Cuban Salsa: Sombrero Doble

Sombrero Doble is a very common move, and it comes in three different main versions with several sub versions. Since all the versions are good with very many videos found, I will rename the three major versions in order to distinguish them from one another, and to make them easier to learn and remember.

1 Sombrero Triple

This is the version most instructors from Cuba call Sombrero Doble by pure instinct. It is two handed all the way and Sombrero is actually done three times in a row, right-left-right. Since we have Sombrero three times, it makes sense to call this version for Sombrero Triple, or to remember it like that.

Video 1 is from Mexican “Salsafición”, 2018, with Amando and Anahí. Note that the second Sombrero, bringing the Follow to the Left of the Lead, turns the Follow 1.5 times.

Same Video on YouTube

Even if we prefer one of the other versions of Sombrero Doble, the above version is a good exercise. It is difficult to make full-blown Sombreros three times with ease and elegance. I prefer this version myself, because it can be used in Paseala walks, when there is an opening on the dance floor.

The “to the left” Sombrero bringing the Follow to the left of the Lead is often done “cheating” (me too) reducing the 1.5 turn to just a half turn. This is easier and works well as we are going to see in the next two videos.

The next video is similar to Sombrero Triple except that only a half turn is used for the second Sombrero. In addition this version gets one handed in the middle, but the one hand, the Dedo (finger), is only used to start the third Sombrero.

Video 2 is from “Avinciia-Dance”, France, 2017.

Same Video on YouTube

2 Sombrero Doble con Dedo

El Dedo (the finger) plays a major part in the second main version of Sombrero Doble. Let us call it Sombrero Doble con Dedo. The move ends like the beginning of A Bayamo moves, with “half a hat”, a Medio Sombrero. This is nice, because we can now use this version of Sombrero Doble to start one of the many A Bayamo moves.

Video 3, is from “bebesalsaa” (Salsa Lovers), 2011.

Same Video on YouTube

Video 4 is from “Grimaldidance”, Spain, 2017. They use the “El Dedo” version of Sombrero Doble but gives it a twist at the end, the Lead turns himself on seven.

Same Video on YouTube

“Grimaldidance” have many good videos except that they dance pseudo Cuban Salsa with back rocking all over the place.

3 Sombrero Doble “back-to-back”

The second half of this version replaces the Dedo (finger) with a one handed back-to-back turn (Video 5). A two handed back-to-back turn is also common (video 6).

When a move contains a back-to-back turn, and we want it to be part of the Spanish title, it is more or less standard to use the English expression “back-to-back”, because it is too difficult to find a good Spanish expression.

Video 5, is from “Palante Ithaca”, Greece, 2010, with Nikolay and Xhercis. Instead of doing El Dedo after getting out of the second Sombrero, they do a one handed back-to-back turn.

Same Video on YouTube

Video 6 is from “Hanamni Dance”, Hungary, 2018. Also a very common version replacing El Dedo with a two handed back-to-back turn.

Same Video on YouTube

In this tutorial we have seen six different ways to do Sombrero Doble. At intermediate level, a Lead should stick to one of them but at advanced level it is good to learn and practice them all. And even more variations could have been added. The more options your body memory knows when starting Sombrero Doble, the easier it is to catch the moment and improvise to the music.

4 Sombrero with Vacilala or Habanero steps

Sombrero can be done with Vacilala steps, stepping forward on one, turning on 1-2-3 and walking on 5-6-7, or with Habanero steps, stepping forward on one, walking on 1-2-3 and turning on 5-6-7, as explained in the tutorial Cuban Salsa: Sombrero. Sadly to say, some Dance Schools pervert the Habanero steps by using back rocking instead of stepping forward on one, turning the lovely Cuban Habanero into some sort of Vuelta right turn that doesn’t belong in Cuban Salsa.

All the videos above use Vacilala steps for the first Sombrero except “Video 3” using a Vuelta right turn instead of the correct Habanero steps (the Follow forgets to step forward on one). The French “Video 2” is interesting. They use Vacilala steps for the first Sombrero, but they start the last Sombrero with back rocking instead of stepping forward. The Lead, Armandino, is known to be a good LA style salsa dancer often mixing the two styles.

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