These are the most basic figures in ábaco, including basic steps in open and closed position, and basic figures for partner change. Open and closed position refers to rueda de casino, as the structure in ábaco is connected to rueda de casino.
Note the explanations of the figures below the videos, including the figures not yet published on video. For some of the videos you will find links to open videos showing more of the context for the fgure.
tarro, dos tarros
dile que no
dame, dame una, dame otra
dame una arriba
Echeverria con vuelta
enchufla con mambo
festival de pelota
fly, linea, rolin,
los tres, sho’boun’
paseala por arriba
pelota uno, dos, tres
.. con la hermana
al centro, p’al medio, ¡La rueda!
To start an ábaco or a rueda, it is common to call al centro, p’al medio, ¡La rueda!, or something similar. The dance then starts with a simple tap step (tap – step – tap – step).
The ábaco version of this figure uses the ladies steps from the rueda, starting with tap on 1 with right foot. As shown in the beginning in the open video of vamos arriba (ábaco)
|americana||Americana in ábaco follow the ladies’ steps from the rueda figure americana.|
|americano||Americano in ábaco follow the men’s steps from the rueda figure americano, but starting the turning early (on beat 7), slightly before the rueda figure starts. So be aware if the caller is in the rueda, you might have to act fast.|
|dile que no||In rueda, dile que no is a basic figure, called in certain settings.|
One implication of dile que no, is that it leads to the basic steps in open position, guapea (unless a new call is issued). So if it is called from closed position, it ends up in open position. The same is the case in ábaco.
The footwork in this ábaco figure is often called “a lo cubano”. Note the long step on beat 2. The footwork is essentially the same as guapea, but with more movement, especially on beat 2.
|In rueda, tarro is the most common way to change partner when in closed position. In ábaco, a quater turn left is normally corresponding to a partner change in rueda. |
So the ábaco figure tarro is a quarter turn left, where you do the actual turn on beat 7.
Dos tarros in ábaco is a half turn left on 7 (two quarter turns at once).
|vamos arriba||Diagonal steps. This is a basic step, so after a regular figure (like exhibela) is called, you return to these steps.|
|dame directo||Take a long step forward on 2, and do 3 jumps back on 5-6-7.|
The rueda figure is a slight exception, including a partner change but no dile que no.
The ábaco figure is also an exception, with no rotation, even though the rueda figure includes a partner change.
During the jumps, ladies use arms from mambo, and men use arms from columbia (rumba).
|dame dos||Dile que no + two quarter turns left (on 7). The two quarter turns at done at the same time,|
so it is in fact a half turn. (In dame tres you do three quarter turns left, all in one move.)
|dame una||Dile que no + quarter turn left (on 7). The rueda figure dame una contains a partner change + dile que no.|
The ábaco figure dame una uses the opposite order, dile que no (= a lo cubano steps) + partner change (= rotation).
|dame una arriba||This figure is similar to dame una in ábaco, but the rotation here is to the right. It feels like almost no rotation, because your body is already slightly turned right on 1-2-3.|
Note that the right rotation also apply on commands adding arriba direction to the call, like enchufla y arriba.
|dile que si||This ábaco figure is a rotation right, rumba style. Keep the left foot center, and turn backward clockwise.|
Men pull their pants (pantalones) with their hands, and the ladies keep their hands in the sides.
This figure ends up in closed position, usually continuing with the figure vamos arriba.
Backward turn, rumba style (by Alberto Valdes and Andria Panagi)
|Echeverria||Ladies step from Echeverria in rueda.|
|Echeverria con vuelta||Ladies step from Echeverria con vuelta in rueda.|
|enchufla||Ladies enchufla steps + dame una.|
|enchufla con mambo||Add mambo steps between the enchufla step and dame una.|
Tap with right foot on 1 in the mambo steps, like the ladies do in rueda.
|enchufla con palma y pata’||This is one of several variations of enchufla where you add a sequence of something bewteen the enchufla steps and the dame una part.|
“palma y patada” means “clap and kick”. In this figure the clap and the kick are done simultaneously on 4 and 7.
So the sequence is step – step – step – kick/clap – step – step kick/clap – step.
The steps are the same as the women’s part in the rueda figure enchufla con palma y pata’.
|enchufla doble||Ladies enchufla steps twice + dame una.|
|festival de pelota||This ábaco figure is based on the same idea as in rueda. Festival de pelota is the sequence pelota uno, pelota dos, pelota tres. (Separate explanation for pelota uno, dos, tres below.)|
Cuban rueda with partner change using two claps and ¡bulla!
|fly, linea, rolin||Baseball terms. The figure is a clap on 1, in ábaco and rueda. In ábaco the orientation is forward.|
|la familia||Like in rueda, this figure starts with prima con la hermana without partner change. Then it goes directly into another meneo while turning (counter clockwise). |
There are several way to use arms in this move, feel free to choose.
|la prima||This ábaco figure uses the move meneo, which is rolling of the hips. The figure finishes with dame una like the rueda figure la prima.|
|los tres||This figure is also called festival de fly, and it means “the three”, refering to fly, linea, rolin. You do the claps on 1, 2 and 3, and continue with guapea on 5.|
|paseala||Paseala is usually called in a partner change, or combined with another figure.|
The ábaco figure paseala is a side-and-cross step followed by dile que no.
There is no rotation after the dile que no, but the figure is usually called after a figure with a partner change, like dame una.
|paseala por arriba||This is a regular paseala with the diagonal arm raised. It is often called after a regular paseala, like this: paseala > por arriba.|
For men the inspiration is from rumba, using the opposite arm to pull the pants (pantalones) a bit.
For the women it is similar but a more feminine touch, holding the lower arm to the side of the body.
Paseala por arriba may also be combined with paseala caminando, as shown in the video of paseala caminando.
|paseala caminando||In paseala caminando you continue the paseala (the side steps part) until there is a new call, usually dame una. |
In ábaco it is the same as calling paseala > siguelo. But paseala caminando is more common to called in rueda.
Paseala caminando may also be combined with paseala por arriba, as shown in the video.
|pelota uno, dos, tres||In rueda, pelota uno is an enchufla with a clap on 7. Pelota dos is enchufla with two claps (on 7-8), and pelota tres with three claps (7-8-1).|
In ábaco it is similar, but the last clap is always a ¡bulla! (a shout) with the arms lifted up. So in pelota uno in ábaco there is no clap, it is enchufla with ¡bulla! on 7. In pelota dos there is one clap (on 7) and one ¡bulla! (8), and in pelota tres there are two claps (on 7-8) and one ¡bulla! (on 1).
Cuban rueda with partner change using two claps and ¡bulla!
|prima con la hermana||Like in rueda, this ábaco figure starts with la prima without partner change. Then it goes directly into la hermana, which is an enchufla with a quarter turn left at the end (partner change in rueda).|
|sho’boun’||Cuban slang for “short bounce”. Another baseball term. The figure is also called German Mesa, after the famous Cuban baseball player. In this figure you clap on 1 under the leg that you are not putting your weight on.|