Salsacrazy // 2004 // 360 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 31st, 2005
Antonio Banderas, eat your heart out.
I'm not going to waste your time. If you want to learn how to dance the salsa in the comfort of your own home, then this series is probably your best bet. The beginner's course for Learn to Dance Salsa runs through a three-disc set, each featuring nearly two hours of salsa goodness.
Look, I am an awful dancer. I've got the coordination of a drunken heroin addict out there on the club floor. It took much practice just to stumble around like a fool with my wife at our wedding reception.
But this series proved to be easy to follow, engaging, and practical. I'll run down the reasons why I think it works well as an instructional video.
The instructor loves his salsa and isn't afraid to show it.
This guy is a bundle of energy. Sure he can sometime weird you out, and his too-cheery voice seems to be chemically manufactured, but he knows his stuff. Plus he's easy to follow, and his teaching methods are lucid. He'll go over and over with you on forms and footwork, and is specific in his description of what you need to do. And his female dance partner is hot.
The camera angles are convenient.
The filmmakers made an excellent choice in presentation here. The lessons are filmed with two cameras, one pointing straight ahead, and a smaller, picture-in-picture window showing reverse angles and close shots of the footwork and upper body positions. This really helps a great deal if you have trouble delineating where your body parts need to be specifically.
The lessons are detailed and paced well.
One go-round with each lesson may just be enough, as lessons are plotted patiently and thoroughly, with much practice already included. You may be surprised at how little you have to skip back over chapters to brush up on the lessons. Again, salsa is deceptively complicated, so if you're as untalented as I am, you'll have to rehash lessons over and over again anyway. But that's not the program's fault.
Great chapter selection.
But if you do need to review past lessons, the chapter interface is subdivided nicely and specifically labeled, so you should have no trouble finding that trouble spot, and honing it.
Hot female dance partner.
Oh, did I mention that one already?
In addition, each disc comes with some fun little bonus features. All three discs include outtakes, and "dance etiquette." Of course, some of these etiquette tips are fairly obvious, like "always wear deodorant." A "History of Salsa" feature is also included.
For those looking to get into the salsa world, this volume will provide you with the foundational techniques to get your groove on. There's really nothing I can say to disparage it; Learn to Dance Salsa does what it set out to do, and does it well.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 360 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* History of Salsa
* Salsa Etiquette
* Official Site