Cuban Salsa: Janus Turn and Goose Step Pirouette

Traveling turns, using three or four steps, should be executed as a continuing movement on a straight or curved line. Turning on a curved line around the Lead is the most common in Cuban Salsa. But traveling turns also takes place on the tangent to the circle or as part of walks where turning on a straight line is also common.

Each step of a traveling turn is to be stepped in front of the previous or beside it, like for the start of a Three Step Pirouette or for the end of a Chaîné turn.

If a Lead gets the leading wrong and the Follow is forced to go partly stationary during the traveling, or if the Follow goes rogue of her own free will, strange “not in the textbook” turns appear before our eyes.

Such “junk” or “Plan B” Turns are not universal or versatile but impossible to avoid in the heat of social dancing, where misunderstandings and errors are plentiful. A Follow must always be creative and save a turn with whatever means necessary in the situation.

Link to the same video on YouTube

Turns are difficult. We should always use universal turn techniques. Both Lead and Follow should never miss a chance to train and hone the best turn techniques. Both Leads and Follows should stick to recognised textbook turns, if Leads are ever going to lead and support them properly, and the Follows to execute them with perfection.

Four Step Janus Turn

Janus is a Roman God with two faces. The Four Step Janus Turn starts with Half a Pirouette or a Pivot. Next, instead of stepping around for the third step, the Follow steps forward in the “wrong” direction. Next, the fourth step, the Follow steps a new Half Pirouette.

The Four Step Janus turn is normally a right turn starting on “1” or on “3”, but on “5” is also an option. Could also happen as a left turn on “5”.

Goose Step Pirouette

Goose Steps are to march with the feet so far apart that you must really lift the legs. For a Pirouette, half – 180 degree or full – 360 degree, the feet are supposed to end up collected, side by side. If the feed end up far apart, one in front of or behind the other, it is a Goose Step Pirouette.

Goose Step Pirouette normally happens as right turns with start on “1” or on “3”. For a half Pirouette, the Follow can then twist around on the third step for the last 180 degree. For a full Pirouette it is not uncommon that the Follow’s second step ends up far behind the turning foot, but the body has completed the full circle. Next, the Follow simply steps in place on step “3” by transferring the weight to the forward foot.

For a full Pirouette, it is rare that the Follow overturns and Goose Step forward like for the half Pirouette. Either the foot lands beside the other or a few centimetre in front of it, or more or less too far behind.

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