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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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I used to believe there were two kinds of people: those who could dance and those who could not (and, more importantly, should not). I of course have always counted myself among the latter. The Quick and Dirty Guide to Salsa, Part One - Beginners has opened my eyes to a vast new world, however. Could I, one of the most uncoordinated individuals on the face of the earth, actually learn to dance? And I'm not talking about the kind of dancing Howard Sprague learned to do on The Andy Griffith Show - that's basically just walking around with a partner. I'm talking about Salsa dancing, the hottest dancing I know of, with all of its intricacies, fluid movements, and unadulterated fun. With the help of this amazing DVD, the impossible has truly been changed to the possible.

This DVD is specifically aimed at beginners; hopefully, DVDs for more advanced Salsa skills will be forthcoming from the guys and gals at Debdoot Das. When you begin the lessons, you immediately find yourself in very good hands. The lovely Gigi is a great teacher, and her partner Pedro adds a number of very helpful tips for male partners as we progress through the steps. Gigi starts at the very beginning, telling you what to do, showing you how to do it, and giving you the chance to do the steps along with her. As she gradually moves to more complicated moves, she works them into an increasingly comprehensive practice routine - what this means is that you basically practice all of the moves you have learned so far with each advancing lesson. You can't forget what has come before because Gigi doesn't let you. I won't name all of the different moves featured in this instructional DVD, but Gigi repeats each of them often enough that you know what move she is calling for when she calls for it. She also counts out the rhythm and pauses that make up each dance move, helping ensure you get not only the moves but the timing of those moves down pat.

The real secret to this DVD's success, aside from the wonderful Gigi, is of course the inclusion of three distinct camera angles. The instructional video runs for roughly 48 minutes; multiply that by the three camera angles and you get a thorough lesson of well over two hours. I would start, obviously, with the Front Angle because it lets you see the basic moves in the clearest of fashions (and Gigi is addressing you from this camera perspective). It can be hard to see what the dancers are doing at times, though, especially when one partner is moving in front of the other - that is where the other viewing angles come in. The High Angle viewpoint not only gives you a higher vantage point from which to observe the movements, it also offers a more close-up view of the action. The Back Angle is truly great and helpful - now you can see all the stuff you could not see from the other two angles (it also offers other advantages that I, as a guy, appreciated). These multiple-angle viewpoints are immeasurably helpful in making sure you can see exactly what each dancer is doing at all times.

It is also important to note that Gigi and Pedro make Salsa dancing fun, even when they are showing you the most basic of steps. They also make it seem easy to learn. Only after they have gone through all of the lessons and reviewed the moves multiple times do they add music to the mix. I also liked the fact that they did not actually dance until the end of the lessons - I think this is important because Salsa dancing itself looks like something I could never possibly learn. If I had seen how hard it looks before learning the basic moves, I would have been less confident and thus have gotten less out of these lessons than I did.

Simply stated, this DVD and a dance partner are all you need to learn basic Salsa dancing. If you want to learn but are too shy to take lessons, this DVD is perfect for you. You can't just watch the DVD and expect the information sink in, of course; you have to get up and do what Gigi and Pedro are showing you. At the very end of the lessons, Gigi and Pedro show you what more advanced Salsa dancing looks like, and I guarantee this will get you even more excited about practicing what you have learned and more than anxious to see a hoped-for follow-up DVD aimed at intermediate Salsa students.
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on November 18, 2009
Be aware that this video is less than 48 minutes long. It's nice to look at, but the main hostess is quite a bossy and humourless teacher, and her partner is of middling calibre and looks like he's falling asleep at times. I would avoid this one unless you're trying to round out a collection of salsa dvds.

A much better product is the Salsa Crazy line of salsa instruction dvds out of San Francisco.

