Cuban Salsa: Pirueta Habanera (Diana Rodriguez)

The two handed Pirueta Habanera is a Setenta variation (Hammerlock). In Cuban Salsa we have two basic ways to do Setenta. The Follow can turn on 1-2-3 using Vacilala, or the Follow can turn on 5-6-7 using Habanero. For Setenta done with Habanero, the Follow is lead forward on 1, she walks on 1-2-3, and turns as she continues to walk on 5-6-7. The two handed Pirueta Habanera has the same pattern but the Pirueta, the pivot foot, starts already on step three and the pirouette is on 4-5-6-7.

I saw the Pirueta Habanera the first time in a workshop video with Yoandy Villaurrutia and Diana Rodriguez. Diana uses this turn so often that it has become her signature move. Yoandy has used it in many of his classes and workshops. Pirueta Habanera has probably always been around somewhere, but these two dancers have popularised it in recent years.

1 Pirueta Habanera with two hands

Video 1 is from a workshop with Yoandy Villaurrutia and Diana Rodriguez, “Belgorod Corazon Latina”, Russia, 2015.

2 Pirueta Habanera with one hand

Video 2 is from another workshop with Yoandy Villaurrutia and Diana Rodriguez, Russia, 2011.

3 Pirueta Habanera, short version

Video 3 is also from a workshop with Yoandy Villaurrutia and Diana Rodriguez, Saint Petersburg, Russia, 2013. In this version the piruette starts on 3, the turning is on 4-5, and walking on 6-7.

4 Yoandy as Follow

Video 4 is from a Yoandy Villaurrutia class, Moscow, Russia, 2015. Yoandy, dancing in the role of the Follow, shows his students how to do the Pirueta Habanera.

5 A slow count

Video 5 is from the same workshop as above. Yoandy is now doing the piruette with a student, and she is doing fine. Maybe the counting is too slow, she finishes the full piruette on 4-5, and walks on 6-7.

A perfect Natacha

Video 6 is with Yoandy Villaurrutia and Natasha, Moscow, Russia, 2015. There are many, many videos out there with Yoandy and different Follows.

7 Is Pirueta Habanera leadable?

Video 7, another Yoandy class video, Moscow, Russia, 2015, is interesting. Even after having learned it in class, one of Yoandy’s students fails it the first time. Follows are so used to walk the Setenta turn (Hammerlock) on 1-2-3 or on 5-6-7, that it is not that easy suddenly to start a pirouette on 3. The Follow starts with Vacilala, and on three she continues with the piruette. It can be done that way, but she is not up to the task, and Yoandy only wants the piruette.

How leadable is Pirueta Habanera? A talented Follow might be able to do it just by following her Lead, but it takes a very good Lead to do it. Most Follows would need to have learned it. Maybe the Pirueta Habanera works best if you do it often with the same partner.

Pirueta Habanera could of cause be used as a call in Rueda de Casino. If both Lead and Follow have learned it, and the Follow hears the call, no strong leading is necessary.

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