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BODYJAM 69 Review

bodyjam69-booklet

Overview

BODYJAM 69 (Born to Rage) is the 2014 Q3 release. Here’s the overall format:
  • Warmup
  • Isolations
  • Trap Jump
  • Everybody’s Back
  • Afro JAM 2014 (2 tracks)
  • Recovery
  • Alors on Danse (5 tracks)
  • Groovedown

There are some alternatives in this release.

  1. There’s an alternate track (OMG by Usher) that can be used in place of the Everybody’s Back or the Recovery tracks.
  2. The Mash It choreography replaces the last two Alors on Danse tracks and the Groovedown with two longer tracks.

General Thoughts

  • The music choices were excellent.
  • I enjoy the Mash It options.
  • The routines seem to be getting shorter (8×8) — maybe this is to fit with the Mash It concept. I kind of miss the longer routines (16×8).
  • The name of this release only makes sense if the Mash It tracks are used.

About the masterclasses over the past year… The cueing is done as though the participants are instructors who are already very familiar with the mechanics of JAM and the routine itself. For my classes, I find that members need more base cues and reminders about what move is coming next. Granted every class I teach, the coaching will change — for example, I don’t have to explain the mechanics of Push Knee when they’ve done it for three weeks already. Of course there are tons of base cues in the choreography notes. If I were a brand new JAM instructor, I would really struggle with just the cues that were given in the masterclass.

Track-by-track Breakdown

Warmup — Jumper

  • Good energetic song to get the class excited
  • I imagine masterclass filming is very high-energy, so watching how to start the class and observing some of the impromptu cues given provides me with a wider vocabulary (in this case literally, with saying “1, 2, 3” in Maori).

Isolations — BaDINGA!

  • Great track, and I appreciate the exposure to some stuff I didn’t listen to when it came out (i.e., K7).
  • The Charleston doesn’t really fit with this style — especially when the lyrics say “bounce.”

Trap Jump — Party Monster

  • Members love this!
  • Super-simple with a great beat and feel

Everybody’s Back — Everybody

  • The 90s always take people back, and I like this one more than the BODYJAM 62 routine.
  • The abbreviation of the routine near the end makes the choreography harder to memorize (i.e., cutting out one rep of the Double Jump and the Arm Wave).

Afro JAM 2014 — Wrecking Ball

  • A perfect way to start a block by setting up the moves deliberately and slowly, then turning up the tempo
  • For some reason I find the transition from the end of the routine (mambo with turn) to the Arm Combo a bit awkward. Maybe the momentum is off, but it doesn’t feel like that’s what my body wants to do.
  • The coaching in the masterclass was hit or miss — some sections were perfectly brief (“toes: out, in, out in”) and other times the presenter didn’t even say to repeat the routine.

Afro JAM 2014 — Pantsdown

  • I love the Tap with Double-back as a holding pattern — it reminds me of Jump Up from BODYJAM 57.
  • A great track for the routine and holding pattern

Recovery — Wild for the Night

  • This track is amazing — when I heard it for the first time, I was very interested to see how we’d be dancing to it.
  • For some reason, I had to really work on my technique for the Aeroplane arms to not make them look weird. It was a good challenge on my posture/frame technique.

Alors on Danse — Interlude

  • Again, I like the slow and deliberate setup of the moves.

Alors on Danse — All of the Lights

  • Brilliant choice of music — I wasn’t sure how this would work when I just heard the music, but the choreography makes sense.
  • The Queen Walk fits this piece, but it’s never used anywhere else (except the Mash It). Maybe there’s a different way to handle that issue.
  • On having the slow Push Knee after we’ve done several fast ones… is that to give confused people a chance to focus? Why not set it up slowly first, then speed it up?

Alors on Danse — Wizard

  • Excellent contrast — right into the shuffle from the onset
  • Very well coached on the masterclass
  • The Quick Step combo seems a little contrived and doesn’t look as clean as I’d like when doing it up to tempo.

Alors on Danse — Ladi Dadi

  • The coaching on the masterclass should have been clearer throughout (this probably relates to my general comment above about who the masterclass is really for).
  • I really consider the Hand Push Combo to be a filler/holding pattern — so when we breakout on the beat-drops, I want to be doing the routine, not a holding pattern.

Alors on Danse — We Like to Party

  • The “Swing Your Body / Kick Ball Change” seems arbitrary here — we only use it in this song and only at the beginning.
  • Again with the holding pattern comment; we only do the routine four times in the finale song, which seems like we get shorted a bit.

Groovedown — Do What You Want

  • The stretching sequence makes sense after I did it many, many times.
  • I’m sensing that the past three releases have had more of a BODYFLOW influence, given the BODYJAM program director is married to the future BODYFLOW program director.

Alternate — OMG

  • The routines are good and so is the track, but it seems very busy (lots of different moves) as a solo track.

Mash It — Cannonball & Born to Rage

  • Unlike typical BODYJAM releases, these two tracks were not cross-faded, which makes for a jarring transition from the Hand Push Combo to the Triple Tap.
  • The Queen Walk comes back, which makes the last half of the class more cohesive given that the Queen Walk is only used in one track of the standard Alors on Danse block.
  • Although the Mash It concept has only been around since BODYJAM 68, it feels a bit odd not to have a groovedown at the end of class.
  • The drop following “USA you were born to rage now come on!” — how can you not want to dance in breakout style?

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