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BODYJAM 72 Review

bodyjam-72-booklet

Overview

BODYJAM 72 (AKL Attack the Beat) is the 2015 Q2 release. Here’s the overall format:
  • Warmup
  • Isolations (2 tracks)
  • Rock ‘N’ Roll
  • Attack the Beat (6 tracks)
  • Recovery
  • Rage the Night Away (8 tracks)
  • Groovedown

For the Mash It block, the last two tracks of the Rage the Night Away block and the Groovedown are replaced by the five Mash It tracks. (My thoughts on just the music can be found here.)

Context

  • For this quarter, my group fitness manager is trying to find a better day/time for BODYJAM on the schedule; therefore, classes have been temporarily cancelled.
  • We had a “Spring Sneak Peek” launch day where the half-length formats of the Les Mills classes were presented. I taught the Warmup and the Rage the Night Away blocks. There was also a Sunday Zumba class that I subbed in BODYJAM for in May.
  • Although I’ve spent quite a bit of time mentally (and in practice sessions) with this release, I have 1 1/2 classes worth of actually teaching it.

Track-by-track Breakdown

Warmup — Freaks (Extended Mix)

  • I couldn’t wait to teach this warmup — driving track that very much fits in the “fresh” style of JAM
  • The Double-Kick Drop move was used in the last release’s Warmup track; the last time I recall using a stutter step was in “The Insane Block with the Biggest Song Ever In It” from BODYJAM 62.
  • I teach on a small stage, so getting people to use the space when doing the stutter step with walk back wasn’t really successful
  • The Bernie move felt a little out of place.

Isolations – Partition / Yoncé

  • The Partition Wind Down move fits well with the music (however, the partition is supposed to wind up).
  • Lots of good body awareness happens with the Hammer (keeping one arm still while isolating the other, range of extension for the arm circle).

Isolations – Partition (Dave Aude Main Mix)

  • The Walk Around – Snap Over Head makes people consider using more space around them.
  • We learn the Turn the Chest move as a way of considering arm lines and torso isolation; plus, this move comes back in the Rock ‘N’ Roll track, meaning we don’t have to spend time learning it later on.

Rock ‘N’ Roll – Proud Mary

  • As I mentioned in the music write-up, this style of song isn’t typical of JAM, which adds a little positive variety.
  • From a choreography perspective, members get plenty of time (i.e., first half of the track) to understand the mechanics of four simple moves.
  • When I first watched the masterclass, I was concerned that the Double Turn was going to be harder to execute; however, if you know it’s coming and keep the feet under the hips, it’s very achievable.
  • The only choreography “gotcha” is that you have to remember that after the third time through the routine, you go right to the Fast Rollin’ Wave. Generous precueing helps here.

Attack the Beat – Business

  • Although I understand why we start with the Drop Knee, it can be confusing when you start with moves that you don’t use until the middle of the routine (i.e., learning the sequence out of order).
  • To be executed well, the Attack the Beat move has multiple moving pieces (arm timing, footwork, posture change), so having the few extra measures to drill the setup helps.
  • The aggressive feel for the Attack the Beat blends very well with this early Eminem track

Attack the Beat – Bang It to the Curb

  • The feel of this track makes it a perfect way to learn the Chest Pop and Knee Glide; although it seems like we could have had fewer reps for the setup at the beginning.
  • Gigi on the masterclass gave some very simple and well-timed cues for the Kris Kross to ensure people know what arm to grab, and the rhythm of the claps.
  • Again, having the extra measures to really nail the timing of the Kris Kross seems helpful.

Attack the Beat – Revolution

  • It feels really good to put what we know of the routine to the beginning of this track.
  • The setup for the Quick Turn seems to go on for longer than I’d like. Turns are always the trickiest thing for people to get (direction, balance, timing, posture), so I imagine that’s why we get extra reps here.
  • Adding the Hand Bounce — which we don’t apply until the next track — was an interesting way to segue the choreography between songs.

Attack the Beat – The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

  • This track is instantly recognizable, even if this is the full track (rather than the edited one used for the TV show).
  • Any time we have a rep count that isn’t divisible by four, I have issues with memorization. For example, we keep the Jump to Me with hand Bounce going two extra reps; the same goes for the Toe Rock with Knee Snap.
  • Also whenever we have crossfade to the next track where the routine straddles the boundary, I have to work harder to make sure I really know what’s happening (i.e., I can’t simply rely on musical phrases).

