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Q2.22 RELEASES: WELCOME TO THE FUTURE

by Sarah Shortt

new-releases
new-releases

THE MASTERCLASS

“The Q2.22 Masterclass was one of our most technologically challenging Les Mills shoots ever,” says Producer Ross Peebles. “We’ve been watching the development of XR (extended reality) technology for some time and always believed it has awesome potential for Les Mills workouts. What is XR? Well broadly speaking, it’s where you extend a physical reality through the use of computer technology.

“Say what?! Well, for this filming we had our Presenters on stage – doing the workout – but by using some pretty high-powered tech, we were able to graphically extend the reality of where they were. You’ll see in BODYJAM® that Gandalf and his team were transported to a stage high above a futuristic cyber-city, while in BODYBALANCE®, Kylie and the team present from an outer-worldly virtual yoga space. BODYCOMBAT® was also filmed using XR and includes some pretty awesome and inspiring locations.

“For this shoot we used Unreal Engine (UE) to drive the graphics. UE is software from the video gaming industry, but it’s also become a big part of the film-making industry. We’ve only scratched the surface with this Masterclass round, and we hope to bring more XR workouts to Les Mills in the future.

“This round also included the filming of Les Mills Stretch 5 and 6 Releases. For these classes we created an ethereal set using LED screens, lighting and over 200 metres of fabric. We also wet-down the studio floor – which created some additional challenges for Kelly MacDonald and her team – but the resulting reflections in the water are sublime!

“For the remainder of the programs, we decided to go old ‘skool and use 288 parcan lights. Parcans have been a workhorse light in the music and entertainment industry for years and have a beautiful tungsten look and feel. From three-piece bands in your local pub to bigger stadium concerts, anyone who’s experienced live music has seen a gig lit with parcans. So we thought, why not light a Les Mills shoot with them too?

“We created 4 separate grids of 72 lights each – and we called this setup ‘Amps and Output!’ This setup gave us the flexibility to create slightly different looks for different programs and we named each look appropriately. There’s “sandwich press” for LES MILLS BARRE®, “4x4” for LES MILLS GRIT® and “The Sunbed” for BODYPUMP®. ‘Amps and Output!’ took a lot of planning. Every light was on its own dimmer circuit, and the cabling and power distribution for all the lights weighed in at over three tonnes, but we think the final results speak for themselves. Just don’t ask anyone what the electricity bill was!

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“XR-filming does create some unique challenges – one of the main ones is that you can usually only film with one camera. This is because the camera has an infra-red tracking system so that that the software creating the images on the LED screen behind the Presenter knows exactly where the camera is at all times.

“Working in real time, the system processes this tracking information so that the image on the LED screen behind the Presenters is perfectly positioned for the angle and position the camera is in. If the camera is low down, the image on the screen behind the Presenters shows more sky; likewise, if the camera is high, the screens show more ground. It also constantly adjusts the parallax and perspective so that the image behind the Presenters is “correct”.

“Unreal Engine also constantly tracks the position of the stage, so that it can create the virtual ground around the stage. No, Gandalf and the BODYJAM team weren’t really flying through a cyber-punk city, and those spaceships and other holograms weren’t really there either!

“However, only having one camera means each take needs to be perfect for learning the choreography, as well as perfect for performance. This meant filming was done on a ‘track-by-track’ basis rather than one continuous take or ‘as-live’ class.”

 

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BODYATTACK® 116: LISA OSBORNE

Presenters: Lisa Osborne, Bevan James Eyles, Mandi Jones

“BODYATTACK® 116 is as close to the essence of the program as it gets,” says Lisa Osborne. “It’s got the high-energy, sports-inspired moves, and the Masterclass is taught with all the passion that we love in this program.”

Veteran Presenter Bevan James Eyles is back on the Masterclass, after having two years away from filming due to having an operation on his back. “It’s so good to be back,” he says. “Release 116 is a good old-fashioned BODYATTACK workout: it’s physically demanding, with lots of emotional highs. A highlight for me is the cooldown track, Pepeha, by the New Zealand band SIX60. Being a Kiwi, I found the words in the song to be really powerful – they gave me goosebumps.”

