Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Hot Salsa Lessons Vol 1|
Actor: Ken Baldwin
Genres: Special Interests, Educational
Ken Baldwin has instructed and worked with some of Hollywood's most recognizable stars...Renee Zellweger, Morgan Freeman, Celia Cruz, Emilio Estevez, Mario Lopez, Ali Landry, and Eriq La Salle to name a few. He has danced ... more »
Great Introduction to LA Style
A. Koebel | 08/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before I start, let me admit that I am not a beginning dancer, nor am I an absolute beginner at Salsa. I've taken private ballroom dance lessons (mucho $$) and group Salsa lessons (much cheaper). I have a small collection of Salsa instruction DVDs: the Salsa Crazy beginners series, the first "Quick & Dirty Guide to Salsa," et al. I rate Ken Baldwin's Hot Salsa Lessons Vol 1 among the best of the lot, for several reasons.
First, it really does start from the beginning: how to count the beats. It doesn't actually explain how to identify which beat is "1" but you can figure it out from the music. My wife has real trouble "feeling" the rhythm of the music and this DVD really helped her with this aspect, without which further progress would be difficult.
Second, Ken gives much attention to leading. This is in stark contrast to a DVD series like "Quick & Dirty Guide...", which gives no instructions for leading at all (and which, by the way, teaches an entirely different style). Without confident leading, Salsa dancing (heck, ANY couples dancing) goes nowhere mighty fast.
Third, the price is right. Many dance instruction DVDs are, IMHO, overpriced. Sure, the Salsa Crazy series is good (if a little slow to progress) but with prices of $30, $36 & $36 here on Amazon for beginner's Vol 1, 2 & 3 respectively, they're pretty expensive. Ken's DVDs (Volumes 1 and 2) are a bargain in comparison.
I've rated this DVD five stars but that's not to say it's perfect. First, as a previous review here already noted, when the moves and "patterns" are demonstrated fluidly the details are sometimes not EXACTLY what Ken teaches when he breaks the moves down. For instance, during pattern #3 near the end of the DVD, he teaches a quick hand change to be completed on the count of 1 after a cross-body lead. However, when he demonstrates the entire pattern in real time, he completes the hand change on the previous 8 (the pause) or sometimes as early as the 7. However, it works out fine each way and shows that details like this are not cast in stone.
Second, although the DVD does cover the essential cross-body lead and gives three different - and very useful - patterns that begin with it, I was surprised that there are no turns for the man. Other beginner's DVDs and the classes I have attended include these. However, this may be attributable to the LA style or they might be covered on Volume 2 (which I do not yet own).
Also perhaps attributable to the differences between LA and other "linear" styles (like New York), is that some of the moves are different than the way I was taught them, e.g., the man's and lady's footwork for the lady's turn and cross-body lead. However, the lady's turn as Ken teaches it is actually a bit easier for the lady to execute and the footwork shown for the cross-body lead does require somewhat less overall space on the dance floor, an advantage when it's crowded.
As a final nod of approval for this DVD, I'm ordering Volume 2 today!
Good, not perfect
Poul Jensen | Fairbanks, Alaska, USA | 10/28/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The DVD does what it promises: It will get you started with salsa. Starting from the very bottom you're guided through timing and rhythm (counting), the basic footwork and then LA style basics. Having this in place you'll learn three different moves (patterns) and that's it.
It's generally well taught, repeating the moves and spelling out the details, or at least most of them. Some are left out. For example, they'll change between closed and open position without mentioning a word about it. You'll likely find that intuitive and not a problem, but a worse example: You'll learn a cross body lead, but not what the signal is - how does the lady know it's coming? You'll have to watch and figure out on your own. You'll also find the typical inconsistencies - when they do the moves fluently, they won't stick exactly to those details they have just spelled out. The beginner will watch the footwork and handwork closely and go: "That wasn't quite what he said?" This is both good and bad. Such inconsistencies are confusing to the beginner, but they're part of salsa. You can and will vary the same move somewhat once you become comfortable with it. Salsa is not for robots.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this DVD will only get you started. You'll learn basics and 3 moves and be asked to buy the next volume (which hasn't been released as of now). So if you already know the basics and want to learn some moves, this is not what you're looking for. I had hoped it contained more, and after watching it I immediately ordered two other DVDs that should cover much more.
Seems like a great buy for the very beginner. Just be aware that it won't take you far."
Best DVD for Beginner
AR | TX | 02/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a beginner in the world of Salsa and bought 3 different DVDs to complement my weekly lessons in a local studio. After reviewing all, my favorite is this DVD. I found Ken's instructions easier to follow. Also, what separates this DVD from the rest is that he gives tips on how to use hands for leading/guiding. The quality of the recording and presentation is great. I am eagerly waiting for the vol2."
CapnCrunch | Florida | 02/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've taken salsa lessons from instructors and gone to the clubs, but wanted to learn some more and get some more practice. These lessons are very good for something that you can do in your home. I checked out the Quick and Dirty guide to Salsa first. That was garbage. Get this instead, for sure. One thing, i would have liked the instructor to use the spanish names for the moves that i'm familiar with from the actual salsa classes. But overall, great stuff, and he points out moves to ACTUALLY lead, which most ppl won't show you."