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Salsa Timing Exercises - Disk A
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Salsa Timing Exercises - Disk A

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Salsa Is Good
Absolute Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate
Mambo, Salsa
Running Time:
60 minutes
Release Date:


This DVD series is designed to help you solve your timing problems with Salsa music. Beginners often times have difficulty with timing because they are initially focused on learning the steps and connecting with their partner, and not necessarily understanding musical composition. The exercises you are taught will teach you to find the different beats, on 1 or on 2, understand rhythm changes, breaks and most importantly dance on beat and stay on time!

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Member Reviews

Robert B. - September 3, 2013

My notes and comments:
* Same as the video on the DanceFlix website - but this is only Disk A of Vol. 1, which is mostly clapping exercises; Disk B of Vol. 1 is more advanced clapping exercises; Vol. 2 is the one with the footwork shown in the Introduction video .
"How to use this DVD"
* Has a link to an online guide for using the DVD (which you can download as a PDF). This explains how to use the DVD and a little more explanation of the contents, but it mostly refers the reader to their "Salsa on the Spur of the Music" DVD for any music theory - which would probably make the contents of this DVD *much* more useful, since it's not always clear what is the important part of an exercise or why.
"Quick Guide"
"The very basics of musical timing"
* This is a good introduction to timing in general, with clapping on several different beat combinations (1-5, 1-3-5-7, 2-3-6-7, 2-4-6-8, 2-6, all beats) and speeds (fast or slow), plus tests for each beat combination (on-screen hands clap the specified beats with the music for a little while, then the clapping stops and you keep clapping to the music alone, then the hands come back, so you can see how you're doing).
* It doesn't explain anything about the different beat combinations or when you would want to keep track of those beats; presumably: On1 Salsa would want the 1-5 count (for the first break of a measure) and 1-3-5-7 (for the steps with the non-anchor foot); On2 Salsa would (I think) want the 2-6 and 2-4-6-8 counts for the same things; I don't know who would use 2-3-6-7 (or clapping on all beats).
"'Easy' individual Salsa instruments"
* Has 5 different instruments (not 9, as shown in the Introduction video), with a different number of tracks of that instrument by itself, depending on the instrument (4 for Conga, 3 for Bongo, 2 for Cowbell, and 1 each for Guiro and Maracas). Most instruments play on almost every beat or every other beat, whereas I've heard that in most Salsa music, certain instruments only play on certain beats, so I'm not sure how useful this is, but you can listen to a variety of instruments and rhythms, and (maybe) get a feel for how they're used in some songs.
* There is no "test yourself" part for this section, so you can only clap along with the hands on the screen (or not) - and thus, you can't hear the instruments play without some clapping, which would be useful to try to figure out where the 1 is for that instrument - though the "all beats" might work for that . If they had put music in one ear (i.e., one channel) and clapping in other, that would make it possible to test yourself, by turning off one or the other, but the audio puts both in both ears.
"Simple Salsa rhythms"
* All the same beat combinations as the other sections, with snippets (43 seconds) from 3 different Salsa songs. Again, you can only pick a beat combination and clap along, not test yourself - but seeing and hearing the beat for parts of 3 different songs, of different complexity, can be very helpful for beginners who don't get the Salsa beat at all.
Overall: This is a nice introduction to musical beats for someone with no music background (which you don't get from many dance videos), and gives somewhat of an introduction to Salsa instruments and beats, with a few examples of the timing to actual Salsa songs (snippets). The exercises are good for people with little or no experience with keeping the beat in music in general. People with musical experience who are hoping to get insight into how Salsa music works or how to find the 1 in a song, though, probably won't get much from the DVD. (And the downloadable guide indicates that Disk B of Vol. 1 is more advanced, but essentially the same format.)
As always: I recommend that you take what you learn from a video and try it out in a studio, with an instructor to help correct any parts you didn't get (whether you realized it or not). And if you really like a video, buy a copy, to further support and encourage the video makers!

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