Cuban Salsa: Enchufla Triple Mix

We can do Enchufla forward and back one or several times, using the left-to-right handed Enchufla basic figure. But for some of the times, we can change hands or use both hands, and we can even use the El Uno figure instead of Enchufla. So when we call a figure Enchufla Triple Mix, it implies that we do an Enchufla Doble type of figure three times, with different handholds, and one of the times could even be El Uno or some other figure that fits the pattern.

Enchufla Triple Mix is not one and the same figure but has many variations. In this tutorial I will present all the good variations, I stumble upon. For now, I present the first two. I like Enchufla Triple Mix figures because the name is easy to remember, and the figures contain important hand shifts not that easy at intermediate level. The “triple” moves are good for training and they can be used in any dance at any level.

Enchufla Triple Mix (El Uno)

The first Enchufla Triple Mix version consists of:

  1. Enchufla Doble
  2. El Uno
  3. Enchufla with right-to-left handhold

Video 1 features Michal and Anna from the La Suerte Dance School, Manchester, UK, 2020. Michal knows a lot about Cuban music and dance culture, and one can learn many things from watching his videos. Since the original video is too long with redundant takes, I have made a short version (I link to the original below).

Original “Enchufla Triple Mix (Michal) on YouTube

Enchufla Triple Mix (Ven y Vira)

The second Enchufla Triple Mix variation consists of:

  1. Enchufla Doble
  2. Ven y Vira
  3. Two handed, right-to-left, Enchufla (left hand on top)

Ven y Vira (“go and return”) is an important basic figures in the Enchufla family. It is like Enchufla Doble for the first half of the count of eight, but the hands are kept low in the return, the second half of the count. It is an important basic figure because it gives us one more option for going counter-clockwise on the partner circle. Many dancers have an underdeveloped counter-clockwise motion making them skewed, unbalanced dancers with too much right turning. Unfortunately many Dance Schools forget to teach the Ven y Vira basic figure.

Video 2 is a clip from a class video published by the “DC Casineros Dance School” in Washington DC, USA, 2019, featuring Adrian and Rita. “DC Casineros” is one of my favourite Dance Schools, inspired by both MCC and Cuban Afro. I have made a short version of the video focusing on the Enchufla Triple Mix with Ven y Vira, and I have added a 1/2 speed slow-motion section. But the entire video is great inspiration: I invite you to have a look at it, I link to the original video below my clip.

Original “Combinations of Enchuflas” on YouTube

My take about the videos

Michal starts most of his Cuban Salsa videos from Guapea, reinforcing the notion that a Cuban Salsa should be organised around Guapea and Dile Que No, basically like a one couple Rueda, the most mediocre concept I can think of as the model for a social dance.

A social 1-on-1 Cuban Salsa should be one long flow. Guapea should only be used as an exception to to rule, for small talking, for launching certain moves like Siete (Panque) figures, and when in extreme need of recovery, if the dance has been derailed. But I do like that Michal is using the sideways cross-over Guapea.

Also Michal uses diagonal back-rocking for his Enchufla Doble. One can do that as an exception to the rule or for some music driven purpose in the situation. But as a rule of thumb, there is no such thing as “Enchufla steps”, one should always use Paséala steps, the basic steps of genuine Cuban Salsa, also for Enchufla Doble and for El Uno for that matter.

Paséala steps are the only steps that can make us dance in the fascinating and unique “walk-walk-walk” style of genuine Cuban Salsa, the only steps that can integrate all moves in and endless walking flow. In order to learn Paséala steps as the default way of stepping in almost any situation, and never to back-rock as a general role of thumb, we must practice Paséala steps whenever possible.

In the great “DC Cacineros” video on the other hand, it is a pleasure to see, that they basically use Paséala steps as the basic steps of Cuban Salsa, and that even a student Follow never back-rocks except when a bad Lead forces her to do so.

As always, when we learn moves being a series of basic figures, we should remember that the moves are only about training those basic figures in different situations. When we use the moves in our social dancing, we can change them at any time, cut them short as we please or when necessary in order to combine them with other moves or basic figures.

The more moves we know, train and own, the easier it is for the Lead to vary the dance according to the music, the mood of the moment and the Follow’s level, and to improvise. It is almost impossible to invent something completely new on the spot: to improvise most often just means to combine old stuff in new ways. The more old stuff you master, the easier it is to find new applications for it.

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