Cuban Salsa: Dile Que No Continuado

When doing Dile Que No, the Lead sometimes needs to add one more Dile Que No in order to lead the Follow into open position, also called Guapea position. We can easily have several DQNs, one after the other. The first DQN changes the motion on the Partner Circle from right to left, from clock-wise to counter clock-wise. All additional DQNs start from an already established left turning motion.

We have several types of DQN but in this tutorial we only look at the DQN used to continue an already existing left turning motion on the partner circle in social dancing. This DQN has no well established name, I have never heard of one, except that I call it Dile Que No Continuado. I have never seen anyone teaching it explicitly, but it is used by many Leads in every social dance, mostly with improvised stepping!

The most common situation where Leads use Dile Que No Continuado is when a Coca-Cola left turn is replacing the last half of DQN. Since a Coca-Cola left turn uses step “6” for the turn, there is no way a Follow can pivot around on “6” and into open position, and if the Lead tries (the clumsy solution), the Follow will need to “thread water” for a full count of eight in order to be ready for a new move in open position.

For that reason most Leads add an additional DQN, DQN Continuado, to the end of the first, as a more elegant way to lead the Follow into open position after a Coca-Cola left turn.

How to step it?

The Follow steps DQN and DQN Continuado the same way, and for the Lead only the first half count of eight, “1-2-3” is different, actually only step “1-2”. For DQN, the Lead steps half a step forward on “1”, steps back on “2” and on “3” and “pivots” around into forward, counter clock-wise walking on the Partner Circle for “5-6-7”.

Since DQN Continuado is a continuation of the left turning motion, it makes sense that the Lead continues to walk forward on “1” and then turns around a half left turn on “2” and steps back on “3”, ending up in a halfway position identical to DQN. The Lead’s steps for “1-2-3” of DQN Continuado are similar to the Lead’s “1-2-3” of the Paseo walk.

Video Clip #1 is from the online teaching material of “MCC 2.0”, Routine #6, featuring Yoel Marrero and Akiko Meguro. This is the best example, I have found, showing how DQN and DQN Continuado are different on “1-2” and exactly the same for “3, 5-6-7”.

This Paseo way of starting DQN Continuado is used by many Leads from different sub-styles, but often in an improvised manner. Dancers inspired by MCC use the method more consistently like an optimised basic figure except that they don’t have a name for it! The Paseo method makes a lot of sense, it is the logical, the “build-in” way to add a Dile Que No to an already left turning motion.

But there is also another way to walk DQN Continuado used by some Leads mainly as a way to rescue the so-called “Goose Step (Lead)/L-shaped (Follow)” DQN for the first DQN. This Dile Que No, very common in Rueda de Casino, is a disaster in social dancing for anything but leading the Follow into open position. It positions the Follow badly for a Coca-Cola left turn or for an outside turn. In order to continue the Coca-Cola turn around to the left of the Lead, the Lead is tempted to step back three times on “1-2-3” in an obvious “hack” that should have no place in Cuban Salsa except as an exception to the rule.

There are often many ways to step figures and moves that somehow work for some people some of the time. Talented dancers can make almost any crab look good and natural.

But teachers, instructors and other role models, should leave their own private steps, idiosyncrasies and bad habits to their own social dancing, and give us the text book instead, the most easy to learn from.

It serves most of us best to develop our own social dancing on top of a solid foundation of consistency, best practices, and a generalised, optimised approach to figures and moves.

Video Clip #2 from “Salsa Lovers”, DVD 04, Miami, Florida, USA, around year 2000, and uploaded to YouTube much later, is good to learn from. The video clip shows the last part of the El Clásico move where Dile Que No is done five times in a row. The Lead, Rene Gueits, shows us three different versions of Dile Que No in the same move!

Original “Salsa Lovers” El Clásico video on YouTube
  1. The first DQN changes the turning motion from right to left. Rene Gueits uses the so-called “Goose Step” DQN with an enormous step forward on “1”, forcing the Follow to step back on “1”. The Follow looses two steps and must step the narrow “L-shaped” DQN, linear on the diameter of the Partner Circle instead of walking on the arch of the circle. Walking the diameter of the circle works for going into Guapea position but the Follow is badly positioned for a Coca-Cola left turn around the Lead.
  2. The second DQN is Rene’s alternative version of DQN Continuado: Instead of using the Paseo model, he steps back on “1-2-3” unlike in any other more, and then the normal DQN steps for “5-6-7”.
  3. The third DQN is the Paseo type of DQN Continuado, Best Practice, because it makes more sense and it is more versatile and generalised. The Lead steps forward counter-clockwise on the Partner Circle on “1”, then a half left turn on “2”, and ends up in the usual DQN halfway position on “3”, and next the usual DQN steps for “5-6-7”.
  4. The fourth DQN is also the “Paseo” type of DQN, the recommended Dile Que No Continuado. Except of cause that the version of the “Salsa Lovers” is not as sharp and optimised as the MCC version.
  5. Finally the fifth DQN, the Lead shows us the walking back on steps “1-2-3” DQN one more time.

It seems that Rene Gueits uses the “walking back on 1-2-3” DQN after a Coca-Cola turn and the “correct” DQN Continuado in other already left turning situations. I have seen the “walking back on 1-2-3” type of DQN in many videos but in my opinion there is no argument for ever using it except as a hack to rescue a Follow’s Coca-Cola turn if she uses the L-shaped Dile Que No and doesn’t have enough steps to position herself properly for a Coca-Cola on the Partner Circle.

Video Clip #3 is from a brand new series of beautiful “Rueda.Casino” Vimeo videos. At the moment one must pay to watch the videos. The Norwegian Rueda Standard Organisation also uses the Paseo type of DQN Continuado except that the Lead angles his left foot weirdly toward the centre of the circle instead of in the forward walking direction.

Original Rueda.Casino video at Vimeo

This Rueda.Casino Lead also uses the “Goose Step DQN” for the first DQN forcing the Follow to step back on “1”, causing her to loose two steps for nothing, making it difficult to position her properly for a perfect Coca-Cola turn. It somehow works anyway in Rueda because the Follow hears the call of “Coca-Cola” and can do some last split seconds adjustments to the angle of her feet and survive the turn.

Dile Que No Continuado is a basic figure replacing Dile Que No when the turning motion is already counter clockwise on the Partner Circle. Often DQN starts the left turning, counter clockwise motion, but that motion can also be started with Paseala steps and from Coca-Cola left turns as the second half of figures like Enchufla and Panqué as well as of DQN.

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