How To Perfect The Cuban Motion
Whichever style of latin dance you choose to learn, you’ll need to get to grips with the idiosyncratic hip action of the Cuban Motion. Once you master what the Cubans do naturally when they dance, you’ll move in a fluid and sensual way which provides an all-over body workout that feels great, but for the time being you need to break the movement down into individual components to practice.
When you walk, you lead with your heel and then roll the rest of your foot down to the ball. In order to perfect the Cuban Motion you need to reverse that so that the ball of your foot hits the ground first and the heel very lightly brushes the floor, but does not get any real weight – think of your heel kissing the floor.
The rhythmic sway of the hips is a direct result of the bending and straightening of the knees as you move your feet. When you step with the ball, the knee is bent, and as the heel lowers the leg straightens – although the knees always remain soft, not locked, at all times. Your hips should naturally move in a figure of eight motion, up and down and backwards and forwards, rather than side to side. As your heel gently caresses the floor, use it to push off to the next step (which will straighten the leg and push the hip back).
The top half
The hip action comes naturally from the shift of weight from one foot to the other, but the movement remains isolated from the rest of the body. While the legs and hips are sashaying, the upper torso remains upright, do not let your rib cage collapse. Instead your top half should move side to side in line with the hips – when the right hip raises, the ribs lead the top half to the right, and vice versa.
Relax the arms, but allow the shoulders to lift and mimic the hip swing.
Start off slow
While you’re learning this combination of moves, rehearse to slow music. It’s easier to practice to a gentler beat and the sway will be more noticeable, but as you get better you will be able to speed up the action and can try faster tunes.
Feel the rhythm
Rather than focusing on the specific steps, Cuban Motion should be the result of feeling the rhythm and the body’s instinctive reaction to shifting the weight from one leg to another in order to maintain balance and control.
This may still sound complex, so come along to a free latin dance class at Arthur Murray Crows Nest and you’ll be in safe hands with our expert guidance. We’ll guide you through the Cuban Motion so that this array of movements will become second nature and come together in unison so you can dance any latin style like a pro.