SalsaIsGood is interested in the development of salsa in its various forms of expression, from the music to the dance and its social and cultural background. Naturally inclined towards experimentation and evolution, we are mostly interested in today's salsa, that is, what makes salsa a contemporary and global phenomenon. This does not mean we want to deny its historical roots, rather that we look beyond them instead of being constrained by them.
SalsaIsGood comprises Fabio Boschetti and Allison Lyons (Ally). We are partners in life and partners in salsa, forming a harmonious team with complimentary skills which means that we rarely have to seek outside technical assistance. Together we are experts in video production from concept development, choreography, filming, script writing and all stages of the editing and final production process. We also do our own web design, distribution, marketing and communications. And since more than 45 international dancers and world renowned musician Jimmy Bosch agreed to collaborate with us in "Salsa with the Stars", we must be easy to work with..! As we are fully involved in every stage of music and video production we often get the feedback from our customers that our videos are rare in the market - designed by dancers for dancers, with painstaking attention to detail so that the student can learn easily. An example of this is the beat-counter on every frame feature on all of our videos to make keeping the time, whether on1 or on2 completely painless! We have produced a number of Salsa Videos and CDs, with many more in the pipeline.
How we work. We tend to work by projects, often carrying out more than one at the same time. For each project we aim to produce a final permanent result, be it a video, a CD or a web site. This is different from other artists who may aim at creations that live in a specific 'moment' in time, like a performance or a workshop. For Ally and I salsa has to be a part-time occupation though it remains our passion. We have other work and demands on our time but these have the potential to bring different skills into the projects and novel perspectives from which salsa can be looked at.
Our driving philosophy
Salsa as a global form of expression. Defining salsa as a Latin dance, is somehow misleading. From one perspective is too general, since salsa is in fact a Caribbean dance. From another one is too limiting, since it does not acknowledge that it actually developed in New York (see About Salsa). Whatever the history, today's salsa is global, as few dances have been before. The congresses bring together dancers from everywhere around the world several times a year. People travel thousands of kms, even intercontinental distances, to attend. Thanks to the web, travelers, either for business or pleasure, find it as easy to locate the best salsa club in town as it is to book an hotel. Moves from the most popular stars spread around the world within days. A move invented in NY may end up been danced in Tokyo the week after. This is a global cultural phenomenon. We believe dancers should feel free to interpret salsa according to their own feeling and background and salsa will keep on evolving, as a result.
Literature. Unlike other more
established form of dance, salsa does not have an established literature. Salsa videos somehow work as such, but in most cases are not produced for this purpose.
Neither are the few books available. This is different from salsa Music, which contains several formal references. Our videos and CDs try somehow
to deal with this issue, by covering topics not addressed by other videos,
by making references to other style and other instructors, and by trying to
improve the way videos are edited, adding features which help students to
learn directly from the videos. Our salsa dictionary or glossary of salsa
terms and elements provides a reference point for students to learn more about
salsa and develop their understanding of the richness of salsa around the
world. Our salsa DVDs with their broad reach across all salsa styles are also
a record of where salsa is in 2006. In particular our latest DVDs, the "Salsa
With The Stars" series showing demonstrations from more than 45 international
dancers, provides an anthology of all that is possible in salsa.
I bring into my activities three different types of expertise, as a semi professional dancer and musician and as a professional mathematician.
The relation between
music and dance is obvious: dancing would not exist without music. But in salsa this is even stronger, since here the
opposite is probably also true. I believe that a salsa dancer with a superficial understanding of the music is incomplete, as is
a salsa musician who has never danced.
Music: Composer and arranger. I started by playing bass in High school bands. When the very first computer systems to write music appeared in the early 80s I switched. I have used them to write music ever since. I have written pop songs, soundtracks for short movies, radio advertisement tunes and more recently, Latin music. Highlights - 1984 Single with the group 'Velvet Side' - 1988 'Festival Bar 88' tour (broadcast by national TVs in Europe)
Maths: my 'real' life.
Improving salsa videos, from an instructional, technical and artistic perspective...
When I want to learn something about, say, painting or internet design, I go to the library or on the net, I get a good reference and I explore the literature. It frustrated me immensely that this was not possible for Latin dance.
The closer we get to a salsa literature are the many salsa videos available. However, these videos are rarely produced for this purpose, and consequently they are not representative of the immense variety displayed by today's social salsa scene. Some 80% of available salsa videos is on LA/NY salsa, which represents, at most, 50% of the salsa danced around the world.
The first person who made a real effort to overcome this issue was Eric Freeman with his 'Salsa a la Cubana' serie. With it, he brought for the first time traditional Cuban salsa to the outside world. This is an area we will focus on as well, in our future projects.
Another drawback of common salsa videos is the scarce use of video technology to enhance their educational potential. Video editing technology and film making technology offer far more than what is available in today's videos. This includes music and rhythm aids, camera views, slow motions, beat counters and so on. We made a considerable effort in this direction in our videos, and we hope to bring continuous improvements in the following ones by being in line with technological developments.
Finally, dance is art. It is supposed to be about 'beauty'. Salsa videos are rarely visually beautiful, or at least artistic. This has little to do with production budgets. Producers of expensive salsa videos usually invest money in fancy equipment and flashy effects, which may make the video impressive but rarely artistic or beautiful. There are exceptions of course. Within the limitation of our skill and budget, we try to make our videos visually pleasant. Here again, we are interested in collaborating and in co-producing videos if you have interesting projects.