Cuban Salsa: the back-rocking Vuelta right turn

For the Follow’s right turn turns in Cuban Salsa the emphasis should be on the hand-held Vacilala, called Hecho twenty years ago, one handed, cross-handed and two handed. Vacilala Steps are part of the core definition of Cuban Salsa, of its look and feel, and should be used many times in each and every dance.

For Vacilala Steps, the Follow is lead forward on “1”, she turns on 1-2-3 and walks on 5-6-7. In addition we have the uniquely Cuban sideways Exhibela (Sácala) turn and the Cuban Vuelta (Habanero).

The Cuban Vuelta (Habanero) can be used whenever a Lead feels the need for a Vuelta on 5-6-7, and for that reason there is no arguments for ever using the back-rocking “salsa” Vuelta. So what is the difference between the back-rocking “salsa” Vuelta and the Cuban Vuelta (Habanero)?

The Cuban Vuelta (Habanero)

The Cuban Vuelta is also called Habanero, just a random name used by MCC inspired dancers. I prefer to call it the Cuban Vuelta to make it clear, that this is the Vuelta we should use instead of the back-rocking X-Body “salsa” Vuelta.

The Cuban Vuelta (Habanero) can best be described as flipped Vacilala Steps: The Follow is lead forward on “1”, she walks on 1-2-3, and turns on 5-6-7. This makes Habanero the twin sister of Vacilala, and it makes double turning possible: first a Vacilala, and instead of just walking on 5-6-7, a Habanero turn can be added.

Stepping forward instead of back on “1” is not the only difference between the two Vueltas. The back-rocking “salsa” Vuelta is optimised for the rectangular slot and is normally done from “forward-and-back” or from “back-and-forward”. The Cuban Vuelta is optimised for the Cuban circular motion, walk, walk, walk, almost always forward.

The back-rocking salsa Vuelta has hand-prepping on 1-2-3, a “silly” hand-waving motion that is foreign to the look and feel of Cuban Salsa. The Cuban Vuelta (Habanero) can start as a continuing arm motion within 1-2-3 and culminate in the turn on 5-6-7, but it can also start on “5” giving us a right turn with almost no prepping.

For more: Cuban Salsa: the Cuban Vuelta (Habanero).

Video #1 shows the Cuban Vuelta (Habanero) as it is presented in “Routine 5” of MCC 2.0, featuring Yoel Marrero and Akiko Meguro. Note how Akiko always steps forward and how she uses the Latin Spiral Turn technique. “Routine 5” contains the following basic figures:

  1. Hand-held Vacilala.
  2. Cuban Vuelta (Habanero) with right-to-right hand-hold.
  3. Vacilala turn on 1-2-3, Habanero turn on 5-6-7.
  4. Cuban Vuelta (Habanero) from Rodeo.
  5. Cuban Vuelta (Habanero) as last part of Ola (wave).

The back-rocking Vuelta right turn

Even though we don’t need the back-rocking “salsa” Vuelta in Cuban Salsa, it is a nice turn to know and use in some situations. E.g.: Many dance venues are multi-style events, that is a Cuban Salsa Lead could end up dancing with a Follow mostly reared in non-Cuban salsa. In that case, a Lead might decide to go a little “Fusion” and use one or more back-rocking “salsa” Vueltas just for fun.

Video Clip # 1 is a from a “LA Salsa On1” video tutorial made by “Dance Papi”, San Francisco, USA, 2015, with Nicole Lazo as instructor. She often breaks down a move second to none.

Original DancePapi Video on YouTube

The “DancePapi” video is pure X-Body Salsa, dancing in a rectangular slot, very different from Cuban Salsa being mostly circular.

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