Track 5 introduces the Renegade Row to BODYATTACK – a fantastic way to strengthen our core and challenge our stabilisers. There’s plenty of contrast in the music, from the 70s-inspired Funky Town remix in Track 2, to the chart topper Beggin’ in Track 4. Feel free to bring out the Latin flava in Track 7’s Cha Cha Cha, before you erupt with all the emotion of Lisa Osborne’s favourite, Track 8 Surrender. “This track was just so real,” she says. “I hope people can see the inspiration and authenticity of my and Bevan’s coaching when they watch the Masterclass.”

 

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BODYBALANCE® 96: JACKIE MILLS AND DIANA ARCHER MILLS

Presenters: Kylie Gates, Fraser Beck, Joash Fahitua, Khiran Huston

Hello, and thank you for continuing to bring joy and movement to your classes with BODYBALANCE! We truly treasure the knowledge that the work we do helps you to give your energy and passion to the world through Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi.

Track 1 is one of Diana's favourite Tai Chi tracks in a while! So flowing, so strong and with so much spinal mobility. Followed up with one of Jackie's all-time favourite Sun Salutations tracks (with building poses each sequence!)

Another highlight for us this round, is the beautiful Track 4. The hip-opening suits the poignancy of the lyrics, and the glute burn echoes the pain in his powerful vocals!

We had some fun in Tracks 6 and 7. Is this the most challenging core sequences in a while? Anything with hundreds... and the descent through Tracks 8 and 9 feels like sinking into a peaceful ocean of calm.

We truly loved making this Release and we love hearing from you, so let us know what you think.

Loads of love, Jackie and Diana

 

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BODYCOMBAT® 91: DAN COHEN AND RACHAEL NEWSHAM

Presenters: Dan Cohen, Rachael Newsham, Vili Fifita, Antoine Sagne, Natasha Vincent

“Our inspiration for this Release was the fact that it was going to be filmed in XR,” says Rachael Newsham. “It felt really exciting to us, like a glimpse into the future, and we chose a playlist and moves that would complement that journey.

“You’ll see this from the get-go with the Warm-Up song Hero, which is all about finding the champion inside yourself. We continued this theme with Track 2 Stay Mine, which is a little bit trancey and a little bit trippy.

“Track 4 Energy, has an Advancing Side Kick with a hop. We’ve not done this move for a while, but it feels really empowering, like you’re entering your own little action movie universe! We also perform a Cross-Front Kick with Super Punch, which will make you feel like a boss!

“Track 5 is the aptly titled Holdin On. Get ready for a barrage of punches and Decoy Tucks that will have your class looking at you like, are you serious?!

“Track 6 Odin, has a cool distorted vocal chant. It's a haunting, otherworldly sound that is similar to the trippiness of Track 2. It's got a super chunky synth that feels like you're wielding a powerful laser.

“I love Track 8 Lose It All. To me it feels like you're standing on the edge of opportunity, where you step forward and lose all those excuses. You celebrate because you’ve never felt more alive than you do now. You’ve let go of all that was holding you back.

“I have to admit, the filming process was challenging. Because the crew were only using one camera to capture everything; so, we had to know exactly what we were going to say and when we were going to say it. We had a full day of rehearsals the day prior to filming, doing each track two or three times so the camera crew could prepare their shots. When it came to filming day, poor Antoine had to teach Track 7 three times in a row because we kept having technical difficulties!"

 

BODYJAM® 100: GANDALF ARCHER MILLS

Presenters: Gandalf Archer Mills, Meno Thomas, Cameron Holland

BODYJAM 100 yaaaaa'lllll.

WE MADE IT! WE ARE HERE!

Please take a brief moment of dance celebration in your day to acknowledge all the music, dance, vibes and life that this wonderful dance program brings to all of us!

