41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Easy, spicy salsa lesson from a total star,
This review is from: Salsa...Solo! - with Yesenia Adame: Beginner salsa dancing instruction, Salsa how-to, Salsa dance combinations, Footwork (DVD)World Dance New York's first salsa video arrived as a reminder of such how much I always will love this spicy, saucy dance. I haven't danced salsa in a long while but seeing the three attractive dancers in their flirty dresses doing these once-familiar steps made me pull out my favorite salsa music and dance wildly - and not very well - for a bit.
Salsa Solo is a total beginner's instructional. It takes you through the basic steps that make up the salsa dance and then a bunch of patterns or shines. You can dance the lot on your own (which is what I love about shines) or you can spice up your partner dancing by breaking away for a moment of extra style. And because salsa is full of constant footwork and arm movement, it makes a good low-impact aerobic exercise - provided you keep it up long enough.
The instruction is led by the lovely Yesenia Adame, who can do some breathtakingly athletic dancing.
The warm up, always a good idea, is short and uses moves that you'll need while dancing the salsa. In fact, this is where you're prepped for the moves.
And you get straight into the first of the three combinations in this program. Typically, you have step-by-step, movement review, and practice with music sections to each. The first combo is all basics: front, side, back-back, cuban, right and left turns. Each step is broken down so you can see how the back-replace-forward, forward-replace-back really works. The only non basic part in this combo is when you do arm stylization for the left turn.
Now, the instruction here is clear and attractive enough. You get to see the dancers dancing from the back so that you can follow them as in class. For salsa somehow that's particularly important. You'd get hopelessly mixed up if the instructor were only in front of you and you wouldn't know which foot to begin with.
However, my feeling, when I think back to my time as a beginner in salsa classes, is that something more is needed to make the learner more comfortable with the rhythm and the basic step. A little more explanation of how the footwork fits into the rhythm, perhaps. It actually takes total beginners a long while to figure it out. And going by my class, some never do. I wasn't a salsa natural either and often was told to go stand on the sidelines and clap out the rhythm. I think that novices can't really hear the pauses in the beat and so they struggle. There's nothing for it but to give it time and really listen to the music a lot and connect with it, but perhaps a little more time should have been spent on the basic beat here. Maybe even a longish round of the main front-back basic done to music. That way the learner can just repeat that section many times.
Another thing that needs more explanation is the Cuban motion. That's another thing a learner struggles with. It just isn't as natural and easy as it looks unless you're born in salsa-land. So, while Cuban hips are briefly explained here, it's not clear how they fit into the footwork - that too in all directions. It also isn't clear how the torso shift fits in with both footwork and Cuban hips. It probably isn't necessary to get into too much detail on a video for absolute beginners, but then perhaps one should either ignore that angle. If not, it needs a better breakdown.
That out of the way, we go on to the second combo, which goes up in difficulty level. There are 6 or 7 moves strung together here. The basic with a tap, cumbia with a slide, a "squash the bug" foot stylization, a figure eight with arm stylization, etc. Together they look good. They're not unchallenging so there's no danger the learner will just look at the lot, get the basics and move on. this will take some doing. With my own salsa having gone rusty, I definitely would have to spend some time on this combo.
Combination Three gets further into proper shines territory with the cross forward walk or "swivel basic", sliding box step, the Susie Q, a right turn that returns with a fast turn stylization, side to side taps, a body roll, and a saucy shimmy turn. Another thing that should have been explained is how the shimmy happens.This combo is done to faster music. There's a session of dancing all the combos together, of course.
A short cooldown of inhale-exhales and reaches and a few stretches finishes off the program. Except for a brief demo of solo dancing by each of the three dancers. These are just a few seconds each. Why not a whole song?
All in all, a pleasant video and if you work with it enough to get that certain Latin look, you definitely will look great on the dance floor. This one is a women only video because of the styling. No reason why men shouldn't do all the basics and footwork which is common to both (except for which foot to begin on) but the styling will be very different for men.
I'd recommend looking for Yesenia Adame and checking out her amazing dancing.
The nicest thing about this video is that it's actually learnable on your own - and in a short time! One burst of hard work and you can dance rather well.
There are other solo salsa and shines videos on the market. But this one is a quick and effective lesson at half the price.