Cuban Salsa: Uno Complicado

This is one of the better figures attributed to Henry Herrera, first published on the “SalsaRacing” DVDs, Vol 3, Advanced level, Miami, Florida, USA, 2002. I have found many YouTube videos with the same move, but Henry Herrera’s original DVD video is still the best.

I like Uno Complicado because it is straight forward and easy going with surprises. The move contains several remarkable details, we hardly ever see in other moves. But let us see the full video first (slightly edited for clarity). Next, we will zoom in on what I find of special interest.

1 Exit Uno

The standard way to exit El Uno is to do an Enchufla on 1-2-3, and then to lift up the arms on 5-6-7 putting the Sombrero hat on. What Henry does is amazing. On 5-6-7 he steps similar to a Follow’s Vacilala turn and ends up at the other side of the Follow with the “Enchufla” arm over his head. Next, from this unlikely position, continuing the motion, the Lead gives the Follow the full Sombrero. Fantastic!

2 Sombrero to DQN

Normally we exit Sombrero already on count eight of the previous move, or on one, and get into Dile Que No. Henry shows us a great alternative: He stays in the Sombrero pose for the first half of Dile Que No, doing three Alardes with the left arm, and on 5-6-7 he gives the Follow a traditional Coca-Cola left turn.

3 Behind the back

After the Coca-Cola left turn, the Follow is lead behind the back of the Lead, 1-2-3, 5-6-7. Nothing extraordinary, but I include a video clip in order to make it easier to learn the move.

4 Back to back

Next the Lead steps forward on 1 and turns left (!) on 1-2-3 as he gives the Follow a right turn on 5-6-7 and ends with an Alarde to the Follow. This sequence is straight forward but we don’t see it every day!

5 Sombrero to Uno

The last detail is a banality. It shows how easy it is to go from Sombrero and into El Uno. Most Leads only start El Uno from Guapea or from Dile Que No, but why not from Sombrero? In the video Henry steps in place on 1-2-3, but in general, I prefer to step forward on the partner circle, 1-2-3, like in Enchufla Doble, and then to pivot around.

I use Uno Complicado a lot. And because it contains Sombrero and El Uno twice, we have many natural breaking point, where we can cut the move short, skip the rest and start something else. After the second El Uno, I often continue with El Dos. And instead of the simple Sombrero exit in El Dos, I used the wonderful exit in El Duce (12), the combo of Uno and Dos. And to start Uno Complicado in the first place, I often use Juana La Cubana or Sombrero.

6 An old confusing Guapea

In the full video at the top, I have removed Guapea, because it is too confusing. It is annoying enough that they count “1-2-3, 4-5-6” instead of “1-2-3, 5-6-7”. They use a Guapea rarely seen outside of Cuba and Miami: The Lead steps forward on his right foot on one, and the Follow on her left foot, and they step “opposite” for a couple of counts of eight, and then they suddenly step twice with the same foot in order to get into “correct” stepping. Watch the unedited original video, if you want to get confused:

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