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Today's Salsa CD reviews

Adalberto Alvares y su Son – El Son De Adalberto Suena Cubano :

Music can express and deliver different feelings. The first 4 tracks of this CD communicate to me something very simple and genuine: happiness; and so much of it that even if the rest of the CD was poor, I would still be thankful of ever coming across it. But there is more: the rest of the CD is also as nice, which is why it ranks so high in my preference list.

Adalberto Alvarez has been synonym with Son Cubano for many decades, thanks to his contribution both as solo and with support bands like Son 14. This is fresh Son though, and it may sound like salsa if you are not very familiar with the subtleties of the different styles: the main harmonies are supported by a piano, rather than the traditional tres, and a full brass section plays in place of the traditional single trumpet. But what really makes all happen is the quality of the arrangement and the simplicity and immediacy of the melodies; the domineering voice of Amaris Galindo adds the last cherry to the already amazing cake. The first track, “Si No Fuera Por Las Mujeres“ is actually closer to a Puerto Rican plena than to a Cuban song, and it may feel a bit too fast to dance as a salsa; “Mi Tumbao”, “Buena Pero No Es Pa' tanto”, “Hablando Como Extranjero” and “Amor A Primera Vista” emit their concentrated happiness at a slower pace, perfect to both enjoy and practise with. “Déjame Llorar”, “Cuentas Verdes Y Amarillas”, “Somos El Son De Cuba“ and “Caprichosa” is perfect for dancing, though less happy than the rest. “Cuatro Sones De Adalberto“ is a mix of old songs, as Adalberto Alvarez likes to include is his CDs and the closing track in a nice bolero. Mostly slower tempos, this is an ideal top-class CD to practise too, though if it makes you as happy as it does to me, you may lose focus and forget what you try to practise. 31-7-07


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Today's Salsa DVD reviews

Boogalu Videos - Un Trio Inseparable

Level: Beg/Adv

Style: Danzon, Son, Cha Cha Cha

Content: Instructions and Demos.

General Comment: This is my favourite DVD from Boogalu Production: it contains unique material, very detailed instruction (which is not always easy to find in Cuban dancing) and an implicit tour into the history of salsa which is extremely instructive; the result is a must have, in my opinion, for serious salsa dancers at least from an educational perspective.

The DVD teaches 3 dances, Danzon, Son and Cha Cha Cha, covering what has been the ‘fashion of the day’ in Cuba from early 1900 to roughly the 50s. The instructor is a senior Cuban dancer, speaking a very good English, helped by a younger female demonstrator. Each dance is taught in its genuine, original form, at least as close to it as you are likely to ever find on any video recording. For each dance you will be shown the expected posture, attitude, basic steps and basic elements, all of which is in really clear detail, with all parts broken down for both the male and female dancer.

There is no turn pattern or challenging move to learn; as a result a superficial look at the DVD may lead you to think that there is much repetition in the explanation of the 3 dances, the only difference being the basic steps.. but this would miss the core value of the product. First, a crucial difference between the dances lies in the posture, the attitude and the relationship between the dances. Second, if you believe that here there is nothing much to learn except the basic steps you would miss the importance that the right posture and attitude and the attention to the relationship between dancers and music makes in the difference between an average and a good dancer (this is the concept which gives the name to the DVD itself). Third, you would miss the ‘historic’ treasure hidden in the DVD, which shows how salsa evolved from the rigid and constrained movement of Danzon (similar to old fashioned tango), when looking at moving like a white person was basically expected, to the introduction of hip movement in Son, which implicitly meant more acceptance of being ‘black’ and which was further developed in Cha Cha Cha, (notice also how the opening and closing of the dance position in Son is a precursor of the Dile Que No we use today). Finally it would be a pity to lose sight of the fact that 2 dancers may look good and have fun even by dancing 3 different dances by doing only basic steps. The demonstration of the three dances are a pleasure to watch from this perspective.

Reviewed by : Fabio from SalsaIsGood - Recommended


 
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Salsa articles

On2? Which On2? I am writing this post to all experienced salsa dancers out there, and in particular to all salsa instructors. I have a question which hopefully will spark ane-mailexchange from which I may understand a few things which are unclear to me. In order to put this into context, first a few 'facts'.

Fact 1 . Roughly speaking, most people dance salsa either On1, or On2 Modern Mambo (NY style) or On2 Classic Mambo (Puerto Rican style also similar to Cuban contratiempo). Today Modern Mambo is used more frequently than Classic Mambo at congresses and salsa classes around the world.. more...

 
The Salsa 10 Commandments: 1)You shall not dance out of time, 2) You shall not refuse a dance to a less advanced dancer , 3) You shall respect other dancers on the dance floor more...

 
Creativity, Style and Salsa: How can I be creative in my dancing? How does SuperMario come up with his incredible moves? Did Eddie Torres invent NY style? What is style? Who creates a style? What does it mean to be creative anyway?

There are no objective answers to the above questions. They all, one way or the other, depend on subjective views on the artistic expression we call salsa, on what we like, and on what we intend by salsa in the first place. But we can still say reasonable things about the matter and make the creative process clearer and possibly easier. What follows are some thoughts of mine, mostly borrowed from my maths background. I am sure all this must have been said already within the art or humanistic literature, and if you are aware of work in this area please let me know, so that I can learn more.

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