Cuban Salsa: Bayamo por Arriba “back-to-back”

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 part of that many moves. Alarde and Vacilala on the other hand are very common.

“Back-to-Back” with Sombrero

Video 1 features Yosvany Torres and Stine Ortvad, “El Studio”, Copenhagen 2014. They show the most common Bayamo por Arriba “back-to-back”, but not the best in my opinion. The “back-to-back” ends with a Sombrero as part of the one count of eight.

Video 2 is from the “Social Dance Studie”, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, 2018, featuring Stanislav Shvetsov as instructor. The move is exactly the same as in “Video 1” but this time with instructions in Russian and I like the style of Stanislav.

Same Shvetsov Video on YouTube

“Back-to-Back”, Enchufla and Sombrero

I recommend to use a full count of eight for the “back-to-back” turn like in the following Video 3 featuring Yuleisy C. Rojas and an unknown Follow, Roskilde, Denmark, 2015 (?). Note that the “back-to-back” turn is “clean”, it doesn’t end with Sombrero. Instead an Enchufla is added ending with Sombrero.

Bayamo por Arriba “back-to-back” is not only more relaxed with Enchufla and Sombrero added (one extra count of eight), it also means that the success rate is much higher when dancing to very fast music.

In Rueda de Casino dance conditions are optimal: each couple has its own defined space making it easy to focus on the move, the moves are announced making them much easier to lead and the music is most often well-known and seldom that fast.

In social dancing the Lead must divert attention to treats on the dance floor, the music is often less well-known, and often fast, and the moves are more difficult to lead not announced by a Caller.

For the above reasons it is often a good idea to modify “Rueda” moves in social dancing. Typically by adding a count of eight at the most challenging spot somewhere in the middle. This is sometimes called adding a “largo”. I call it “the power of nothing”.

It makes the move more relaxed and playful and easier to lead, and the success rate becomes higher especially to fast music.

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