Basics of Cuban Salsa

Steps, Turns, Walks

1Basic Steps
2Paséala Steps
5Turn Techniques

50+ Basic Figures

1Son Básico (1)
3Dile Que No
6Habanero (Vacilala on 3 or 5)
7Coca-Cola (left turns)
8Hammerlock (Setenta)
10Rodeo (4)
12Exhíbela (4)
15Panqué (1)

Special Basic Figure

1Saloneo (6)
2Paseo de Ola (2)
3Enchufla Continuado

What is a Basic Figure?

A Basic Figure is a unique building block of mostly one count of Eight consisting of two halves, “1-2-3” and “5-6-7”. Some basic figures like Enchufla have several options at the end, and they can have many options for the second half of the figure. Some Basic Figures also varies a lot depending on from what position they are started. Enchufla is not just Enchufla but also slightly different Basic Figures like Enchufla por la Derecha (from Caída), Enchufla from the Hammerlock position, and Enchufla desdo Rodeo (from Rodeo).

Several Basic Figures have a left turning and a right turning version, like Adiós and Adiós Inverso, Exhibela and Exhibela Inverso. El Uno (Cubanito) and El Dos (Cubanito) can be considered Basic Figures on their own or variations of Paséala.

A few Basic Fiques are more than one count of Eight. We have a normal Rodeo of one count of Eight, Rodeo Largo is two counts of Eight, and Rodeo Poco is two times a half count of Eight. We also have a handful of “Continuado” Basic Figures. They only make sense, if we continue them “X” number of times, like Enchufla Continuado, Paseo de Olas and the “Paseo Walk”.

I operate with a relatively long list of Basic Figures, more than fifty. But that is only for Casino proper. If we also include a handful of figures from Cuban Son and from other Cuban dances like Cuban Mambo, from Cuban Rumba and from Afro Cuban dances and even from non Cuban Dances like American LA Salsa, we are closer to a hundred Basic Figures.

I believe that a relatively long list of Basic Figures is easier to deal with for practical reasons than a relatively short list where many of the figures have many variations and options. It is impossible to make a list we can all agree about. We can not even make a list most of us can agree about.

Each Lead should make a list of the Basic Figures he uses, another list of the Basic Figures he would like to include in his repertoire, and a third list of the Basic Figures he will ignore for whatever reason.