The Guide to

Instructional Video #1
The Fundamentals of Cuban-Style Casino Salsa Dancing



Basic - Straight On
Basic - Opening & Closing
Woman's Left Arm Placement During Basic
"Pull Her In" Start into Basic
Side-to-Side Start into Dile Que No position
on3 Shuffle Sound with Feet
Explanation of Arm Tension
Small Camina
Small Camina with Crossed Hands
Large Camina
Basic Combo: Hecho, Deshecho, Pull-in & Dile Que No
Basic Combo broken down into its parts (#12 - #15):
Explanation of Shoulder Angles for Hecho
Deshecho & Pull-in
Dile Que No
Hecho straight into Dile Que No
Woman's Left Arm Placement during Dile Que No
Paseo De Olas
Explanation of Shoulder Angles for Paseo De Olas
Paseala En Frente
Explanation of Vacilala
Vacilala from Side-to-Side
Vacilala with Simultaneous Man's Left Turn
Explanations of Dancing in Circles
Vacilala Con Engaño
Hecho into Dancing Cheek-to-Cheek
Hecho into Tight Turning
Explanation of getting into Tight Turning
Explanation of Tight Turning
Tight Turning with some Dips
Arm Checks
Explanation of Arm Checks
Paseala Por Atrás
Who Marks Time?
Basic Improvising

Explanations and Translations of the Moves


Man's Left Hand holding Woman's Right Hand
on the first beat of the music.  For explaining the dance move, it will always mean the left break step for the man, and right break step for the woman.

The following is only a guide to the video.
It is intended to make sense while watching the actual video.
The text by itself (without seeing the video) may not make sense.

The translations are approximiate, and sometimes I will edit them so that they make more sense or are more to the point.

The verb "desplazarse"(to displace oneself), and the noun "desplazemiento"(displacement) are used a lot by the instructors in this video.  Although the word "displacement" in English to describe dancing is a little strange, they are refering to when the dancer moves/dances/walks across the dance floor as opposed to dancing in place.  I will sometimes use this term in the translations.


#3:  Yaqueline says "It's fundamental that the woman looks for a "support" (push off) from the body of the man.  Whether it be in his hand, forearm, upper arm, shoulder, back or stomach.  Also, the man can 'push off' from some part of the body of the woman...  For example, the hands, he can take my hand (or wrist),  I take his hand (or wrist) ... forarm ... shoulder ... back ... belly ... chest ... and so on"
        This push-off occurs on5.  Whenever I dance with non-Cubans, if I put my hand out, they will put their hand out as well.  But if I put something else out, such as my forarm, they usually will take their hand away avoiding any contact.  This can throw the leader off-balance as he is relying on a push-off.  This push-off is one the major characteristics of Cuban-style Salsa.  I think there is something cultural behind this movement, as I've found it particularily difficult to get non-Cuban woman to do this move.

#4:  There are generally two ways to start dancing.  The first is to pull her L hand towards you with your R hand forcing her R foot forward, starting on5.  Usually after the start, instead of pulling her Lhand in, you push off it.  Although, as a variation, you can continue to pull her hand in on every 5, creating a very different feeling.

#5:  There are generally two ways to start dancing.  The second is to start by stepping on1, on3, on5, on7 rocking side-to-side, and then pulling her in into a Dile Que No.

#6:  This is a MAJOR characteristic of Cuban-style Salsa.  You can actually hear, people shuffling on3 most of the time.  Part of the reason are the dance surfaces.  Usually they are concrete, or tile so it is easily to make this sound than on a wooden dance floor.  Of course, it's not the sound itself that's important, but the feeling a sliding your feet across the floor as you make the 3rd step.  This also accounts, somewhat for an "accent" on3, sort of pronouncing the end of the "phrase."  Thus, I the phrasing in Cuban-style dancing has more emphasis on the ending instead of the "break" on1 step in some other styles.

#7:  Yaqueline says, "In order that the man be able to guide the woman better, he should have his arm strong and "potent."  In the case of the woman should have her arm tense, and ready for whatever "displacement" (movement across the dance floor.)  For example ... (they do a cross-body lead with only the L-R hands.)"

