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Today's Salsa CD reviews

Alfredo de la Fe - Latitudes :

This is a very diverse CD, so much so that you would be forgiven for mistaking it for a compilation CD with music from different artists. Rather, it is a full CD with music from Alfredo de la Fe, spanning music which appears to come not only from different styles but also from different periods. In such variety it is likely you will find something you like as well as, unless your tastes are really eclectic, something you won’t.

The opining salsa “Esta es la salsa” is a sort of celebration of New York, both for its role in the salsa development and as a multicultural spot. It is a nice salsa, at medium pace, which you will enjoy dancing on2 but also on1 if you don’t belong to the NY school. The rhythm is clear and I think instructors and students would find it suitable for salsa practises and classes. The violin solo from Alfredo de la Fe may remind of a rock guitar and you may or may not find it suitable to salsa music, but it is surely one of the features of this music.

“Asomate A La Ventana” has a clear cumbia influence, though you can surely dance it a salsa; it is slow has a nice melody and a very nice arrangement, vaguely reminding of bands like Latin Brothers. “Xiomara” is a very nice version of the famous Latin classics, and the musically inclined among you will enjoy the arrangement, interleaving violins, flutes and trombones (vaguely reminding of Los Van Van) and nicely complementing the gorgeous leading voice,

“Somos El Nuevo Milenio” is a Son Montuno of clear Cuban feel, but so slow that you may find it not suitable to test your Cha Cha Cha skills. “Sandra Mora” is also a reprise of an old classic, in a version probably closer to timba than to salsa, reminding of Issac Delgado in the intro and Micheal Maza afterwards, it’s not bad and it is suitable to bring out the salsa casino style in you. By this stage of the CD you are probably accustomed to sudden styling shocks, so maybe the next one will not take you by surprise: “Hilda” is a danzon which you can dance as a bolero or simply enjoy by following the nice violin virtuosism.

“Descarga Melao” as the name suggests is a Descarga, as such very fast, in my opinion not really suitable to dance as salsa unless you are training for the Olympics, but you may feel differently about it.

“Que Manera” is a poppish salsa characterised by a long violin solo and a quite fast tempo, like “Ge Ge” in my opinion too jazzy for a dancer.

What follows is another reprise of a super-classic “Muneca”; very much like “Xiomara”, this is a very nice version and very danceable.

“Batuasalsa” completes the CD. The name suggests a mix between salsa and brazilian batucada, though I find a lot of plena in the mix and the speed may lead you to dance it as a merengue, not a fortunate combination.


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Today's Salsa DVD reviews

Eric Freeman - ¡Salsa a la Cubana! Original Series

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Style: Pure Cuban

Content: 3 Videos, one demonstration, 2 instructional. Plenty of material.

General Comment: This series is a MUST. Cuban salsa taught and demonstrated by top Cuban dancers from Santiago and Havana. The first volume contains only demonstrations. You will see several couples and several styles. If you are skilled and you know how to use the slow motion command in your player you will be able to extract plenty of cool figures from this demos. The other two volumes are mainly instructional, for beginners the first, an for intermediate to advanced the second. All figures are shown first with music from two angles, and then slowly with vocal counting.After watching and enjoying the videos for years I finally met most of the instructors in person.. Eric choose them very well! These series will be appreciated by both Cuban style dancer who want to improve, as well as NY/LA dancers who want to discover what Cuban salsa is about.. It is really authentic and a Must in your collection.

Reviewed by Fabio from SalsaIsGood - Recommended

General Comment: Volume 1. This video presents basic Cuban salsa step and basic dance combinations. Instructors from Santiago de Cuba demonstrate technique of leading and following and also explain how the dancers move around each other and around the dance floor when dancing Cuban style. However, some might find it a bit disappointing that these useful explanations are given only in Spanish. This video is great for those who want the get a real feel of Cuban style.

Reviewed by Thea - Recommended

General Comment: Volume 2. This video consists of two main parts: the first part demonstrates the ways of decorating and enriching your Cuban basic step with twists, shuffles and kicks for both men and women. Watching this part of the video you will see that the basic step can be much more then "basic". In the second part of the video, the Cuban instructors show and explain quite complicated figures and also put them together in a very nicely performed sequence. I would recommend this instructional video for intermediate and advanced dancers.

Reviewed by Thea - 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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