Less formal salsa style danced by many in Latin America
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you want to be spoon-fed one regimented unvarying way to dance salsa choose another video. (Then God help you when you want to dance with a partner who didn't learn the same exact way you did). If want to learn the more "formal" New York mambo style choose another video. If you want formal ballroom/dance studio salsa look elsewhere.However if you want to learn a cumbia backstep style of salsa, Marlon Silva's set of videos are the only ones I've found. If you dance with many different dance partners from different parts of Latin America, this will make you a more flexible leader who's better able to find a step to match her style. Or if you teach beginners to dance salsa - once again - I like this step better. Marlon Silva teaches you to switch and vary your "basic step" and later to improvise and find your own personal style. And if you want to watch lots of new moves there's lots of interesting material here that you can incorporate into *any* style of salsa. I switch back and forth among different steps and styles, but if I had to choose one I prefer this cumbia-style of salsa to the New York mambo style. I won't bother to argue with those who say the New York style is the "proper" style of salsa. I've danced salsa most every week for seven years and dance to have fun with my partner, not to impress dance judges in a "Strictly Ballroom" competition setting. I first learned salsa (and merengue) in a university town with lots of international students right off the plane from Central and South America. And if you dance salsa where there are plenty of dance partners from Latin America (particularly the Caribbean) just look around: this is the style I see a lot of people dancing to *salsa* songs (and not just to cumbia songs). In my opinion this cumbia-style salsa step feels more smooth and flowing and makes it easier to get swept up in the music than the New York style. And when I'm teaching a beginner to follow, that means this style makes it easier for them to catch onto and enjoy the distinctive feel of salsa rhythms (I often hear "aha" from women who had a quick lesson in New York style and didn't "get it"). Most complete beginners I ask prefer this style if they try both briefly. Later I teach them the New York style too for variety.Marlon Silva doesn't spoon feed you a single basic step. Before he moves on to even basic turns, he suggests ways to vary your basic step and find your own style. Once you get more experience, he will encourage you to improvise. I chose another simpler video to get my "spoon fed" salsa to start off with, but quickly moved on to this one. Marlon Silva is more of relaxed informal natural street dancer, not a studio instructor. He definitely emphasizes feeling the music rather than precise technique.I would agree with some of the other reviewers that Suzie Neff appears a little stiff and uninspiring in these videos. Maybe that would make a bigger difference if I was trying to learn the woman's part - I don't know. It doesn't affect my opinion of the video as a way to learn how to lead salsa steps and moves. If this is a style of salsa you'd like to learn, Marlon Silva's instructional videos fill a valuable and neglected niche."
Sorry if you're reading this, Marlon
Jeffrey K. Galef | Arcata, CA United States | 05/07/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Please save your money and do not purchase this DVD. I bought this as my first salsa DVD and was very disappointed, not to mention feeling betrayed. Marlon takes at least twice as long to say something as anyone else would. He often says, "We're not uh, uh, uh, going to cover this because, uh, uh, we did in our, uh, previous episode." The other problem is that it is a very odd form of Salsa. He doesn't use the the standard 1-2-3, 5-6-7. He also will do something rediculous like bending over and turning in circles. He will spend at least 10 minutes on this, and then go in the other direction for another 10 minutes.
For a real salsa dvd, check out Juan & Diana, or Al & Edie."
Great steps but lousy explanations
Karel Thijs | Aruba | 03/07/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The steps taught on this DVD are just what an intermediate salsa dancer wants to learn, but the way they are explained leaves a lot to be desired. Marlon Silva may be an excellent dancer, but trying to give his explanations in English - a language he obviously doesn't master - was not his best idea when making this DVD. At a constant loss for words, he keeps repeating the same things (and linguistic blunders) over and over again. The DVD's 131 minutes could have been reduced by half if all this annoying nonsense had been cut out. Also, Silva makes a point of saying that he doesn't want to spend too much time explaining certain steps "because they were explained in a former episode"; but by the time he manages to put that into words, he could have explained the same steps twice over. The steps themselves are exciting and eye-catching, but they are presented in a chaotic and disorganised way and at a pace that's nearly impossible to follow. (As for pedagogy, I much prefer Josie Neglia's video "Dance hot salsa", although her steps are slightly less appealing.) So if you're ready to spend more than two hours listening to broken English and trying to separate the wheat from the chaff on a DVD that does contain some exciting salsa movements, Marlon Silva would be a good buy for you. Otherwise, let it be a good-bye and try your luck with one of the other DVDs on the market."