Most days, getting the mail is about as exciting as washing dishes. But, recently, I opened my mailbox and a little envelope inside made me break out in a happy dance.
I couldn’t review this album.
Because all the songs were all GREAT. I felt like I had The Red Shoes on; each one of them made me want to jump up and dance!
Now, this was a problem because DJ Ice and WRD Music had asked me to REVIEW the album. But, what kind of review would it be?
Song 1: Loved it!
Song 2: Loved it!
Song 3: Loved it! etc.
Ummm…might sound just a little bit biased.
It’s Got a Good Beat and You Can Dance to It
So, I decided to take the album to the most discerning, most uncensored critics I knew. The kids in my high school Latin competitors class. Twenty-two musically savvy, fiercely opinionated TEENAGERS.
The hardest part of my class is the first 10 minutes. Herding tired kids after a long day of their academic classes to get off their phones, focus, and wake up their bodies for 2 1/2 hours of Latin, requires me to be part cheerleader, part taskmaster.
Usually I get groans (uhhh, this song again?!), moans (can’t you play music that’s more modern?), complaints (can’t you play music that’s more authentic?). I wasn’t sure what they’d think of the Very Latin album, because it deftly combines modern songs, with very clear authentic Latin beats and rhythms.
Would it please ANY of them or NONE of them?!
If the Very Latin album could help me turn ignite their dancing muse, starting class was going to be a whole lot easier—for all of us!
The Dance Experiment
I popped in CD 1 (Sambas & Cha Chas) and selected track 12, “Beatbox Cha Cha”, to start our warm up.
This is the perfect “Back to the Future” song. You’ve got the best of the vintage cha cha feel (horn section, big band style, rhythmic clarity) with just the right injection of contemporary beats/vocals mixed in.
This might be the cha cha equivalent of a pizza-everyone is going to be satisfied!
Next, I played a samba, track 3, “Gasolina”.
This song made me feel like the cool kid hosting the hippest house party in town. Seriously, the whole class was “on”. Body action and hips were moving with renewed fever, and the samba rhythm is so clear, that everyone was hitting it with more power than I’d seen in a long time.
We moved onto another samba, “Bailando” track 1. Mellower and more melodic than Gasolina, “Bailando”. They loved the familiarity of the popular radio hit from Enrique Inglesias, optimized on Very Latin for competition timing and rhythm. Yesss! Everyone was warmed up and and focused!
“That was a great warm-up!” several of the kids said.
I smiled to myself. After all, I hadn’t changed really the warm-up itself, only the MUSIC.
“Which song do you like the best?”, I asked.
“All of them!”
Hhhhmmmm, maybe my original review was right on. 😉
New Music, New Inspiration
Which goes to show, that new music can breathe new LIFE into your dancing! Sometimes it just takes a little musical inspiration to flip the switch on how you feel in your routines.
I often hear from dancers feeling they’ve hit a plateau, or they’re uninspired, or stuck in a rut. Nothing works faster to break that dismal dance funk than updating your music collection.
After all, we dancers are moved by the music, and when the MUSIC is new, the MOVES become new, too!
The best part of the Very Latin album is there are 42 TRACKS!!! That’s means it’s going to be LONG time before I hear grumbling about “This song again?”
10 Cha Chas
3 Paso Dobles
Here are my personal picks from the album:
smooth, rolling rhythms with sexy vocals
lively, energetic, smooth disco-feel
“Stay with Me”
Sensual and soulful, distinct clear timing
percussive back rhythms, tender and melodic vocals
club style remix with traditional timing
fun, re-styled “Tequila” update
“Shake it Off”
catchy hooks, infectious beat and lyrics (WARNING: will cause lip-syncing 😉
DJ Ice has a talent for reshaping music just like dance coaches have a talent for reshaping their dancers.
He takes great songs with the POTENTIAL to be great dance music and refashions them into songs that are competition ready!
Perfectly synced for competition tempi and clear rhythmic characterizations, all while keeping the original flavor of the songs intact.
If the Very Latin album can inspire a group of teens to get into the swing of things, it will definitely breathe new excitement into your practice sessions or classes.
Listen to samples entire album right here:
Where to Buy:
North America: danceshopper.com
With her husband Erik, they are the founders of DanceSport Place and have a passion to help dancesport competitors reach their dancing goals.
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