Cuban Salsa: Sombrero Manolito

Manolito is the shortest of moves, just an interesting way to exit the Sombrero. From the Sombrero pose, the Lead asks for the Follow’s right hand by putting his right hand forward in between them. The Follow is then lead into a Dile Que No and a Coca-Cola left turn. That’s it.

The Manolito exit of Sombrero is a so-called telltale move in the sense that if the Follow doesn’t react to the Lead’s almost hidden hand invitation even on a crowded, dark dance floor, she is surely a beginner without much dance experience. I use this exit at least once in almost every second dance.

Video 1 is from “Avinciia-Dance”, France, 2015, with Armandino and Elodie.

Same Video on YouTube

Sombrero de Manny

The Manolito exit comes from The Sombrero de Manny move, a very important move, actually one of my favorites, consisting of a Sombrero Doble, the back-to-back turn getting back into the Sombrero, the Manolito exit and a Laso behind the Lead’s back.

Video 2 is from the legendary and often problematic (a lot to criticize) “Salsa Lovers” DVD based salsa course. Their Sombrero Manny move has popularized the “Manolito” exit and is also the inspiration for many versions of Sombrero Complicado.

Same Video on YouTube

Meaning of Manolito

Manolito is a boy’s name, an alternate spelling of Manual or Immanuel, meaning “God is with us”, but I like to regard Manolito as a diminutive of Mano, meaning “little hand”, because that it what the move is all about, and it is my guess that it is the intended meaning of the name of the move.

Since the Manolito exit is part of the much older Sombrero de Manny move, it is also my guess that someone just isolated the exit and gave it a creative name. Manolito is simply a nickname variation of the “Manny” name.

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