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06/01/95

Review: First Look: Eddie Torres Teaches Salsa Nightclub Style

by Mary Kent

The new video, Eddie Torres Teaches Salsa Nightclub Style has just been released and now all salsa aficionados who have been shy about getting down on the dance floor, can take lessons from the maestro himself.

Eddie Torres caught the dancing bug as a young man, after being turned down by a love interest. It seems she rejected him in favor of a slick dancer. Eddie promised himself this would never happen again.

Twenty years later, Mr. Torres has not only mastered his dance floor skills, he has internalized his craft to a level of comprehension that makes him a recognized authority in salsa/Latin dancing. Teacher extraordinaire and choreographer, Eddie has found a way to take that knowledge to the next level. His new dance video teaches the whole world how to dance salsa with the Eddie Torres Dance Technique.

Salsa Dancing Nightclub Style opens with an introduction of elementary musical notions as they apply to dancing, such as what is a measure. Eddie then goes right into the basic step, which seems deceptively simple, but not when you factor in the timing, breaking on the two, swiveling the hips and making it all look good with style and pizazz.

The two ways to perform step patterns are called open position and partner work. In Spanish, the expression déjala que se defienda, let her shine... describes the spirit of the open position. The partners let go of each other and perform dance steps across from each other with more independence. Partner work requires a lot of coordination and practice. Salsa Nightclub Style teaches fourteen steps, (eight open work and six partner work patterns) in just under 2 hours. This means after you learn each step, it's up to you to practice, practice. With over 180 steps in Torres's repertoire, a sequel video is inevitable.

The breakdown of each step pattern is very clearly shown, making it easy to follow visually and through the instructions spoken by Torres. Geared towards both men and women, Torres breaks down each step pattern into men's timing and women's timing, since this is what allows the partners to dance opposite each other without crashing.

Even if you don't feel adventurous enough to take center stage, or to get up and take the dance class, Salsa Dancing Nightclub Style is fun to watch. While Eddie walks you through the patterns like the Suzie Q and the Front Double-Cross step, the attractive dancers demonstrate in an entertaining manner how to execute the steps, what to do with your hands, how to bob your shoulders, how to dance with style...

This is no longer plain ol' street dancing. A close look at this video will enhance your appreciation for salsa dancing, which is reaching levels of refinement it never knew before. The steps are marked with more precision and artistry and the repertoire of steps is continuously growing. There is a finesse in the execution sprinkled with Big Apple know-how and a dab of good ol' attitude. Who says salsa is dead?

For the women, dance shoes with heels and short skirts seem to accentuate the swaying hips. Salsa dancing is a sensuous dance. When performed well, it can make a man's heart skip a beat. Duplessey, Torres' beautiful niece wearing the red dress, personifies salsa's sensuality. Torres' dancers ooze confidence in their bodies, a confidence that builds as a dancer becomes more proficient.

Oscar Hernández (composer/arranger/pianist for Seis del Solar) wrote the instructional music, a series of rhythmic riffs that start with the bare rhythm of the conga and clave, then build till the rest of the instruments come together during the dance summary. The music was written in a tempo that is comfortable for the apprentice dancer. Tito Puente's "Fiesta a la King" and "Mambo Gozón" are performed in the nightclub scenes.

All in all, this video deserves a place in the Latin music aficionados collection. It's a must for Latin dance instructors and for salsa music lovers who want to learn how New Yorkers do the Latin, salsa dancing—club style.



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