I’ve finally been cleared to work out after straining what turned out to be my gluteous minimus–a particularly unglamorous injury. I’ve been easing back into things by doing gentler workouts, so today I tried Misty Tripoli’s Body Groove: Delicious Dance, a DVD I ordered about a month ago when the price dropped from $40 to $20!
These workouts remind me of music-teacher training workshops I’ve done in the Orff and Dalcroze methods. If you’re not a music teacher or a musician, chances are you’ve never heard of these programs. But the similarities are uncanny! Essentially, Orff movement encourages kids to use their bodies in an expressive way (“be a tall, tall tree! Now a wind comes and lifts up your roots and moves you around the room! Now all your leaves are falling off! Now the winter has come and you’re frozen!” Meanwhile, music plays.) I’ve spent many an hour prancing, twirling, tip-toeing, and skipping around a room filled with otherwise sane adults, all in the name of music education. The Dalcroze approach, on the other hand, is intended for adult musicians as well. There’s an established program at Juilliard, for example. Dalcroze is all about connecting to music through the body. Essentially, your movements reflect what the music sounds like as you react to what you hear. Misty Tripoli also matches movements to the music, but her work strives for the opposite goal: to connect to the body through music. So although they are trying to achieve different results, the process feels pretty similar!
Here’s a Dalcroze class:
And here’s a sample of a live class of Misty’s (she doesn’t have clips of the DVD on youtube so I can’t embed them-you can find them on her site)
Misty believes that you should move your body in a way that is natural and specific to you. You dance along with her and her class, but Misty gives you just a base suggestion of a move. Then, within the structure of what she suggests, you create your own ways of executing the movement. For example, you have to pulse your arms twice, but you can do it out to the sides, up, behind you, one in front and one in back, or whatever else occurs to you. You can take large steps or small. You can move forwards, backward, or turn. I do love a class where there’s no wrong or right! I previewed some of this DVD before doing it, but you really don’t need to. The instructions are very clear, and the movements are up to you, so really you can just pop it in and go.
The movements align nicely with the music, although the music doesn’t inspire me to move as much as my own playlist does, (thank you Taio Cruz!). Still, Misty did a really good job commissioning original songs that work well with her choreography. No one in the fitness video world seems to have the money to pay for actual hit songs, so I appreciate that she didn’t just go for the typical canned synthesizer beat. The tempo and style of each song vary greatly, which keeps things interesting. If you do all the workouts, the range of moves is pretty extensive—you can work pretty much every muscle! One move I liked required that you stop while kicking out one leg and balancing on the other foot. Then, you bring the leg in, curling in on yourself while still balancing on one foot. That was pretty challenging for me! I think if I did this workout regularly, it would help with my balance, along with just generally becoming looser and freer in my body. However, I didn’t break much of a sweat, maybe because I didn’t have enough room to really get into it, or maybe because I was accommodating my injury somewhat—it’s hard to tell. So it didn’t have a lot of cardio benefit for me, but I still think it’s still worth doing for the other benefits. Misty also has some floor work for core strength that continues encouraging you to do your own thing: “lie on your back. Lift up one limb. Now an opposing limb. Now another, and another. . . now slowly lower everything.”
Delicious Dance has 5 workouts on one DVD, and each workout consists of six to seven different songs. Since each song has a variety of different moves, and of course you’re free to adapt them, you don’t get too bored. That said, my mind did wander a little. It might have been more fun if I had more space to travel around in. I also think it would be more fun in a live class, primarily because Misty is so charismatic.
Misty comes across as a powerful, confident and dynamic woman, while also being effortlessly cool, beautiful, and at ease in her body. She reminds me of a number of women I’ve met over the years, all of whom were all in strong leadership positions with exceptionally loyal followings. Misty is the kind of teacher you’d find at Kripalu or the Omega center in New York—encouraging female empowerment, playfulness, individuality, and non-judgement. I wouldn’t expect to see her as a trainer on the Biggest Loser any time soon! So I wonder–could this kind of approach to exercise ever take hold in this country, or will it always be a little off the beaten path for most people? I don’t know, but I love variety in my collection and I’m really happy to have these workouts as an option!