Cuban Salsa: Cinco Cientos (500), SalsaGaia
The short move Cinco Cientos (500) is a new excellent intermediate move in the Paseala family. It was made by the Italian dance school “Salsagaia”, 2018, in order to celebrate subscription number 500 to their “Salsagaia Online School” (SOS). I really like the move. In a comment to the video, I even call it “the move of the year”!
But I don’t buy everything I see in the video. As it turned out, I had to “undo” what I saw, and to find my own way to do the move, in order to get it right. Badly executed moves are almost impossible to learn unless you fix them first. “Salsagaia” do the move several times. But they do it differently each time, and each time something could have been better. They do everything more or less right, except that what is right is divided over many takes!
The Cinco Cientos move is a good example of how important it is to know the basic building block of Casino. A move is many times easier to learn, memorize and implement in your own dancing, when you break it down into its basic named figures. And you must modify the steps until you agree with them.
Let us break it down
- “500” starts with Dile Que No and a Coca-Cola turn on 5-6-7. Any move could bring us to Dile Que No. In the video they use Enchufla in most of the takes.
- It is a Paseala type of DQN with right to right handhold, and this handhold should start, as it is done in the video, with the classic Paseala handhold and change to “finger tips only” as the Coca-Cola starts.
- The Lead goes under his own Coca-Cola arm, and continues with Exhibela. This is the beef of the move, the interesting part one can use in many other situations.
- In order to go under his own Coca-Cola arm, the Lead must step forward on 5-6-7 of the Dile Que No. This means that we must use a special version of Dile Que No, the so-called Dile Que Sí steps. In the video they do that in the first take and also in one or two more takes later, but in the rest of the video they resort to unspecified “junk” steps, crossing over. I have made a tutorial and a Masterclass Video about the Dile Que Sí steps (links below).
- For Exhibela the Lead should use Paseala steps: walk (pivot around), walk, walk, walk (pivot around), walk, walk. In many of the takes, the Lead steps back using unspecified “junk” steps, but in the last take the Lead uses Paseala steps.
- Next a standard Dile Que No, except for the right to right handhold and shifting hands before a standard Vacilala.
- In several of the takes in the Video, the Lead walks Vacilala in the most sloppy fashion, walking backward. It could have something to do with wanting to look at the camera. Why not walk forward? The Lead actually does that in the first take of the video.
- When Elena explains the Follow’s steps, it is sad to see her back rocking on One in Dile Que No. She uses two steps taking her nowhere, and instead of walking on the arc of the the partner circle, she does the “L-shaped” Dile Que No, killing the counter-clock wise motion, walking on the diameter, directly to the other side of the circle.
- And her instructions for the Coca-Cola turn is flat wrong. At least two times they tell us that the Coca-Cola turn is on seven. But in most of the takes they disregard their own bad instructions and divide the Coca-Cola turn equally between 5-6-7.
- In the last “500” take, the Lead starts the figure with the Habanero turn, the twin sister of Vacilala. In Vacilala the Follow turns on 1-2-3, in Habanero the Follow turns on 5-6-7. In the video they call Habanero for Sacala Moderno. This is a bad name because Sacala is a sideways turn on 5-6-7.
- At the very end of the “500” presentation, they do a completely different move as a bonus. This bonus move is rather good.
Generalised and optimised steps
In social dancing we must often resort to improvised, ad hoc stepping, because we are experimenting in the situation, or because something went wrong somewhere, and we then save our dance by some quick adjustments. No problem, no issue.
But when we teach a move, we should try to step as generalised and optimised as possible. It is always a big warning sign, if we use steps, we haven’t used before, or steps we are not likely to use in any other move. It is extremely counter productive to build a repertoire of moves, where each move has its own set of steps specific for that move only.