«Por fuera» means «outwards» or «to the outside». The name refers to the fact that in rueda por fuera you face out of the circle instead of to the center. Partner changes are also done facing out of the circle. Other than that, this structure is quite like a regular rueda de casino. Most rueda figures may be danced por fuera, but some figures work better than others. See examples of figures below.

When you try this structure for the first time, the main challenge is to get used to change partner facing out of the circle. Start with easy figures before advancing, just to get used to it, and you will catch it rather quickly.

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rueda por fuera demonstration

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Transition figures

To enter a rueda por fuera, you normally start dancing regular rueda de casino, and then you make a transition to rueda por fuera, using a transtition figure. From this point you may dance rueda por fuera for the rest of the song, or you may make a transition back to regular rueda de casino.

Open versus closed position
Dancing rueda por fuera is most commonly associated with dancing in open position. In closed position, rueda por fuera does feel less of a change, because the partners are facing each other, rather than in or out of the circle. In fact, you hardly perceive that you are dancing rueda por fuera in closed position, because it is only a change of direction. Therefore it is seldom referred to as rueda por fuera. But because it might be hard to notice, be aware that it may come as a surprise when the caller calls «dile que no» after «se viro», and you are all of a sudden facing out of the circle. 

Examples of transition figures
This list of transition figures in and out of rueda por fuera is not a complete list. Other transit figure also exist. You will find videos of these transition figures below the explanations (click here to scroll down).
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OPEN POSITION

  • por fuera
    rueda de casino > rueda por fuera
    Lead the lady/follower in a right turn (full turn + a quarter), ending with a dile que no facing out.
    This figure is always called from regular rueda de casino. It makes no sense when the rueda is already facing out.
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  • por dentro
    rueda por fuera > rueda de casino
    Lead the lady/follower in a right turn (full turn + a quarter), ending with a dile que no facing in.
    This figure is always called from rueda por fuera. It makes no sense when the rueda is already facing in.
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  • enchufla y arriba y dame pa’fuera
    rueda de casino > rueda por fuera
    Start with a regular «enchufla y arriba», but the man/leader should signal to the lady/follower that the second part of the enchufla (on 5-6-7) should be a full right turn, in stead of the regular half right turn. That way the figure ends up with a dile que no facing out.
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  • enchufla y arriba y dame pa’dentro
    rueda por fuera > rueda de casino
    Start with a regular «enchufla y arriba», but the man/leader should signal to the lady/follower that the second part of the enchufla (on 5-6-7) should be a full right turn, in stead of the regular half right turn. That way the figure ends up with a dile que no facing in.
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  • enchufla flip
    rueda por fuera <> rueda de casino
    This is a general figure to flip the rueda from in to out, or from out to in, whichever way the rueda is facing when it is called. Start with enchufla (on 1-2-3), and the the man/leader moves toward the lady/follower, preparing to pass under the connected arms. The man/leader makes a left half turn on 5-6-7, and you are immediately in guapea (basic position). Never let go with the hand in this figure. You end up with the same partner, and there is no dile que no.
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CLOSED POSITION

  • se viro
    rueda por fuera <> rueda de casino
    This figure is always called after «vamos arriba». The couple makes a half turn left on 1-2-3, and on 5-6-7 the couples end up going the other way. If called again, the rueda is flipped back.
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  • cambio de pareja
    rueda por fuera <> rueda de casino
    This figure is usually called after «vamos arriba». The man/leader marks the 1 by stepping forward, and on 2-3 the man/leader makes a half turn left, and leads the follower to do a half turn right. On 5-6-7 the circle continues the other way, new couples, and the men/leaders continue forward, the ladies/followers continue backwards. If called again, the rueda is flipped back.
    (This figure may also be called from «vamos abajo», but that might need a little more practice, because it feels different for the men/leaders leading when going backward.)

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VIDEOS of TRANSITION FIGURES

OPEN POSITION

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por fuera, por dentro

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enchufla y arriba y dame pa’fuera/pa’dentro

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CLOSED POSITION

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se viro

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cambio de pareja

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Figures in rueda por fuera

Be aware that all rueda figures are not a great match with rueda por fuera. But some of them are!
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Well suited figures

Figures where you face the other dancers at some point during the figure, are well siuted for rueda por fuera.
Examples are:

  • dame, dame con una
  • dame una arriba
  • dame directo
  • la prima, hermana, familia
  • vacilala  
  • enchufla, enchufla doble
  • enchufla con mambo
  • festival de pelota, festival de pelota con vuelta
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Not well suited figures

Figures where there normally are som action is in center of the circle, may be tricky or strange in rueda por fuera.
Also, figures where «centro» or «medio» is a part of the name, may cause som confusion when facing out, because it may not be clear whether «centro» now means in or out.
Examples are:

  • partin
  • cubanito, cubanita
  • enchufla y al medio 
  • a lo cortico
  • cadena
  • enchufla y sacala 
  • enchufla y quedate con mambo
  • amistad
  • una media
  • mujeres al centro

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How to get started

  • Form a rueda with four or more couples. (It is easiest with a 5-7 couples).
  • Start by calling core figures without partner change, focusing on doing dile que no outward.
  • Continue by adding simple partner changes like dame una and enchufla.
  • Add som more complex figures.
  • And when you think you have cracked it, try enchufla y arriba to test yourself.

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Why dance rueda por fuera?

Rueda de casino is a social dance where everyone in the circle dances together, and they are facing each another. Rueda por fuera is not a replacement for rueda de casino.
It is more something like an interresting challenge, where the rules have changed a bit, and you can see if you are able to do the rueda figures given these new rules.
However, in rueda por fuera you turn away from each other, and loose a bit of the social aspect. You might also have a bit more trouble actually hearing the commands. Therefore most callers only enter rueda por fuera as a variation, for a handful of figures, before they return to regular rueda de casino.

A fun variation is two circles – one rueda inside another rueda, with the inner one dancing rueda por fuera, and the outer one dancing rueda de casino. This enables interaction between the two wheels, and now the figures mentioned above might be the best suited, figures like amistad, croqueta y aspirina, etc.
This is also a nice opportunity for rueda dancers on different levels to dance together, with the beginners in the outer rueda and the more advanced rueda dancers in the inner circle, dancing rueda por fuera. This way it will be more of an even challenge for everyone, and a fresh variation for most rueda dancers.
Rueda por fuera is also a nice way to include an audience when performing, making it easiere to communicate with the audience.

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Dancing rueda por fuera socially

Using rueda por fuera socially normally starts with a regular rueda de casino. During the song there might be a transition to rueda por fuera, with a few commands, before the caller makes a transition back to regular rueda de casino.

When facing out of the circle, some of the rueda figures might feel a little strange, because you lack the eye contact and connection to the others in the rueda. The caller should consider avoiding longer sections of the dance without eye contact between the dancers.

The first video on this page shows an example of dancing rueda por fuera.