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Salsa & Mambo Video Reviews


Jose Carrion

Rumba - Part 1 Yambu

Level: Beginner

Style: Rumba

General Comment: In comparison to salsa and mambo there is so little rumba instructional DVD out there that we need to make the most of what we can put our hands on. Also, most of ‘us’ managed to learn salsa sooner or later, but the body movements typical of rumba, albeit apparently technically simple, seem to be so innate, so African, so tribal, that we may suspect their recipe must lie in some obscure formula, rather than in reliable daily practising. At least, so it seems to me, which is why I look at rumba DVDs with the secret hope of finding in it the magic amulet which turns into rumba dancer its wearer, rather than a set of exercises.

Guess what? This DVD does not have the formula or the amulet, but it does have many features you would expect from a rumba DVD. It has a live percussion band, which is good, explanations in pure Spanish, which a good only for a few people, teaching and demonstration both from female and male dancers, which is good and a lot of talking, slow talking, which is bad.

Yambu, Jose explains to us, is the slow version of rumba, the one which supposedly mimics the movement of elderly people. It is difficult enough for me and cool enough to learn anyway, and a necessary first step towards the more adventurous part 2. If you learn all the material well, by the end of the DVD you will be able to mark the basic steps, step sideways and turn around slowly at the tempo of rumba. Not much, this is sure, and less talking could have allowed to fit more in the DVD. BUT.. this is difficult stuff, and learning it well should be considered as a reasonable achievement in itself. Despite his slow and excessive loquacity, I like Jose’s teaching and even more his dancing. Keeping in mind that in rumba ‘steps’ are a minor component, and that to achieve the ‘right’ effect you need to coordinate the entire body, I believe this DVD will still give us plenty to work on. As I said before, since there is so little rumba around, this is one more item to cherish.

Reviewed by Fabio - Ok

Rumba - Part 2 Guaguanco

Level: Intermediate

Style: Rumba

General Comment: Following the same structure as the Yambu DVD José here takes us into the faster version of rumba, Guaguagnco, which probably is the one we are most familiar with. This is the rumba dance which mimics a rooster (the guy) courting the hen (the lady), trying all sort of trickeries in order to catch her off guard. The lady, quite naturally, has to watch out for all the guy’s moves ready to ‘protect’ herself from his attempts.

If you have the ability to keep your focus despite the often unnecessary and always slow teaching in Spanish from Jose (and consequently the inevitably flat English translation) you will find the DVD is actually very good. Jose does not cover much material, but the material taught is broken down precisely with attention to all details: hands, feet, knees and the proper alignment of all these parts. We normally do not get such precision in rumba teaching, and this make this DVD quite special. The pace of the DVD is slow, but this offers the opportunity for you to practise while you watch and at the end things are put together in a nice demo. I will surely use this for my practices. Recommended

Reviewed by Fabio - Good










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