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Today's Salsa CD reviews

Africando - Gombo Salsa :

When I used to teach salsa, on top of our own rhythm CD, I used to rely heavily of the tracks from this CD for my beginners classes and at times for intermediate levels too. This CD almost seems designed purposely for beginner students; there are so many slow tracks and with such a clear beat that I believe it should be in the repertoire of most salsa instructors and a must buy for beginner salsa students. The nice part of all this, is that the tracks are not only ‘useful’ but also nice so that going through them will not be felt only as a necessary sacrifice. In my opinion this is the best CD from Africando, at the times when their production was not yet mostly recycling of a handful of ideas and when their salsa was not ‘just’ son, but an interesting mix with some African influences. Don’t get me wrong, it is not some sort of world music fusion, rather a sort of hybrid between son and salsa, with some occasional original ideas in the arrangement and the choice of the instruments and, most important, it is music well played and well sung. “Diaraf”, “Musica en vérité”, “Dagamasi”, “Sakhar” and “Maral” are the tracks to use for beginner classes: slow, with a very clear conga and rhythmically simple piano tumbao and, which helps a lot, a clear cow-bell on the strong beat. If this is not enough, and you are really desperate (either as a teacher or as a student) “Grog Moin” and “Walo” are REALLY slow, basically at cha-cha-cha or bolero speed, but somehow still with the feeling of a salsa/son, a life saver in extreme cases.

Forgetting about the needs of students and instructors, the opening track ‘Gombo’ is a treat and I like “Paquita” and “Colombia, mi corazon” too, the second one being a cumbia. Pity that Africando lost the original touch in more recent productions and turned a bit commercial, but this CD is handy to have. 7-10-07


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Today's Salsa DVD reviews

Yvonne GoldSmith - Ladies Styling on 1

Level: Int-Adv

Style: On 1

Content: Ladies Styling and Shines

General Comment: After the outstanding spin DVD in collaboration with Krim, I was suddenly expecting a lot from Yvonne’s styling DVDs. This DVD is divided into 2 main parts; the first part takes us through basic elements of salsa. Here Yvonne surely delivers to expectations: she breaks down the basic steps giving due emphasis to foot work, arm work, hip work, shoulder work, down even to the details of what the knees should do. With the same attention to detail she shows the proper technique from arm extensions, hip technique and body rolls, borrowing from her repertoire in various dances. This is pure gold for beginner and intermediate dancers, but even some advanced ones may find hints for elements they have forgotten or plainly never known. While watching this part I had the feeling that if salsa instruction and salsa DVDs had always been delivered with such solid technique we would find much better dancing in salsa clubs everywhere.

The second part is probably targeted to a more select audience. It contains a number of shines, which a lady could use either in solo or when she is held in place by the guy and given space to show off. As Yvonne correctly points out many ladies freeze at this point as they don’t know what to do and Yvonne offers a large repertoire from which to choose for these ladies. This material still seems more suitable for the aspiring performer or for the very confident dancer, however. The ones who were prone to freeze may prefer to take some of the simpler elements described in the first part of the DVD! The content is taught well, broken down in small chunks, and then put together in manageable sizes with and without partner as well as with and without music.
Sydney has given the world some amazing salsa talent in recent years and Yvonne belongs to such an elite. Most importantly for those of us who watch and buy her DVDs, she teaches very well.

Reviewed by: Fabio from SalsaIsGood Good


 
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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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