equis = X,
refering to the way the arms cross in the basic position.
In rueda equis the concept of leaders and followers does not exist. The moves in equis combine leading and following techniques in a way that a new concept has been created to define dancers of rueda equis as ‘leadowers’. All dancers dancing in rueda equis are using the exact same moves and footwork and all dancers have active roles. This brings high dynamics and energy to the rueda.
Each couple is formed by one dancer in normal rueda position and one dancer facing out (like in rueda pa’fuera). Every dancer (leadower) is connected with their left hand (leaders leading hand) for the basic (guapea) position. Despite this new starting position, the figures in Rueda equis still resemble to the standard Rueda de casino figures. Footwork may be the typical from the leaders, from the followers or a mixture of both. However, the steps are starting always with the left in 1 and with the right in 5 as leaders do in normal rueda. Knowing to dance in both roles (leader and follower) may help but it is not essential as the steps are mainly a combination of both roles.
One key aspect of Equis is that there has to be a balance in the connection and the way the move are executed. Leadowers need to adapt the strength applied in the lead/following in a synchronised way and adapt and adjust it to each new partner. The same energy should be applied so none of the leadowers overtake or impose the lead over the other.
The normal rules of partner change and direction apply to each of the leadowers dancing facing normal rueda or facing pa’fuera (in any case, the normal direction of partner change is to the right of the leadower). This effectively creates two ways of dancing rueda simultaneously happening within the same couple.
In the illustration of rueda equis, one of the leadowers follow the regular blue arrows when changing partner, and the others follow the red arrows (pa’fuera direction).
The transit command used to enter rueda equis from the basic position (guapea) is “vamos a equis“, always from open position. Leaders do “dame mentira” and followers do “medio mambo” (or the first half of doble play), connecting on 5 left to left. Followers are now facing pa’fuera dancing with the same beat as the leader (left foot on the 1), leaders still in normal rueda, both now becoming leadowers.
The transit command to exit rueda equis going back to regular rueda de casino is “vamos a rueda”. It is the same figure, so now the leadowers facing inside will become leaders, and the leadowers facing outside will become followers, changing back to normal dancing regular rueda de casino.
Other transitions between rueda de casino and rueda equis are also possible, but the above is one of the easiest ways to do the transition.
Rueda equis could be combined with other rueda structures like rueda por fuera (changing the way each leadower is facing), rueda eco, rueda torno and potentially ábaco, rueda cruzada, and other structures still to be explored.
Rueda equis can also danced with moves in closed position, but this is still in development.
Dancing rueda equis socially
Rueda equis works well socially as long as the dancers know some core basic moves. Rueda equis does not require to have an even or odd number of couples. If the dancers are prepared for a rueda equis, this is a very nice rueda variation for active intermediate to advanced dancers.
Why dance rueda equis?
Rueda equis is a very dynamic and active rueda as all dancers are moving to change partners and do not have a passive role. It is also a great challenge for intermediate/advanced rueda dancers. The feeling is totally different to normal rueda as there must be a balance in the action-reaction within each move and due to the new way of dancing rueda figures involving a combination leading and following at the same time.