Dance Survial Guides...
Dance Moves - Mambo, Salsa and Cha Cha
At StreetDance we attempt to teach beginners a standard choreography that can be applied in multiple dances. This allows the man to master his leads while diversifying the number of dances he can perform. The First sequence captures elements that need to be mastered before attempting more advanced moves.
The First Sequence
Performing the sequence in hand to hand position. Do two Forward Basics into Fifth Position, followed by, two Forward Basics into Cross Over variations. Complete with a single cross over into a Lady Natural Underarm turn and repeat the sequence or try a different combination of moves.
Both the fifth position and cross overs can be performed holding both the lady's hands. However, they are commonly done by releasing one hand. That is: if the man is crossing right his left hand releases the girl's right hand. If he is crossing left, he releases the girl's left hand.
Remember that Mambo, Salsa and Cha Cha are closely related. Although it is not obvious, the dance is a sexual pantomime. When performing the fifth position and cross overs, you want to be close to your partner, and never turn away from each other (your aim is to always be facing each other), your bodies should form a slight V shape. Even though the man leads the whole dance, the idea in all moves, is that the man is trying to seduce the lady and she is pushing him away.
Hand to Hand position
The hand to hand position, is where the man holds his hands vertically to the floor at about waist height, and the girl cups her hand over top of his. The man gently rests his thumbs over the back of the girl's knuckles. Don't use a finger tip to finger tip hold or a flat hand hold. They look bad and you'll have no control over your partner (the man won't be able to lead).
The Back Basic
In the Back Basic Move, the man will perform two Back Basic Movements (Refer section on Basic Movements). The Lady will mirror the man's moves. On the first step (2nd beat), the man steps back left (the Lady right) and on the first step of the next sequence(6th beat), the Lady steps back Left and the man steps back Right. As you perform this move, push away from each other on the back step, and pull towards each other as you step forward and close.
The Fifth Position
The Fifth position is just two Back Basic Movements with both the man and woman making a quarter turn away from each other. On the first step, the man steps back onto his left foot (left slightly behind the right foot) and slightly turns his body (left shoulder back left). The woman mirrors the man (back right). On the next step both rock forward (as with the basic), turn to face each other (step side & close), and complete the move (Mambo=Pause, Salsa=Tap, Cha Cha=Step Side).
Both now perform the Fifth Position again but in the opposite direction - man back right, lady back left. Once both have turned to face each other again and completed the move, you can either repeat the Fifth Position move, go back into the forward basic, do back basics or cross overs.
Cross Overs are simply a variation on the Forward Basic Move where both the man and woman move forward on the first step. The step is curved forward to make a quarter turn towards each other. You end up with your shoulders close together and you should be facing each other on an angle - some teachers refer to this move as the shoulder-to-shoulder. On the first step, the man steps left across his right foot (Left shoulder forward right) and as he changes weight on the half beat, slightly turns his body towards the lady (Right shoulder forward). As he steps he gently pulls the lady's hand across his movement, so that she mirrors him (lady forward right).On the next step both rock back (as with the basic), then they turn to face each other (step side & close), and complete the move (Mambo=Pause, Salsa=Tap, Cha Cha=Step Side).
Both can now perform the Cross Over again but in the opposite direction - man forward right, lady forward left. Once both have turned to face each other again and completed the move, you can either repeat the Cross Over move, go back into the forward basic, do back basics or fifth positions.
Cross Over Variation
Generally, Cross Over sequences don't work very well in Salsa, so we alter the move by performing a single cross over movement followed by the back basic movement. Both the man and woman step forward making a quarter turn to the man's right. Complete the Cross Over movement and then perform the Back Basic movement - man steps back right , lady steps back left. You can now repeat the sequence or go back into the forward basic move or do another single cross over followed by a lady natural underarm turn.
This move most naturally follows from a single cross over. The Lady Natural Underarm turn is one of those moves where the woman does something different to the man. In the first part of the move both simply do a Cross Over step to the man's right. As you complete the Cross Over move, the man lifts the Lady's arm and she turns under it in a clockwise direction. As the lady turns the man performs a back basic movement (Right back). Depending on the speed of the music, the lady has two choices, she can let the man spin her (but be prepared, you might get multiple spins) or take control of her turn - the lady cross steps left over right making a quarter turn (rock), pivots to make a further half turn (rock) and steps side making the final quarter turn to face the man, both then complete the basic move and she is ready to step back (Right). Both now do the Forward Basic and you are ready to repeat the First Sequence or try a different combination of moves.
Curved Forward Basic (with lay back)
The Curved Forward Basic (Offset Break) is another variation on the Forward Basic Move. It has the look of the man performing a Cross Over while the lady performs a Fifth position. On the first step, the man curves his forward step (Left shoulder forward right). As he steps he gently pushes the lady so that she curves her step Back Right. It helps the styling, if on the next step the lady leans away from the man (right shoulder back) while the man stands erect. On the next step return to the start position, curve step back (lady forward), and complete the move (Mambo=Pause, Salsa=Tap, Cha Cha=Step Side). Repeat the move in the opposite direction - Man forward Right. Lady back Left.
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