“We were originally meant to film Masterclass in London before the pandemic, so we were planning it for two and a half years,” says Producer Ross Peebles. “We wanted to create an immersive experience, so we effectively designed a light show. The venue itself was basically a white box, and then within that white box, we had a very big stage and lighting rig that would create an immersive experience both for the finished product, and the audience present.
“Masterclass is definitely a jigsaw puzzle. There are a lot of pieces to it and they all impact one another. You start with the foundations – the venue, the schedule, the creative look of the shoot – and then you start bolting all the other pieces onto it and eventually you produce the beast that is Masterclass!
“We filmed 10 out of the 15 programs in London, and even with only 10 programs we still had 253 presenters, so that’s challenging both technically and logistically. The presenters are awesome; in all the lead-up and planning we’re working with computer-generated images and 3D models and it’s all very technical – but the presenters bring the life, the energy. You can’t beat it. The music comes alive, the choreography comes alive, you’ve got humanity in the room. The energy they bring is electrifying.
“Every Masterclass shoot brings its own challenge and the challenge with London was just the scale of it. The venue itself was massive – 8,000 square feet – and there’s more of everything: lights, cameras, microphones, audience. We had just under 2,000 people in the audience for the equipment classes, and 2,200 for BODYCOMBAT™. We had 10 cameras, around 100 members of the crew, just under 500 individual lights… I don’t know how many speakers there were, but it was definitely very loud!
“When you’ve got a shoot this size, staying on schedule is critical. I refer to it as the Masterclass ship because once it sets sail and leaves the dock, you can’t turn it quickly! You have to stay on top of everything.
“The Masterclass presenting team has obviously been smaller in the last couple of years due to the pandemic, so one of the highlights for me in London was seeing the presenters back – a lot of whom we hadn’t seen for several years. The energy in the room with the wider Les Mills team on stage again was just awesome.”
BODYATTACK™ 119: LISA OSBORNE
“London was just incredible!” says Lisa Osborne. “The team were so awesome. The theme of the release is ‘we are unstoppable’! BODYATTACKers are powerful and strong in mind and body. We can break through and achieve anything. We never give up! We work together and stay together – the unbreakable bond of BODYATTACK is the positive vibes, smiles and energy we share!”
“The Warm-Up in this release just lights me up,” says Dido Severino (Brazil). “It’s Believe by Cher, such a great start to this athletic, energetic and motivating class. There’s a special kind of energy in this Masterclass. It was amazing to have so many presenters from different countries on the stage. When Instructors watch the video, they will see a great variety of Coaching, Connection and Performance.”
Robert van Dieën (The Netherlands) agrees: “My favorite song is Interval Training, Unbreakable. I presented this one with Lisa and Eve [Phelan]. Instructors are going to love the message behind this song! There’s lots of contrast in the music and the experience on stage was pure magic. It’s the perfect way to share your energy and passion for BODYATTACK with your class!
“My other favorite in this release is Track 7. It’s inspired by volleyball training with brand new moves: the ‘Dig’ and ‘Spike’ combos. The Spike move simulates the feeling of smashing the ball across the net to score the winning point. Track 10 introduces the new move Oblique Hammer Throw, which will make your obliques burn like never before!”
BODYBALANCE™ 99: JACKIE MILLS AND DIANA ARCHER MILLS
“I think people will love this release because parts of it feel ‘old school’, yet contemporary at the same time,” says Ann-See Yeoh (UK). “There’s something in it for everyone, from the music to the feel. My favorite track is Tai Chi. While I love how, over the years, we’ve drawn more on the yoga feel in the Warm-Up, I enjoy this track because it’s simple, effective and feels very authentic. For the first time ever, we also have a Moon Salutation following the Sun Salutation, which brings a wonderful flow to the class.”
Sarah Norman (UK) is a fan of Standing Strength: “3a and 3b are a powerful pair but 3b has the edge for me personally. The dancer in me feels the song in every inch of my body! The challenge is to be still in Extended Warrior 1 and Warrior 3 when there’s so much energy in the music. Another goodie is Track 5, Hips. The song literally gets you to breathe and reach your deepest stretch with a real “let it go” vibe. What a dreamy track! Silence is golden in tracks like this.”
In terms of new moves, Niko Viskari (Finland) says: “In the Back Track, we have a new move with a shoulder shrug. It’s a great exercise to really fire the upper back. It will help us relieve tension in the neck area, increase scapular control, and build up great posture. I am sure our members will love it, the presenting team certainly did!
