Monday, 7 March 2022

Remembering step aerobics

 I heard a clip of a tune, Sandstorm by Darude, this evening and it triggered memories of step aerobics. This track was released globally in 2000 and it took the world and club scene by storm. 22 years later it is still a winner. (This is a super version played by a symphony orchestra)

I first hit a step aerobics class when I was 15 or 16. I spent much of my later teens and twenties addicted to the gym. Step aerobics, power pump, high-impact aerobics, yoga, super circuit, treadmill, and later spinning classes, were my fuel. Double aerobics classes after a 40-minute hard-and-fast treadmill session was my regular fix.

My gym had steps just like these.

Step aerobics is a winning exercise for feet, ankles, calves, quads, hammies and glutes. Brilliant too for balance, coordination and agility.

From around 1992 to 2007, I was in the gym almost 7-days-a-week gobbling up large doses of cardio. 

A highlight - certainly from the late 90s to mid-2000s - was an advanced step aerobics class with challenging combos. The first instructor to present a class that was as much mental stimulation (stacked choreography) as a physical delight was Belinda. As it happens, her boyfriend, a triathlete, was my teammate in my first adventure race - recruited through Belinda after I first learned of adventure racing. Over the xmas holidays when the gym was dead and our class numbers were low, Belinda would do even more complicated routines using two or more steps. I looked forward to these classes each year.

Around this time, another instructor began to emerge - Rory. His class was solid but didn't have the complexity of Belinda's class. Fast forward a few years and Belinda and Rory were seeing each other. Her influence on his classes took him up a few levels and for the next few years I rarely missed any of his weekly advanced step classes. 

Rory's classes were strong and well-constructed with new choreography each week. There were a number of regulars who attended his classes - and Belinda's before him. We were there to work. Hard. Rory's classes were very rewarding.

What I most appreciated about his classes was that he barely needed to speak. His cueing, timing and musicality were spot-on. His hand signals were clear. His movements strong and crisp. He worked hard up at the front and set a fine example.

He would build the choreography in blocks. Start building block one. Do one move, add the next, the next and the next to make one block. Then build the next block. Put block one and two together. Then build block three. Put one, two and three together. He would slow down complicated moves. Repeat a few times and then speed it up as he slotted it into the block. Build block four. Put blocks one, two, three and four together. Combining blocks. Step combo. 

For the last section of the class, Rory would play Sandstorm. We (the class) would completely focus on the routine. Not one word from him. The routine already learned and embedded. We would work the choreography putting all of the blocks together and just keep going and going and going until the song ran out.

Remembering the routine was the challenge. Getting through it without making mistakes was very satisfying. 

I miss step. 

I see there are some classes on YouTube. 

Gotta get me a step...

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