Untitled Document Popular Dances of Cuba Instruction

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genre:  Danzón, Son, Chachachá
video type: 
Instruction - Demonstration
60 minutes
Oakland, California
Boogalu Productions

Un Trio Inseparable is a master class for all lovers of salsa, latin dance, and latin music, who want to learn and fully explore the three essential popular dance forms of Cuba from which all modern styles of salsa developed - the danzón, son, and chachachá.

Leading the class is musician, dancer, and teacher extraordinaire Roberto Borrell, a Cuban gentleman who embodies his culture and has dedicated his life to perserving and passing on Cuba's rich traditions. Captivated by the music as a teenager, Roberto learned to dance and play music in the vibrant dance salons and social clubs of Havana in the early 1950's.

Over the past 20 years while residing the USA, Roberto has developed a comprehensive system of teaching the traditional popular dances of Cuba inspired by the manner in which he learned - the old school "open your eyes, open your ears" method. It’s a simple approach and yet you will be challenged to listen to your feet, to the music, and to become part of what Roberto calls the inseparable trio of the music, man, and woman.

Accompanying Roberto is one of his favorite dance partners Viola Gonzales.

Part 1 - Dance Instruction for Danzón, Son, Chachachá
28 chapters - 60 minutes
• dance demonstrations with music
• posture and basic steps
• slow and big turns
• open & close moves
• open to separate moves
• men's & woman's steps broken down

Part 2 - Interviews & Demonstrations
12 chapters - 60 minutes
• personal history
• life as musician-dancer in Cuba
• dance partner Viola Gonzales
• danzón history & characteristics
• danzón music example & explanation
• dance memories in Cuba
• son history & characteristics
• chachachá history & characteristics
• demo of dancing using cues from the rhythm instruments
• the inseparable trio: music - man - woman
• advice for learning to dance
• demo of correct technique and common mistakes

The Borrell Cuban Dance Method
Over the past 20 years Roberto Borrell has been teaching Cuban dance to non-Cuban students. During that time he has developed a comprehensive system of teaching the traditional popular dances of Cuba inspired by the way he learned to dance - the old school "open your eyes, open your ears" method.

Key concepts from the "Un Trio Inseparable" DVD
1) The inseparable trio: music - man - woman
The dance couple along with the music form a music/dance unit that is designed to function as an ensemble. The dance couple, with the sound of their feet, is an essential musical element. Remember that this is a trio: man, woman, and music, and the three have to be united in order to function well if we are to enjoy ourselves. Listen to the music. You must devote time every day to listening, every chance you get.

2) Knowledge of the music structure and instrumentation is crucial for dancers as this information provides you with:
• knowing what form is appropriate to dance to a given style of music
• cues on how to dance to different sections of the music
• information about what moment to begin, transition, and end the dance

3) Observe, do what you see, listen to your feet. While learning to do the movements do only what you see. But before doing it look and observe carefully. Don’t do anything while you are observing so that it remains in your head, and after you have it there you can transfer it down (to your body and feet). Repeat as many times as necessary so that your body memorizes it. It doesn’t matter how much you have to repeat.
Concentrate on what our feet are doing. Dancing is done with the feet, not with the body because the body doesn’t make a sound. What makes a sound are the feet. And in the beginning, in order to learn properly you should not use your arms, but concentrate on the feet.

4) Go slowly, step by step. Don’t skip anything in the sequence. That’s very important. You learn quickly when you go slowly. Don’t use a partner until you know well what you are doing. Your partner must also know what s/he is doing. In that way both partners will practice correctly. Practice alone and you will find yourself getting better and better. Be patient. You need to have lots and lots of patience. Remember that this will pay off for a lifetime.

5) The danzón, son, and chachachá are an interrelated group of Cuban dances that have similar steps, and it is important to learn them in the proper order. The danzón, the first to learn, teaches you about listening to the musical structure, as well as learning the basic steps and turns that apply to all the other dances. The second dance to learn is son. Less formal then the danzón, but with identical foot work, the music and dance of son give dancers more freedom in their bodies to move. Lastly we learn the chachachá, as it is really a variation of the son with some added footwork.

Untitled Document


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