Cuban Salsa: Dedo, Guarapo, Bota

This is a classic Rueda de Casino move made popular by “Salsa Lovers”, Miami, USA, 2000, DVD #2, but the move is likely much older. I have found more than 20 videos on YouTube using the version from “Salsa Lovers”. The meaning of the name is not exactly clear: Dedo (finger), Guarapo (sugarcane juice) , Bota (Boot). When called with hand-sign language, Guareapo, the most interesting part of the move, is depicted with a hand behind the neck.

In almost all the videos I have found, Guarapo is only used to get the Follow into closed position in order to start an Adiós type of “carousel” and then into Dame, changing partners. Alexander Barreto and Susana Osorio from “Son de Habana” in Columbia have improved the move by using the Guarapo (“around the neck “) to start a handfree Cuban Vuelta on “3-5-6”. They have also made a version adding a por detrás (going behind) with two Coca-Cola left turns led by hip and shoulder.

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

Same video on YouTube

The Lead can start Dedo Guarapo Bota with a right turn on “1-2-3” (right-to-right handed Vacilala ) like “Salsa Lovers” or on “3-5-6” (right-to-right handed Habanero) like our Columbian friends.

The benefit of starting with Vacilala is that it gives the Lead more time to do the around the neck part on “5-6-7-1-2-3”. I tend to prefer this way of starting the move. I like relaxed, meditative dancing. Alternatively the Lead can start the move with Habanero on “3-5-6”. This gives us a short “around the neck” on just “1-2-3”, but if the Habanero is done with the Lead’s left hand on the Follow’s right elbow or shoulder, we get a rather stylish look and feel, making the Vacilala and the Habanero versions equally good.

How to use the move

These days I only use named moves in my social dancing as an exception to the rule. My main dance mode has focus on inspirational flows of basic figures mostly of one count of Eight. But suddenly I get tired of having to improvise and invent my dance all the time, and then it is nice, for a change, to introduce a relatively long named move like Dedo Guarapo Bota. Such choreographed move works as a good contrast and supplement to my own explorative creativity.

Dedo Guarapo Bota is an excellent move that adds both charm and character to the dance. But it is not easy and the Lead should be prepared to abort it, cut it short or modify it at all times. Many Follows can’t do it spot on the first time but then I give them a second chance.

If the “push” right turn on “3-5-6” is ok, I continue with “Coca-Cola por Detrás”. If the push right turn creates to much imbalance, it doesn’t make sense to follow it up with “Coca-Cola por Detrás”. If I continue and the first Coca-Cola is ok, I also do the second.

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