#8:  Small Camina with holding L-R, pulling on R-L

#9:  Small Camina with holding & pulling R-R

#10:  Large Camina with holding L-R, pulling on R-L

#11:  I show this combination, because it really incorportes many of the basic elements of Casino.  From here, many variations are possible.

#13:  Ibert says, "First movement for Cuban-style, moving the shoulders.  The man moves his right shoulder back, like this ... and continuing with a second movement by returning the right shoulder to the front."
        This is another major characteristic of Cuban-style.  You can do the "Hecho" without the shoulder movement.  But adding this shoulder movement totally adds another whole dimension to the move.

#15:  A "Dile Que No" is basically a Cuban version of a Cross Body Lead.  The main difference is that with a cross body lead, the woman steps back with her R foot on1, and the man is facing her and steps forward with his L foot.  With a "Dile Que No", the woman is to the right of the man and they are, more or less, facing the same direction.  Then, as the woman step back on1, the man steps more or less forward on1.

#17:  Yaqueline says, "As I said before, the woman should put her left hand for support in some part of the man's body.  In this case for the Dile Que No it's the same - in order to get an impulse to move across the floor."
    In case when the woman places her hand on the man's R forearm, it isn't just for style.  It's actually to hold on and get "an impulse" for the man.  In other words, when the man pulls the woman across with his R hand, he pulls her R hand.  But ALSO the woman should be holding on in such a way so that the pull from the man goes through BOTH arms of the woman.

#18:  "Hecho" is done first to get into "Paseo De Olas."

#19:  Cuban-style is characterized by the movement of the shoulders.  First this and this.  The first movement would be ... shoulders ... shoulders ... shoulders ... shoulders ..."
    Imagine doing this move without moving the shoulders.  It wouldn't look like anything!  It's the movement of the shoulders relative to one another (man and woman) that makes the move.

#20:  Simliar to "Pa'Bajo" in Miami-style Rueda.  Notice how the woman is not doing a cumbia-style basic (as in done in "Pa'Bajo".)  This step has a lot of flow to it.  Also it is often done from Move #5 (Side-to-side start) and instead of going into Dile Que No, you go into "Pasaela En Frente."

#22:  This is one of my favorite moves!  It is unique in that although the man initially leads the move, the woman is left off on her own to complete it properly.  The feeling from a leader's perspective is that he lets her go, and she spins around and comes right back to him.
    This move is so different from anything in other styles in salsa dancing.  It is important for the woman instead of steping back with her R foot on1 wich is done normally on the basic, to instead step in place on1 with her body rotated 1/4 turn to the left from facing the man.  Then, after on1, start rotating to the right.  Also on5 it is important that the woman be at the point in her rotation that she is facing the man. With non-Cubans women, they will just think it is a normal fast turn, and finish their spin on3 and wait there facing the man.

#23:  Ibert says, "In this movement, the man stays in his place."
        Sunny says, "The woman enjoys the movement, displaces herself (moves across the floor) until arriving to the man."
        Ibert says, "This movement is called Vacilala because the man should watch the woman."
        Sunny says, "Enjoying her."

#24:  This move is very simliar to Move#23.  The angles are a little different, with the woman having to travel across the man more.

#26:  Yaqueline says, "La Salsa is characterized by clockwise circular displacement/movement.  To move around it is necessary to count 1,2,3 ... 1,2,3.  This will serve to help the couple, mostly the woman, to move around and to accept all the moves that the man does (leads.)  For example, 1,2,3 ... 1,2,3 ... 1,2,3 ... 1,2,3 ... 1,2,3 ... 1,2.3"
        Yaqueline says, "Many forms exist to demonstrate the displacement of the couple dancing salsa. In this example, ALWAYS, not only is this case but ALWAYS, the woman fundamentaly turns around the man."
        Yaqueline says, "... At the same time, you can do a turn ..... always around the man."
        Yaqueline says, "You can also move around so that the man takes the place of the woman, and the woman takes the position of the man. For example ...  and now without the hands ... always interchanging positions, and noting that it's the woman that is fundamently turning around the man."