Personally, I have adored making every single one of these Releases for you – the Instructor, who loves to teach them. And for every BODYJAM member who loves to dance them, class after class, week after week, year after year. I still have members in my studio that I was teaching in the 90s!

BODYJAM Release 100 is here in full effect, with 100 minutes of choreography! That's our regular class: 55 minutes, plus two bonus blocks made up entirely of bangers from our previous 99 Releases – giving you 100 minutes of pure BODYJAM!

And...

100 Beats is our brand-new hip hop block that is, you guessed it, 100 beats of choreography! Super fresh and super flash. You will get high off of this.

Track 1, ohhh I have been saving this one! I’ve been working on getting Track 1 into a BODYJAM class for 3 years, and now, BOOM, we've got it!

Then come our hype track, full of house styles, with super-cool, super-fast footwork, lifting the hype of the room.

Then... super jam burrito! This is a smorgasbord of styles, fresh choreography that sets us up with Hip Hop Got Money and you know it! Then Can You Keep Up as our next track, drives everything through the roof with Soca, Soca, give me Soca!

Chill the heart rate to Boyz, my fav pop track of the year. Then how many beats? How many beats? Beeeeaaattttsssss!

100 BEATS IS HERE!

So, the choreography starts on the 5 counts; it's quirky, but you're gonna love the challenge. This is followed by three 4x8ct blocks of movement, so, 3x32=96, then add the extra 4 counts from when you start the 5th count.

BOOM, 100 BEATS!

The music is so good! The remix of Don't Go Yet is probably my favourite, wait... no. The remix of Get It Done by Chaii (amazing NZ artist) is my fave, wait... no. Just wait till you hear the RITMO remix!

Then we have 8 minutes of 100 Beats; the energy, the journey, the feels and the style... there is nowhere else I would rather be!

And... to top it all off, we filmed this Release in the future...like literally, welcome to the amazing world of XR (aka Extended Reality), where now we dance in the sky... yes, yes, yes!

BODYJAM 100 is here and I am so happy to share it with you. I hope you love it as much as I loved making it for you.

Much love, G.

Learn more about BODYJAM 100

 

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BODYPUMP® 121: GLEN OSTERGAARD

Presenters: Glen Ostergaard, Kylie Gates, Ben Main, Kayla Atkins-Gordine, Vili Fifita, Des Helu, Khiran Huston, Kaylah-Blayr Fitzsimons-Nu’u

“This was the first time I’d ever been given the Squat track to teach, and to be honest I was really scared,” says Presenter Des Helu. “It’s a big track so I wanted to be really prepared. I think in the end I actually over-prepped for the class, because even though I knew the Track inside out, when it came to the filming, I ended up forgetting the choreography to one of the main parts of the track. I think I just psyched myself out over it.

“What was amazing was the support I had from the rest of the team. It’s obviously really stressful to forget choreography during filming, but they were all super motivating and encouraging.

“After I finished the Track, I walked to the side of the stage and I was just sitting there thinking about it. Khiran [Huston] was sitting next to me and she just said: ‘Don’t think too hard about it. You did your best and you did a great job.’ I have to say hats off to Khiran because she really helped me get through it.

So, what are the highlights of this Release?

"Ben’s Back track – banger of a song!" says Kaylah-Blayr Fitzsimons-Nu’u. "Working from rows, to high pulls, to clean and press, the feeling of working your way up the body is hard! But the music makes you want to go hard!

“Kayla’s lunge track starts nice with plate work, then she asks you to pick up the bar to finish off the legs, and you can see in our faces we were burning. Vili’s shoulder track brings in a new rear deltoid fly, which feels electric when paired with the music.

“Not to brag, but my core track is awesome! Core/booty/cardio/functional training all in one track! And those extended sets… thanks Glen, haha!

“When you watch the Masterclass, you'll see that we filmed on a wet floor. During the triceps Track, I lifted my arm up for a side hover and all the dirty water went in my mouth – I had to pretend like I wasn’t going to gag!"

