Answers to "Test Your Knowledge" Questions
To see the questions (without answers), click here.
- There are 8 beats in a musical phrase. (Each phrase is comprised of
two musical measures in 4:4 time--for the "musicians in the house.") The
first of these 8 beats gets the most emphasis.
- Dancers take 6 steps during the 8-beat musical phrase.
- The underlying rhythm is referred to as Quick Quick Slow where a slow
step takes 2 beats and a quick takes one beat.
- Ladies step forward on the left and back on the right in Casino Rueda
just like they do in one on one Salsa. But guys do the reverse of what
they do when they dance one on one. So in the Rueda basic, guys step
forward on the right and back on the left. (One way to think of this is
that in the circle, everyone is stepping back with the foot that is
"outside" the circle. Everyone steps forward or "in" with the step that
is inside the circle.)
- The guys' right shoulder faces into the center of the circle.
- After tapping on your right foot, you step onto the right. After
tapping on the left foot you step onto the left.
To go back to the basic questions, click here.
This is an interesting question because to some extent the answer
depends on how you conceptualize the start of the move. It is common to
say that tap moves begin on beat one of the phrase after the phrase in
which the call is made. So you call on beat one and start the move on the
next beat one.
However, I think that is confusing to people first learning the dance. A
more pragmatic way to think of when the moves begin is when you start to
do something other than basic. For the moves that start with a tap, that
would be on beat 6 of the same 8 beat phrase in which the call is made.
(Calls are made on beat 1.)
Moves that don't begin from a tap most typically (but not always) start
somewhere in the next 8 beat phrase after the phrase in which the call is
made. So practically speaking, you usually have to deviate from the basic step
earlier on moves that start with a tap.
Even if you consider tap moves to begin on beat one of the next phrase
after the tap, the tap moves start as early as possible in that phrase.
So thinking of it that way, the moves that don't start with a tap
generally begin at the same time or later than the moves that do start
with a tap.
- Steps that begin on beat 5 of the phrase in which the call is made
are: Dame Con Vuelta, Suena, Bulla, Bulla Doble, and Suena Con Bulla.
These steps obviously have very little lag time between the call and the step.
- On Vacilense Los Dos, leaders can turn either way. Turning to the
left essentially uses the momentum from leading the lady to do her turn.
Turning right is the same direction as the lady turns. So there is logic
to either way of doing it. Leaders can turn once or twice in either
direction---I've seen this step done all of these ways! Personally, I
prefer doing two left turns; it feels nice to move with the momentum of
the lead. And when both partners turn twice, it's a particularly
beautiful move. Try this in an inverted circle; it's dynamite! (An
inverted circle is one where each couple has "their own center" outside of the
circle. So you essentially are dancing facing out.
- There is no limit to the number of steps that can be ganged. In
fact, some groups consider the goal of a sophisticated Rueda to have no
basic steps or a minimal number so it looks like one long sophisticated
sequence of movement.
Dedo and Montana are essentially the same but you hold one hand in
the former and two in the latter (in a cross hand-hold position).
Similarly, abanico and beso are essentially the same but you hold one
hand in the former and two in the latter move. Again, this pair is also
done in a cross hand-hold.
It is conjecture, I suppose, to speculate on why these steps are
named separately. But my take on this is that the moves look very
different due to the difference in how the hands are held. So for
example, abanico and beso really have a different look (and feel) due
simply to whether you are holding one hand or two. Thus there is a logic
to giving them separate names.
- Casino Rueda can be done on 2 though by far most groups dance it on
1. I've done Rueda on 2; it's not that difficult and it's a nice feeling
(just as it always is to dance on 2).
