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Salsa & Mambo Video Reviews


Waldemar Guijarro

Salsa/Casino Cuban Salsa Dance Course Volume 1

Level: Beginner

Length: 77 min

Style: Cuban Casino

Content: 1) Pasillo Basillo en el Lugar - basic on the spot 2) Pasillo Cruzado -cross basic 3) Pasillo Hacia Delante y Haci Atras - basic forward and backward step 4) Pasillo Hacia Los Lado - basic side step 5) Pasillo Cruzado con Desplazamiente -basic cross step with displacement.

Music:Wake Up (Bilko Cuervo); Charangueando (Grupo Son); Contraste (Jorge Reyes); Al Compas de mi Son (Grupo Habano Son); Yo soy Cuba (Sexteto Tradicion); Con Tumba y con Trabajo (Jorge Reyes)


General Comment: This DVD was produced by The Latin Music and Travel Agency and resembles a tourism production with many scene changes both within Havana and at the beach showing all the typical elements you would expect from a holiday in the Caribbean. The dancers are Cuban ( 3 male and 3 female) and show 5 variations of the basic steps over 70 minutes, both with and without partner and with and without music. The music has been overlayed on top of the filming and unfortunately is not synchronised with the footwork which considering that this is a video for complete beginners is unfortunate. The 5 basic steps are repeated over and over again with different backdrops and then returned to for the many review sections. In fact there is so much repetition in the video that there is no need to ever look for your remote control to rewind! There are some nice touches such as the basic footwork filmed with the dancer stepping on a glass plate, shown from below so that you can see the feet silhouetted with a beat counter on top. Also they sometimes show a couple dancing and then at the side one of the dancers performing the same basics alone, so that no nuance or detail can be missed. The filming also zooms in separately on the feet, the hips and the arms so that again every detail can be savoured or is it just the sexy dancers we are looking at...?! This video would be good for someone who wants to get the basics without ever attending a salsa class. It would also be useful preparation for someone considering a trip to Cuba whether to have a holiday or to go on a group tour where dance tuition is provided.

Reviewed by Ally - Fair

General Comment: There is a lot of effort behind this DVD and a far bigger budget than most salsa schools can afford. Produced by a German company ( to promote dance travel to various locations, this DVD very much summarises what you can expect from a combined 'trip-plus-dance-class' tour to Cuba: you will see plenty of trademark tropical scenery, including beaches and Havana main highlights, and six good dancers demonstrating basic casino salsa movements, mostly in nice outdoor settings or typical Cuban buildings. The DVD has a remarkable set of features which makes it stand above standard salsa productions: it comes both in NTSC and PAL (on a single disk!), 3 languages (Spanish, English and German), 3 subtitles (Italian, French and German). All dance steps are shown from several angles, even from below the feet (!). There is an original 'son' soundtrack and even a music clip at the end. You will also find plenty of vocal explanations, several slow motion parts, visual details and close-up views. So far, so good. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks as well. First in the 70 minutes of the DVD you will learn only 4 basic steps (on the spot, cross basic step, forward and back, and side step) and one variation (basic step with displacement). The time is filled up by several repetitions and by showing the dancers (very good by the way) demonstrating the basic steps over and over again. Despite the attention to visual and vocal details and endless demonstrations I am not sure that the video is that easy to follow if you have never danced salsa before. The breaking down of elements is not that precise, nor clear and (by far the biggest criticism) the music is not always synchronised with the dancers; they will appear switching between dancing on 1 to on 2 several times, and occasionally on 3 (not to mention when the music is completely off), which may be really problematic for a beginner. Having said that, if you have never danced before, you are curious about casino salsa and you are considering whether to go to Cuba or not, it can be a reasonable buy.

Reviewed by Fabio - OK








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