Rueda con dos mujeres (Rueda with two women), involves each Leader dancing with two Followers. This Rueda structure is not only a fun variation but is handy on occasions when women outnumber men in a Rueda group. The Salsa version of ‘Dos mujeres’ is quite popular, with many specific moves and variations. Although many of these could probably be incorporated into a Rueda, this small collection focuses on Rueda-specific moves. Although the repertoire of Rueda con dos mujeres is more limited than normal Rueda de Casino, it is surprising how many Rueda moves can be made to work with only minor modifications. Like most Rueda variations, there are no standards, so expect to come across quite different interpretations of the same basic moves in different places.
This Rueda structure didn’t quite make it into the Rueda guide as I didn’t complete these descriptions in time. They are gathered either from SalsaNor congress classes by Bernt Rygg, or Dos mujeres Salsa classes by various instructors including Rohan Brown. I have added a number of further moves picked up from an excellent demonstration video on Youtube by Vamos Salsa from Vienna (see later; marked as *). If you know of any other great moves for this structure, please let me know via a comment, or an email to email@example.com and I will add them to the blog.
Rueda con dos mujeres basics
in this structure, the default step in each of the Rueda dance positions is the same as in normal Rueda but the relative position of the Leader and Followers and hand holds are modified. The LE generally holds the right hands of each FO, one with his left and one with his right hands. In both the open position and closed positions, each of the two Followers normally maintains a dance position relating to one of two imaginary concentric circles, so that one is always towards the inside and one to the outside of the Rueda. Leaders step in a position roughly between the two Followers.
Leaders indicate and lead the direction of steps and turns as usual, but with two Followers to lead the Leader has less control. Followers are therefore responsible for maintaining their own relative positions when marking time, at appropriate points during move combinations, and on return to the appropriate default position (imaginary concentric circle) as each move is completed. The two Followers also need to work as a pair to adjust their positions as necessary.
In a further variation (see later) the two Followers hold each other closely and dance as if they were one person, with only one of them holding the Leader’s hand. This opens up some further possibilities, the Followers no longer being confined to their respective imaginary circle.
Moves in the open position
The majority of moves in this structure are danced in the open position. The FOs dance in their default positions in their imaginary concentric circles.
Guapea – the default marking time step.
With two Followers, one in each of the Leader’s hands, it isn’t possible to do the normal opening and closing step, and there are no free hands for the normal push off. So the basic default ‘marking time’ step is slightly modified; the LE pushes both FOs away slightly on beats 1-2-3 to open, and on 5-6-7 comes together with tension in the arms for a ‘push but keep hold” move. FOs each stay aligned with their respective imaginary circles. It is important to take only small steps and not attempt the full normal opening out step.
Dame (give me one)
- On beats 5-6-7 of Guapea, the LE gives a push off on both hands to his left side, and releases hold so the FOs half turn to their right to face their new partner. LEs turn right to face their new partners and take hold.
- The Dile que no on the next 8 beats is similar to the normal move in concept, with the LE leading the FOs to step across in front of him to his left side, returning to the open position, but very different in that he now has two FOs to lead. The FO who begins in the ‘inside’ imaginary circle is led with the LE’s left hand across all the way to the ‘outside’ imaginary circle (to end facing anti-clockwise around the Rueda). The other FO is led with the LE’s right hand from her ‘outside’ position, to the ‘inside. So the FOs have now exchanged their positions relative to the two imaginary circles.
Dame dos (give me two)
This same idea as Dame, but the LE moves inside the Rueda to the second pair of Followers to his right (anti-clockwise).
Dame directo + y al reves (give me one direct + in reverse)
- Similar to a normal Directo, with the LE stepping clockwise to change partners whilst maintaining the basic Guapea step and timing, FOs simply mark time with no change of position. The difference is that the LE steps in between the two FOs as he changes position.
- The ‘y al reves‘ (and in reverse) optional call comes after the LE has begun the move and modifies it, so that instead of beginning the Guapea step on the next beat 1 with his new partners, he just pushes off their hands and steps directly backwards between his original two partners back to his starting position, retakes hold and returns to the Guapea step.
Enchufla (connect her) As in the Norwegian Rueda Standard, this includes Dame.
