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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

Eric Freeman - ¡Salsa a la Cubana! Original Series

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Style: Pure Cuban

Content: 3 Videos, one demonstration, 2 instructional. Plenty of material.

General Comment: This series is a MUST. Cuban salsa taught and demonstrated by top Cuban dancers from Santiago and Havana. The first volume contains only demonstrations. You will see several couples and several styles. If you are skilled and you know how to use the slow motion command in your player you will be able to extract plenty of cool figures from this demos. The other two volumes are mainly instructional, for beginners the first, an for intermediate to advanced the second. All figures are shown first with music from two angles, and then slowly with vocal counting.After watching and enjoying the videos for years I finally met most of the instructors in person.. Eric choose them very well! These series will be appreciated by both Cuban style dancer who want to improve, as well as NY/LA dancers who want to discover what Cuban salsa is about.. It is really authentic and a Must in your collection.

Reviewed by Fabio from SalsaIsGood - Recommended

General Comment: Volume 1. This video presents basic Cuban salsa step and basic dance combinations. Instructors from Santiago de Cuba demonstrate technique of leading and following and also explain how the dancers move around each other and around the dance floor when dancing Cuban style. However, some might find it a bit disappointing that these useful explanations are given only in Spanish. This video is great for those who want the get a real feel of Cuban style.

Reviewed by Thea - Recommended

General Comment: Volume 2. This video consists of two main parts: the first part demonstrates the ways of decorating and enriching your Cuban basic step with twists, shuffles and kicks for both men and women. Watching this part of the video you will see that the basic step can be much more then "basic". In the second part of the video, the Cuban instructors show and explain quite complicated figures and also put them together in a very nicely performed sequence. I would recommend this instructional video for intermediate and advanced dancers.

Reviewed by Thea - 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 ane-mailexchange 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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