fine with this exercise. You almost never let go of the barre and will always have it there for your support in all the exercises.

I actually have few qualms with this exercise DVD, but one of the major issues is the instructors. James d'Silva, the man joining Trudie, seems to know what he's doing, but Trudie sometimes messes up her form. I also get the strong impression that this woman is a rich, bored housewife who decided one day to release a couple exercise videos. James attempts to connect with Trudie as they dance at the barre, yet she seems to be concentrating too hard to return the connection. Also, Trudie only joins James during the barre exercise. James is alone for the chair version of the exercise and the instructional video. If you're going to put your own name in the title, you should be the main expert AND be doing most of the exercises in my opinion.

Also, the setting is nice, but is it appropriate for a ballet video? The setting is in a Buddhist chapel, and it makes me feel like I'm invading a sacred place... Granted, it's not like I'm tap-dancing on Mecca's sacred pillar, but it still feels a bit awkward at times.
The narrator's voice is what I would consider the stereotypical British accent--you know, the one that American actors use to sound "posh" or "stuck up." It's not a problem, but I couldn't shake the idea of "Family Guy" from my head. Still, he does an excellent job of keeping up with the instructors and isn't confusing in his commands. One of the best, actually, in all of the exercises I've reviewed on here.

The camera is also great. The quality of the picture is clear. It's evident that there was great thought behind the zooms, cuts, and sweeps of the instructors as they perform their moves, and it leaves a seamless transition between moves. 
The music is also really, really nice. The DVD says it was composed and performed by a member of Sting, which makes sense because Trudie, here, has some major connections. The music was perfect. It was contemporary while being reminiscent of classical pieces. I loved how calming it was, and it was quite beautiful.

The bonus features are...weird. Like why would I give a crap about having a tour of Trudie's home? Or see behind-the-scenes footage of Sting's new musical video? Oh that's right, I don't give a crap. And I don't want to make eco-friendly wine, either. Completely pointless, but there is a bonus 10-minute meditation section if you are into that sort of thing. I looked a bit at it, and it seemed fine to me even though I don't really meditate.

Workout: 9/10
Instructor: 7/10
Setting: 8/10
Camera: 9/10
Level: Advanced-Expert
Is it actually ballet? Yes
Overall: 8/10

Overall, not a bad DVD at all. I was pleasantly surprised at how ballet the exercise actually was. Though Trudie is lackluster and pretty much just flaunting her wealth throughout the whole DVD,  I still feel like I had a decent workout at the end, which makes me give it a high score of 8.

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