- Start as Guapea, on beats 1-2-3, countersignal to the LE’s left with both hands, and on 5-6-7 lead both FOs to turn to their left. The LE changes place stepping around his partner on the outside of the Rueda (not in between the FOs) and leads each FO to change their ‘virtual circle’ ie the FO who was towards the inside moves to the outside, and vice-versa.
- The LE releases hold with both FOs and steps around them inside the circle, passing the innermost FO on beats 1-2-3 he steps anti-clockwise towards his new partners to take hold with each. On 5-6-7 complete the Dile que no, leading the FOs across to the LE’s left side and to change virtual circles as they return to the open position.
Other Enchufla variations
You can adapt almost any of the large repertoire of basic Enchufla variations, including moves with claps, stamps and turns on the partner change, for example:
- Doble play (double play) – various claps and stamps
- Enchufla y quedate (connect and stay)
- Enchufla con… (connect with….many variations such as …con Rumba, …con Mambo)
- Festival de enchufla (Festival of Enchuflas) – repeat the move 3 times, with 1, 2 and 3 claps respectively.
- El plato (the dish) – add a left turn for the FO as he steps to his new partners inside the circle.
Cubanita / El doce
- Starts like the normal Cubanita move, with the LE behind both FOs as they all face the centre, with FO’s arms behind their back as they do the side / cross steps.
- On a call of El doce, the LE steps forward, leading the FO at his left side behind him. Continue the side steps, with the LE now between the two FOs, his left arm behind his back.
- To end the move, on a call of Se fue the LE simply steps back to the open position, his partners simply turning slightly in place.
El dedo (the finger)
As normal Dedo at first, ie. a FO right turn followed by a FO Enchufla, then on the LE right turn release LLH briefly, and retake it immediately after the LE’s turn, then finish the move with Enchufla y quedate, and Dile que no as normal.
Enganala (cheat her)
Starts like Dame directo, with the LE stepping forwards on beats 1-2-3 between his two partners, but instead of continuing as far as his new partners he halts his forward step by either placing his hands on his partners foreheads, or his arms across their waists (these are 2 separate variations), then steps backwards on 5-6-7 to retake hold and continue the default step.
Although the LE has two partners, this move is identical to a normal Patin, so after the Enchufla he makes a circle of arms with the other LEs in the centre. For the FOs it is slightly different as they do their marking time steps in position on their respective virtual circles, rather than both positioned on the outside of the Rueda, so that when the LE spins out they are in the correct position ready to complete the Dile que no. In the the Vamos arriba video, they begin the Rueda in the Patin position, which works well.
- As in normal Rueda, the LE leads the FOs to turn to their right, changing places to end in the Dile que no position.
- Dile que no back to the open position.
Siete moderno* (modern seven)
- As in normal Salsa/Rueda this begins like Vacilala (see below), but the FO’s turn is stopped part way by the LE catching the FO’s left forearm
- On the next 8 beats turn her back again to her left
- To end ready for Dile que no back to the open position.
Vacilala (check her out)
Much like a normal Vacilala but with two partners, FOs complete their free right turn in place without changing their ‘virtual circle’, then on the Dile que no they exchange circles.
Vacilala y dame una (check her out and give me one)
Again, the same move as normal, but FOs maintain their respective positions until the Dile que no, this time with the new LE.
Vacilala con cero (check her out with zero)
Starts as a Vacilala y dame una, but the LE steps around his partners inside the circle and back to the starting position instead of moving on to take new partners.
Vacilala contigo* (check her out with you)
- Starts like Vacilala con cero but after their turn the FOs step back to face the centre and begin the Rueda formation in and out default step, each the same distance from the centre making a circle of FOs (rather than the 2 virtual circles). The LE meanwhile steps around the FOs to end inside the circle on beat 7.
- As the FOs maintain their default in and out step, on beats 1-2-3 the LE steps from the inside to the outside of the Rueda passing between his partners. On 5-6-7 he begins to step around each of his partners in turn (as in the Ocho move), firstly the FO who is in the anti-clockwise position, the LE changing direction to face clockwise.
- As the FOs maintain their default in and out step the LE steps forwards inside this FO as she steps out of the Rueda on 1-2-3, and behind the second FO as she steps in on 5-6-7, into position for Dile que no.
- The LE reaches across to take LLH/FRH with the farthest FO, and LRH/FRH with the nearest, and leads them across in Dile que no back to the open position.
Other variations such as Vacilala los dos are similarly modified.