    This is probably the most major characteric Cuban-style salsa.  While dancing the woman is almost constantly moving in circles around the man, usually, but not always moving clockwise around him.  In the example on the video, Yaqueline and Joel, start doing what is basically cumbia-turms (woman's left turn, man's left turn and repeat -- sometimes called alternating turns).  The only difference is that the man isn't turning much and the woman turns more than with cumbia-style turns with the effect that the woman is still making circles around the man.  Then Joel lets go and they keep doing to same thing (cumbia turns not lead.)  This is used in the next move of the video (#27).

#27:  Start with a Vacilala, but then instead of the man "catching the woman", he steps back on5 and then does a "deshecho" (like a cumbia-turn.)  Then the woman responds by doing a cumbia-turn as well on the next 1 count.  This continues as long as you like until the man elects not to do a deshecho on5, but instead stays facing the woman to catch her on the next 1.  Shown are 4, 6 & 8 Measure versions.

#30:  Yaqueline says, "To begin this turn, the woman must have her arm rigid.  When beginning the turn, the arm stays in the same position. To finish the turn, the man pulls on her R arm (start to pull her in on5), and on her body with his L hand (starting about on7). The woman then places her left hand on the man's shoulder."

#31:  Yaqueline says, "For the couple, the turn whether it be to the right("hecho") or left, the body should be "elegido" (?-something like rigid).  The man's R foot should be in the middle of the two legs of the woman ... in this position.  To begin the turn it is always clockwise, although, you can also turn counter-clockwise."
        Yaqueline says, "Besides having your bodies rigid, both dancers should be very close for the turn.  The body of the woman, and the body of the man should be very close/attached, and the height of the L arm of the woman shoulder be at the man's shoulders.  Additionally, the arms should be rigid or hard in order for this to help to impulse of the turning.

#32:  Dancing to the music is done "contra-tiempo" (on2).  Dancing to the counting voice is done on1.

#33: Dancing to the music is done "contra-tiempo" (on2).  Dancing to the counting voice is done on1.  To get into "Casate", do Hecho, Deshecho, pull-in locking inner elbows and start walking clockwise, do other stuff, then pull-in and Dile Que No.  This is similar what I call the "Basic Combo" (#11).

#34:  There are different ways to stop her rotation and get the woman to unwind.  Shown are two ways: by pushing off back & by pushing off hips.  You can use your imagination to reverse her in other ways.  Note the woman's footwork, on1 she steps in place, and on5 she also (pretty much) steps in place.  Miami-style Panque (which they call "Siete"), the footwork is different.

#35:  The key here is to position your feet on3 (possibly with a little hop), then not stepping on5 and on6, and then to take a very deliberate step on7 to pick up the beat (Sunny picks up the beat on6, Ibert waits till on7).  Picking up the beat on7 is a common technique in Cuban-style Salsa.  This is called "El Zipper" in Miami-style.

#36:  Look at how nicely this move flows.  There are no sudden movements.  Again following the pattern of the "Basic Combo", the moves starts with (switching to R-R hands) Hecho, Deshecho, then the man turns to the right and does the arm checks.  To get out, a pull-in and Dile Que No.

#37:  Ibert says, "For this turn, the man mantains the woman behind his back ...... here."
        Sunny says, "The woman walks around the man in circles."
        When keeping the woman behind your back, have her more or less behind your left shoulder.

#39:  Ibert says, "Firstly, to begin dancing, it's the man who guides (pulls) the woman ... for example ... and it's the woman who maintains the step and the rhythm so that the man can improvise.

#40:  This is simply a demonstration of what was explained in #39.  In Cuban-style it is common for the man to simply leave out steps, while the woman maintains the step with the music.  When leaving out steps, the man will either watch the woman to pick her up, or, maintain the step count in his head.  The woman will almost never adjust her step once the man starts them. 

Any comments, suggestions, or questions about the notes?
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