Question by User triplenoped
Hi there, I wanted to ask if you guys have any tips on how to get passably good at dancing with people who dance to a different salsa style than you.
I myself lead on1, and I think followers who learned on2 can follow me well enough, but I can’t dance with those that learned cuban.
I don’t plan on being very proficient at cuban salsa for now, but if I ask a lady for a dance and she happens to only dance cuban, I want to avoid it being a trainwreck. Any tips/resources?
Cuban is not a different style. It is a different dance.
To dance with a follow who knows only Cuban, you need to know a bit of its fundamentals:
– There is no line, so the follow will just turn somewhere. And ends up somewhere.
– If you let go, they’ll likely go around you, or turn towards you.
– There are no spin preps in Cuban, so a prep will likely be interpreted as a turn.
– In Cuban the follow basically goes in a triangle around the leader. So when you lead a crossbody, they might step away to the side so that they can go around.
Overall the biggest issue is that they are just all over the place and likely can’t spin or do a crossbody inside turn quite the way you’d expect.
Let go of expectations and see what happens when you do this or that. Adapt. Break the rules. Don’t teach.
It’s a good way to practice leading that’s for sure. If during basic you’re holding hands with that extra bop movement they won’t be able to follow. If you switch to holding their shoulder(s) you can make the movement more clear. Once you can sustain the basic then try doing some lead turns, then turn the follow. Cubana dancers are always drifting to a side so try to adjust to that. Another thing you can switch into is a basic side step, then a side step and cross to make it a little interesting.
I do linear and caleña. Caleña basic is deceptively similar to a Cuban basic, the first back step is fine after that I have to steer hard to get them to do another back step instead of doing the forward drift thing they do.
I can cobble together a passable casual dance. Like we were non dancers at a party. We both end up just falling back to a generic footwork and do real simple moves, with some shines etc. But it feels horrible. Unless you both know the same language of dance it’ll never be even close to perfect.
Well, if you know on1, people who can dance on2 can follow you, easily if they’re advanced. And vice versa. This is because on1/on2 are danced in a line and based on the cross body move.
There’s no concept of a line in Cuban, the couple kind of dances around each other in a circular pattern. Unless the follow has some cross body salsa experience, it’s not going to work.
Funny to see this, yesterday I watched a clearly la style salsa lead try to lead a cuban follow and wooow it was a train wreck. They were both smiling but it was obvious the follow was feeling very lost.
As a follow I have only danced la style the last couple of years but recently moved to Spain where cuban seems to be dominant. I had all but forgotten all my cuban moves and the dances were ..awkward.
Needless to say I latched on to the above lead for a proper dance and left immediately after it feeling accomplished and happy. Nothing like leaving while on top.
Follows almost always adapt surprisingly well to a good lead while dancing the Cuban way. They are not familiar with turning to the left in place, on the 1 to 3 time, but after a few well led ones. Turning left is essential.