Rueda de Casino: Dame Directo
Many or most Rueda callers use Dame Directo a handful of times in each Rueda. For Dame Una, the Lead goes to the first Follow behind his back, that is opposite of the direction his facing and opposite of the direction the Rueda is moving. For Dame Directo, the Lead goes directly to the next Follow in the direction he is facing.
There are three more or less equally good and equally common ways to do Dame Directo, and since the only difference is how the Lead and the Follow hold hands, the three ways can coexist in the same Rueda. Sometimes the caller will insist that one of the three ways should be used.
1 Right arm over
The Lead leads the Follow forward with his left hand and swings his right arm over the Follow. Video 1 is from “Norwegian Rueda Standard” (today: RuedaStandard.com), 2014.
Video 2 from “Ruedagruppe alleMánn”, Germany, 2019, shows a variation: the Lead’s right arm is not swung over the Follow.
2 Right to right hand
The Lead changes hand hold to right to right and lead the Follow forward. Video 3 is from “DC Casineros”, Washington (DC), USA, 2014. The video is a little confusing because we hear the counting of two Ruedas and a Lead is missing, but at time 0:16 we have a Dame Directo.
3 Two handed
The Lead leads the Follow forward using both hands. Video 4 is from “Media Noche Salsa”, Israel, 2010.
4 Which one is best?
I participate in two Ruedas a week. The first has different callers and each couple normally do Dame Directo as they please. In the second Rueda, the caller is always the same, and he insists on or instructs new comers, to use variation 2, changing hands.
I am not a big fan of this variation: In a Rueda we change partners all the time with a lot of new hands and handholds, and it can be a little tiring for the hands. Changing hands from normal handhold to right to right adds one more handhold than necessary, I prefer to do with less.
I think I like the variation in Video 1 the best. It adds style to the Rueda, and looks good, when all the Leads swing the right arms over the Follows simultaneously.