Cuban Salsa: A Bayamo por Arriba

A Bayamo por Arriba (up) is a good name because it reminds us that the Lead must keep both hands high as the Follow is lead behind his back. The Arriba also reminds us of the back-to-back turn at the end. Bayamo is a city in Cuba.

There is another version of A Bayamo por Arriba replacing the back-to-back turn with an alarde to the Lead. I prefer to call that figure A Bayamo por Arriba con alarde.

Unfortunately A Bayamo por Arriba is sometimes called A Bayamo por Matanzas or just Matanzas. Matanzas is another city in Cuba so this is rather confusing. It is even more problematic that Matanzas is most often a different move replaces the back-to-back turn with a two handed Vacilala.

To make life a little easier, I propose to name the moves like this:

  1. A Bayamo por Arriba, back-to-back turn.
  2. A Bayamo por Arriba con alarde, ends with an Alarde.
  3. A Bayamo por Arriba con Vacilala, two handed Vacilala.

It is nice to have Arriba as part of the three names, because it reminds us to keep both hands high when the Follow is lead behind the back of the Lead. In other common A Bayamo figures: A Bayamo, A Bayamo por Abajo, A Bayamo por el Hecho, the left hand must be held very low.

1 A Bayamo por Arriba

The sit-down in the middle of Video 1, from Christina Espejo,2008, is just styling. Note that the back-to-back turn (barrel turn) is fast because the last half of the 5-6-7 is devoted to putting the Sombrero hat on:

Same Video on YouTube

Adding and extra ending to the back-to-back turn, like the Sombrero hat, is rather common, but it makes it necessary to rush the turn making it more difficult to lead and less fun. I recommend to use a full eight-count like in the following video featuring Yuleisy C. Rojas and unknown Follow. Note that the back-to-back turn is prolonged taking a full eight-count. For that reason the move must be continued with Enchufla before the Sombrero ending.

Same Video on YouTube

2 How to lead A Bayamo

A Bayamo por Arriba works well in classes, workshops and Rueda de Casino because the Follow knows what is coming. But in social dancing it takes a good Lead to get a back-to-back turn going. One reason is that the barrel turn is not that common in Cuban Salsa. Follows are not used to it. The only other common move, that comes to my mind, having a back-to-back turn, is Siete Loco. In X-Body Salsa, barrel turns are piece of cake, they use them all the time.

In my opinion A Bayamo por Arriba is more elegant and easier to lead when the back-to-back turn uses a full eight-count, continued with Enchufla and Sombrero ending. I like the slow motion of it, and the opportunity for passionate eye contact over the shoulder.

A more detailed analysis of the back-to-back turn is laid out in Cuban Salsa: the back-to-back turn.

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