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Salsa & Mambo Video Reviews


Orod & Dessy

Advanced Salsa

Level: Advanced

Style: Colombian/Central American

Length: 57 minutes

Content: 1) Double spin with a dip; 2) Spinning log; 3) Half-wave with a loop; 4) Houdini's Escape 5) Back neck drop; 6) Around the world with a loop; 7) Romantic dip; 8)Tango Lean with a frontal lean; 9) Floor drop with a slide; 10)Dessy's back-breaker

General Comment: I must say up front that I am not a big fan of Colombian salsa as I find the characteristics of this style old fashioned and not very elegant. The fact that the style does not include a cross-body lead found in linear salsa or the dileque no, found in Cuban salsa limits the possible moves. In this style the "first basic" is danced in a similar way to most other styles of salsa on 1 ( in theory) and then the guy moves to the "second basic" which is a back step. The "opening up" step is also very common. The moves on this video are largely obsolete - they have been around for many, many years and may stir up some nostalgia for some dancers for moves they thought they had forgotten. Others may be glad not to see those moves on the dance-floor any more. Very annoying is Orod' s tendency to dance out of time when dancing to music and not even consistently out of time - he moves from on1 to on3 to on7 quite seamlessly.

Having said all that, if these moves do it for you then this video will make it easy for you to learn. The dancers are filmed using a completely white background which makes it very easy to see what they are doing. They break down the moves very well and the instructions are detailed and easy to follow. Both Dessy and Orod take the time to explain the moves from the follower's and the leader's point of view which is very useful and not as common as it should be. It is refreshing that Orod is prepared to share this responsibility with his partner. Some dancers of LA style may find the review of the dips, leans and drops useful.

Reviewed by Ally -Fair

General Comment: If you recognise the style in this DVD it means you have been around for a while like me :) ! If instead you started dancing only a few years ago, the salsa in this DVD may look fairly unusual. Despite the production name ‘CubanSalsa’, this looks more like Colombian or Central American style to me (at least this is what I learnt long ago in Costa Rica) seasoned with a few LA-inspired drops. There is also some lambada cropping in, mostly in the basic steps from the male instructor and in several dips, and even some tango and samba inspired ideas. At the end of the day, there is nothing wrong in dancing a style which is not mainstream anymore, and you can even get a few ideas for some show-off moves. The most distinctive feature of the salsa in this DVD is that it lacks of Cross Body Leads (Dile Que No). As a result moves need to be initiated via fairly awkward change of basic steps which will make it hard to incorporate within contemporary salsa/mambo. Technically the DVD is well produced, the teaching is quite good, all moves are shown from 2 angles and detailed explanations are given for both the man and the lady’s part. If you are a beginner or intermediate dancer you may need to pay attention to the fact that in most demonstrations the dancers switch between dancing on 1 to on 3 and occasionally on 7 quite unabashed (mostly at the exit from dips and drops); this is the single element which irritated me the most, but timing is my obsession, so maybe I am being too harsh. If you are “intellectually” attracted to salsa, you may find it interesting to see how salsa evolved and how (and why!) certain styles went out of fashion.

Reviewed by Fabio - Fair

Beginners' Salsa

Level: Beginners

Style: Colombian/Central American

Length: 40 minutes

Content: Basic timing and rhythm of Salsa. The basic steps explained: basic back stpe;side step, opening up step, forward and back step, cross over step then alternating right and left turns with and without a partner.

General Comment:They describe it as a fusion between Cuban and Miami but it has all the flavour of Columbian style and certain moves such as the opening -up step would never be seen in Cuba from my experience of traveling there. The dance is performed using a tap instead of a pause starting on count 8 for the tap and then as normal on 1. From the clips of Orod and Dessy dancing a routine which is broken down in their advanced DVD you may note that they don't use the dile que no to change positions which makes the style rather limiting. The music is sometimes not synchronised with the dancing which is not helpful to beginners. The basics are broken down and explained well by both of them and each move is shown both individually and danced with a partner to vocal counting and then to music. Details such as arm tension, hand position and when to put the weight on each leg are clearly shown. If you like this style of salsa then you will learn the basic steps easily with this video.

Reviewed by Ally -Fair

There are two sides to this DVD. On the one side, it is well organised. The instruction starts from the very core of dancing: the timing. Dessi goes fairly quickly through the clave, conga, guiro and shaker, showing you how they sound and how to dance to their rhythm. This section is very basic, so will not replace a timing CD, but it is good to see it incorporated in a beginner DVD, which unfortunately is not common practise. Then both Orrod and Dessi will show you a set of different basic steps, the way to lead them and how to transition from one to the other. You will then learn a basic left turn and a basic right turn, and finally all the elements are put together into a recipe which will allow a beginner couple to have a reasonable dance. There is attention to some important details, like the change of weight during the basic step, and the camera makes an effort to show different angles and focus on details when needed. Instructions are given carefully for both the male and female part. So far so good. On the ‘other’ side, the DVD is quite out of dated in the style it teaches. The emphasis on back or side basic steps will drive any ‘contemporary’ LA/NY dancer crazy when he/she will try to dance with you. Also, despite Orrod curiously claims this DVD teaches Miami style Cuban salsa, this is really Colombian style: the lack of Dile Que No (Cross Body Lead) will equally drive any Cuban dancer crazy. The lead and execution of the turns is also old fashioned and you will need some work to convert it to the language commonly spoken in modern salsa clubs. Other things left me a bit perplexed; Dessi seems to listen to the conga differently than how I do, and the frequent switching between dancing on 1 and on 3 in the demo does not help a beginner student at the first contact with salsa. Nevertheless, we are not all compelled to learn ‘fashionable’ styles, and if an alternative (or even pre-loved) approach fires your curiosity this DVD may be a reasonable choice.

Reviewed by Fabio - Fair


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