 

BODYSTEP® 127: MARK NU’U-STEELE

Presenters: Mark Nu’u-Steele, Lisa Osborne, Kaylah-Blayr Fitzsimons-Nu’u, Charlotte Fleetwood-Stowers, Martine Matapo-Kolisko

"What I’m most excited about in this Release is the fact that Kaylah-Blayr and I created THE BEST party step ever!" says Mark Nu’u-Steele. "We did it to the song I Am Woman, and at the time we were creating it, we were watching a season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The queens on that show inspired our four arm lines in this track: the ‘flick’, the ‘wrap’, the ‘cinch’ and the ‘purse first point’. It’s SO much fun to teach, and also a lot of fun for the class.

"Unfortunately, there’s no death drop finale!

"I must have been watching a lot of TV while I was creating this, because I ended up using the Janet Jackson song Feedback, as my Peak 3 Track after watching a Janet Jackson documentary. I actually hear quite a few songs in movies and TV shows, which end up in my Releases. During movie / TV time, my family know I’m going to ask them to rewind footage so that I can ‘Shazam’ a song to find out the song name and artist!

"We filmed this Release in our New Zealand summer, and the week that we filmed, the humidity was off the charts – we were sweating just from standing still and breathing! The air conditioning units have to be turned down during filming because of the noise they create, so this Release was VERY sweaty!”

Kaylah-Blayr Fitzsimons-Nu’u adds: "During Step filming I had to keep telling myself not to pull my wedgy out on camera, because I always do it and sometimes, they leave it in the final master cut because they can’t cut around it, and it’s not pretty or attractive hahaha!"

 

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LES MILLS CORE® 46: CREATIVE TEAM

Presenters: Dan Cohen, Corey Baird, Martine Matapo-Kolisko, Erin Maw, Otto Prodan

“A highlight of this Release is the Power skier with Lunge Combo in Track 3,” says Presenter Otto Prodan. “I love how dynamic (hitting multiple directions) the moves are and how it challenges your core strength and stability. The music in Track 3 is an old school banger and it goes so well with the combo. When the beat drops, I feel super athletic and powerful – it’s so much fun!

“In the 45-minute format, we have 2 glute tracks: Track 4 is a standing glute track (the hardest one yet) and Track 6 is a floor glute track – which takes glute/posterior chain training to a whole new level.

“My favourite song is Track 2 Energy. This is the type of song that makes you want to train harder, even when you’ve got nothing left in the tank! I love how the song builds up in the chorus – this is the part when it gets physically challenging and you want to stop, but the song hypes me up!

“We have four days to practise with the presenting team ahead of filming day. We get together and teach in front of the mirror, then we collaborate on ideas for coaching and fine-tune technique. It’s really collaborative, and a great way to come up with new creative ideas for coaching.

“It was awesome to work with such a diverse team. Dan and Erin have the coolest ideas for coaching, and they’re always thinking outside the box, so they’re always super helpful whenever I want to come up with something super fresh. Corey knows exactly what you need to do to fix technique – I have him on speed dial! Martine is so positive, uplifting and encouraging. We all have fun and joke around together.

“On filming day, we had a wet floor (you’ll see on the Masterclass), so we ended up filming all the standing tracks first, and all the floor tracks last. This meant Tracks 1 and 2 were filmed last, which was a bit of a shock to the system (mostly the brain)!”

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LES MILLS GRIT® 40: CREATIVE TEAM

Presenters: Erin Maw, Ben Main, Savannah Palmer, Bex Rivera, Bas Hollander, Natasha Vincent

“I’m so stoked because we managed to license my absolute favourite track for LES MILLS GRIT® Strength this round,” says Erin Maw. “It’s a remix of U&ME by alt-J, and I gave it to myself to teach, haha! It’s in Track 3 Giant Sets, where we work for 3-minute blocks of work, alternating between the upper and lower body. It’s a killer!”

