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Salsa & Mambo Video Reviews


Darlin Garcia

Intermediate Salsa Vol 1

Level: Intermediate

Style: On 1 - On2

Content: Turn Patterns

General Comment: This is a very nice DVD, probably one of the best for intermediate salsa students. It is so for three main reasons. First, Darlin does very well what is most important: explaining and demonstrating. His teaching is accurate and focuses on the important elements without being boring on irrelevant details. He shows the dynamics of the turn patterns, the lead and the footwork both for guys and ladies, when it is needed. His partner Vera fills the gap here and there to cover the more 'feminine' elements. The material is cleverly chosen: 10 turn patterns of increasing difficulty will take you from an accomplished beginner level to what is needed to make the step to advanced. All turn patterns are demonstrated, and then broken down on1. If any passage deserves more care, this is provided in a dedicated session. The turn patterns are then danced both on1 and on2.

Second, Darlin's dancing has a nice feeling, precise as the dancing of aninstructor needs to be, but at the same time with that touch of musicality, of emotion which takes it past the technicality. Still, this is done without exaggeration, without showing off. The bonus clip with Darlin's social dancing is the best example and a good guide for students to see how it looks when someone dances in the music, and, importantly, is enjoying himself.

The third important component to the effectiveness of the DVD is the editing and the production. This may read as a superfluous observation: for most dancing DVDs you notice the editing only when it is badly done, when the sound jumps in volume, when you can't navigate the menus or when you hear a truck passing by the studio. Most of the time the editing is taken for granted, and rightly so. But this DVD stands out, because it has been produced with special care: the cameras show different angles during the breakdown of the turn patterns (with your remote control you can change from front full view, to side view from the top, to front close up) and synchronised multiple views on the same screen appear when attention needs to be focussed on both footwork and body work. Final touch: nice lighting and high resolution give an unusually pleasant picture for a dance DVD.

The material presented is taken from the 'standard' salsa repertoire: what you see in the clubs and you most likely want to learn. This is a good choice: unusual material is more suited for the advanced level, and I look forward to Darlin delivering that too.

Reviewed by Fabio - Recommended

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