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Today's Salsa CD reviews

Arsenio Rodriguez - Arsenio Rodriguez

You may have heard, in several salsa songs, stars like Celia Cruz saying “Arsenio Rodriguez” in between the lyrics. They were paying their respects to one of the founding fathers of son and Cuban music in general. Well, this is him… he is recognised as having done many important things in the Cuban music tradition, including raising the tres (Cuban guitar) to the status of distinguished instrument, developing much of its playing technique, changing the formation and sound on traditional son bands and leaving as an inheritance a string of hits which has been reprised by so many after him. This collection is great to admire his playing and listen to these classics in their original recording.

You will find mostly boleros and son-montunos, which many of us would find more natural to dance as cha-cha-chas, and a few son. It will probably be more advanced dancers who will enjoy them, not for the challenge they pose in your dancing, as much as because you may need an acquired taste to skim through the very old sounding recording, filter it out and appreciate the music fully. But I think it is worth it; if you don’t like the music, at least you will increase your knowledge of the heritage of the music and dance we like so much.

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Today's Salsa DVD reviews

Carlos el Unico Bachatero - Bachata Building Blocks vol 2

Level: Intermediate

General Comment: This DVD starts with a number of basic elements covering both individual style and footwork as well as couple work. We then enjoy a full song demo in which the elements, together with a number of turn patterns, are demonstrated. Finally, the turn patterns are broken down and explained individually. I like the way this couple dances, it is simple but cosy without the exaggerated sensuality we are so often forced to associate with Bachata. The turn patterns have a noticeable salsa influence in the arm work, but the way the guy leads them is distinctively ‘Bachata’: the turn patterns are lead slowly, gently and sharply at the same time. The instruction is good, mostly provided by the guy with an occasional intervention from the lady, when needed. The DVD production is very basic, which is a pity, and it is most noticeable in the sound quality which makes the vocal explanation not very clear. Also, when a zoom in is needed, we have to watch the cameraman dislodge the camera from the tripod, walk close to the dancers, ask them to position themselves, walk back to the camera and re-lodge it on the tripod, all this while we hear his comments. I suppose this is a stylistic choice, though a perplexing one. Trying to forget this, if we stick to the ‘content is what counts’ rule, then we can say that there is surely something to learn from this Bachata DVD, both in style and material.

Reviewed by Fabio of SalsaIsGood - Good

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Salsa articles

On2? Which On2? I am writing this post to all experienced salsa dancers out there, and in particular to all salsa instructors. I have a question which hopefully will spark an e-mail exchange from which I may understand a few things which are unclear to me. In order to put this into context, first a few 'facts'.

Fact 1 . Roughly speaking, most people dance salsa either On1, or On2 Modern Mambo (NY style) or On2 Classic Mambo (Puerto Rican style also similar to Cuban contratiempo). Today Modern Mambo is used more frequently than Classic Mambo at congresses and salsa classes around the world.. more...

The Salsa 10 Commandments: 1)You shall not dance out of time, 2) You shall not refuse a dance to a less advanced dancer , 3) You shall respect other dancers on the dance floor more...

Creativity, Style and Salsa: How can I be creative in my dancing? How does SuperMario come up with his incredible moves? Did Eddie Torres invent NY style? What is style? Who creates a style? What does it mean to be creative anyway?

There are no objective answers to the above questions. They all, one way or the other, depend on subjective views on the artistic expression we call salsa, on what we like, and on what we intend by salsa in the first place. But we can still say reasonable things about the matter and make the creative process clearer and possibly easier. What follows are some thoughts of mine, mostly borrowed from my maths background. I am sure all this must have been said already within the art or humanistic literature, and if you are aware of work in this area please let me know, so that I can learn more.

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