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Today's Salsa CD reviews

Tirso Duarte – Si la vida te dice baila

If you are into Timba you are probably familiar with the crisp voice of Tirso Duarte, one of the best in the latest generation of Timba singers; he has provided his talent to La Charanga Habanera, Pupi y los Que Son Son and also features in Los Ases de la Timba and other compilations. What makes Tirso Duarte special is that not only he is a great singer, but he is an even better pianist (an amazing one actually) and a good composer: a bag of talent in a single, still young, artist.

This CD is his first solo effort. It is pleasant, but in some way below what I was expecting from such gifted musician; all tracks are nice, no exception, but somehow the sparkle is missing. What makes this CD worthwhile for a dancer though, is that it offers a good introduction to Timba for beginner dancers and for dancers used to more commercial styles. As we know beginner dancers find it hard to tune into the complex rhythm of salsa, and Timba is even more complex, so CD with a clear sound like this one and with mostly slow tracks can be very useful. You can put the CD on, press the play button and, maybe with the exception of ‘Eso que me pides’, you will find all tracks easy to dance to. Very suitable for intermediate dancers to try hot new moves as well. I also find that Tirso’s singing, so precise and crisp, makes following the beat even easier. The song “Si la vida te dice baila”, which gives the name to the CD, is my favourite, which a happy but melancholic taste, but all tracks are enjoyable. The CD also includes a number of songs from the CD ‘El Charanguero Major’ from la Charanga Habanera, which were originally from Tirso, and are here played with simpler, less Timba and more Salsa, arrangements. 25-6-07

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Today's Salsa DVD reviews

SalsaLife: Helder Rodrigues & Sandra Donarska - Salsa, der Tanzkurs

Level: Beginners

Style: On1

General Comment: The German title to this DVD may be intimidating, but keep in mind that it comes with a language option which allows you to watch it in English. It is a DVD for complete beginners, in which it is assumed not only that you know nothing of salsa dancing, but also you have never been exposed to its music, its culture or its history. It thus tries to reconstruct a ‘salsa’ atmosphere with an introduction about what salsa is and what it has to offer the un-initiated dancer. A more experienced dancer may find this a bit kitsch, and possibly not even recognise himself or herself in it but it does not hurt.

The teaching is extremely slow and detailed, which is what we may expect a beginner dancer needs. So are the demonstrations to music, which a beginner dancer could equally follow while watching the DVD. There are several interesting features in the DVD. First, it covers all the basic elements from the basic steps to a handful of basic moves which they call ‘choreographies’. Second there is a useful introduction to how to listen to salsa music with a breakdown of basic rhythms and instruments, which is surely useful for a beginner dancer. Finally, as a bonus, there is an intro to other Latin dances you are like to encounter in a salsa club, like Merengue and Bachata.

What I found a bit less inviting is the fairly formal approach to the dance, mostly consisting of a very rigid posture and very emphatic finale to the choreographies, involving some simple dips or theatrical poses, which are somehow at odds with the ‘complete beginner’ approach to the DVD. Still, altogether this DVD may be useful to anyone needs to go through the initial phases of a dance in a very slow and methodical manner.

Reviewed by Fabio of SalsaIsGood - Ok

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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 an e-mail exchange 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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