- Abanico is a move that many people feel ends abruptly. To compensate
for this, some groups add an Enchufla onto the end of it. I prefer to do
the move the standard way, and it's a nice move to know since it is the
ending segment of Bebe. To minimize the discomfort of the unfinished
feeling that many people have doing the move, change hands back to the
usual hand hold right away. Somehow that brings the dancers back to the
mentality of guapea a little faster and seems to curtail the unfinished
Some basic/intermediate moves that are good for club style (one on
one) dancing are: Pa ti pa mi, Setenta, Adios con la hermana (some
groups call this "Prima"), Pasea, Sombrero, Balsero, Beso, Uno, Dos,
Kentucky, and countless others. In fact, the majority of advanced moves
are directly usable in club dancing.
There are two ways to get into these moves. If you are doing a step that
starts with the tap on the 8th beat, you can do a cross body lead and
then give a strong lead to pull her into the tap. Ladies who don't dance
Casino style aren't always used to tapping so that lead has to be a
little forceful to be clear. Remember that those tap moves can be done
without a tap as well, and if you are leading someone not accustomed to
tapping, you may be best off just omitting the tap. Some groups don't
tap anyway; it's perfectly possible to do the tap moves (like Balsero,
Beso, Dedo, etc) without starting from the tap.
If you are leading a step that doesn't start from the tap, like Uno, then
after the guy's back-rock, he back-rocks again as the lady is rocking
back. That essentially puts you into the Rueda basic and you can take it
On this subject, there is a further, more subtle matter. That is the
question of whether the leader is dancing with a follower who is experienced in
Rueda or not. Experience Rueda followers can be led into most Casino style
moves (the style of move that are also used in Rueda circles) and they'll follow
them readily. But if the follower has not done Rueda, there are some motions
they will tend to not do. First, they obviously won't face the imaginary
center of the circle. Salsa is a partnership dance, and if someone hasn't
gotten used to Rueda, they tend to try and face their partner. Second, in
non-Casino style moves, both hands are rarely raised at the same time very
quickly, as we do in Sombrero and many other Casino Rueda moves. And if
you are accustomed to tapping on beat 8 before entering a move (which some
Casino dancers do and others don't), then this may be difficult to get the
follower to do.
As an interesting exercise, I worked with Glen, one of the other teachers
from DanceInTime, and we created adjustments to the Casino Rueda moves so they
would be leadable when dancing with followers who had never done Rueda dancing.
You would be surprised just how many changes had to be made in the moves,
including things that forced the timing to change. For example, you cannot
start with a tap on beat 8 and go into Vacila footwork (for Sombrero, Balsero,
and a host of moves where the follower turns in front of the leader and moves to
his right side). Instead, one of the adjustments that can be made is to rock the
lady back and then turn her in place, and the leader adjusts his position with
respect to hers to continue the move. Cross body leads at the end of moves
need to be done with the guy rocking in toward the lady rather than in to the
imaginary center. There are lots of little changes to avoid the maneuvers
that followers without Rueda experience won't be used to. But making these
adjustments allows the leader to use a whole body of Casino Rueda moves while
dancing with anyone! Again, if he dances with women who do Rueda, he
merely needs to adjust how to get into and out of the moves and that is simple.
But for ladies who just do other styles of Salsa, many more adjustments are
To go back to the intermediate questions, click here.
The Experts' Test
- Sombrero and Medio Sombrero are another pair of moves that are
identical except for whether one or two hands is held.
According to Boogalu Productions out of Cuba, the current wave of
Casino Rueda dancers use the dance increasingly for performing, and they
are creating long strings of moves that are essentially sequences of
Indeed, some groups like to use Casino Rueda moves in a random sequence when doing presentations, while others like to pre-determine a set of moves
that constitutes a sort of mini-choreography. This is a matter of taste
and there are different assets to each approach but they both create nice
presentations. If you are interested in seeing some of the beautiful and
very creative work being done by young Cubans today, you can watch some
of these Rueda based choreographies in one of the videos that Boogalu sells.
(The website is: www.boogalu.com.)
