MambolifeStyle: Pure Freedom
Level: Beginners - Intermediate
Content: Irene Miguel and Edgard Del Rosario have spent several years researching and developing a holistic system of dance training which they call MamboLifestyle. The system is designed to enable students to learn to express themselves and free their movement through incorporating exercises from pilates and yoga. With a focus on body movement, posture, breathing and attitude, as much as the technique involved in learning new shines and turn patterns, students may develop skills and increase their fitness quickly with an emphasis on individuality and positivity. This first volume has been produced as a taster of Mambolifestyle's styling technique.
The DVD is split into 5 parts: body isolation exercises;
dancing to the congas with two different steps; dancing to the cowbell
with two different steps, dancing to the piano with two more steps and
improvising. The voiceover is in Spanish with English subtitles.
Reviewed by Ally - OK
Some DVDs are different from others, which is a good thing; they may show you elements which you know already, but present them from a different angle and refresh your perspective. This DVD is about creativity, freedom of expression and finding your own freestyle, all very noble aims in a dance which far too often traps us into trying to look like our most recent salsa idol. Creativity, expressivity and freestyle may echo a little bit of hippy culture, and there is a little of that in this DVD, with some yoga-like breathing and stretching exercises at the beginning and the setting in a nice green outdoor park, but it is all good and somehow refreshing.
The instructor is Spanish, and that is the language she uses. English speaking students may follow the DVD via subtitles. Demonstrations are done by students, most of them with only a few months mambo experience. This is a nice idea, because it demystifies the learning process and shows you what you can reasonably achieve within a short time frame. You may not find a role model among them, but this is exactly the point of this work.
In this 40 minute DVD you will learn some simple footwork. Most of it is taken from classic mambo shines. However, it is not taught as shines, rather as basis for improvisation in order to follow specific salsa instruments: conga, campana and piano in particular. I have to admit this part is not too clear to me, since it is not explained whether you should do that during different parts of a song, or whether you should tune your hearing on your preferred instrument. A lot of emphasis is given to moving your arms, hands and shoulders, but you are mostly lead to do so according to your inspiration, rather than by following explicit patterns. If this is the approach to learning which suits you, you may find this DVD useful. If you are after strict, detailed instructions, maybe not.
Reviewed by Fabio - Ok
Content: Styling exercises and tips.
As Irene and some of her instructors explain in the opening interview, her method does not offer merely salsa training, but a complete program, from yoga and Pilates exercises, basic solo dance training and elements of body expressivity to the couple dancing. It all sounds quite appealing and if you can not check this out personally in London this DVD tries to deliver what technology allows. It is organised into a set of short clips each containing one exercise first explained and then demonstrated in different levels of development. The explanations do not cover merely the technical content of the exercises but also the expressivity they aim to achieve. The short elements are then combined piece by piece, with music and at different speeds: first the arms, then the shoulder, then the head etc..
The theme of the DVD is music interpretation. In other programs this concept is often intended to busy the left side of the brain: how to listen to the instruments, how to recognise the beat, how to learn to count. In this DVD Irene fires the right side of your brain, trying to catch the expressivity an instrument communicates. Her choice is by far the most daring in salsa - the bass, and she designs the decoration and styling from its round and smooth sound.
This is unlike other ladies’ styling DVDs and I am quite impressed: Irene is surely a proficient dancer with extensive knowledge, she explains well and I will confess, even sparked my curiosity (I am a guy) to try the exercises myself. I look forward to more items from this series.