Cuban Salsa: Pancake Flow – Panqué

Nowadays I seldom use named moves in my social dancing. I mostly regard moves as choreographed mini dances to be used in Rueda de Casino only and for training purposes. More and more my dancing is organised around a couple of improvised, 1-2 minutes long FLOWS of mostly basic figures of one count of Eight. We want as small building blocks as possible to facilitate improvisation and creativity.

Named Moves are not strictly forbidden in FLOW dancing but should only be used as an exception to the rule. It makes sense that the more and the longer moves we use, the less improvisation and creativity, the less music and moment driven is your dance.

The idea of FLOW dancing is not to use as many different basic figures as possible in one Flow, but almost the opposite: To focus on a relatively small number of basic figures, a so-called THEME. The idea is to play around with that theme, and to explore what is possible with those figures alone, with this Follow to this piece of music.

The Video CLip is from a Practica Training Session with me and Mona, Copenhagen, Denmark 2022. For both FLOWS the THEME is the “Pancake” (Panqué) basic figure in combination with Coca-Cola, Rodeo, Paséala, Exhíbela and a few more of the most common basic figures.

Same video on YouTube

Flows as well as creative, inspirational social dancing, work the best if the Follow has forward stepping as default. The Follow should always step forward, each step in front of the previous step. In rare situations the Follow can be led into stepping back for some purpose, or out of necessity to regain her balance. The more forward steps the Follow takes, the easier it is for the Lead to lead and position the Follow, and the more options are available.

More than half of the options in Cuban Salsa are impossible or made too difficult to be realistic, or will not work properly, if the Follow steps back again and again, wasting two steps for nothing. Back-Rocking Cuban Salsa makes long, creative, inspirational forward walking FLOWS impossible.

Cuban Salsa is unique because it is the only social dance based on the circle, the tangent to the circle and free walks. In Bachata the main mode is sideways stepping, in American Salsa the main mode is “forward and back”, in Tango the Follow walks with her back in front a lot of the time. These rather “awkward” dance modes put a lot of constraints on the dance.

Because of the circular and figure “8” patterns, both the Lead and the Follow can walk forward simultaneously at almost all times in Cuban Salsa. The constant forward walking motion, only available in Cuban Salsa, vastly augments the options and possibilities for leadable partner dancing. Improvised, inspirational dancing is the hallmark of Cuban Salsa. Not to have the forward walking motion as the main mode of Cuban Salsa (even many Cubans have not seen the light) is really to let Cuban Salsa down.

Find you own way

There are as many ways to do forward walking flow dancing as we have Leads and Follows. Each one of us must find a personal style that suit us best. I only use the figures, combinations and moves I like the best, and I only dance to the music I like the best. I want to dance exactly the way I am best at, considering my abilities, my technical level, my age.

Some people dance like telling jokes, a little bit of this and a little bit of that. They are stunt and entertainment dancers, show-offs that like to rock the boat. Good for them. I want to dance like one long, explorative, meditative flow as my main mode of dancing in most dances. Dance and let dance, find your own way, the one that can make you the best in your own dance.

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