Cuban Salsa: A Bayamo por Arriba con Alarde

A Bayamo por Arriba (up) is a good name because it reminds us that the Lead must keep both hands high, and over his head, as the Follow is lead behind his back. Unfortunately we have three different variations called Bayamo por Arriba. The first part of the move is the same, only the ending differs.

It is also confusing that Bayamo por Arriba is sometimes called Bayamo por Matanzas or just Matanzas. Matanzas is another city in Cuba. Please drop this Matanzas in order to make things easier for all of us. “Bayamo” is a family of moves, so all moves in that family should use “Bayamo” as part of the name.

I propose to name the “por Arriba” moves like this:

  1. Bayamo por Arriba “back-to-back”
  2. Bayamo por Arriba con Alarde
  3. Bayamo por Arriba con Vacilla

In my opinion “back-to-back” is by far the most important of the three moves, because “back-to-back” is not that common. Vacilala on the other hand is part of so many moves, and Alarde is all over the place.

This version of Bayamo por Arriba con Alarde is from “Salsafición”, Mexico, 2018. These people make many good videos focusing on teaching moves instead of just showing them. The fun teaching style of Amando is ok, and Anahí steps so it is easy to learn from.

Same Salsafición Video on YouTube

Note that the Lead after bringing the Follow around him, adds a hand-held Vacilala on 1-2-3 and then the Alarde on 5-6-7, and in this case not just an Alarde but a head loop to himself. He could also have given it to the Follow.

I like variations of the same basic move because all variations are at times the best in the situation.

I might prefer Bayamo por Arriba “back-to-back”, or Bayamo por Arriba con Vacilala, but suddenly I notice that the Follow is not ready or well positioned for a “back-to-back” or that other dancers are closing in on us making the Vacilala version risky.

Then it is nice that the Lead can change his plan at the last moment and opt for the easy Alarde version.

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