Cuban Salsa: Bayamo Clásico

This is the original Bayamo figure and the most popular and interesting because the Follow first walks counter clock-wise until she is trapped by the Lead’s arm, and for that reason she must return and walk clockwise again. The first recording of the figure is on the legendary ¡Salsa a la Cuba! DVD #2, 1999, from “”. I have made an overview of “Bayamo” in this tutorial Cuban Salsa: Bayamo Family of Moves.

Bayamo Classic, or just Bayamo, belongs to the “Abajo” (down) sub-group, because the Lead’s left hand goes low at the start of the counter clockwise walk of the Follow. The move comes with two equally good endings: Either a Lead’s hook turn as in the original SALC video (see below), but most Leads seem to prefer the easier Sombrero ending. The Sombrero version can be done just putting the hat on or with more or less advanced “snake arms”.

Video 1, is from “DanceDifferent” (Czech Republic), 2017, shot in Brussels Airport. This is the “European” look and feel of genuine Cuban Salsa. The Lead uses the soft “Sombrero” hat ending.

Same DanceDifferent Video on YouTube

Video 2 is from “Social Dance Studio”, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, 2018. I must admit that I often like the realistic common sense styles of many Russian, Eastern- and Central European dancers.

Same Social Dance Studio Video on YouTube

Video 3 from Mexican “Salsafición” shows the standard A Bayamo ending: the Sombrero hat. Amando has his own unique “fun” style when he teaches! This video is part of a free online course.

Same Salsafición Video on YouTube

Video 4 from Giuseppe Battista, 2013, is interesting for its “non Cuban” dance style: It looks more like Salsa on One with “ballet” styling, making Bayamo appear completely different. It really is amazing!

Same Giuseppe Battista Video on YouTube

The original Bayamo

All the Bayamo Clásico videos we have seen so far end with Sombrero. I prefer the original more difficult Lead’s hook turn ending, and especially the continuation in Video 5 from the legendary ¡Salsa a la Cubana!, DVD #2, published 1999 by “”, featuring Ibert Vazquez Moreno and Sunny Soriano Malo de Molina.

Dile Que Sí Steps

Bayamo figures are not easy. Two things are difficult. Let us start with the first: How can the Lead lead the Follow behind his back counter clock-wise, if the Lead himself walks counter-clockwise as is the case for step 2-3-4-5-6-7 of Dile Que No? It is not possible unless the Lead “cheats” and forces the Follow to use longer steps than himself. Almost all A Bayamo videos I have found don’t use optimised stepping for the move. I have made a special tutorial named: Cuban Salsa: Use Dile Que Sí Steps for Bayamo.

Have to start the return walk

The other problem making the Bayamo Clásico difficult for beginners: How to start the return walk of the Follow. The return walk is unique to Bayamo Clásico, we don’t have it in the other Bayamo figures. The best way, because it is the most elegant and logical, and the way we see in almost all videos, is for the Lead to give the Follow a handheld Vacilala turn on 1-2-3, and for the Lead to continue with the Lead’s Enchufla on 5-6-7.

But a few versions start with a right turn to the Lead! We will compare the two versions in a special tutorial named Cuban Salsa: Bayamo Clásico Return Walk Options.

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