CDC Michaelmas 2012 Revision Notes

Wednesday Parkside Hall 7:30pm Salsa Cuban Beginners with Sacha

Week 1

Warm-Up routine

The warm-up is the same at the beginning of every class. It has several goals: 1) warm up the body to avoid injuries, 2) develop some core Cuban body movement, 3) work out to develop the muscles involved in the Cuban movement. It starts from the head and works all the way down to the toes: neck, shoulders, spine, hips, knees, ankles, toes. The more you do it, the easier it gets!

Basic steps

Keeping the salsa beat: salsa has 6 steps in 8 beats, 1-2-3-(pause)-5-6-7-(pause). Natural steps like walking, but with the funny salsa beat. Please keep knees slightly flexed ("demi plié"). Men always start with the left foot (L). Ladies always start with the right foot (R).

  1. Son step:
  2. Side step / Cucaracha: side-step-step, side-step-step.
  3. Salsa step: open-step-step, open-step-step.

Partner Position

Man's right hand at the centre of the Lady's back. Man please lift right elbow to provide support. Lady's left arm rests on Man's right arm, left hand rests on Man's shoulder. Man's left hand palm-to-palm with Lady's right hand. Please keep a bit of tension but not too much, like looking for something in the dark. Drill: 3 basic steps in partner position.

Dile Que No (DQN)

This is a half turn. It starts like Son step: Man forward, Lady backwards. Partners are swapping position in the course of that move. Man "opens the door" and "unrolls the red carpet", Lady walks pst the Man.
Men: inside-and-open, pull-and-go with the flow. (1-2-3, 5-6-7.)
Ladies: back-and-back again (lift left leg), forward-forward-pivot. (1-2-3, 5-6-7.)


When everyone is dancing in a circle, this is a way to change partner. On the 8, "5-6-7-y", face the next partner, who was standing behind you, then follow directly with Dile Que No.

Week 2

Basic steps

  1. Casino step: Ladies same steps as Son step, Men invert - back with left, forward with right. Instead of going in the same direction, partners go away from each other, then close again. Open-step-step, close-step-step. Touch hands on the way back.
  2. Guapea step: like Casino step but looking inside the circle on 1-2-3. Open and close like a book. Man's left hand holds Lady's right hand. 1-2-3: look inside the circle; 5-6-7: look at your partner.


This is another half turn. Partners swap position. Steps: back-rock-quarter turn, back-rock-forward. On the 4, the Man is behind the Lady - both look in the same direction. 1-2-3-CHECK, 5-6-7-finish facing each other.

First Routines

Enchufla immediately followed by Dile Que No. Then Dame followed by Dile Que No. Then start again Enchufla-DQN with new partner.

Week 3

3 moves for the price of one: same footwork, 3 different arm variants.

Vuelta (a.k.a. Hecho or Pimienta)

Half turn, swapping positions in 8 beats. Man keeps focus on the Lady throughout the 8 beats. Lady turns clockwise. Lady loses sight of the Man but looks back at him. Lady walks under Man's left arm. Lady's trajectory stays inside the circle, Man stays outside. Lady's trajectory follows the shape of a giant pretzel.

Sombrero ("the hat")

Same footwork and same trajectory but different arm work. Partners start hands crossed, Man's right hand holds Lady's right hand. Right hands on top, left hands below. Everything else same as Vuelta. Man please mind your elbows: pointing at the ceiling to avoid accidents and so that Lady can walk under your arched arms.

Vuelta Vacilala ("turn and admire her")

Same footwork and same trajectory but Lady turns without Man leading her, Lady "goes free". Man throws the Lady's hand on 1 to start the move. It is important to look back at each other, "leading with the eyes".

Week 4

Hecho + DQN led with right hand

The footwork and turn are exactly the same but the hand-hold is right-to-right. Before the DQN, the Lady should grasp the man's right forearm, near the elbow, with her left hand - to aid the man's leverage in pulling her around safely. He may swap hands back at the end of the figure.


1-2-3: Man walks left of Lady into Lady's extended right arm; 5-6-7: Man does a hook turn. Then Man brings Lady back with right-hand-lead DQN.

For the Hook Turn, the Man crosses his right foot very closely behind and beside his left foot. He starts on the heel of the left foot and the toe of the right foot and gradually transfers to the toe of the left foot and the heel of the right foot as he twists all the way round to the right. He remains in the same place throughout and changes hands behind his back to keep hold of the Lady. He should be ready to step out on the left foot at the end.

Enchufla Ronde

Enchufla (Lady turns left) followed by Man's hook turn. 3 options for hand position during the hook turn: high, low, crossed.

Week 5

Paseala al Frente ("promenade in front")

Man leads Lady laterally inside-outside of the circle. Lady walks forward in a figure of 8. Ladies please don't anticipate, let the Man lead you. Ladies change of direction: please use your hips to pivot, like kicking someone with your hip. It is essential to keep the knees flexed for this to work.


Starts like Paseala al Frente. Throw the Lady inside the circle. Lady turns clockwise then comes back. "Yo-yo" effect.


Same as Sacala but led with the right hand.


Enchufla, Sacala, DQN; then Enchufla (change hands), Exhibela (change again), DQN.

Week 6

Enchufla Complicado

2 bars move. This is a full turn, swapping positions twice. 1-2-3: swap positions like Enchufla but in 3 beats only. 5-6-7: like Enchufla steps (back-rock-turn) but Man brings Lady behind him with hand in "holding tray" position. Man walks under his own right arm. Then 1-2-3, 5-6-7: normal Enchufla in 8 beats.


3 bars move. Starts parallel hands (not crossed). 1-2-3, 5-6-7: Man looks at Lady and turns her clockwise in 8 beats, without swapping positions; Man's right hand down, left hand up. Lady walks under Man's left arm. Ends in "arm lock" position: Lady's left arm is locked behind her back. Then 1-2-3, 5-6-7: like Enchufla Complicado. Then 1-2-3, 5-6-7: DQN.

Week 7


Enchufla-DQN including an anti-clockwise turn for the Lady.


Start like a sombrero but the Lady walks one more turn around the Man. Man keeps both hands up.


Like balsero but the Man keeps his right hand down and ducks under the Lady's right arm.

Week 8

Programme review and Q&A


Other Cuban Salsa Classes and Parties in Cambridge

Sunday Salsa Lounge

Class + social every Sunday at The Man On The Moon, 2 Norfolk St., Cambridge CB1 2LF. Class 19:30-20:30, then social dance until 23:30.

Thursday Salsa Social Club

Every Thursday at the Cambridge Working Men's Club, 125 East Road, Cambridge CB1 1DB (opposite the Crown Court). CWMC parking is freely available for club members. Fantastic venue, low cost drinks. Class 1, 19:30-20:30, is a new theme every week for all levels. Class 2, 20:30-21:30, is salsa on 3 levels. Then 21:30-23:45 free salsa party!

DJ Sacha

website =

facebook group = "Cambridge Cuban Salsa"

Tel.: 079 03 828 017