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Cuban Motion

Cuban Motion , also called Latin Motion, is a style of movement prevalent in many Latin American dances like the salsa, cha cha, meringue and salsa, to name a few. It is characterized by a rhythmic swaying of the hips when the knees are bent and straightened. The movement is more noticeable when the music is at a slow tempo.

Improving balance and control

For the most part, Cuban motion is proper hip movement. It is what the body does naturally when you need to shift weight from one leg to the other and maintain balance and control. Correct Cuban Motion is essential to maintain balance, keep timing, and improve your leading and following ability. Many mistake it for an advanced concept in dancing. However, it is one of the first things you’ll learn and the last you may master not because it a difficult movement but because it is different from normal movement. It is just the opposite of what we usually do when walking.

Make the right moves

When you walk, you step heel first with a straight leg. However, in Cuban Motion you step ball first on a bent leg. The movement comes from an alternate bending and straightening of the knees. With a straight leg the hip moves diagonally back and up due to the difference in height created by bending one leg and straightening the other leg.  In Latin ballroom dancing, the Cuban Motion is executed by rolling the hip back on a stretched leg.

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Concentrate on your footwork

Cuban Motion requires plenty of concentration on footwork. It is easier to perform movements flatfooted first so that you concentrate on the knees. The idea is to kiss the floor with your heel when you step with the ball first and then roll through the rest of the foot. Feel the floor by gently yielding into it and use it to push into the next step. This will strengthen the knee and allow the hip to roll back.

Paying attention to upper body movement is important. The movement created by the feet and knees travels upwards to the torso, shoulders, and arms. Proper footwork will enable the upper body to move sideways towards the bending leg, which allows for better balance by creating a diagonal from the outer hip to the opposite shoulder. When practicing the Cuban motion technique do not bend both legs at the same time. Step on the bent leg and keep the other leg straight but not locked at the knee. Start by stepping in place until you master the correct motion and then extend your steps until you reach your full basic step. The whole objective is to let your knees move your hips so don’t consciously move them on your own.