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Salsa & Mambo Video Reviews


Jose Barroso

Dances of the Orisha
Afro Cuban Dance with Jose Francisco Barroso

Level: Beginner to Advanced

Style: Orisha, rumba/Afro-Cuban

Content: produced by Obakoso Dance Co. A chance to learn African Cuban folkloric dance from master teacher Jose Francisco Barroso as he guides students in the dances of the Orishas (Yoruba deities) from beginner basics to the more advanced movements and characterizations demonstrated by his explosive soloing. All instruction is accompanied by a live group of musicians singing Orisha songs and performing on Batá drums. Detailed instruction and demonstration of the three types of rumba is also included.
To help ground students in the rhythm each dance section begins with counting and stepping in time with the clave (the 5 note pattern & rhythmic foundation of Afro-Cuban music). Includes:
1) Elegbá - opener of doors, trickster, guardian of the crossroads
2) Ogún - represents work and all human effort - he is a symbol for violence, brute force, of raw energy.
3) Oshún - the deity of river waters and the embodiment of love, sensuality, and fertility
4) Yemayá - the deity of ocean waters and the mother of the entire world
5) Shangó - the Orisha of fire, thunder, lightening, and the owner of the sacred batá.
6) Oyá - the Orisha identified with the wind, thunderbolt, and fire.
7) Rumba Yambú - slower dance for couples
8) Rumba Guaguancó - couples dance
9) Rumba Columbia - men's dance

General Comment: Plenty of material in this DVD, no time wasted in chit-chat or purposeless decorations, just 70 full minutes of dancing and music. The instructor takes you along a journey from the Nigerian roots of Afro-Caribbean dance to the better known rumba styles of Yambu, Guaguanco and Columbia, always accompanied by live percussions and chanting. For each dance the steps are first shown at a slow pace with vocal counting over the clave and then demonstrated with a richer percussion ensemble. You should be aware that no actual instruction is included, you can understand the counting and the steps, but the working out of the details is something you have to do yourself. But, really, this is no excuse for not trying, for just when you may think that your genes could be too 'white' to execute such movements, a few students, including a western woman and an Asian guy, show you that is not the case.. a very timely and useful addition to the demonstrations. The gem comes towards the end, with three outstanding demonstrations of solo and couples rumba. The dancers are very good (the instructor and his rumba partner are outstanding) and so are the musicians and the students. A worthwhile addition to your collection, at least to learn about the origins of salsa.

Reviewed by Fabio - Good









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