“Overall, the release is peaceful and calm, with lots of time to just be and feel the poses – right in the essence of the program. Whenever I teach BODYBALANCE, it feels like I learn something new every time and this filming was no exception. As we were practicing the class in London, it just kept getting better. I can’t wait to share it with Instructors!”
BODYCOMBAT™ 94: DAN COHEN AND RACHAEL NEWSHAM
“I may have overdone it in the first rehearsal of 94,” says Steve Tansey (UK). “As I’m pretty top heavy, it’s usually throwing my power into the punches that give me DOMS [Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness] in the rear delts and rhomboids. However, this release absolutely humbled my legs… any soreness in my upper body was completely overshadowed by my new focus on avoiding stairs at all costs!”
Fellow presenter Nichola Smiles (US) concurs: “Track 4 is pretty much INSANE for your legs. This track introduces the Double Sandbag Squat and Lunge. All I thought when I first saw the choreography was: ‘OMG, I am so glad I don’t have to present this track!’ Haha, my legs were on FIRE! Team Dubai (Denisa, Aldrin and Rio) did such a great job coaching this track and still found moments to be playful with it. This track is definitely a stand-out, and the song is a pretty epic too!
“It was fascinating to witness how particular Rach is about the Performance moments. Each track had something that brought a little extra to enhance the experience: [Steve] Tansey blowing imaginary fairy dust out of his hands in Track 1A, Rach’s disco moment in Track 1B. My personal favorite was the dance break in the Bonus Track 5. It was exciting to see everyone in perfect unison. Those moments were so awesome! When the team nailed a moment with the right timing, the audience roared with excitement.”
BODYJAM™ 103: GANDALF ARCHER MILLS
“BODYJAM returns to the big stage and it’s a banger!” says House Chaalane (Singapore). “For the very first time, the music is played live on the stage by the amazing DJ Menz and G themselves in block 1. It felt like dancing in a giant nightclub!”
“This release is eclectic and wild!” says Rachael Babiracki (US). “From disco, to throwback rock’n’roll, to hip hop beats to make your classes go off to a freaking Parliament recovery track, it is a face melter… in the absolute best way! And the dance is so fun and super athletic. Get ready to feel your legs burn!
“What’s my favorite track? Impossible question, ha! But in the back half, there are tracks by Nirvana and Green Day that create hype in such a cool way. We haven’t had rock in BODYJAM in a while, so it’s a fun surprise!”
House adds: “People are gonna love this release because it’s fresh and brings a whole new vibe. The playlist is off the charts and the choreography is so cool! My favorite tracks are Till I Collapse (Eminem, hello!) and Wake Me Up When September Ends. Watch out for the new move, ‘Lose-yourself-to-dance-kick’! You’re gonna love it!”
“We had one really special moment during rehearsals,” says Isabell Schruf (Germany). “G suggested we turn and face the windows while we were dancing. Most of the day it was raining – LONDON style – except for this one moment when we saw the most incredible sunset. We stopped dancing, ran outside onto the balcony, and everyone just had the biggest happy smiles. It was amazing to be with 21 other people from nine countries. I still treasure that moment.”
BODYPUMP™ 124: GLEN OSTERGAARD
“I love how Glen has started to use IYT raises to prime the muscles for the lifting in the shoulder track,” says Lula Slaughter (US). “I used to do these a lot with my powerlifting coach on ‘back and squat days’ so it’s awesome to see more movements from the ‘lifting floor’ in BODYPUMP!
“It’s hard to choose a favorite track, but from a musical standpoint it’s definitely Core. I wanted to dance and tap my feet the entire time! From a workout perspective, it would be the Squat Track – loved the challenge, loved the song!”
Jess McDonald (UK) suggests that Instructors will enjoy exploring the coaching for 124: “For filming, we focused on stability in the shoulder joint and how we can prepare for upward rotational movements. It was great to have this focus for our coaching and this is what I’ll be exploring in my classes with members. If you’ve been doing BODYPUMP for the past few releases, you’ll know we’ve been exploring the feel of the pressure – the lactate build that creates the heat. This release taps into this more, playing around with tempos that challenge us in every way!
“This release shows the love we have for working out together. I hope that everyone will be able to feel this joy every time they do the workout.”
BODYSTEP™ 130: MARK NU’U-STEELE
“What’s my overall impression of the release? How about... NEW-FRESHING-TASTIC!” says Judson MacDonald (US). “Mark continues to reinvent the way we use the step for functional group training and this release is no exception. BODYSTEP 130 plunges us into the future of the program with fresh moves that will bring your class alive. The team and I took a lot of care in our rehearsals to fine-tune little details (fresh Coaching, Performance moments, and show-stopping finales – you won't want to miss the Party Step's finish!)”
