Dancemax Letter #27, Thursday, Nov 30, 2000

Dancing Tid-bits
Teaching Latin - Cucaracha

In last letter I said, how different versions are of latin, from one teacher to the other. I guess the reason is obvious, latin is so versatile, so a champ teacher can bring his or her own style and technique into it and make it look real "Good." The question though is: Is it good for our students specially so for the beginner ones? Let's discuss Cucaracha in Rumba.

Cucaracha: (Arthur Murray syllabus we call this Second Position Break). Left foot cucaracha will be: Step 1, left foot to side, Step 2. transfer weight back to right foot, Step 3. close left foot to right foot.You can do right foot cucaracha starting with right foot to side. Cucaracha movement has many variations. The side cucaracha is the most basic form. I would like to emphazsize the following points.
  1. There is partial weight (80-90 %?) on step 1
  2. This step is slightly outside the body (wider).
  3. The heel of the supporting foot should not release much
  4. There is a pronounced fig 8 motion of the hip which results in swivelling of feet
Because whole weight is not taken on the side step this step is also called a "Pressure Step." The first step of the cucaracha can be taken either to side, back, forward or diagonal. It will be obvious that if you take this step forward the heel of the supporting foot will be released to a great extent. A forward cucarachs would then be almost like a checked forward walk ?..what do you think?

I am sure there are different interpretations of this step. The above criteria presented, I hope will satisfy a basic instruction requirement. I had made some observations while training to be a Surgeon. Every single teacher of mine had a different technique and different approach. I had to apply some common sense and I am glad I had some. In my heart, I would question everything they were telling me. Then, I went to the text books, studied, discussed a lot with friends, saw all of them operate and finally I always looked at their results. Initially I was "cocky" but In the end, I would say, they all had so much more to offer but it was my decision to analyze and decide what worked for me. I don't think Dancing is any different.

Best Wishes and pray for Florida, Max

Questions and comments to, thank you.

This article is part of and should be seen in the frame context of Dancesport UK, Tid-bits