The slick packaging and the rave reviews here convinced me to buy this "quick and dirty" dvd but I regret it now. I'm actively taking one-on-one salsa dancing lessons with a Colombian teacher, so I know what a quality learning experience is like, and this ain't it. This is my first ever Amazon review but I just felt I needed to warn people not to waste twenty five bucks. Two stars.
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on June 15, 2006
Gigi and her coinstructor Pedro provide easy to follow salsa dance lessons that are light years ahead of their competitors. Learn the hot dance steps that will cause loud gasps and jaws to drop ... Anyone who loves Latin American or Caribbean music (Cuban or Puerto Rican) can learn to salsa. This DVD is the ideal gift for couples who want to spice up a relationship and love to dance. The catchy phrases and counting method used by Gigi as she teaches the steps are not difficult to follow. Miami style salsa dancing never looked so good ... as when taught by this young and talented couple. If you want to dazzle and impress ... this is how to do it! Learn to salsa and enjoy yourself!

The most amazing feature on this DVD is the ability to program the views ... This means you can view the dance steps and moves from different angles. This *one* unique feature sets these dance lessons far above the competition in providing the means to learn better and more easily. The different views make it possible for the learner to see the steps and practice as if a "live" instructor were in the same room. You feel as the instructor is right next to you. There are times when it is easier to learn dance steps if you are behind the instructor, this is possible with the programmable feature. This DVD teaches about 20 or so dance steps ... all of which are easy to follow. This is one of the best ways to learn this dance. Live dance instruction is very expensive, this DVD set is a true value. Most importantly, one can learn the Miami style salsa dance moves that will make you feel like a super-star when out on the dance floor. Erika Borsos (pepper flower)
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on November 11, 2011
None of my private lessons (3 different teachers) have ever begun with the steps this teacher uses. There's a lot of "whaaaaa?" after the first 3 or 4 chapters. just like those comic book instructions on how to draw: circle, two more circles, a diagonal line, and then last panel is a perfect drawing of a clown. This DVD is the dance lesson equivalent of that kind of instruction.

And she doesn't do "mirror image" which most beginner dance and exercise videos do. (When she says 'move your left,' she's also moving her left, so bigger klutzes have more to process).

The only practice section is for when you know ALL the many steps on the video. Let us fumbling beginners have a LITTLE more fun on the floor, with a simple practice section to music. But, no, this one doesn't give you any good practice sections until the very end (with a lot of complicated moves).
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on July 12, 2004
As its name implies, "The Quick & Dirty Guide to Salsa" is a quick and dirty intro to dancing salsa. Not quite NY style, but, hey dancing isn't rocket science - there's room for everyone to have fun. And, the DVD is especially well rendered from three different angles. So, each lesson (28 in all) is available in three views - from the front, from behind, and from a frontal elevated position - so you get the complete picture. There are no obstructions or hidden angles. The location is a sumptuous intimate living space with a great wood floor and nice fixtures as a backdrop.
All in all, a very neat intro to salsa basics and some salsa partnering.
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on July 17, 2004
This dvd has set a new standard for dance instructional dvd's with the 3 angles you can view of all the moves. You can view the whole dvd from the front, back, above angles or just a move.
You can rewind a move & watch it from a different angle.
I also like the memory feature that you can rewind as much of a chapter as you like.
The instruction is from the absolute beginners level through to the most common Miami Cuban Salsa moves.
This is a very enjoyable video to watch.
This has got to be the must buy Salsa instructional video for 2004.
Well worth buying.
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on August 19, 2005
I found that the instructor went over the steps very well, some seemed difficult at first but after you do them a few times, it becomes natural. I liked that there were different angles to view. I preferred the front because you can look at them while you do it... but the backview is great if you need to follow everything they do (they goto the right, you goto the right). I cannot wait until I have mastered this one and can move onto the next.
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on July 13, 2004
For me the best thing about this DVD is it teaches you how to dance salsa in the same way most of the people do. It starts with basic steps and quickly moves to combinations that look great. It's quick but you don't feel that they run over details. You can change the camera and see how things look from a diferent perspective. 'Quick' but I wouldn't say 'dirty', salsa it's also 'elegance' and it's shown in this DVD.
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on October 25, 2005
I found this DVD very misleading. First, it's under the workout section and it's so basic that you don't even work up a sweat. Second, it would be handy to have a partner and no where does it say that! Otherwise, I guess if you just want to learn basic dancing it's for you.
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on July 16, 2004
This is the coolest! I was going to Miami & I've never salsa danced before & this taught me some hot moves.
Being able to change the angle I could really see how the dancers moved their feet...among other things. I can actually dance now.
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