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Bachata & Merengue Video Reviews

 

Carlos Cinta


Bachata Thrillogy vol 1

Level: Beginners

General Comment: As the name suggests this DVD is meant to take you from zero knowledge of the dance to dancing a reasonable social Bachata. It does so by introducing the basic steps, the basic turns for man and lady, the basic concepts of leading and following and some simple elements of styling. Once this is done, these elements are mixed and combined into 7 turn patterns which will help you to practise and get going in your social dance. Once you think the DVD is close to the end, you will find a few more sections with further instruction on how to time your lead and following, and a few more hints on styling. Here Carlos’ very sensible approach to the dance comes out quite clearly: don’t overdo it, don’t exaggerate the hip movement, simply be natural and in tune with your partner. I like Carlos’ style, the DVD and the teaching; although the editing and organisation of the DVD could have received a bit more attention. I think it is a nice introduction to the dance.

Reviewed by Fabio of SalsaIsGood - Good


Bachata Thrillogy 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


Bachata Thrillogy vol 3

Level: Intermediate

General Comment: This DVD follows the same format as Vol 2: a few extra elements to decorate your Bachata and 9 more combinations. If you liked Vol 2, you will like this one too and you will find more turn patterns to add to your social Bachata. One difference in the turn patterns in this volume is the use of occasional dips, nice ones, short and never too emphatic. The general style is still very pleasant, very intimate, still very ‘true’ something to easily incorporate in your social dancing.

Reviewed by Fabio of SalsaIsGood - Good


Bachata Thrillogy vol 4

Level: Beginner/Intermediate

General Comment: In this DVD Carlos and Cathy remind us that Caribbean Bachata is different from the modern Bachata we see in most clubs nowadays. Rather than executing turn patterns, moving a lot on the dance floor and over emphasising hip movement and close embrace, Caribbean Bachata is mostly about footwork and synchronisation with the music. He takes us back to the beginning in the basic steps, shows us how to place accents on beats 4 and 1 and how play with the footwork on the bass guitar. Then he introduces some simple syncopation and shows how to include this in partner work. It is a nice DVD, with Carlos and Cathyís nice feel and, like the rest of the Thrillogy series, with a low-tech, down to earth approach, which also includes some bloopers interspersed to the actual teaching.

Reviewed by Fabio of SalsaIsGood - Good


Bachata Thrillogy vol 5

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

General Comment: Now that the main Bachata ideas and technique are under control it is time to have fun. In this DVD Carlos and Cathy show some very cool Bachata footwork, based on syncopation and foot decorations. Here is where Bachata blooms and where you can really appreciate the difference between Bachata Caribbean style and Bachata moderna. Carlos is good at explaining, demonstrating and vocalizing the steps, while Cathy adds a feminine and very cool touch. All steps are broken down and shown in male and female parts and finally in couple with and without music. Usually I get annoyed by bloopers, but here they are somehow pleasant, being intersected to the instructions and giving the feeling that Carlos is not taking himself too seriously and that you are in a friendly dance class. When the instructional part of the DVD finishes donít turn the DVD player off. There is a gem at the very end: a clip of a musician (Harold) giving and impromptu demo if guira playing, which is not only technically masterful (Harold is amazing) but it will also help you understand the richness of guira playing and it role in Bachata and merengue music.

Reviewed by Fabio of SalsaIsGood - Good


Bachata Thrillogy vol 6

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

General Comment: More footwork, this time with Rosemary rather than with Cathy. A long DVD, with lots of cool footwork ideas, decoration syncopations and the like. If you liked the previous DVDs of this series, you will like this one too.

Reviewed by Fabio of SalsaIsGood - Good


Bachata Thrillogy vol 7

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

General Comment: This is Bachata partner work Dominican style. The challenge here consists in performing some of the footwork Carlos taught in the previous DVDs, while dancing with a partner and coordinating the action while interpreting the music, with very few turn patterns and interaction beside a very rhythmic hand hold. If you are used to Bachata moderna, this partner work may look quite uneventful. Until you try, that is. Because performing it correctly and in sync with your partner is actually more difficult than any turn patterns. As usual Carlos teaches well, focussing on leading and highlighting common mistakes and how to avoid them, while Rosemary does the same for the ladyís part.

Reviewed by Fabio of SalsaIsGood - Good


Bachata All Stars

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

General Comment: This is Bachata partner work DVD is much closer to Bachata moderna than any of the previous DVDs from Carlos. Carlos, Jorge Contregas and Leslie Ferreira show a number of turn patterns like the ones you must be accustomed to seeing in contemporary salsa and Bachata clubs. The turn patterns are nice, the DVDs is well produced and has a nice tempo, and the instructions cover well both male and female parts.

Reviewed by Fabio of SalsaIsGood - Good

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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