ÁBACO  >  BEGINNERINTERMEDIATE ADVANCEDábaco practice

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.

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Closed position

  • adentro y afuera / paseala / aguajea
  • exhibela

Open position

  • adios
  • camina
  • cruze
  • cubanita
  • cubanito

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  • cubanito > cubanita,
    cubanita > cubanito
  • dame con una, dame con dos
  • dos con dos
  • ni pa’ti ni pa’mi
  • paseala y al reves

PRACTICE VIDEO containing:

  • sombrero
  • sombrero con mambo 
           

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Closed position

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adentro y afuera / paseala / aguajea
exhibela

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Open position

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adios

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camina

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cruze

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cubanita

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cubanito

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cubanito > cubanita
cubanita > cubanito

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dame con una
dame con dos

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dos con dos

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ni pa’ti ni pa’mi

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paseala y al reves

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sombrero, sombrero con mambo

Sombrero and sombrero con mambo appears at 01:30 in this practice video. 

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EXPLANATIONS

Closed position

adentro y afuera /
paseala / aguajea
Adentro y afuera in ábaco starts to the right, like exhibela, but you turn left and return.
The movement continues until another call is issued.
Note that there are several calls for this figure. The most common are adentro y afuera, paseala and aguajea.
If the caller modifies the figure using por abajo, the ábaco figure of adentro y afuera continues without any change.
exhibelaExhibela in ábaco is danced the same way as the women do in rueda – a right turn on 5-6-7.
Note that the direction is to the right, as it also is for the women in rueda when in closed position.
By the end of the figure another call should be issued.
If not you resume to the previous basic step pattern, usually al centro, vamos arriba/abajo or adentro y afuera.

