Cuban Salsa: Kentucky

A very popular “standard” move learned at improvers level. The origin of the Kentucky name seems to have been forgotten but everyone calls the move Kentucky, and we all do the move the same way. So far so good.

The Kentucky move is important because it has a different look and feel than the majority of moves typically starting with Vacilala steps like Setenta and Sombrero moves. Being both good and different, Kentucky adds variation to your dance. For the same reason, I recommend that Leads also make Kentucky Complicado part of their repertoire.

The move is also a good test of the Follow at improvers level, if she hasn’t experienced it before: does she follow along being lead by her neck on 5-6-7, or does she go into some state of moderate panic?

Video 1 is from the almost always excellent, San Francisco, USA, 2015. I originally learned the move from this great video as supplement to the instructions I got in my dance school.

Same Video on YouTube

Video 2 is from “Son De Habana”, Bogotá, Colombia 2015.

Same Video on YouTube

Video 3 is from “Salsafición”, México, 2017.

Same Video on YouTube

Three ways to step Enchufla

Since Kentucky starts with Enchufla steps it is important to get those steps right. Basically we can do Enchufla steps in three ways: stepping forward on one (good), stepping in place on one (acceptable), and stepping back on one (bad). Of cause, this is just my honest opinion, but I can back it up with arguments. All the three above videos fall in the Good/Acceptable category.

Cuban Salsa should be based on natural walking. When we start to walk, 1-2-3, we don’t start with a back step.

In Cuban Salsa we should have a constant, elegant, flying flow. That is, when we walk 1-2-3, the motion should not stop after one, and after two, we should fly the whole movement without interruption. And of cause we should never step back except in an emergency or under special one-off circumstances.

In some situations we might need to step back to make room for our partner or to counter act something, but that is not back rocking. Back rocking is to step back by default for no good reason, in all the situations where you could just as well step forward or in place.

Back rocking in Cuban Salsa, no matter how talented the dancers, tends to break a natural flow and to chop it up into pieces. If that is your style then good for you. Dance and let dance. I recommend, as a general rule of thumb, always to step forward or in place.

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