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Salsa & Mambo Video Reviews


Yvonne G. Laycy

Spin with Krin Bajough & Yvonne Goldsmith

Level: Beg-Adv

Style: On 1

Content: Everything you need to know on spinning, for male and female dancers

General Comment:What a pleasant surprise I got from watching this DVD! I have seen many spinning DVDs, from very famous instructors and schools, including dancers world-renown for their very spinning; some are good some less so, but I did not expect to find basically all I wished to see in a spinning DVD collected so nicely in this work, plus more.

In this DVD there are no frills, no showing off; instead it is packed with content (plenty of it), all of which is top quality and taught and demonstrated very precisely and efficiently.

There is all you ever wanted to know about spinning and you may have dared or not dared to ask: single and double spins for guys and ladies, spins on the forward and back foot, travelling and spot turns, basic suggestions for leading and following, the fundamentals of spotting and holding the correct posture paying attention to legs, core muscles and shoulders, the concept of developing momentum for the spins with shoulder, hands and feet and so on. It is really the A-Z of spinning. There are even a couple of tricks for unusual spins I have seen people execute but never teach. At the end some Pilates like exercises show you how to strengthen your core muscles if you are into serious dancing.

This must be one of the best spinning salsa DVDs in the market, if not the best, congratulations to Yvonne and Krin.

.Reviewed by: Fabio from SalsaIsGood Recommended

Ladies Styling on 1

Level: Int-Adv

Style: On 1

Content: Ladies Styling and Shines

General Comment: After the outstanding spin DVD in collaboration with Krim, I was suddenly expecting a lot from Yvonne’s styling DVDs. This DVD is divided into 2 main parts; the first part takes us through basic elements of salsa. Here Yvonne surely delivers to expectations: she breaks down the basic steps giving due emphasis to foot work, arm work, hip work, shoulder work, down even to the details of what the knees should do. With the same attention to detail she shows the proper technique from arm extensions, hip technique and body rolls, borrowing from her repertoire in various dances. This is pure gold for beginner and intermediate dancers, but even some advanced ones may find hints for elements they have forgotten or plainly never known. While watching this part I had the feeling that if salsa instruction and salsa DVDs had always been delivered with such solid technique we would find much better dancing in salsa clubs everywhere.

The second part is probably targeted to a more select audience. It contains a number of shines, which a lady could use either in solo or when she is held in place by the guy and given space to show off. As Yvonne correctly points out many ladies freeze at this point as they don’t know what to do and Yvonne offers a large repertoire from which to choose for these ladies. This material still seems more suitable for the aspiring performer or for the very confident dancer, however. The ones who were prone to freeze may prefer to take some of the simpler elements described in the first part of the DVD! The content is taught well, broken down in small chunks, and then put together in manageable sizes with and without partner as well as with and without music.
Sydney has given the world some amazing salsa talent in recent years and Yvonne belongs to such an elite. Most importantly for those of us who watch and buy her DVDs, she teaches very well.

Reviewed by: Fabio from SalsaIsGood Good

Ladies Styling on 2

Level: Int-Adv

Style: On 2

Content: Ladies Styling and Shines

General Comment: This DVD is the twin sister of the Ladies Styling on1, and given that Yvonne had a lot of material to show us it makes sense to have produced them on different counts. For what regards the quality and content you may refer to my comment on the On1 DVD which I here summarise: excellent teaching of salsa elements in the first part and some exuberant shines in the second one. I liked the section ‘Changing positions with your partner’ with hints for the ladies on how to decorate the parts of the song in which, with no connection with the partner, you are invited to swap the position on the line with your partner.

All the material taught is quite independent of the beat on which it is danced (on1 or on2) so if you like one of the DVDs you will be able to learn the material from the other one and convert it quite easily. Last comment: unlike recent trends, both DVDs are full of content, and quite long; Yvonne did not spare effort in selecting the material, as you would expect from a good instructor.

Reviewed by: Fabio from SalsaIsGood Good

Ladies Styling for Common Salsa Turn Patterns and Moves

Level: Beg-Adv

Style: On1 and On2

Content: Ladies Styling

General Comment: Yvonne is a good dancer, a good teacher and good at producing DVDs, a hat-trick which is hard to score and deserves recognition and attention. In this 3 DVD series, she provides salsa ladies with plenty of material in a well organised and easy to follow fashion. It may seem impossible that with so many salsa DVDs out there anyone can still come up with ideas which are both original and simple, but Yvonne achieves this. She takes the 'standard' elements you are bound to dance over and over every salsa night (cross body leads, spins, copas, wraps, men's spins, etc) and, for each, she suggests ideas ladies can use to decorate, embellish and style. These ideas include anything from simple and inconspicuous foot or hand movements suited to fill up gaps to more striking actions designed to command attention.

The proposed decorations belong to today's 'standard' salsa repertoire, that is what you are likely to see your favourite role model execute in good salsa clubs or at congresses. They are neatly organised in chapters and each is first demonstrated with partner, then broken down and explained and finally danced to vocal counting both on1 and on2 modern mambo. The explanations are clear and the demonstrations are carried out precisely, with the purpose to instruct rather than impress; Yvonne is very natural at both, a big bonus for a salsa DVD. The series contains a lot of material (= you get a lot for your money) and at first glance you may feel it is too much to memorise. But Yvonne immediately rescues you from the impasse: as she explains, you do not need to learn all the moves, rather she suggests you scan through, choose the elements you like the most, practise then and take them straight to the dance floor.

In the last sentence lies the greatest strength of the DVD series: all the material demonstrated is very 'short', spanning from a single beat of music to 1 bar at the most, and only a few are really challenging. This means that the "practising in front of the mirror to dance floor" route will be very brief to cover, for some items less than a week; this, I am sure, will make this series particularly attractive for those of you who want to decorate or impress and want it 'now!'.

Inevitably, a series with so much material needs to be very well organised, and inevitably things well organised may look 'academic', but here comes the cherry on the cake: each DVD contains a dance demonstration from Yvonne and her proficient partner Duncan Stark. I found this the best part of the DVDs. Each demo is a full song long and while it is obvious that Yvonne and Duncan have danced together before, it is also obvious that the dance is fully improvised. Here Yvonne inserts all the elements taught in the DVD in a very natural and unplanned fashion, exactly as it will necessarily have to be on the dance floor, and nicely brings to life all that is offered in this series.

Reviewed by: Fabio from SalsaIsGood Recommended











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