Attack the Beat – Talk Dirty

  • This song has been getting airplay this year, so I’m glad we only have a small taste of it. It’s fun to dance along with, but we don’t need to hear the entire song.
  • My only gripe with the masterclass here is that Gandalf sounds like he’s cueing for the routine to start (in two places), which made it confusing when dancing with the masterclass. It also doesn’t help that you start the Attack the Beat routine before the chorus begins.

Attack the Beat – Lawnmower

  • As I predicted, the more I danced to the music, the less the jarring, distorted sounds bothered me. I’m pleased that JAM isn’t focused on just catchy songs, and that the boundaries are pushed.
  • The aggressive stance of the music meshes well with the Strong Arms Out with Massive Body Drop.
  • Just like the last release, we only do the routine twice, and there’s a decent-sized holding pattern between the routines.

Recovery – Partition / Yoncé

  • Shortest recovery ever! (1:51)
  • The Hip Roll with arm extensions are a perfect match for this track.
  • The Grimy Hands move took me way longer to get than I expected. It seemed like I could get just the knees or just the upper body going, but when I put them together, one of them stopped functioning.

Rage the Night Away – Cannonball (Earthquake)

  • The liner notes say it best: “Some cool Trap to set up the combo.”
  • I remember having some style issue with the Elbow Bounce. I’d look at the masterclass and look at myself in the mirror and find that the missing style point was to add a bend at the wrists.
  • The Arm Throwdown makes for powerful arm lines and feels really good with the energy of the track.
  • Although slightly out of order within the track, by the end of this song we’ve learned the start of the Rage the Night Away routine.

Rage the Night Away – Booyah

  • Just a little musical shift to give us some more time to practice what we’ve learned.

Rage the Night Away – Bang Bang

  • The Bang Bang move reminds me a bit of the Attack the Beat move. The arms/elbows, feet, and body are doing many things at once in a short period of time. Once you do it enough times, it’s very easy to repeat, though.
  • I understand that Gandalf wanted the Bang Bang move to line up with the lyrics in the chorus; that comes at the expense of having the chorus land in the middle of the routine we’ve learned so far.
  • A minor statement about the masterclass (and coaching notes)… “Freeze!” doesn’t mean rock your hips and bring the arms up overhead: It means “stop moving.”

Rage the Night Away – Shocker

  • The amount of time we get to set up the Cross Turn is perfect.
  • I’ve gotten much better about verbally reversing directions (e.g., saying “right arm up” when I’m having to raise my left arm). However, the Arm Swing always tripped me up — I’d swing down to my right and I’d say “right.”

Rage the Night Away – How We Party

  • Just like Booyah from before, we have a slight change in musical style to cement the move we’ve just learned.

Rage the Night Away – Shocker

  • This reprise gives us a chance to slowly learn the last part of the routine.
  • In my opinion, I would have liked a stronger/cooler move to round out the routine than a ball-change with a simple arm move.

Rage the Night Away – Rage the Night Away

  • Given we’ve just done quite a bit of cardio in the last track, the Wave & Bounce holding pattern is useful. However, I’m not a fan of introducing throwaway holding patterns — as opposed to standard ones like Step Touch, Step Tap, Hip Rock — because they almost feel like a secondary routine at times.
  • I like that we get a chance to do the entire routine at a slower tempo to really focus on the moves working as a whole, but each with their own style.

Rage the Night Away – Rage the Night Away (Flostradamus Remix)

  • We know the moves, so let’s dance the routine six times and smash it!
  • Having the holding phrases lets the routine breathe a little. The longer phrases allow for additional crowd-building, especially if you get off the stage.
  • When memorizing, I found extra effort was needed because we have three holding patterns: Hip Sway, Tap, and Wave & Bounce.

Groovedown – Best Mistake

  • Most of the stretches are pretty standard, although I like the Elbow Body Contraction as a contemporary move to extend the arms.

Wrapping Up

The styles (and ages) of the music was wonderfully varied in this release — I feel like there’s something for everybody. It was different to have a longer front block (12 x 8) that seemed busier than the back block (8 x 8), so we’ll see if the trend of differing lengths continues.

I’ve seen previews of the BODYJAM 73 track list, and it appears that the trend is toward more tracks but with shorter lengths. Perhaps this could be influenced by DJ podcasts such as Hardwell On Air, where you get a variety of shorter tracks.

It would have been nice to teach this release more — which would have also nudged me to learn the Mash It choreography. These releases take quite a while to really absorb so that participants get a solid experience, so the more I teach, the better return I have on the time invested. Hopefully BODYJAM will return to my gym’s schedule, maybe in the fall.

I haven’t decided how in depth I’ll learn the next release, considering I likely won’t be able to teach it; however, stay tuned in case I decide to do my regular write-ups!

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