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Salsa & Mambo Video Reviews


Santo Rico

Mambo Basics

Level: Beginners

Style: NY

Content: Basic steps and basic turns.

General Comment: Santo Rico is a name which demands attention. This group of big, ‘gangster’ looking guys (from the name of one of their most famous performances) and tiny ladies have invented their signature technique for leading super-fast multiple turns and regularly deliver among the best shows at each major salsa congress. Clearly they must have discovered some secret and must have something which is worth knowing.

This is the first of this new DVD series, and takes you from the very basics, up to a cross-body-lead, and single right turn, cross-body-lead with inside turn and walk-around (natural top), obviously On2, NY style. If you have already taken a beginner salsa course it is likely that you know this stuff already, but if you want to do things precisely and build a strong foundation for future development, it may be worthwhile including this DVD in your repertoire, to refer to once in a while. Same applies for instructors of course.

Thomas Guerrero starts the DVD with a short monologue, in which he summarise the basic concepts of rhythm, tempo, and music subdivisions into bars, and includes some suggestions on how to listen to music. It won’t replace a timing CD but, once again, it may be a useful reminder if you are in the process of learning salsa. All explanations are given vocally by Thomas, while demonstrations are executed by him and one couple from his group. No detail is forgotten (body work, hand movement, etc.) and close views will focus on footwork to make sure you get it right. Instructions are equally given for both male and female part. It is a video at slow pace, maybe not fun to watch, but surely useful.

Reviewed by Fabio from SalsaIsGood - Recommended

Ladies’ style and spinning

Level: Intermediate

Style: NY

Content: Spinning technique and styling.

General Comment: Even the masters among the masters acknowledge that, when it comes to spinning technique, recognition must be given to the SantoRico school. Of course there are many ways to spin in salsa, basically one for every established dancer, but when you think of a big guy manoeuvring a smaller lady into those super-fast spins which make a lady disappears into a cartoon-like vortex, well, then you think of SantoRico. And unless you travel to NY, or you are lucky enough to find yourself at one of their rare congress appearances, then, this DVD is the only source for the magical recipe.

Once we have all agreed that this is a must buy for any salsa student, at least from a knowledge point of view, then we can be a little fussy and say that the production may have been better (the DVD I have seems a bit jerky, the details are not always clear and the voice over curiously out of sync with the image.. maybe it was just an unfortunate item) and that the excessive styling while demonstrating the spins makes it a little more difficult than it should be to work out the specific spinning technique. Nevertheless, all the ingredients are there: the prep, the spotting, the body posture and the basic exercises.

I find the styling part of the DVD a bit over the top, more for shows than for clubs and maybe a bit too regimented about how you ‘should’ look, but if you want to make sure you look like one of the SantoRico dancers, then the instruction is all there.

Needless to say, this is On2, NY style and you need to be at least intermediate to make the most of the DVD.

Reviewed by Fabio from SalsaIsGood - Good

Ladies styling/spinning II

Level: Int-Adv

Style: NY

Content: Spinning technique and styling.

General Comment:Even in the Mecca of salsa, NY, where quadruple spins are taken for granted, people say that no one spins like the Santorico dancers! Very similar in structure to Vol 1, this DVD aims to bring to the world this famous spinning technique, together with the flashy, flamboyant and eccentric style which is also Santorico’s trademark. The DVD includes a warm up/body isolation session, various spinning exercises and a set of styling exercises most of which also include double or other multiple spins. While the spinning technique is something you can take to the dance floor (and if you succeed it may allow you to become the envy of the local club) the styling may be better suited for the glamour of the stage, but you will be best placed to decide for yourself. The teaching is at a good pace, without too many details and is carried out with the help of 3 different dancers. A short demo from Thomas with one of the helper instructors shows what the technique can achieve.. and will surely motivate you to learn!

Reviewed by Fabio from SalsaIsGood - Good

Shines, shines, shines...

Level: Beg-Adv

Style: NY

Content: Footwork.

General Comment: There is no doubt that a DVD called ‘Shines, shines, shines…” from the Santorico group demands immediate attention and inevitably wets our appetite. The DVD surely delivers on the flashy side of things.. after an initial ‘beginner’ shine combination, three of the Santorico male dancers (including Sir Thomas himself) show an advanced shine combination each and they are really, really impressive.. incredibly fast footwork, cool attitude and lots of style. The DVD delivers also on the content side of things.. If you think 4 combinations are not many, be reassured that each of them contains several shines connected to one another and given their level of difficulty they will most likely keep you busy for a while. Somehow below expectation is the teaching aspect of the DVD. Shines are broken down twice, once from the front and once from the back, but pretty quickly and there are no repetitions.. Given how long each combination is, be ready to wear the patience hat, put new batteries in your remote control and allocate a block of spare time to reverse engineering. Despite this, I think a shine DVD from Santorico is something you gotta have..

Reviewed by Fabio from SalsaIsGood - Good


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