Cuban Salsa: Siete Moderno
The classic Cuban Salsa (Miami style) move Siete Moderno is one of many similar dubious Miami style Siete/Panqué moves. Looks easy and convincing but they don’t work that well in social dancing. Mainly because Siete/Panqué is a basic figure that turns the Follow in and out in a rectangular slot. It is not in the DNA of such a figure to replace the last half of it with a circular left turning motion of Coca-Cola followed by Dile Que No.
In the case of Siete Moderno there is an additional problem at the very start of Siete/Panqué. The Lead starts the motion of the figure with normal handhold but releases the Follow’s left hand immediately very similar to a hand-free Vacilala. The next split of a second, the Lead’s left hand intercepts and grabs the Follow’s left hand at her left shoulder. Nice but very often the Follow’s left hand is not there! Even a good Lead knowing that the Follow’s left hand might appear more at hip height, or very close to her body as she turns, will very often miss it!
Video #1 is from “Dolce Dance”, Budapest, Hungary, 2010:
Siete Moderno works in Rueda de Casino because the Follow hears the Rueda Call and can use that as her “lead”: she must have her left hand ready at shoulder height, and on “5” she must step forward with the left foot angled 90 degrees to the left. But we should not use moves in Rueda that look like social moves if the don’t work well in social dancing.
Video #2 is from “Salsa Lovers”, DVD #3 , Miami, USA, 2000, uploaded to YouTube much later. Probably the first known recorded presentation of the move.
Siete Moderno works well in class and with a partner the Lead uses it with all the time. But that is not good enough for me. I don’t mind that some moves are difficult and need a little training with a partner to work, and many moves requires that the Lead really knows from experience how to lead them and how to make the Follow survive with grace if something goes wrong.
But my life is to short for dubious moves with build-in problems like lack of leadability. There is no way a Lead can tell a Follow to step forward on “5” and angle her left foot 90 degrees to the left. I am simply opposed to moves likely to go wrong even with the strongest Follows unless we have trained them together or they know them already.
Video #3 is from “Son de Habana”, Bogotá, Colombia, 2015. I like the casual style of these people, relaxed and unconcerned.
How to fix Siete Moderno
The Lead will need a good back-up plan. The move El Atrevido can be used as Plan B. If the Lead misses the Follow’s left hand, he simply turns her with his left hand at her left hip and his right hand on her right shoulder. But it is another dubious move, and it makes the Follow look terrible if it goes wrong.
If the Lead manages to intercept and grab the Follow’s left hand at shoulder height, instead of doing a Coca-Cola turn to the far left hoping that the Follow will angle (no way to lead it) her left foot 90 degrees to the left, the Lead could walk the Follow straight forward or a little to the left, as he does the Coca-Cola turn. This continuation is in the DNA of the square Siete/Panqué move, the Follow is already posed to step forward in the halfway position of the move.
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