Part 5; Variations on the Theme of Rueda

Part 5 of the guide has 7 Chapters covering some of the many variations on the theme of Rueda. These are largely different structures (dancing whilst facing out; dancing in a line; dancing with just 2 couples; double-circles; mirror-Rueda) and also some Rueda party games.  The guide doesn’t include any ‘musical variations’ such as Rueda de Bachata but I have added a few notes on this variation on a blog page as well as some more notes on Rueda linea (dancing in a line), which describe some nice Contradanza figures and some more variations of dancing in two concentric circles (Ruedas dobles).  Also in draft are some notes which provide an introduction to Rueda dos mujeres (Rueda with two women).

The guide also includes descriptions of over 20 Rueda party games, for social occasions like Christmas parties, which we have become a strong annual tradition at Cambridge Rueda. I will add in any other games which I come across to this page of the blog.

Chapter 19 Rueda party games

A couple more Rueda game ideas, from Rhona Watson of Cambridge Rueda.


The caller doesn’t call, but simply performs each move. Everyone else has to observe closely, and follow as best they can. A bit like dancing in very loud venues when the hand signals run out. Kind callers will stick to simple, obvious moves, but tricksters will of course introduce a few challenges. Combine with elimination.

Copycat with misleading calls

Same idea but to make life even harder still, the Caller does one move but calls a different one, forcing everyone to ignore their ears and focus on watching the Caller. So for example, the Caller might do Setenta after calling Sombrero. Probably easier with earplugs.

Further ideas (not in the guide)

A Christmas routine: Feliz Navidad (Happy Christmas)

This Rueda Christmas party routine consists of 5 easy moves and an ending. It formed part of a draft chapter of the guide called ‘Routines for special occasions’ that I removed  from the final version which would have provided examples of simple routines you can make up for events like birthdays and Rueda Christmas parties. When we first did this at Cambridge Rueda several years ago, I provided bells for the followers, Santa hats, reindeer headbands, and party poppers to let off for the finale as everyone rushed to the centre. We return to some of this routine every year, although without all this preparation. The names of the moves are invented, and are just simple variations of other familiar moves.

The routine is supposed to tell a little story of Father Christmas gathering up his frisky reindeer, and hitching them to a sledge for a ride!  If the whole thing is too cheesy, perhaps stick with the first two moves which are a bit silly, but fun to introduce at Christmas.

From the open position:


Enchufla Papa Noel (connect Father Christmas)

  • Enchufla, as LEs step to next FO on the second set of 8 beats they do a fat Father Christmas swagger, pretending to hold a heavy sack full of presents over their shoulder, with a loud ‘ho, ho, ho, ho’. Followers can join in the ho’s if they so wish.

El reno

Enchufla el reno (connect the reindeer)

  • Enchufla, as LEs step to next FO on the second set of 8 beats they hold their hands by the side of their heads with fingers splayed to represent antlers, and do ‘prancing’ steps on 1-2-3-4 to the next FO, as FOs similarly prance in place (like frisky reindeer).

Jingle Bells

Pimienta doble con jingle bells (double pepper with jingle bells)

  • Pimienta doble with all the FOs pretending to ring bells and calling ‘jingle, jingle, jingle, jingle (or ringing them should they have some real bells).
  • Continue into a clockwise Paseala around the LE (who is dancing in place) and the second Pimienta turnback to Guapea. FOs continue to jingle or ring bells (jingle, jingle all the way!)


El trineo (the sleigh)

  • Start as Once, putting a small amount of displacement into the backsteps to end after 2 sets of 8 beats with LE on the inside, FOs on the outside, with arms behind facing anti-clockwise round the circle As LEs come into the centre they bring their left hands up and down behind their backs into armlock (release and catch if necessary) so that LE’s and FO’s arms are in double armlocks behind their backs.
  • Couples start walking forwards around the circle, stepping / prancing on 1-2-3, 5-6-7 (like reindeer).
  • Repeat for another set of 8 beats.
  • These are frisky reindeer, so on a call of Reverso LEs and FOs turn in place (LE left, FO right) to reverse the armlocks and face and step clockwise.
  • Either call Reverso again to return, or Se viro which would mean couples rotate clockwise 180 degrees (this would put the LE on the outside).
  • Play around with Reverso and Se viro until Santa has those frisky reindeer under control.


Copo de nieve (snowflake)

  • From El trineo facing anticlockwise, on a call of Copo de nieve release right hand hold and LE draws FO behind him to end with both LEs and FOs left hands extended into the centre of the Rueda. Release hold, right arms are extended outwards. At this point everyone is facing anti-clockwise, their left arms extended in and right arms out of the Rueda making a star / snowflake).
  • Everyone walks forwards anti-clockwise for one or 2 sets of 8 beats, trying to look elegant and suitably snowflake shaped.

Santa & sleigh





Feliz Navidad (Happy Christmas)

This is the ending part:

  • To get out of this and end the sequence, call Las manos (take hands)- everyone steps and turns to make a circle, taking hands in Rueda formation (everyone holding hands facing the centre).
  • On a call of Gordo maximo (open out to the maximum) the circle opens up to its biggest possible size – everyone steps backwards.
  • Everyone then rushes into the centre of the Rueda lifting their arms up high and shouting ‘Feliz navidad’ to end in a happy huddle. The challenge for the caller is to get to this point exactly as the music finishes. Good luck.