Cuban Salsa: Noventa (90)

Noventa is a typical Complicado, and we could just as well call it Setenta Noventa because it starts with the Hammerlock as in all the other moves in the Setenta family. This is a very popular move, a classic, with very many videos uploaded to YouTube. Sadly to say, most videos ignore the potential of the Enchufla steps in the middle of the move, and just get in an out as fast as possible. This short Noventa can sometimes be appropriate when what comes after the Hammerlock is used as the Complicado part of other moves.

Noventa is a lovely move, I want to promote, but before I continue my rant, let us look at Video 1 from “Dolce Dance”, Hungary, 2010. I disagree with the back rocking but these people get the the move right by recognizing that we have Enchufla steps in the middle. Why not make several sets of the Enchufla steps and have some fun, when we are back to back? 1) They do two sets of Enchufla steps, and 2) They look at one another over the shoulder during the Enchufla steps.

Same Video on YouTube

In most of the videos I have found they just get into Enchufla steps on one, and get out again already on 5. The whole idea, the essence of the move, is to continue the Enchufla steps for a while, why not 3-4 sets, to look over the shoulder into the partner’s eyes, to connect, to relax and do body motions to the music before you break out and finish the move.

In Video 2 from “Bailando.com.ua”, Ukraine, 2016, they also do two sets of Enchufla and they score high on smiling, and you really feel a positive energy. But they should get more out of the back-to-back situation like looking at one another. Notice the alternative ending, a head loop to the Follow.

Same Video on YouTube

In Video 3 from “Academia Team Dancer”, the Dominican Republic, 2016, they use three sets of Enchufla. But they don’t look at one another except at the start, no effort at connecting during the dance. What a missed opportunity!

Same Video on YouTube

How I like the Lead in the video above. Notice that he always step forward, also on five, no back rocking. He does step back in the start of the Enchufla steps but that is more a matter of preference and it doesn’t influence the flow of the dance. When I start Enchufla on the partner circle, I always step forward, but in a back-to-back situation, or when standing behind one another like in Cubanita and Cubanito (Uno/Dos), stepping back or forward in Enchufla works the same.

Complicado awareness

Many Complicado figures have an introduction, like Hammerlock, the Complicado part, and an ending. Often we have several introductions to choose from and many ways to end the Complicado. Noventa normally starts with Hammerlock, but we could just as well start if from a two handed Enchufla or whenever the Lead is in front of the Follow holding both her hands after a 1-2-3. It could even be after the first part of Guapea.

All what is said about Noventa is equally true for Setenta Nuevo where the Complicado part starts with the Lead’s hook turn on 5-6-7. That is, whenever we do the Complicado part of Noventa, we could just as well do the Complicado part of Setenta Nuovo.

Why Noventa is a must use move

Noventa deserves to be one of the 10-15 most used moves in the repertoire of a Lead on advanced level. The Complicado is, 1) Easy to lead, 2) It is loose and easy going, 3) It is a versatile building block that can start from Hammerlock, from a two handed Enchufla, from anywhere on count five in other moves, as long as the Lead can get hold of both the hands of the Follow. And, 5) The move brings the Lead and Follow back-to-back using Enchufla steps forever until the Lead decides to break out and finish the move.

The Enchufla steps gives the Lead and Follow time to fine-tune their connection, to look into one another’s eyes over the shoulder, and to do rhythmic body motions to the music. Cuban Salsa at its best, if you understand to get the most out of the situation!

Noventa can be used on its own or the part after Hammerlock can be used as the Complicado part of many other moves. We can do one or more sets of Enchufla steps in the middle of the move, depending on “what we are up to” and the music.

I sometimes break out of the back-to-back “Titanic” posture by spinning the Follow out on five with a Coca Cola turn as we see it at the end of Setenta Nuevo Complicado.

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