- Confusion, Pelota con Uno and Pelota con Tres are all steps that have
a number of beats divisible by 4 but not by 8. So after doing each of
those steps, you are dancing on 5. You can do any of them again if this
bothers you and that will put you back on 1. I've found that some dancers
don't notice and don't care if they switch from dancing on 1 to 5. If I
comment on the change, they look at me like I'm incredibly rigid---(as in
"what's the problem?"). However, other dancers are bothered by some
rhythmic discomfort when they do this, and feel that a fundamental mistake has
been made. So you have to know the group you are dancing with and how
they'll react, so you can approach these matters accordingly!
- Uno Complicado, Beso Complicado, Sombrero de Regnier Doble, and many other
moves share this common ending segment with Pasea y Complicate and
Sombrero de Regnier. When I teach, this maneuver is so common that I refer
to ending a move in "the usual way" once we start that segment!
- El Suave is the move that has a part you can incorporate into La
Cuadra. A friend of mine who's an excellent dancer often leads this
segment while dancing one on one and remarked he's never seen a lady
finish that move without a smile on her face. There is an unusual curve
in the movement which looks nice and feels good to do as well, particularly for
- To do a Sententa right after an Exhibe, you have to shorten the
Exhibe so the lady isn't stepping out as far as usual and then go
straight into the Setenta. I point this out because I am fairly literal,
and for some time, I avoided doing Exhibes into Setentas because the sequence
didn't seem very workable. I now realize that indeed I was right----but you make it work by
altering and shortening the Exhibe. Then it can be done smoothly. So
don't fall into the trap of thinking that moves have to be done fully in
all situations. Know that when you put moves together, you sometimes
adjust one or both as needed to make the sequence work.
- Kentucky Complicado has an Exhibe into a Sententa. Siete Setenta has
an Exhibe into Setenta Complicado. By the way, the name "Siete Setenta" is really a
misnomer. There is no Siete in that move!! (Go figure!)
- This manuever is also present in a beautiful move called Registrala.
You can learn that move from one of the Salsa Lovers' instructional
- The segment in Abanico Complicado that requires a lot of agility and
flexibilty is found also in Presa, Rubenada Complicado, Abanico Complicado
Complicado (not a mistake), and a move made up by one of the DanceInTime
teachers named Glen Minto called Presa Extended. This maneuver is really
tough to do unless you are thin, flexible, and are blessed with having long
arms. After struggling with it in class, I felt that any move with this
component wouldn't look good for performances because even if it can be done,
it's not fluid or graceful
But Glen has turned that around by creating
equivalent sequences that take the same number of beats to do and replace the
hard maneuver. Here are some of the replacements. (Note that there
are several because different movements work better for different moves. You are
not entering the dance sequence in exactly the same manner in these moves so
different replacements are needed in different steps.)
a. For Rubenada
Complicado, you can do that back to back ending that is at the end of Sombrero
de Regnier and is referred to in question #4 above. That gets you to the
same point that the awkward part of Abanico Complicado does and then you
continue on with Rubenada Complicado, doing that second arm drop behind the
b. In Presa, the guy can simply let go of the follower's hand
with his left hand and he moves through the segment holding only one arm.
That takes the strain off the tightness of the original move and it's a hundred
percent easier. You reconnect for the segment of Rubenadao Complicado that
is like Juana la Cubana.
c. And for Abanico Complicado itself, the leader can
do a lovely move that is hard to describe in words, but it involves a rondee
where he lets of of the follower's had on 5 and catches it on 7 while she keeps
her hand behind her back. Then he does an enchufla rondee, moving to the
other side of the follower and switches which hand is higher (by letting go of
one of her hands) so he is in position for sombrero. Then you pick up the
standard part of Abanico Complicado (which ends like sombrero). To do
Abanico Complicado Complicado, you do the same thing but you end the move
differently of course: one hand stays down while doing the sombrero turn and
there is a fancier ending after that turn.
The point of all this is that any part of any move that
doesn't look graceful or the dancers simply don't care for, can be altered or
adjusted to something that is preferred. You just have to remember that
this is ok to do; there is no reason why dancers can't alter moves to suit them.
Indeed, these alterations work perfectly for my purposes if I plan to perform complex
moves and want the flow to look effortless!
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