Cuban Salsa: Bayamo por Abajo
The easiest of the moves in the A Bayamo family and very common. As in other moves, Abajo (down) indicates that the Lead somewhere in the sequence ducks under the Follow’s arm. The Bayamo family has two sub-families: “por Arriba” where both the Lead’s arms go over his head, and “por Abajo” where the Lead’s left arm is kept low. In that sense Bayamo por Abajo has two “abajos”.
Since the move is the easiest of the A Bayamo moves, it is a good way for a Lead to test or prime a new Follow. If she is doing fine, a Lead can continue with one of the more difficult Bayamo moves.
Video 1 is from “Salsafición”, 2018, in Mexico. They have a great YouTube channel for Cuban Salsa moves and a free online course. Amando’s “fun” style of teaching is not that bad, except that you need to get used to it.
I always enjoy watching the “DanceDifferent” (Prague, Czech Republic) videos, this one from 2019. Video 2 is supposed to replace another of their similar videos, and for that reason it is surprising that the Lead looses the Follow’s hand behind his back in take number two! Don’t you have time to retake a video with a major error, you want to share?
Video 3 is with Sam and Krista from “Salsa4Water”, UK, 2013. Sam is a very talented and experienced dancer but in the many “Salsa4Water” videos his style is often too hectic for my taste. But Sam and Krista always score high on connection and enjoying their own dance.
Vacilala to the shoulder
All Bayamo figures start with a handheld Vacilala turn to the shoulder. For that to work the “Sombrero” handhold must be used, right-to-right handed, Lead’s right hand on top. In the Mexican video, they call this move for Vuelta al Hombre (turn to the shoulder). This is also called a “half” Sombrero, a “semi” Sombrero.
The three videos in this blogpost are all examples of moderate back-rocking dance styles. I always try to lead my Follows forward in DQN, no back steps, please, don’t use that brake!
I only use these videos for one reason: “dance and let dance”. Other dance styles than my own, are welcome! It is always good to have an opportunity to compare and discuss the differences.
These videos have one quality in common, I really like. In all of them the dancers are good at connecting, good at being present.