Cambridge Cuban Salsa Club
Deconstructing Casino: the 12 basic moves of Cuban salsa
The PDF document attached to this post is the result of a bit of reflection led while defining my Cuban salsa/Casino teaching programme at intermediate level. It also covers some of the material I teach at intermediate level during a few salsa congresses in the UK.
At beginners level, we usually teach some basic steps and Enchufla/Dile que No/Vuelta, with lots of emphasis on making people feel comfortable, welcome, confident and entertained, and only limited emphasis on technicality. Then, at intermediate level, the question arises: what tools should you give your Cuban salsa students to help them learn the longer routines more efficiently once they reach the higher levels? What is going to help them for the rest of their salsa life?
Through observation and analysis, the following list of 12 moves came up, which cover a large proportion of the "situations" met in longer routines. Learning them allows to approach Cuban salsa as a foreign language: while beginner's moves are like a basic alphabet, the 12 moves are like the words which would be used to compose longer sentences at higher levels. From the learner's perspective, knowing these moves does help to "decode" longer routines more efficiently by training the perception of elementary moves in longer routines. From the teacher's perspective, each of the 12 moves is also an occasion to focus on one particular technical skill such as space awareness, leading/following, particular turn techniques etc.
This list of moves is given here as a handout to help Cuban salsa students remembering the classes, but it is also hoped that it will help other teachers defining their own syllabus. This list is probably neither exhaustive nor perfect, and certainly does not aim at defining any rigid truth about Casino. I would actually be highly interested in your feedback and comments (cf instructions below on how to leave a comment on this website). Is that an adequate list? Should other basic moves be added to complete this list of "Lego blocks" to construct and de-construct Casino moves while teaching or learning Cuban salsa? Please tell us what you think!
The handout can be downloaded from this link: The 12 basic moves of Cuban salsa, PDF handout
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PS: Yielding to popular demand, here are some youtube links. But:
PLEASE NOTE / DISCLAIMER: These videos are only here to give a rough visual impression of the move, which is more effective than a textual description. We do not guarantee that the execution depicted in these videos is standard or even "correct": that's only whatever we could find on Youtube. Please do consult with a qualified teacher to verify and polish your moves.
1) Enchufla and 2) Dile que No
3) Vuelta a.k.a. Hecho a.k.a. Pimienta
I usually teach these moves as "4 moves for the price of 1": vuelta led with left hand, or led with right hand, or vacilala (no hands) or sombrero (two hands) are essentially the same move with hand variations.
Vuelta a.k.a Pimienta:
4) Enchufla Ronde low/high
6) Paseala al Frente
6) Sacala / Exhibela
7) Paseala por Abajo y por Atras
8) Adios con la Prima
9) Cubanito, Cubanita, El Uno, El Dos
Cubanito/Cubanita are pre-requisites to El Uno/El Dos:
El Dos: essentially Cubanito followed by a full Sombrero:
I usually teach Enrocate as a pre-requisite to a "safe" Coca-Cola, and to help people to get the directions right: