"Okay, salseros and salseras, can anyone try to explain how to do
the cross-body lead? I wish for a man to speak up first."
Rosita was having a good day of work teaching her members of the
intermediate-level salsa class. She was doing her Week 3 lessons to 12
couples and 3 males without partners.
She said to herself, "Three more weeks of teaching salsa and I can
rest," as she pointed to a man who was 57, 167 pounds, wearing black
hair and brown eyes.
"You Eduardito. I saw you raise your hand. Can you tell me how to
do the cross-body lead for the man's part?"
"Si," he said in a nervous groan. But he had only a little
effort as he walked through the footwork for the cross-body lead, as the
other students watched. The teacher was trying to pay attention to his
words, trying to put her left hand under her chin.
"To start, dance one-two of the forward salsa basic--left foot
forward, right foot steps in place The other students tried to do the
first two steps Eduardito did."
"Now the third step is a little tricky. You are going to put your
left foot back, swiveling it a quarter turn to the left..." Rosita
was grinning as she continued to watch his how-to demonstration. "I
can't believe Eduardito is saying this!" She tried to shout only by
"...while at the same time, my right foot will also swivel to the
left a quarter turn. As you can see, the swiveling occurs at the moment I
lift my left foot between the second and the third steps. Moreover, do you
see how I place the foot at the end of the swivel?"
The students nodded silently; some others said "Ah hum" as
they continued to do what Eduardito explained. Eduardito--a Boricuan who
had taught salsa to his Puerto Rican friends when he was exposed to salsa
music as a little boy--was having more enthusiastic eye contact then ever
before; and Rosita's grin tried to turn into a real smile.
Eduardito went on. "They are about a little over a foot apart and
are laterally parallel. Why? Because it creates a slot in which the lady
will pass you; that is, the man, from right to left."
Rosita became even more happy and she leered at Eduardito. "Now,
Eduardito, what is the easiest part of the last three steps in the man's
part of the cross-body lead? You are doing a good job explaining at this
Eduardito was quite joyful as he spread his arms from outside to inside.
"It would be like a...a slightly modified version of the backward
salsa basic...but you close your feet by putting the right foot next to
the left foot on the sixth step."
"Right on, Eduardito!"
He looked at the teacher and raised his arm, smiling. Now, Rosita, you
see why I like salsa. The other students were curious as they stood in the
room that resembled a former ballet studio, with a wooden floor and two
barre rails on either side of the walls and a long rectangular mirror on
The teacher, who was 27, married, 57, 127 pounds, with blonde hair and
blue eyes, slowed down her pace of speaking. "And can you please
Eduardto went on, though he had only partial eye contact with the class
to look at his feet on the floor.
"Now for steps four, five, and six. On number 4, you put your right
foot behind your left foot, and on number 5, a little tricky here,
you...move your left foot to the left, and at the same time, make a quick
one-quarter turn to the left. Now, with your right foot free, move it
straight to close it with the left foot. The students followed along
fairly well. And eso es! That's it!"
The teacher and the student were impressed. Wow! I guess you know as
much salsa as I do! Rosita said. Is that true?
Eduardito made a flattering gesture at her. "I had danced salsa for
12 years, then I stopped salsa dancing in a big depression after I broke
up with my old salsa partner. Then, I got a new salsa partner....Wait a
He looked at his watch and realized he had to go to a friend's salsa
dance party which would begin in about 20 minutes. "I have to run off
to a party. I'll see you in the next class."
As Eduardito put on his coat and said good-bye to the class members and
Rosita, Rosita had regrets for letting him leave. Maybe he might become
our next salsa teacher. I might talk to him about not having to join the
class and just going to it whenever he likes--probably as my co-teacher.
The salsa class ended with the students dancing to the song "La
Bamba." Before she turned on the cassette player, she said to them:
"If you can practice your salsa and know to yourself the moves like
the cross-body lead Eduardito told you, then you might become a great
The students remained silent for a while as Rosita led them in her salsa amalagmation. Rosita tried to put off the amazing explanation of Eduardito as she taught, but it eventually stuck in her mind.
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