Cuban Salsa: El Atrevido

The move El Atrevido means “The Daring”. The move is similar to Siete con Coca-Cola (Miami style) but it is a very special Coca-Cola left turn. The Follow is turned left by her left hip and her right shoulder! Siete con Coca-Cola is an unleadable move that should never be used. El Atrevido is leadable but it takes a strong Lead and a strong Follow, and the Lead relies mostly on good luck to make the Follow turn in exactly the direction he wants.

What happens on “5-6-7”

El Atrevido starts with Siete/Panqué, but at the end of “1-2-3”, the Lead drops the Follow’s right hand and stops her turning motion by placing his left hand on her left hip and his right hand on her right shoulder. In the Siete/Panqué halfway position, the Follow is positioned and posed to step forward on “5”, and either to turn back to the start position of open position also called Guapea position, or to be walked straight forward. This is the inherent nature of Siete/Panqué as a rare rectangular move and the reason why Siete con Coca-Cola (Miami style) works badly. But giving a Coca-Cola turn walking straight forward on “5-6-7” starting a Paseo walk, works well.

When the Lead preps the Follow on “4” pushing her left hip a little forward and her right shoulder a little back, it should be obvious for the Follow that some type of Coca-Cola left turn or spin turn is expected and that the direction is most likely to the far left and that the Follow should angle her left foot 90 degrees in that direction on “5” to facilitate the turn.

The Lead might be able to signal his preferred direction for the Follow’s turn with hands both on her hip and on her shoulder. In Bachata Sensual the Follow is often turned sideways from that position and that works well in Bachata having sideways motion as basic steps. In Cuban Salsa walking forward is the default or should be default.

A little unpredictable!

This makes El Atrevido a tricky “fun” move. The Follow has the right to turn straight forward or she can angle her left foot 90 degrees left and turn in that direction, if she senses that is what the Leads wants from the overall context. That is, when the Lead is dancing not with a training partner but with any Follow in general, there is no way to know in advance how the Follow comes out of the Coca-Cola turn or spin, there is no way to know for sure if she choses to turn straight forward or to the left.

As long as this is the exception to the rule in a social dance, such a “let us see what happens” move, is ok, at least in my dance. The Lead must accept his own challenge and find, if necessary, some creative way to pick the Follow up again.

Video #1 is from “bskdance”, Madrid, Spain, 2010. When you have trained a move a couple of times before pushing the video button, it all looks both perfect and easy to the extend that the Follow looks hard-wired!

Same “bskdance” video on YouTube

In Video #2 from “salsaydanzas”, France, 2012, we see the relationship between Siete con Coca Cola (Miami style), shown first, and El Atrevido. The first is not leadable, the second is with Lead’s hands on both hip and shoulder, but the outcome is a little unpredictable.

Same “salsaydanzas” video on YouTube

Videos like the two in this tutorial showing the El Atrevido move are partly choreographed bluff. It is easy to train something to the level of perfection and then to make a convincing video of it. But what is the success rate with a Follow that tries it for the first time? And what is the success rate with a Follow that tries it once a month?

For El Atrevido to be successful, a Lead must use it in almost every dance so he is really good at leading it. Timing is everything. And he must use it with the same Follows again and again in order to get the success rate higher than 50%.

The main problem with El Atrevido is that it can really make a Follow look bad. It it works on the other hand, the Lead is likely to score a big smile.

I recommend to use the hand-free version of Dile Que No con Coca-Cola instead of El Atrevido.

The turn is similar but the success rate is much higher because Coca-Cola is a natural turn to add to DQN: the first part of DQN changes the turning motion from right to left, Coca-Cola is added to an already turning motion.

El Atrevido on the other hand starts from a “square” static half-way position of Siete/Panqué that doesn’t match well with a Coca-Cola left turn unless the Follow is walked straight forward.

When a Lead has the hand-free version of DQN con Coca-Cola working with a Follow, there is a much higher chance that El Atrevido will also work with that Follow.

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