Cuban Salsa: Bayamo DC

This new Bayamo move is a Bayamo por Arriba (Arriba = “up”) variation. I stumbled upon it in a class video from “DC Cacineros”. For Bayamo por Arriba, the Lead brings both hands over his head as the Follow is lead behind the Lead’s back. There are many options for how to continue. The most popular are to add a back-to-back-turn or a Vacilala.

The new “DC” variation is as easy as it gets: After the first two counts of eight, the Lead exits the move by lifting his left arm over his head to his left shoulder. Next could come a walk as in the “DC Casineros” video or e.g. Dile Que No.

Variations of classic moves are always welcome. The new “DC” move is the easiest Bayamo figure, 1) good for beginners, and 2) it is an excellent way to start a power walk, as well as 3) a good way to cut Bayamo short, if need be. E.g.: Suddenly an opening appears on the dance floor, tempting the Lead. Or a misstep makes it unwise to proceed with the original plan, etc.

Amanda and Adrian

I have called the new Bayamo move for “DC” because I first saw it in an Amanda and Adrian class video from “DC Casineros”, Washington DC, USA, 2017.

“DC Casineros” is one of the most important “Cuban Salsa” dance schools today because it is rooted in genuine Cuban Salsa, “Son-Casino”, as opposed to the hectic goose-step salsa of “Miami style” with back rocking all over the place.

I like that “DC Casineros” has a lot of focus on always to step forward or in place (with exceptions), and especially I like their “power” walks, a genuine Cuban feature completely forgotten by “Miami Style”. And I like that “DC Casineros” are inspired both by MCC (step optimisation) and Afro Cuban.


  • I am not aware of any prior name for this, but I’ve seen it used in a few dances done by Cubans. Perhaps they picked this up on one of their trips to Cuba 🙂

    Been spending a lot of time recently on inter-connections of moves that involve the lead have a double cross handed hold with the follower, this one included.

    You may notice when some Cuban leads dance they start with the same entrance as if they were doing a Sombrero from open position: i.e. a cross handed Vacila with their right hand holding follower’s right, and then they catch the follower’s left hand with their left as the follower turns. They they go into a sequence of moves where they never let go of this cross double handed hold they have. Maybe others have spotted this but once the lead goes into this type of sequence their are a whole ‘family’ of related moves they can flow into, i.e. moves that share the same hand hold, and they have different ‘paths’ / ‘routes’ to navigate between them, what you showed is one ‘path’.

    Some of the families of moves that work together are:
    – Sombreros (i.e. doble, debajo…)
    – Bayamo (classic, Abajo, Tornado – think you call this a Tornado DQN)
    – Tornillio (the casino one not the Son!)
    – Double cross handed Enchufle (when in Caida and left hand is over right)
    – Double cross handed Vacilila (when in Caida and left hand is under right)
    – Double cross handed DQN (when in Caida and left hand is under right)
    – Tornados (Enchufle, Vacilila, DQN -> I view this as a Bayamo but same move)
    – Por el Hueco (Piotr version from a Caida with left hand over, a tricky move to pull off reliably)
    – Dos -> The DOS position for lead seems to be a pivotal position, i.e. lead standing in front of follower, with their hands behind grabbing left-left, right, right. This Dos position seems like an ‘intersection’ that allows access to a lot of ‘paths’ -> Sombrero Abajo, Sombrero, Enchufle-Vacilila, 1st half of Sombrero Doble into a Tornillo, into a Double cross handed Caida position (see this in the SALC class Bayamo at the end).

    A lot of the time you can get to any of these from any of these other moves, without letting go of hands, if you know the ‘path-ways’ to navigate between them. You just need to watch the right videos of Cuban leads to find the path ways.


    • You are talking about what I call “Dos Manos” sections in my own dance, Power Walks and “walkabouts” (Paseala, Caminala, Caminando, etc, are used for so many different things that I prefer the English expressions).

      Ideally a lot of walking, slow, fast, with a lot of changes in direction, etc, doing two handed arm movements on the way with a lot of improvisations. I could write a whole book about it.

      One of my favourite ways to start such power walks, is, just as you say, to get into Sombrero handhold in Dile Que No (right-to-right handed, the right hands on top), you can then lead the Follow all the way around you, and now the left hands are on top, now you can lead the Follow all the way around you with a Coca-Cola turn as you walk forward, etc.

      I am trying to catalog all the good pathways, and to find names for the different elements that goes into such walks, because “walkabouts” are very different from just doing classic Rueda style moves, and deserves their own names in order to make them easier to remember and practice.

      • Hi Jesper,
        I think an issue here is there is a lack of taxonomy of the ‘pathways’ that I am attempting to describe and that is leading to confusion. I’m not referring to open/walking connecting moves such as Pasos aka. Pasaelas, Caminas aka. Caminala etc. where you are using the large walking type movement and turning patterns to ‘open up’ the dance and change the apparent pace, although tempo of stepping has not changed it gives a different appearance.

        It is recognizing small sub-sections of moves that we already know, as being building blocks to be able to connect between various double cross handed positions where the lead’s left hand is holding followers left, and right holding right when close up, but it is not open walking. For example if you look at the Ibert & Rosa Demo#2 in SALC 3:

        1) 25:59 starts a double cross handed Vacilila, he has multiple ‘paths’ he could of taken here:

        a) Cross handed back hammer (which he did)

        If be brings both followers arms over their head…

        b) and walks under his own left arm, on 7 he would be standing in front of follower with both hands behind. What I am call ‘Dos position’. From there he could do Sombrero Abajo, Sombrero, Tornado Vacilila
        c) other option you see sometimes for the double cross handed vacilila is going into a Double cross handed Cadia position

        So what I am trying to focus on here is not the mental state of (‘I am going to do a Tornado-Enchufle”), but instead (“I am taking this path, and I will decide what I will do when I get to the next decision point, where I know the path options”). i.e. the basis of making up your own combinations in real-time -> whatever way ‘the muse’ inspires you. i.e. focus on the ‘connections’ and not the ‘endpoints’ if that makes sense.

        If I go back to the Ibert example

        2) at 26:09 he is in a position that has a ‘path way’ to lead him to a double cross handed caida (left hand under). Same move is used in the Bayamo (classic) from SALC 1) if I recall, its a simple building block to get from that position into the double cross handed caida which is a gateway to a lot of possibilities.

        3) 26:11 in the double cross handed caida, so from here some of his potential ‘path ways’ are:
        a) Double cross handed DQN
        b) Exhibela like move but with left hand down, which takes him back to double cross handed back hammer!
        c) double cross handed Vacilila option that he took and he took a ‘path’ to position that is seen in the Bayamo family. (option he took).

        His whole demo is worth looking at to be honest, as he spends a lot of time in this close-quarter double cross handed position, staying in it and not ‘coming out’ for sometime.

        Btw I do like the other double armed Paseala open walks you are referring to as well, Daybert and various MCCer’s do these quite a bit, they are very stylish and give a nice change of pace to a dance.


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