“I loved the Party Step, London Bridge,” says Ella Bryant (Australia). “The UK presenters really brought the energy and had everyone feeling ‘Fergalicious’! My favorite song is Spice Up Your Life in the Step Warm-Up. It was such a nostalgic way to start the release in the country that gave us the Spice Girls. I think it also allowed everyone to bring their own spice or ‘flava’ to the workout.”
In terms of new moves, Judson says: “From the very start, we have a Wide Staggered Step Up and Reach move that makes you feel larger than life in the Warm-Up. One of the key moves of this release is the 6-point Stomp. You'll learn it in Mixed Strength slowly, until it gets faster... faster... FASTER... and then we party with it later on, too! One move that we modified in rehearsals is the Rotating Squat, which you'll also see in Mixed Strength. The key is to keep soft knees and lift the heels ever so slightly for good agility and alignment. You'll love how the Canadian team coaches it for you!”
“Watch out for the Rotating Burpee in Track 4 Mixed Strength,” adds Ditte Weinrich (Denmark). “It brings the heat! We presenters spent so much time finessing our coaching and aligning all the details (arm lines, transitions, finals etc.) to bring the energy, emotion and essence of this special BODYSTEP release. We hope you ENJOY preparing to teach this release too – by yourself and with your Instructor team. All the way from London to your step. Feel the hype!❤️”
Ming Hillier (Canada) says: “I love that there’s an incredible range in representation in the London filming set of releases. What was especially impressive was that English isn’t the primary language for some of the presenters, so they had to work extra hard to deliver their tracks. Everyone had their unique challenges to face and we all worked hard and did our best to make some magic. We hope you enjoy the releases!”
LES MILLS GRIT™ 43: ERIN MAW
“People are going to love this release for the simplicity of the workout and the sick beats that drive us to push to our max!” says Lee Smith (UK). “The bench is back in GRIT Strength which gives us the opportunity to work explosive power.”
“My favorite track has to be the Load vs Explode Supersets in Strength,” says Anthony Oxford (UK). “The first move utilizes isometric holds, while the second trains explosive power. There are two combos for the lower body and one for the upper to provide full body conditioning. I love the Sumo Plyo Bench Jumps and the Plyo Pushups on the bench!
“Without a doubt, the best song is Jay-Z, Higher, featured in the Strength Tabata. Fatigue will be setting in at this stage, and this challenge is one of the toughest. The intro to the challenge sets the tone and then we start to move when the beat drops. The lyric right at the end, “I will not lose”, is really motivating and sets you up perfectly for the final stages of the workout.”
Aaron Davison (UK) adds: “With GRIT, every release is a new innovation due to the flexibility of the format. This release has a version of the Renegade Row that will absolutely blow out your shoulders! The format of the Tabata where we have two moves (one ladders down from 4 – 1, the other ladders up from 1 – 4) is a cool way to maintain really high intensity throughout a challenging track.”
“I want Coaches to remember to follow their dreams,” says Kenshin Tani (Japan). "When they watch the Masterclass, I hope they can feel the passion of the presenters on stage. I hope they will be inspired by this video to move forward in their Instructor journey.”
LES MILLS CORE™ 49: CREATIVE TEAM
“My favorite track has to be Track 5 Core Strength 2,” says Adam Jones (UK). “Not because I presented it, but because it’s challenging and has extremely powerful moves. You really feel the energy coming from the song itself, especially when the music drops down, builds, and then BOOM! It hits you with these amazing reverse bicycles to power through… such a great track.
“In terms of the music, I love Tracks 2 and 3. Track 2 because, well, frankly it’s Queen, Don’t Stop Me Now, enough said! Track 3 is Little Mix, Power, such a feel-good track that just makes you smile and feel super energized. I had to work really hard to control myself from having a little dance and singing!”
René Vogel (Germany) adds: “CORE 49 has a great variety of music genres, from house to hip hop to well-known songs. It’s pretty simple to learn and honestly, when you watch the Masterclass with all the international presenters on stage, it’s dope!
“My favorite track is Track 3, and that’s because it has two identical blocks of work followed by a totally different block with a Bow and Arrow combo. The builds in the music are amazing, and we get to play with acceleration and deceleration.
“In terms of the music, I love Track 5 Core Strength 2. It’s electric house and the song is so freaking cool. The moves just work amazingly well with the song.
“As a presenting team, we worked hard to show the workout through the look and feel. Sometimes it’s less about what you say, and more about showing the tension on the band, for example. I got goosebumps watching the team present!”