- is a Rueda de casino inspired Salsa suelta (Cuban Salsa in lines)
- is danced in lines to Rueda commands – to be used inside a Rueda (or outside)
- is a new dance idea, introduced at the SalsaNor Rueda Congress September 2015
- means ‘abacus’ [eng] / or ‘kuleramme’ [nor]
The main priciples in Ábaco are:
- Steps are based on women’s footwork in Rueda de casino, easy for men as well
- A regular partner change in the Rueda corresponds to a quarter left turn in Ábaco
- The footwork resembles the Rueda figures but are not identical
- Uses various Cuban dance elements, from Casino, Rumba, etc.
- The basic commands in the Ruedastandard are ready
The videos below show the various Ábaco figures, and this printable list with names and explanations may help you remembering the various figures. The videos contain the following Ábaco figures:
basic figures (1)
basic figures (2)
|– al centro
– vamos arriba
– un tarro
– dos tarros
– dile que no
|– dile que no
– dame (una)
– dame dos
– dame una arriba
– enchufla doble
– enchufla con mambo
– dame directo
– ni pa´ti ni pa´mi
– sombrero con mambo
– dame una arriba
– la prima
– prima con la hermana
– la familia
– Echeverria con vuelta
– fly, dos fly
– una media
– pelota una, dos, tres
– dame > mentira!
– dame > dos con dos
|– saca la vecina
– a lo cortico
– a lo cortico y al revés
– ni pa´ti ni pa´mi con vuelta
– setanta complicada
– setenta por las manos+ some basic figures
Ábaco – CLOSED position, basic figures
Ábaco – OPEN position, basic figures (1)
Ábaco – OPEN position, basic figures (2)
Ábaco – intermediate figures (+ some basic figures)
For more ábaco videos see the Ábaco YouTube channel
– which also includes videos of ábaco figures shown together with the corresponding rueda figures:
Ábaco is a brand new dance, introduced in September 2015.
The plan is to have all the core figures (plus some more) from the Ruedastandard ready within 2015. The figures will be added to videos on this page when they are ready.
The focus in Ábaco is the social use, aiming for figures corresponding to the most common Rueda commands, not necessarily to all existing Rueda commands.
When a Rueda is in closed position dancing “vamos arriba”, the corresponding basic step in Ábaco is the diagonal step (often used in Son) – ref. video. The various rueda commands in closed position have corresponding figures in Ábaco, and when there is a partner change, like in “un tarro”, the Ábaco will rotate left (a quarter turn) – on beat 7.
Closed to open position
Changing from closed to open position in Rueda is done with the command “dile que no”.
In Ábaco “dile que no” corresponds to the step “a lo Cubano” – ref. video.
Note that “dile que no” does not include a partner change, so the Ábaco does not rotate upon this command.
In open position, the basic step in Rueda is “guapea“. In Ábaco the open position basic step is also “guapea”, based on the womens footwork, i.e. stepping back on the right foot on beat 1.
The logic in Ábaco follows the Rueda in the sense that a regular partner change in the Rueda (dame una, enchufla y dame, etc.) corresponds to a quarter turn left in Ábaco.
“Dame dos” corresponds to rotating two quarter turns left, i.le. a half turn left,
and “dame una arriba” corresponds to rotating a quarter turn right.
Note that everyone in the Ábaco rotates individually, the Ábaco as a grid does not move.
In a Rueda the order of a partner change is to first change the partner, and secondly do a “dile que no”. In Ábaco this order is the oposite, starting with “dile que no” and then rotating.
In Rueda figures like “enchufla y quédate” there is no partner change. The consequence in Ábaco is that there is no rotation after the “dile que no” upon this command.
Figures that apply some styling elements (like dame directo, patin, patin para mujeres, etc.), use different styling for men and women, following the Cuban dance traditions.
For example, in “dame directo” the women push their arms forward as women do in Mambo, and the men pull their pants they way men do in rumba. Ref. video.
Casino figures / complicated rueda figures
How will Rueda figures like “setenta” and “amistad” that includes quite a bit partner work work in ábaco? This is not all worked out yet, but for the most common Rueda commands there will be Ábaco figures. For example short animations that does not necessarily imitate the Rueda figure.
There are no languages without exceptions.
In Ábaco there are a few exceptions to the basic logic:
- Dame directo
The rueda figure “dame directo” includes a partner change but no “dile que no”.
In Ábaco there is no rotation in “dame directo” because there is no “dile que no” in Rueda, and the Ábaco figure works better without rotation.
Dancing ábaco socially
Time will show how Ábaco will be used. But here are a few ideas to start with.
- When using Ábaco together with a Rueda, the caller should know Ábaco quite well, at least know which commands will work well for the Ábaco. Otherwise there will too many calls that are unknown to the people dancing Ábaco.
- It is important that everyone can hear the caller well, preferably using a microphone. The Ábaco will rotate, so reading lips or hand signs is not an option.
- Ábaco can be used also without a Rueda, for animation, warm-up, etc.
This might also help remembering the different figures, and also to improve the movement in the differnt figures.
- The video to the right shows a demo of Ábaco danced inside a Rueda.
How to get started?
- Study the video, or learn the Ábaco figures from someone who already learned it.
- Form a group of 4 or more dancers (9-16 is perfect); it helps if most dance Rueda.
- Start with open position and guapea and dile que no.
- Move on to the regular partner change – dame una, dame dos.
- Add enchufla, enchufla doble, enchufla con mambo and dame una arriba.
- Do the basic figures in closed position – al centro, vamos arriba, un tarro, dos tarros, exhíbela.
- Practice the figures to a whole song with several repetitions to help your body remember the figures.
- Now you are ready to add the other figures that you like.
- Have differnet callers call the ábaco, to make it more diverse.
- Finally, try it out together with a Rueda de casino.
Why dance ábaco?
- Ábaco is a suplement to rueda de casino, it is not a replacement.
- Ábaco in the middle of a rueda can add energy to the dance.
- Ábaco allows everyone people to join the dance in a rueda setting, even though there is not a balance between lead and follow.
- Ábaco can help improving your personal dance style, by focusing on the styling elements and repeating the figures
- Ábaco can help practicing and getting used to rueda commands without being led.
- Ábaco is a new challenge, it can be fun to try new ideas and learn new dance elements.
- Ábaco can be almost instant fun for rueda dancers, because once you understand the main principles you may be able to dance a lot of the rueda commands in ábaco without too much work.
The question that trigged the ábaco idea was this:
When you have a large group of rueda dancers with more follows (women) than leads (men), how can you have everybody join the dance and have fun?
This question started a process of exploring the use of rueda figures in a different setting, with focus on allowing more women to join. Elements from rueda figures were forming the base, and then elements from Salsa suelta, animation, Cuban Mambo, line dance, and even the big apples in Lindy Hop were applied to ábaco.
Feel free to use ábaco, to spread it and have fun with it!
If you have any suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.