Cuban Salsa: Enchufla Simple (Ven y Vira)

The basic figure I call Enchufla Simple is called Ven y Vira (“come and return”) by some dance schools, and a few call it Lazo. I prefer easy to understand common sense names. And if a dancer can guess what a figure or move might look like just by knowing the name, the better. Enchufla Simple is the easiest of all basic figures! Some Leads use it in almost every dance, most Leads never use it, they don’t have a name for it, they have not even heard about it. The same is true for many dance schools!

Enchufla Simple is almost like Enchufla Doble except that the Lead’s left hand is held low during the return, back to the start position. That is, the Enchufla half left turn on “1-2-3” is undone on “5-6-7” without bringing the arm over the Follow on the way back. For Enchufla Doble the Follow steps a half left turn on “1-2-3”, and a half right turn on “5-6-7”. For Enchufla Simple the Follow steps a half left turn on “1-2-3” and pivots around to the left on “5-6-7”.

The steps for Enchufla, Enchufla Simple and for Enchufla Doble are the same for count “1-2-3”:

  1. Both the Lead and the Follow steps forward on “1”, and since their starting foot is most likely already in a “forward stepping” position at the start of Enchufla, both Lead and Follow step in place on “1” or just a very small step more forward.
  2. Since the Lead and the Follow are facing one another at the start position of Enchufla, the Lead must also make sure to step forward a little to the left just enough for the Follow to pass by. Only the Lead steps forward a little to the side, because only the Lead knows the figure, he has started.

Video Clip #1 is a clip from a “DC Cacineros” YouTube video, Washington DC, USA, 2015. Instructor Adrian Valdivia shows us the basic Enchufla Simple (Ven y Vira) figure.

The original DC Casineros video at Youtube

Enchufla Steps don’t exist

One should only as an exception to the rule use so-called diagonal “Enchufla” steps, side-crabbing forward. Actually “Enchufla steps” don’t exist in proper dancing because one of the secrets of a good flowing dance is that almost all figures and moves are done with the same type of forward walking steps.

In social dancing every step should be optimised for the best possible continuation into a host of other figures. And for the dance to be inspirational and improvised, the Lead should as much as possible decide the next step as late as possible, “in the moment”. For that reason each step should be as generalised and as universally applicable for the continuation as possible.

It is obvious that a forward walking mode is much more versatile than side-crabbing Enchufla steps, and since Enchufla is the most common of all basic figures, often used several times in each move, it makes a hell of a difference for the look and the feel of the dance, for the flow, if Lead and Follow walks forward or side-crab.

Video Clip #2 from the same “DC Casineros” YouTube video. It shows Enchufla Simple (Ven y Vira) with an added Giro for the Lead. Adrian even doubles down with an Arrebata (flare).

The original DC Casineros video at Youtube

Basic figures are gold

Enchufla Simple is gold. Whenever you can add a new basic figure of just one count of eight to your repertoire, you have made your day. A basic figure is much more valuable than a new Complicado move of several counts of eight. What improves your dance the most is to make your basic “bread and butter” dance richer by adding more basic figures you can use effortless as building blocks in endless variations in order to create ever more interesting flows.

Complicado moves, on the other hand, are just spice on top of you dance, and you should seldom use more than a couple in each dance. If you already know a lot of good longer moves, a new Complicado mostly gives you a bigger repertoire to choose from, not a richer basic dance.

Video Clip #3 from the same “DC Casineros” YouTube video. It shows Enchufla Simple (Ven y Vira) with an added Giro Doble for the Lead.

The original DC Casineros video at Youtube

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