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Salsa & Mambo Video Reviews



Learn to Salsa Intermediate Volume 1

Level: Intermediate

Style: On1

Length: 80 mins

Content:Footwork and Spins - Some fundamental footwork concepts, like: Double Left Turn, Double Right Turn and Hook steps all detailed, explained, and practiced.
•Patterns -cross hand hold, hammerlock, cross body lead inside turns, etc.
•Tips for Followers, and Dance Etiquette

General Comment: Impressive! There is a LOT of material in this DVD and a lot of ways to combine the elements to come up with your own moves. In fact if you learn all the moves in this video there can be no excuse not to be able to fill up a whole salsa song without repeating anything! This is the ideal video for a student who has mastered the basics and wants to gain confidence dancing with a partner. The leader, Evan is clearly himself a very confident and experienced instructor who is there to make sure you learn rather than just to show off how cool he is. His precise explanations are exactly what you need to pick up all the moves and he dances in a very elegant, gentle and understated way which makes it look so easy! Another thing which impressed me was the obvious fact that he was able to film the entire video without making a mistake so the editing is flawless without the usual distraction of an obvious retake or a mistake left in. The moves are repeated from 2 angles and at the end of each section are combined and danced with some great original music (lacking in many other videos). The instruction is given by Evan all the way through with no input from his partner. However at the end she gives tips for followers which are right on the mark and will help beginners moving into intermediate. A good buy!

Reviewed by Ally of SalsaIsGood - Recommended

General Comment: This is an excellent DVD for intermediate dancers. I wish I had had it when I was learning. I like everything about it. First, it is packed with material: more than 1 hour of moves. Second, the moves are simple but nice; they are also very short and easy to combine into longer sequences. Third, for each move you are presented several simple variations. If you learn all the content of the DVD you can easily dance 1 or 2 salsas without having to repeat a single pattern. Fourth, the moves are taught not as a sequence written in stone, but as flexible elements which you can modify and play with. All explanations are very clear and at a good pace; a lot of details are given in how to lead properly and emphasis is always put in the specifics of the hand hold in order to make the lead clear. The instructors' dancing is simple and economical, but clear and precise, they dance to teach and demonstrate, not to impress you; still there is a slight 'swing' which entertains. Watch carefully and you will pick a lot of tiny decorations, especially on the leader's side which by themselves will make your dancing gentle and elegant. At the end the female instructor will summarise very effectively what makes a good intermediate follower. If you like social salsa and you are after a product you can practise along with, while following the instructors at the same as if you were in a class, this is for you. Highly Recommended.

Reviewed by Fabio of SalsaIsGood - Recommended

Learn to Salsa Intermediate Volume 2

Level: Intermediate

Style: On1

Content: leading and following exercises & connection instructions; warm-up patterns that emphasize technique; the Pretzel; flourishes and additions to your basic and cross body lead; wrap check, hammerlock roll-in, the copa, touch and go copa with shoulder check, hand over variations, hip catch, walk around circle; basic dips; back spot turns and multiple rotations; more follower's technique, proper spotting techniques for turns, Neck wraps (not drops).

General Comment: Another excellent DVD from SalsaCrazy. You can tell from Evan's instruction that he is a very experienced salsa instructor who knows exactly how to get the message across to his students and exactly which parts they may struggle with. This is an instuctor who genuinely wants to see you learn and who provides you with all the elements that you will want/need to learn as an intermediate dancer. There is a very detailed breakdown of all the moves repeated from 2 angles and then shown again with music. As with all the DVDs in the SalsaCrazy series this is very good value at 90 minutes long and is packed with material. Evan dances in a very smooth and elegant manner without being showy- It would be great to see some clips of him dancing a full song!

Reviewed by Ally of SalsaIsGood - Recommended

General Comment: Like the Intermediate Volume 1, this DVD is worth every dollar and everything I wrote about Vol 1 applies to Vol 2 too. Good explanations, very easy to follow, attention to detail, and lots and lots of material; the instructors clearly know a lot, have plenty to give and don’t spare themselves. The attitude the instructors communicate is also healthy and refreshing, no showing off, no fancy stuff, just solid, basic moves which you will be able to combine at your will. I can’t imagine anything but good social dancers coming out of the method proposed in this DVD, provided you are willing to give your own dedication and practice. I really need to think hard to find a drawback; at times it is may be hard to follow where you are in the DVD plan, but this is probably simply the result of so much material. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Fabio of SalsaIsGood - Recommended

Advanced Salsa Dance Mastery System Vol 1-6

Level: Advanced

Style: On1 (Vol 6 is On2)

General Comment: We like the SalsaCrazy approach to teaching and DVD production and this series has not disappointed us: it contains content (lots of it), detail, variety and quality.

