Cuban Salsa: Siete con Coca-Cola
The move Siete con Coca-Cola, Siete is also often called Panqué, is on the surface a lovely intermediate move, “easy” and seemingly very popular. At least we can find many videos demonstrating the move on YouTube. But it is a fake social move because the Lead can not lead it. It works in Rueda de Casino because the Follow is supposed to know the move and she hears the call just as well as the Lead. That is, instead of being lead, the Follow is told what to do in advance.
One should not use Rueda moves that looks like moves also for social dancing, if the move is not leadable in social dancing. That is, Siete con Coca-Cola, as it is normally presented in the Miami Rueda tradition of “Salsa Racing” and “Salsa Lovers” should never be used in any context and should have no place in Cuban Salsa.
No clear leading
When we look at the videos below, Siete con Coca-Cola seems to be a no brainer. But it isn’t. The inherent problem with this and similar Siete moves is that a rectangular move is not easy to fit into the circular motion of the traditional Partner Circle. When Siete is done without the Coca-Cola, the Follow is lead into a halfway position with her back to the Lead, ready to step forward on “5” and turn back, undoing the roll-in.
In order to do the Miami-style Siete con Coca-Cola, the Follow must angle her foot 90 degrees or more to the left and turn around the Lead to the left of him as she do the Coca-Cola turn. This is in theory possible, especially if the Follow uses the Latin Spiral Turn technique, turning a full 360 degrees turn between “6-7”. But how is she to know to angle her left foot 90 degrees left, as she steps forward on “5”?
There is no way a Lead can tell a Follow to angle her left foot 90 degrees to the left as in Siete con Coca-Cola instead of just stepping forward and turn back as in Siete!
Good Lead and strong Follow
A good Lead and a strong Follow will always be able to do Siete con Coca-Cola also in social dancing, but the move relies on good luck, and the Follow being pushed and twisted around in a manner that is not good for most Follows knees. The move is likely to look clumsy with rotten foot work, and the Follow is easily brought out of balance.
I have used the move many times in social dancing earlier in my dance life, and I never really had the feeling that the move was working properly with a wide range of Follows as a good move is supposed to to do.
How to make junk look nice
Video #1 from the Hungarian Dance School “Dolce Dance”, 2010, looks nice, but don’t be fooled. It is easy to make a not leadable move look convincing if you rehearse at couple of times before the video camera button is pressed.
Video #2 is from the “Salsa Lovers” DVDs, year 2000, uploaded to YouTube much later. Rene Gueits is the first known Lead to present the move in a video.
Video #3 from “Son de Habana”, Bogotá, Colombia, 2015. Siete con Coca-Cola still looks very nice. Let it be a warning: Never accept any move as it is presented to you. Good dance instructors are rare. If they are just good dancers, they might easily present you not with solid moves from social dancing but with their own choreographed partner moves without ever having tested them with a wide range of Leads and Follows in a realistic setting.
Video #4 from “salsa4water”, featuring Sam and Krista, UK, 2013, is interesting because the move is also shown in slow motion. It is easy to see that no leading takes place. The Follow is hardwired! She somehow knows exactly what to do. She angle her left foot 90 degrees to the left on “5” and almost jumps into the Coca-Cola turn after having rehearsed it several times before starting the video camera. This has nothing to do with realistic leadable social dancing.
How to rescue Siete con Coca-Cola
It is possible to do Siete con Coca-Cola in a way that works well in both social dancing and in Rueda de Casino but it is very different from the classic Miami move. One simply has to accept that Siete/Panqué is a rectangular basic figure.
In the halfway position of Panqué, the Follow has her back to the Lead ready to step forward on “5” away from the Lead. To add a Coca-Cola turn simply let the Follow step forward (preferably a little to the left), and the Lead walks forward as well and roll her out with a Coca-Cola turn. Then continue the momentum and use the type of Dile Que No, I call DQN Continuado because the turning direction is already counter clockwise.