Cuban Salsa: What to learn from Lisandra & Geonys

Demo dance videos are often of limited value because they are not realistic for social dancing. Often the videos are heavily choreographed and too much of a show to be useful for average social dancers in need of inspiration. So-called artistic Cuban salsa dance videos are often the most disappointing. Lisandra García is good for many such Cuban Salsa videos with different partners and sadly enough, several of the videos could be labeled “Porno Timba” giving Cuba and Cuban dancing a bad name.

In one of the newest of her videos, 2017, Lisandra dances with Geonys Boloy Romero. The location is Paseo del Prado, Havana. This is not one of her “bad taste”, “I am hot”, self-promotion videos but a decent one with several good qualities. Let us take a closer look at it to see what could be of interest to us ordinary and less talented social dancers. I have annotated the video with the name of each “move”. A list of the moves are also shown below.

Original video on YouTube

They call the video for “Pure Cuban Casino”. This is correct except that we have many Cuban Salsa sub-styles: this is just one of them. But I had no problems naming every count of eight in the dance, there is no “Fusion” in it, like X-Body Salsa, and except for a short Rumba sequence, and apart from a couple of nameless knotty moves, almost everything in the video is part of the standard repertoire of Cuban Salsa.

A handful of observations:

  1. Guapea is only used once and only for one count of eight!
  2. Dile Que No is used almost one third of the time.
  3. Sombrero and Balsero are not even used once.
  4. There are no double turns.
  5. Vacilala is not a traveling turn but done on the spot.
  6. No shines or advanced foot work, no multiple Alardes.
  7. No walks except for “loose” homegrown Caída walks
  8. Coca-Cola is used seven times as the last half of DQN.
  9. Apart from basic figures, almost all moves are Setenta variations.

What surprised me the most in the video, is, that apart from dance talent and musicality, good connection and charm, and apart from the fact that I really like the “innocent” no nonsense style of Geonys, there is hardly anything in the video to learn from. No good flows, no interesting walks or moves. Some of the Setenta moves even look like not that successful improvisations except that the dancers have the Cuban talent for making it look ok anyway.

A fake dance?

The video have the look and feel of a spontaneous, not rehearsed, not choreographed dance, and I buy that. Of cause they know one another and have danced before, but I don’t think they have trained that much for the video, and I don’t think they are regular partners. But a closer look at the video reveals that the video is actually seven video sequences spliced together! We are not talking about several angels of the same dance but of video cuts from different dances. I don’t know have many videos have been feed into the final product but it is the result of minimum the best parts of two videos.

This alone is enough to make me less interested in the video. There is no way I can judge what I see or learn from anything, because the worst failures have clearly been cut out. How can I judge what is leadable or not leadable and realistic for social dancing? Why seven cuts in this video? I can only conclude that the video is not an honest presentation of a “spontaneous” dance but an artificial, doctored product made to look like more than it is.

The highlights

There are many ways to organise a dance. This dance is mostly “more of the same” from a-to-z plus stunt-like highlights. The highlights of this video is the same extravagant dip done three times, an ultra short Rumba con Vacuna, and an acrobatic stunt, the Lead going under the arms almost breaking his back. That is not a good concept for how to organise a social dance.

The Rumba Vacuna platitude, an acrobatic stunt and three dangerous dips, and Lady Styling of the “touching my hair” type (more than five times), might be good enough for a show dance, and the video has a lot of charm to it, I admit that, superb musicality and technical skill, but it has little I can learn from as a social dancer.

List of Moves

  1. Lead then Follow turns right
  2. Dile Que No
  3. DQN con Coca-Cola
  4. DQN into open position
  5. Setenta and left arm Gancho
  6. DQN con Coca-Cola
  7. DQN into closed position
  8. Paseala – Exhibela
  9. Closed Position DQN
  10. Open Position DQN
  11. DQN with right-left handhold and Coca-Cola
  12. DQN into open position
  13. Setenta y Dos
  14. Two handed Sácala
  15. Enchufla
  16. 16. DQN con Coca-Cola tight position
  17. Vacilala rolling out
  18. Enchufla – Sácala
  19. Freestyling Caída walk
  20. and into open position
  21. Vacilala on the spot
  22. Right to left handed Enchufla with Alarde to the Lead
  23. DQN
  24. DQN with CUT!!!
  25. Setenta Hammerlock, Enchufla con Corona
  26. Two handed Vacilala with headloop Alarde to the Lead
  27. DQN con Coca-Cola
  28. DQN into open position
  29. Noventa variation
  30. Enchufla with Follow’s arm over the head
  31. Walking around and rolling out (I liked that)
  32. Enchufla and CUT!!!
  33. Guapea
  34. Vacilala on the spot
  35. Enchufla and Giro de Son
  36. We only see the feet
  37. CUT!!! Setenta Hammerlock
  38. Improvised Setenta move
  39. Half Sombrero
  40. DQN con Coca-Cola
  41. DQN into open position
  42. Free handed Vuelta on “5-6-7”
  43. Guanguancó con Vacunao
  44. DQN into open position
  45. Noventa with unusual start
  46. Enchufla with DIP
  47. CUT!!! El Uno Variation
  48. DQN with Tumbao into open position
  49. Vacilala on the spot
  50. Enchufla
  51. DQN with outside turn
  52. Enchufla into left arm Gancho and Sacala
  53. DQN into closed position
  54. Caída walk into closed positon
  55. Unspecified Setenta move and CUT!!!
  56. Two handed strange Enchufla with DIP and CUT!!!
  57. DQN into Open Position
  58. Setenta y DOS using right Vuelta on “5-6-7” as exit
  59. DQN into open position
  60. Right to left handed Vacilala on the spot
  61. Right to left handed Enchufla
  62. Cross handed DQN into Open Position
  63. Cuban Knoty figure starting with a cross handed Vacilala
  64. Move turning so bad that they CUT!!!
  65. Setenta variation with Alardes to the Lead
  66. Standing behind like El Uno and CUT!!!
  67. Half Sombrero asking for the hand in between
  68. Rodeo into DQN and open position
  69. Handfree right turn on “5-6-7” and Lead’s left turn on next count
  70. DQN into open position
  71. Setenta por Arriba type of figure
  72. Enchufla con Giro de Son
  73. Enchufla into Lead’s Hammerlock going down under
  74. Changing positions
  75. Dile Que Si into Closed Position and the last DIP

One comment

  • Din generelle kritik af danse videoer er ikke urimelig,
    den aktuelle video har mange udmærkede standard figurer eller kombinationer, videoens værdi er ikke så meget hvad de laver, selvom det absolut er brugbart, men i høj grad, hvordan de laver det, det er stilen der er essentiel, og ganske lærerig.

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