A common dilemma when planning a DVD is how to balance the amount of detail vs volume of material, that is how much time to spend in explanation vs more content. SalsaCrazy has solved the problem radically: they include both content and detail, and in order to do so, not only filled 6 DVDs, but squeezed as much as possible into them, since they average between 1.5 and 2 hours in length. This together with some serious thought to the organisation of the product, results in a complete advanced course which you can take home and attend anytime you wish. There is more to it because all together the course is tough, by 10 instructors and with different styles and approaches to salsa dancing. So on top of straightforward salsa teaching you also get a glimpse of what this dance has to offer in terms of creativity and diversity.

To make the most of this DVD the instructors assume you are an intermediate level dancer, you are familiar with standard salsa moves, timing and basic spins. Everything else is provided in the series. Each DVD contains a number of turn patters, each first demonstrated, then explained from the leader and follower’s perspective, then both male and female instructors give tips on specific details of the turn patters and finally we get to the demonstration to music. In each DVD one instructor will also focus on specific techniques which are needed to develop an advanced dancer, covering spinning, posture, and body isolation exercises; some of which are repeated by different instructors which will demonstrate that there is no unique recipe to any salsa element.

Within this common structure, the DVDs change due to the presence of different instructors who bring their own flavour. Vol 1 and 2 present Evan with his confident, cool and experienced approach. We like his teaching a lot and his salsa is that of the consummate social dancer. He teaches with 3 proficient partners (Louise Garrison, Nadine Chan and Angeline Lucia) and their turn patterns are designed to condense in a few moves all the basic salsa elements: wisdom and experience was obviously behind the choice of these turn patterns and if you master them, you will have some 80% of salsa elements under control. Vol 3 and 4 are presented by Alison Hurwitz and Jesus Ortiz; their style is more formal, more technically oriented, with a touch of ball room in its approach. In Vol 5 Tianne and Ricardo present the ‘young’ side of salsa, with turn patterns of their creation and a less traditional approach. Finally, Vol 6 presents Sir ‘Seaon the Stylist’ and what a welcome surprise this is.. he brings his immense style, as well dancing on2, to this series.

With so much choice and variety it is inevitable that you will have your preferences and you may wonder why the entire series was not performed by your favourite instructors. We find Evan’s no-nonsense approach really refreshing and his teaching spot-on and for what regards Seaon… well, we will never tire ourselves of watching him; but you may very well have other favourites.

Reviewed by Fabio of SalsaIsGood - Recommended

Learn to dance Bachata, Advanced Volume 3

Level: Advanced

Style: Bachata

Content: Turn Patterns

General Comment: If you have travelled to the Caribbean and seen Bachata danced in the local clubs, you will come back to the ‘western’ Latin clubs and ask yourself the obvious question: “is this really Bachata?”. The answer is blowing in the wind and I will leave it to you to catch it, after all we have all seen this already with Merengue, Lambada, Tango and, why not?, even with Salsa.

Coming to the technical aside of things, the DVD contains 7 turn patterns, which mix elements taken from Salsa, Zouk or Lambada and merge them with Bachata basic steps. This is very much what you may expect Bachata to look like and probably the way it is danced in your salsa club; so, if you like the style, it will widen your repertoire. The instructors are technically proficient (the guy also has a natural swing which is surely pleasing to see) and the teaching is good. I also liked the hints on how to relate to your partner (though the connection between the partners in the DVD is not obvious) and how to behave on the social dance floor which are interspersed in the DVD; they communicate a wisdom and relaxed approach to dancing which is very welcome, although somehow at odds with a slightly over-the-top attitude in the dancing itself, given that a few moves may require some flexibility and others seem unnaturally (and gratuitously) sensual.

The DVD is suitable for advanced dancers and well produced as are all DVDs from SalsaCrazy (and the menu graphics impressive!).

Reviewed by Fabio - Ok



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