Cuban Salsa: Panqué (Siete)
This tutorial is about the Panqué (Pancake) move, also called Siete (7), a basic figure of just one count of eight. We have more than 20 moves in the Panqué/Siete family. Panqué is unique in the sense that it is the only common move in Cuban Salsa, except Guapea, not done walking. Or rather, it is done stationary, walking on the spot. Panqué is a common call in Rueda de Casino as well as in 1-on-1 social dancing.
Video 1 is from “Spicy Salsa”, Moscow, Russia, 2014. Note that after 1-2-3, the Follow’s left hand is made available for the Lead on her left shoulder.
Video 2 is from Mexican “Salsafición”, 2018. They make many good videos. This video is not Best Practice, though, the Follow’s left hand should land on her right shoulder to make it available for the Lead. No styling please. The Lead might need the hand as we are going to see later.
The first half of Panqué is very similar to Vacilala, a tight half-Vacilala. The Lead is standing still, doing basic steps on 1-2-3. The Follow is rolled in like a Burito or Pancake. For the other half of the move, the Lead gently pushes the Follow’s right shoulder, or somewhere between the right hip and the shoulder. No real pushing just a lead.
Hand on shoulder
A Follow should make her hands available for the Lead, and for that reason her left hand should end up on her right shoulder after the first half of the move. The Lead doesn’t need it in the basic Pancake figure, but moves like Siete Loco and Siete Alborotado must be aborted by the Lead if the hand is not there.
Video 3 from “Dolce Dance”, Hungary, 2010, is an example of a move that only works if the Follow’s’ left hand is available on her right shoulder when doing Panqué.
Video 4 is from the “Salsa Lovers” DVDs, Volume 7, all moves made by Maykel Almuina. Siete Alborotado (excited, agitated) is one of his best moves:
It is my experience that the Follow’s left hand rarely is available on her right shoulder. It is difficult to get mad at her because so few Leads actually make use of the hand. The trick is to sometimes make use of the hand, if it is there, and to do some other move if it is not. Or one can train the moves with a regular partner.
Panqué in social dancing
Panqué works well in Rueda de Casino because the Follow also hear the call and knows what is coming. But this simple move is for some reason so difficult that most often it is done so badly when the Caller calls it, that he is likely to call it again immediately to give some of the Follows a second chance.
Unless a Follow is at a very advanced level or have just learned the Panqué move in a dance class an hour before, it is my experience that Follows surprisingly often fail to do the move in social 1-on-1 dancing the first time around. It is difficult for a Lead to lead it well. The hand motion is similar to leading a very explicit hand free Vacilala at beginner’s level. Except that the Lead holds on to the hand.
Panqué adds a unique spice to the dance. Panqué works so well from Guapea, also stationary by nature, that it is a good argument for using Guapea as an exception to the rule also in social 1-on-1 dancing. If you do use Guapea, use it sparingly. It has a strong tendency to undermine the one long natural flow of a good music driven dance.
Look over her shoulder
I like the idea that the Follow after 1-2-3, takes the time to look over her shoulder in order to connect and to pick up any indication of what’s next. But in the many hundred videos, I have seen with Pancake moves, it is surprisingly rare.
Great Pancake video
Video 5 from the most excellent “bailarcasino.pl” dance school in Poznań, Poland, 2014, feature Piotr Agassi Chajkowski and his unknown dream of a Follow, always stepping forward. The first minute they show us one of my favourite moves, Setenta y Cinco (75), and then we see an example of Siete, Siete with sneak attack (!), Siete con Coca-Cola, and even a Siete done out of nowhere.
Cuban Salsa doesn’t get any better. Notice what happens after the Pancakes: They go for a Paseala walk, the highlight of genuine Cuban Salsa, an art form completely forgotten by many dance schools!