- The LE lifts both arms and holds them high as he turns to his left under the hands in 8 beats, whilst maintaining his position, his arms cross.
- The LE continues to turn in place under the arms over a further 8 beats, to end with the arms in a complex cross.
- Keeping the hand high and between the FOs, the LE begins to unwind the arms by leading both FOs to turn clockwise (to their right), their forearms together as they circle as a pair. The LE begins to step to his left into the Dile que no position.
- The LE continues to lead the FOs to turn and circle together until the crossed arms are released and they separate to the 2 virtual circles, now in position ready for Dile que no.
- Dile que no to the open position as normal.
The arms must be loose and fingertip holds to avoid any strain.
Moves in the closed position
There are two versions of the closed position in Rueda con dos mujeres. The first and most common version, provides more flexibility for alternative moves; the FOs are side by side, in their respective virtual circles, towards either the inside or the outside of the Rueda, with the LE more or less in between and facing them. This is the same relative position as in the open position, but this time facing anti-clockwise. The LE maintains the same hold, one FO in each hand as he steps forwards and the FOs step backwards. The descriptions below assume this version.
The second version mimics the normal closed position as far as possible with all three people more or less aligned around one circle, so that the FO held with the LE’s left hand high is immediately in front to of him with hands held up, and the second FO dancing behind the first FO held with the LE’s right hand at waist level. This version is of limited flexibility but works as a beginning position. So each of 3 people can either step side to side with small steps, or step anti-clockwise around the Rueda in a single line.
Basic side rocks
Like a simpler version of the normal Rueda startup, the LE and two FOs simply side step in place, the hands leading in and out of the circle. There is no call.
Adentro y afuera (inside and outside)
As in normal Rueda, with the LE’s step and FO’s step in place but in alternating directions; in this structure a much more open hold is necessary. This can finish with Sacala or Arriba.
Sacala (take her out)
As in normal Rueda, but the FOs are led so that as they step in and out of the Rueda they are more or less side by side.
Arriba (down / behind)
Maintaining their respective positions (the FOs in their inner and outer ‘virtual circles’) everyone begins to take small steps in an anti-clockwise direction around the Rueda, ie. LE forwards, FOs backwards.
Abajo (up / in front)
Maintaining their respective positions (the FOs in their inner and outer ‘virtual circles’) everyone begins to take small steps in an clockwise direction around the Rueda, ie. LE backwards, FOs forwards.
Tarrito / Un tarro (little horn)
In this dance position LEs can change partners via a version of Tarrito (= Un tarro) which is slightly modified from normal Rueda in that the LE steps forwards to his new partners by passing in between his current partners, lifting and dropping his right arm over his head (like an ‘alarde’) as he steps forwards as the FOs maintain their default backwards steps around their respective virtual concentric circles.
Moves in Rueda formation
I haven’t yet encountered or experimented with any moves in this dance position. Although possible, I imagine this would be slightly tricky as there would be pairs of FOs next to each other. Some obvious moves to try in this position include Rosa / La flor, and variations of Estrella (maybe with ganchos to keep it tight).
Beginning the Rueda
You can of course just begin the Rueda from the open position; other more interesting options include:
From the closed position with the side to side rocks from a normal rueda startup, but modified with Followers in position relative to their imaginary circles.
From a Patin position, LEs making a small circle of arms in the centre, Followers a bigger outside circle, with or without linked arms. On Dile que no, the LEs turn out with a left turn and take hold not with the two FOs behind them but the next pair in an anti-clockwise position. (You can see this demonstrated nicely in this Youtube video by Vamos Salsa from Vienna).
Rueda with the two ladies dancing as one
This variation is credited to the same excellent demonstration of Rueda con dos mujeres by Vamos Salsa previously referenced, which includes a lot of original moves. It involves a sequence within the Rueda where the two women hold each other with an arm behind the other’s back, then dance as a single unit with the Leader. The two followers are no longer confined to two imaginary circles, but revert to a more conventional single Rueda circle, each Follower side by side.
The moves in the video in this position include:
- Dile que no
- A lo cortico (= Dame con las manos) [although they use a different call]
- Vacilala se fue
- And another nice move from the open position used as an ending:
Vacilala y sientala afuera [although they use a different call] – the two Followers separate as they turn, and half sit on the Leader’s knees, ending with everyone facing the outside of the Rueda.
(Moves marked as * Attributed to Arriba Salsa, Vienna via Youtube).