Cuban Salsa: La Paloma (Pigeon Walk)

La Paloma (The Pigeon), or the “Pigeon Walk”, I have learned from a video of a workshop by Ruben Rodriguez. It took me and my partner a training session to learn the move and to get a good feel for it, and another training session to modified it to suit our own style of dancing. The original “Ruben” video is too stationary for my taste, the Follow side-crabs into Paséala. I want a generalised move based on optimised basic figures, easy to remember and replicate. And I want a move that fits my “always forward” dancing mode.

My training partner suggested to prolong the move by adding a walk before going into Paséala. In our version in the video, I make her walk 2.5 counts of Eight before going into Paséala. It makes the look and the feel of the move much better. This is a good example of how one can modify the moves of other dancers to suit one’s own style.

Video Clip #1 is from a Practica Session with me and Mona, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2022.

Same video on YouTube

We really must remember to smile!

Breakdown

  1. Sombrero, “1-8”.
  2. DQN and Coca-Cola, “1-8”.
  3. Sort of Enchufla bringing the Follow’s left arm over her head on “1-2-3”, the Lead releases the Follow’s left hand and grab it again and turns it into a Hammerlock, and leads the Follow forward on “5-6-7”.
  4. The Follow is walked around the Lead for two counts of Eight, “1-8”, “1-8”.
  5. Paséala steps for two counts of Eight, “1-8”, “1-8”.
  6. A third Paséala but instead of turning around on “3” the Follow is lead straight ahead into a Coca-Cola left turn on “5-6-7”.
  7. Lead brings the Follow’s left arm over his head and into Caída position and DQN.

The Paloma move looks like a cake walk but it takes a strong Follow having Paséala steps as her second nature. And the Lead must be up to the task of leading it for the move to work properly. A good Lead that owns the move might be able to do it with any good Follow but it helps a lot to train it a couple of times.

Paloma is a social move

Paloma is a first class social move but could of cause also be used in Rueda de Casino. It is a social move in the sense that there are many ways to start the Pigeon Walk. I have just learned and developed the move, and use Sombrero for the moment, but I can’t wait to look for other ways to get it started. Probably at any time from Caída position with crossed handholds and Lead’s left hand on top.

In the video we walk 2.5 counts of Eight before we start Paséala, but a longer or a shorter walk works as well depending on the music and the dynamics created. In the video we only do Paséala two times but when it feels like the right thing to do, the Lead can continue Paséala for as long as it feels just fine.

Video Clip #2 is the original move of Ruben Rodriguez, Nantes, France, 2020.

Same video on YouTube

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