Chapter 4 – The open position

 This chapter of the guide describes the open position, the basic Guapea step, simple turns, and the fundamental  Dile que no cross-body lead. Changing partner moves (Dame) are introduced, together with the vast Enchufla family of moves, covered in more detail elsewhere in the guide, and the characteristic families of moves in the open position, PatinPuente, Prima (= Adios), Ocho and Paseala.

This page includes a few additional move descriptions, notes on variations and alternative calls, and if relevant, any corrections or updated move descriptions.

A few abbreviations are used in these notes –  the same as those in the guide (i.e. FO = Follower; LE = Leader; DQN = Dile que no (move names are distinguished by italics); LLH/LRH = Leader’s left hand / right hand; FLH/FRH = Follower’s left hand / right hand; DOHH = double open hand hold i.e. not crossed; XHH = double hold, crossed, right hands on top; cw = clockwise; a-cw = anti-clockwise; bullet points relate (generally) to 8 beats of music). 


El guapo, although closely related to Toma electrica is less similar than suggested in the guide, ending not with a copa and FO turn, but more like Puente.

Further alternative calls

  • Fly complicado = uncommon alternative call for Tres (fly), i.E. 3 claps in the centre, high, middle and low levels, for both LEs and FOs.
  •  Fly bajo = an alternative call for (Fly) Linea, a low clap into the centre for both LEs and FOs.

Further moves

 Beso and Besito (kiss and little kiss)

 Besito in the guide is described (11.2) as an alternative call for El beso (the kiss), a popular move which starts like Sombrero. These  alternative simple moves which (confusingly) use the same calls were introduced to Cambridge Rueda some years ago by a former Australian member of the group. Both moves begin like Dedo con guarapo y bota, but omit the partner change (the ‘bota‘) in favour of a reverse Dile que no.

 Besito (little kiss)

  •  In the open position take LRH/FRH and on beats 1-2-3 lead a FO right turn (like a Pimienta). The FO turns on the spot whilst the LE circles around her as she turns, continuing to face clockwise. As he steps backwards inside the circle the LE lowers the LRH/FRH behind his neck, to end either in a reverse Dile que no position, or with less circling, with LE and FO both facing clockwise, LE inside the circle, FO to the outside.
  • Release the LRH/FRH and with the LE’s left hand behind the FO’s back, lead the FO to step across in front of the LE, like a reverse Dile que no, to end at his right side in the DQN position.
  • Dile que no to the open position.

Beso (kiss)

Start like Besito but after the first 8 beats, LE and FO maintain the reverse Dile que no position (LE’s left hand behind the FO’s back, LRH/FRH behind his neck) and circle clockwise in place over an additional 8 beats. Then complete the move as in Besito, returning to the open position.

Carrete (reel)

Carrete means reel, or spool as in a spool of film. A move taught by Reynaldo Salazar Guillen from Cuba at the 2012 SalsaNor Rueda Congress in Aarhus, Denmark. A combination move consisting of an Enchufla start to a clockwise walk in a variant of the Carousel position, plus a neat ending.

  • Do the first 8 beats of Enchufla, keeping LLH/FRH hold.
  • Lift this arm, the LE steps underneath and inside the circle toward the next anti-cw FO (i.e. Dame) keeps hold and takes LRH/FLH with the next FO, before lowering the LLH/FRH.
  • Lift the LRH/FLH, the LE turns to his right underneath then lowers the arm to end with both LE and FO facing clockwise, LEs with a LH armlock holding the RH of the FO in  front of him, with his RH level with his right hip holding the LH of the FO behind him.
  • Keeping these holds everyone steps forwards in a clockwise direction over 8 beats (optional shoulder shakes for the LEs).
  • Continue stepping forwards over a further set of 8 beats.
  • Release LRH/FLH, LE turns to his right, bringing the FO who was in front of him across inside the circle as he turns (so the FO changes position in an anti-clockwise direction and half turns to end facing anti-cw with RH behind her back). LE then turns to briefly face almost outside the circle and takes LRH/FLH hold with the FO who is now behind his back (clockwise around the circle).
  • Lifting this hold (LRH/FLH) on beats 1-2-3 LE completes a complete left turn underneath the arm to face the centre then releases the hold. On 5-6-7 he lifts the LLH/FRH from      behind FO’s back (the FO at his right side) over her head to end in the DQN position.
  • DQN to the open position.

Cuatro cuarenta (4, 40)

A move taught by Pablo Miranda at the 2012 SalsaNor Rueda Festival in Aarhus, September 2012. The move is named 4, 40 after a bar in Santiago, Chile where it was created (Pablo is Chilean). This is a great Rueda move, which is much easier than it looks – to an observer it seems extremely complicated. Best done in small Ruedas of no more than 5 couples. Can also be started from either Rueda formation (holding hands) or the open position.

  • Take hands with partners to either side, into Rueda formation. Lift the LLH/FRH over the head of the FO to the LE’s left as in Cadena, on beats 5-6-7 lift LRH/FLH over LE’s head as in Complicate.
  • Lift both sets of hands, LE turns to his left lowering the arms as he turns to face the centre with complex crossed hands.
  • LEs turn slightly to their right and With LLH lead the FO who was to their right side (now in front)to step forwards ducking under his left arm.
  • LEs move slightly into the centre, left shoulders in so they are now back to back with the FO who just came under his arm. Lift the LRH/FLH up high and slowly bring it down to LE’s right side and into the small of his back (there is plenty of time so don’t rush).
  • Lift the LE’s left elbow and on 1-2-3 lead the FO who is behind him to step backwards and duck underneath it again. LE  should now have both hands in his back. On 5-6-7 he ducks under his right arm with a half turn to the centre back into Rueda formation, releasing LLH/FRH.
  • Take the FO at his right side into Dile que no, to the open position.

Dame guaperia (classy / cool give me one). Attributed to Anderson Joseph ( who teaches Salsa and Rueda in London.

  • Start as Dame, changing partners but don’t take hold for Dile que no but pause on beats 7-8.
  • On the next 1-2-3 LE and FO ‘wind up’ ready for an in-place turn by turning strongly towards the right, twisting their upper bodies to ‘wind up’ for the turn, on 5-6-7 they unwind turning in place to their left, to end in Dile que no position.
  • DQN back to the open position.

Fiesta de enchufla (party of connect) a move introduced by several instructors at the  SalsaNor Rueda festival in Southampton 2013.

A simple combination move.

  • Do Enchufla complete with Dame as normal.
  • Do Enchufla doble, complete with Dame as normal.
  • Do Enchufla complicado but ending with Dame not Dame pa’ arriba.

Fiesta de prima  (party of the cousin).  Also called as ‘Festival de familia’  (festival of the family) by Moe Flex.

A simple combination move, which doesn’t quite follow the normal rules if called as ‘Festival’ i.e. normally there would be 1, 2 and 3, claps.

  • Do Prima (= Adios), complete with Dame as normal.
  • Then do Prima con la hermana.
  • Then do La familia (= Prima con la Hermana hasta la tia).

Tia complicado (complicated aunt) Attributed to Anderson Joseph ( who teaches Salsa and Rueda in London.

A small variation on La tia (i.e. Prima + Enchufla + circle with linked arms + Dame) which adds a further Dame before circling with linked arms, before finishing with a second Dame as normal. LE and FO take the linked arms after the first Dame in about the same position they would normally be in – LEs inside the circle facing a-cw, FOs outside the circle facing cw.

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