Cuban Salsa: the Vuelta right turn

We have three genuine Vuelta right turns in Casino, Cuban Salsa: the sideways Exhibela/Sacala turn on 5-6-7, the Vacilala turn on 1-2-3, and the Habanero turn on 5-6-7. We also have the classic Vuelta right turn in American Salsa, with prepping on 1-2-3 and turning on 5-6-7.

The Vacilala turn and the Habanero turn are twins using the same pattern. For both the Follow steps forward on one. For Vacilala the Follow turns on 1-2-3 and continues to walk on 5-6-7. For the Habanero the Follow walks on 1-2-3 and turns on 5-6-7.

Both the Vacilala turn and the Habanero turn can be done left to right handed, right to right handed, two handed as well as hand-free. The Lead and the Follow can walk more or less, and the full eight count is often done on the spot, stationary.

Classic Vuelta and Habanero

Since the Habanero right turn can be done stationary, there is no need for the classic Vuelta Right turn from American Salsa in Cuban Salsa. But what is the difference when both turns are done stationary?

The classic Vuelta right turn from X-Body Salsa is done with prepping. The Lead preps the turn, often with a rather “silly”, waving, movement with the left hand on 1-2-3. Such prepping is foreign to the look and feel of Cuban Salsa. In the Habanero the Lead just starts the arm movement slowly on 1-2-3, and continues the arm motion into the turn on 5-6-7. But indirectly the 1-2-3 act as prepping for 5-6-7.

The X-Body Vuelta right turn

Even though we don’t need the X-Body Vuelta right turn in Cuban Salsa, it is a nice basic turn to know and use occasionally. The Habanero turn has its own tutorial, so let us now focus on the X-Body Vuelta right turn.

Video 1 is a “Salsa On1” tutorial from “Dance Papi”, 2015 with Nicole Lazo as instructor. She often breaks down a move second to none.

Same Video on YouTube

The video above is pure X-Body Salsa, dancing in a rectangular slot, very different from Cuban Salsa being mostly circular. In the Dancepapi video the right turn is done from Salsa basic steps, that is from forward and back rocking, not that common in Cuban Salsa.

Vuelta with Cuban look and feel

Video 2 from “mykomaniacc”, Denmark, 2017, with Myk and Isabella, shows the Vuelta right turn with “Cuban” look and feel. It is not exactly the perfect Habanero turn stepping forward on one but more like a Cubanized X-Body right turn with a small back step.

Same Video on YouTube

Classic Vuelta right turn is rare

Around year 2000, three major DVD based Cuban Salsa courses came out of the Miami Latin dance community: “Salsa Racing”, “Salsa Lovers” and “Quick and Dirty”. I have major issues with all of them but they have at least one thing in common. Despite that they are from A to Z courses, pretending to cover what is important from beginner to advanced level, none of them mention the classic Vuelta right turn.

The Hungarian “Salsa Steps” APP with more than 500 Cuban Salsa figures, does not include the classic Vuelta right turn. Yoel Marrero’s MCC 2.0 doesn’t use it in the first 18 Routines, I know of.

The classic Vuelta is ok

Just because the X-Body Vuelta right turn is not a Cuban turn, and just because we don’t need in Cuban Salsa, it is still a good turn to know, to practice, and even to use in your social dancing as an exception to the rule.

When warming up before social dancing or even before Rueda de Casino, it is very common to walk forward and back using non Cuban Salsa basic steps, and in that context the X-body Vuelta right turn makes sense, often followed by the Lead’s hook turn on 5-6-7.

I might use the X-Body Vuelta right turn in social dancing with an absolute beginner, because it is the easiest of all turns. I most often try to give the turn a Cuban slant, but sometimes with a beginner, I make the “silly” cue hand motion, because many beginners have learned it that way.

Even at advanced level I might sometimes use the classic Vuelta right turn for fun and I might even do it the X-Body way with exaggerated prepping to make friendly fun of the X-body crowd.

If I dance with an unknown Follow, and she turns out to be mostly reared in the X-body tradition, I still try to dance as Cuban as possible but with some compromises. I might comfort her with a few very stylish X-Body Vuelta turns.

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