Erin came fresh out of her wedding straight into filming rehearsal. “I was choreographing 40 whilst also planning my wedding, which was definitely full on!” she says. “We got married on the South Island [New Zealand] in mid-January, and a week later I was back in Auckland and straight into rehearsals. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, we weren’t able to have any practice classes at the gym, and we also filmed the Release without an audience. That was very challenging for the Presenters, because it meant we had to do the whole workout without any floor coaching.”

A highlight of this Release is the Athletic block, which has a focus on unilateral training. This round it’s combined with Strength, and offers plenty of fresh, innovative moves to challenge your members, like the Squat Jump with Sweep and Heisman on the Bench.

 

LES MILLS SPRINT® 27: GLEN OSTERGAARD

Presenters: Glen Ostergaard, Bas Hollander, Khiran Huston

"I enjoyed filming SPRINT the most this round," says Glen Ostergaard. "We actually didn’t have any rehearsals before we filmed the Masterclass. It was originally scheduled to be filmed on Friday, but it ended up being brought forward to Wednesday. For me, that made the coaching really organic and authentic. I think this Masterclass is the perfect example of how SPRINT should look and sound. It was the hardest Release I've ridden with a presenting team.

“Track 2 has repeated intervals of 80 seconds of work, where we work all three modalities of Strength, Sprint and Power. It's got a cool drum and bass sound, and you'll want to load up the dial for the heavy Strength work.

“The standout for me is the last track, where we have equal work/rest periods of 20 seconds. The reason I like this is because it changes the output you can generate in terms of wattage. Normally, the wattage will decline over a track which has shorter rest periods. Having the longer rest periods allows us to sustain a higher output across the whole track, assisting our athletic development."

 

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RPM® 94: GLEN OSTERGAARD

Presenters: Glen Ostergaard, Mandi Jones, Otto Prodan, Tommi Wong

"We were really happy to be able to license Gangsta’s Paradise for us in this Release," says Josh James, Head of Music Creation and Licensing. "That was a real coup for this round. Another highlight was Milkumana, which is by band of Aboriginal artists called King Stingray."

"This whole Release has a retro feel," says first-time Presenter Tommi Wong. "There's lots of classic RPM® Tracks in there that I know Instructors and members are going to love. It's a really energetic and emotional playlist."

"When Instructors watch the Masterclass, I hope they notice the coaching focus on riding constant resistance," says Glen Ostergaard. "I've been developing this particular style of coaching over the past 12 months. It came about because this time last year, I was out there riding my bike on the road and I started thinking about how we can bring more of that language into class that speaks to maintaining constant tension. It's the same way we create time under tension in BODYPUMP® – we want to ride under that constant tension for 45 minutes in RPM. When Instructors know how to describe the feel of that tension, it will help their members to get the results they came for."

 

SH’BAM® 47: CREATIVE TEAM

Presenters: Summer Bradley, Kaylah-Blayr Fitzsimons-Nu’u, Des Helu, Cameron Holland, Grace Stevens

"SH'BAM was the highlight of my filming for me this round," says Kaylah-Blayr Fitzsimons-Nu’u. "The team was so supportive of one another. The vibe between all of us was genuine, we just had a good time together and I think you can really see our team connection on camera.

"I think everyone is going to love Track 2, which is a fun new way to shake your booty! Actually, I just love the whole Track!

"Grace and Summer taught Track 4, Let’s Get Loud. It's a classic song with such a free feeling, it just makes you feel good!

"I LOVE the fast hand combo in Track 8! Des [Helu] and I accidentally smashed hands during the Masterclass but had to pretend like it didn’t hurt haha!

"Last but definitely not least, people are going to love Track 11: My Humps! You know by the song choice it’s bootylicious hahaha. Des does such a good job of letting the song speak so you can just get lost in the moves and the music."

Pumped to experience these new Releases first-hand? Register now for Q2.22 Workshops – available Online, and In-Person in select locations!

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