Cuban Salsa: Setenta (70)

Setenta, meaning “70” in Spanish, is most likely the first real move you learn in Cuban Salsa. For that reason it is considered beginners level, but you could just as well call it intermediate. It really is one of the signature moves of Cuban Salsa, likely to be called in any Rueda de Casino, and very many Leads at any level use one or more Setenta moves in every dance.

The first count of eight of Setenta, the Hammerlock, can be done in three ways, see my tutorial: Cuban Salsa: How to do the Hammerlock in Setenta (70):

  1. Vacilala Steps. The Follow steps forward on “1”, turns on 1-2-3, and walks on 5-6-7.
  2. Cuban Vuelta (Habanero). The Follow steps forward on “1”, walks on 1-2-3, and turns on 5-6-7.
  3. Back-rocking “salsa” Vuelta (should never be used) .

We have three common moves called Setenta, but they should be named each with their own name, to make it easier to remember them and to tell them apart. Here I list my names for them:

  1. Setenta. Three counts of eight. At the end of the second count the Follow is lead behind the Lead’s back. The moves ends with Enchufla
  2. Setenta con Finta. For the last part of the second count the Lead gives himself an on/off Alarde, a so-called Finta and continues with Enchufla.
  3. Setenta con Alarde. Only two counts of eight. For the last part of the second count the Lead gives himself an Alarde and goes directly into Dile Due No. This is the easy one and one of the very first moves to learn.

Setenta starts with Vacilala Steps

For the Hammerlock of Setenta, we should use Vacilala Steps, the heart and soul of Cuban Salsa.

Video Clip #1 is from “”, Poznań, Poland, 2015, featuring Piotr Agassi and Agata. Classic Setenta, three counts of eight, using right-to-left handed Rodeo on 5-6-7 on the second count of eight.

Original “” video on YouTube

Video Clip #2 from “Salsa Loca”, Strasbourg, 2011, features Sophie and Fati. They also use Vacilala steps for the Hammerlock, the Follow uses two 180 degrees Pivot turns. Note that the Lead opens up on seven and tap on eight as preparation. This is mostly features for beginners. At advanced level, a Follow must be able to turn instantly on 1-2-3, the instant Vacilala, with little or only implicit prepping:

Original “Salsa Loca” video on YouTube

The three Setenta versions

The three “Setenta” names, I use above, are all just called Setenta, “pêle mêle”, by most dancers. It is my experience from watching hundreds of videos that Setenta and Setenta con Alarde (only two counts of eight) are equally common 45% to each.

Setenta is surprisingly often done with delayed turning on 5-6-7 using the Cuban Vuelta (forward on one) or the back-rocking Vuelta. Both Vueltas on 5-6-7 have a tendency to prevent the Follow from learning to turn on 1-2-3 as is the hallmark of genuine Cuban Salsa.

Setenta con Finta is the least common, less than one out of 10 videos.

Named moves are just a convenient way to train one or more basic figures or other basic features of Cuban Salsa. And named moves can also be called in Rueda de Casino.

In Setenta, when coming out of the Hammerlock with Enchufla, we train that the Follow can be lead behind the Lead’s back using an arm movement over his head, a basic figure we could call a right-to-left handed Rodeo on 5-6-7.

The rest of Setenta is almost “irrelevant” and could one day be put aside, we have exactly the same in almost all other figures in the big Setenta family of moves.


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