Director: Pat O'Connor
Stars: Helen Mirren, John Lynch, Donal McCann
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Romance
Runtime: 102 minutes

Well organized and appropriately paced, dance instructor Cal Pozo's Salsa Merengue includes instructions and demonstrations for this classic Cuban dance. Using his standard teaching method, Pozo starts with an explanation and history of the dance and includes animated footprints stepping out the moves, the perspectives (front and back) of each partner, and finally, a full-out demonstration. He begins with the fundamentals of the "Cuban motion," as he calls it, which is "all in the hip." Mastering the merengue requires more than just memorizing the steps. The dance springs from this essential hip movement, and if you don't get a feel for it, you won't get a feel for the dance. Therefore, Pozo spends a good part of the tape slowly and clearly explaining posture and weight emphasis on the foot, to ensure that you'll be able dance the merengue without looking like a robot. One annoyance is the beginning of the video, an excessive eight minutes of people dancing the steps you are waiting to learn. Fast forward through once you've seen it the first time, and you are on your way to merengue. --Beth Massa

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