Open position

a lo corticoA lo cortico in ábaco is a series of dame por la mano, like in rueda.
adiosAdios in ábaco uses movements from columbia (rumba).
You do the caracteristic waving with the right hand while pivoting on your left foot, doing a full turn backwards.
To avoid this movement beeing rushed too much there is somewhat an exception in this figure. You spend the entire ábaco figure doing the turn, so even if the rueda figure adios finishes with dile que no, there is no dile que no in the ábaco figure adios.
Columbia class with Alberto Valdes, showing the waving (02:08) and pivoting (01:20).
caminaThe rueda figure camina continues until a new call is issued, usually dame una, dame dos, or similar.
The same goes for the ábaco figure camina.
This ábaco figure uses the movement from the Cuban dance pilón. (adjusted in 2020)
pilón (by professional Cuban dansers from Conjunto Folklórico Nacional de Cuba)
pilón in a timba routine (by Yoandy Villaurrutia, Yoannis Tamayo)
ceroThis ábaco figure starts with enchufla steps, followed by a making a circle facing forward (or actually more of a diamond / callejon). When making the diamond, you cross behind on 1, and you cross in front on 5, like the ladies do in the rueda figure cero. The figure finishes wih a dile que no. No rotation, unless the call is cero y dame.
cruzeIn this ábaco figure you add a half eight-count. It is used to adjust the dance when the music changes the clave / counting, or if you want to change the beat for other reasons.
The steps start by stepping on 8 on the right foot, and doing another 5-6-7, stepping forward on 5. So the total counting of the steps is 1-2-3, 5-6-7-8, 5-6-7.
Follow the ladies’ steps in the video cruze (rueda de casino).
cubanito,
cubanita
The ábaco figures cubanito and cubanita use similar steps, but cubanito starts with enchufla steps.
The steps may depend a bit on the music, like in the corresponding rueda figures. If the music is quiet, the steps lean toward the diagonal steps, used in the ábaco vamos arriba. If the music has more energy, you move your body more than you feet, similar to the steps in the very beginning of closed position, al centro, but with more body movement.
The transition between them, from cubanito to cubanita, or from cubanita to cubanito, is the same, a stroll in a box pattern, emphasizing it with your arms.
You exit both of these figures when a new call is issued, usually dile que no, enchufla or sombrero.
dame por la manoDame por la mano in ábaco is dame una,
where you touch both of your neighbours’ hands on 7, at the end of the rotation.
Since you touch the hands at the end of the rotation, it is actually the person that is in front of you and the one that is behind you when dame una starts that you end up touching the hands of.
dame con una, dame con dosDame con una is the same as dame una with a clap on 7, before the dile que no starts.
Dame con dos is similar, with two claps, on 7 and 8 before the dile que no starts.
doble playThis ábaco figure is like the rueda figure, an enchufla with two steps and two claps between the enchufla steps and the final dame una.
dos con dosDame dos with two claps on 7-8, before the dile que no startes.
enchufla con ManolinThis ábaco figure is like the rueda figure, an enchufla with the characteristic move from the Cuban timba artist Manolin (el medico de la salsa), between the enchufla steps and the final dame una.
Follow the ladies’ steps in the video enchufla con Manolin (rueda de casino).
enchufla con palma y pata’This ábaco figure is an enchufla with one 8-count of a «clap and kick» pattern, identical to the one from the rueda figure. «palma» means clap, and «patada» means kick (the Cubans shortens it to pata’). You kick and clap on the same two beats, 4 and 7, without any breaks.
enchufla con rumbaThis ábaco figure is like the rueda figure, an enchufla with two eight-counts of rumba (guanguanco) between the enchufla steps and the final dame una.
Ladies and men follow their usual roles in the rumba, like in the video enchufla con rumba (rueda de casino)
enchufla y quedateThis ábaco figure is like enchufla, only without a rotation at the end.
enchuflenseThis ábaco figure is similar to enchufla y quedate, but you spend two eight-counts doing the enchufla steps. You do 1/2 enchufla step (1-2-3), 1/2 guapea (5-6-7), and then repeat this sequence, followed by dile que no (no rotation).
festival de pelota con vuelta
ni pa’ti ni pa’miClap and touch the shoulder of your vecinos (neigbours).
This is a good test to check that you have the right distance to the other dancers in the ábaco.
panque
paseala y al revesThis ábaco figure starts like paseala, right – back – cross, left back cross. Then you reverse the order somewhat: cross – left – back, cross – right – back. The figure ends with dile que no without enchufla, like the rueda figure.
pelota locaThis ábaco figure is like the rueda figure, an enchufla with some «crazy» clapping, between the enchufla steps and the final dame una. The clapping is starting on 1: step (right) – clap – step (left) – clap – step (right) – clap – clap/step (left) – pause.
Follow the ladies’ steps in the video pelota loca (rueda de casino).
sacalaThis ábaco figure is a full right turn, turning on 5-6-7.
The orientation sacala is toward the front, similar to the ladies turn i the rueda figure sacala.
Unless another call is issued before sacala ends, it continues with a dile que no.
If sacala is called from guapea (basic steps in open position), it is executed as enchufla y sacala.
saca la vecinaThe ábaco figure saca la vecina is 3/4 right turn, followd by a dile que no in the new direction.
The 3/4 right turn results in a change of orientation corresponding to a quarter turn left.
This corresponds to the fact that the rueda figure saca la vecina starts with a sacala with the new partner, followed by a dile que no with this partner.
sombreroThis ábaco figure is one eight-count doing the characteristic Mozambique step, followed by dile que no.
Mozambique (by students of the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba, at Palenque in Havana)
Mozambique used in rueda de casino
sombrero con mamboThis ábaco combination is a sombrero, with one eight-count doing mambo steps between the Mozambique step and the by dile que no.
SputnikThis ábaco figure is using the men’s part from the rueda figure. Start with fly (a clap) on 1, and step forward on 3 (right). Step forward on 5 (left), preparing for the launch of the Sputnik (the Russian satelite from the 50’s). Jump backward on 6 (right), arms up and slightly forward, landing on 7 (right), and finally stepping back on 8 (left).
In the rueda figure you actually change partner (abajo direction) while jumping, going straight into guapea. In the ábaco figure you don’t rotate, for the same reason that you don’t change partner in the ábaco figure dame directo.
(A partner change in an open position rueda figure with no dile que no, does not imply a rotation in ábaco.)
jump Sputnik style (by Andy Gonzalo Varona)
ya tu sabesThis ábaco figure is a dile que no, with added styling on 3-4. Men do a move that looks like doing two claps with their knees. Quite common among Cuban male dancers when improvising.
Ladies do a cha-cha-cha in place without moving their feet. Arms to the sides, and shaking the hips.
«clapping» with your knees (by Andy Gonzalo Varona)
yogur

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