Salsa > "I keep on falling": turning on the CBL!

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Twilight_Elena, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    We have been doing the following figure (I do salsa on1). It's like cross body leads, only you make a turn as you change direction, meaning:
    1-2-3: lead moves to your left for CBL.
    5: left step forward, as usual.
    6-7: anti-clockwise turn and finish by looking at your partner.
    Basically, it's 1+1/2 of a turn. Sounds easy, but I keep on losing my balance! Teacher says I throw my weight backwards, and not forward, and that's why I lose it. He's most probably right (make that definately) but when I turn, I just don't understand what I'm doing, and that goes for all turns! I lose my sense of direction and practically don't know what my feet or body are doing.
    Heeeeelp! Any tips? Should I clench my thighs tight (hold my core) and try it? It's not a spin; more like a "walking turn", as I call them, so that is sort of difficult. What can I do?

    Twilight Elena
  2. Gentemer

    Gentemer New Member

    At my classes, this was trained with the guys and the girls in separate groups, so you should be able to do it even without a lead!
    Perhaps that is even the problem: too much relying on the lead to lead you in the correct turn?
  3. vey

    vey New Member

    :arrow: If you loose your balance only on CBL w/turn - I'd say let someone experienced check your footwork - extra or missing steps can get you off-balance.

    :arrow: If, however, you have an overall problem with balance during turns/spins (like I do):

    - one of your sides is likely to be worse than the other (and for you it could be that left/ counterclockwise turns are more difficult, hence the problem with CBL/turn)

    - in addition to "general" advice of "spoting", good posture, making sure that your footwork is correct, I'd recommend not to make your body/thighs too tense during turns/spins, so you would have "room" for additional flexing when you are actually loosing balance.

    - work on your "core strength" - it helped me a lot : there's a great DF article by BodiesByBija "Developing Good Balance" ( )

    - practice -you will discover little tricks that work for you :wink:

    - oh, almost forgot - arms position is also very important for turns and spins ( there should be some info here on DF - I'll post a link if I have time to find it).
  4. Pebbles

    Pebbles New Member

    You are right it is a walking turn. It's almost like walking down the street, except with smaller steps. If you feel your body is tense, or are using more force than walking, you may be trying too hard. Try relax and let yourself follow the lead.

    Are you learning it from a salsa teacher or a ballroom teacher?
  5. Lofland

    Lofland New Member

    even a one-hour private lesson with the right instructor should clear this up. It's worth it, you'll be doing CBLs with inside turns like this every dance.

    Normally on this I thought the woman was supposed to pivot on her left foot as soon as she stepped onto it and shifted her weight on the 5, or an instant after the 5.

    Keep your knees together, imagine you're holding a tennis ball between them. Your feet can be further apart.

    Spot your turn-- this means keep your head facing your partner, whip it around till you're facing your partner again when you turn.

    Arms-- keep your right arm up in front of you, across your body.

    Be sure you're staying on the balls of your feet till you finish.

    Teachers seem to disagree on how to end it. My teacher said to end the turn on the 7 or 8 with your right foot back, where it will be on the 1. It's a little cheat that saves you some time.

    Your leaders could be part of the problem. They should have your left arm up so your upper arm is horizontal, and your left hand stays a few inches from your head and goes around like a halo. The leader should also apply the right amount of pressure to make you turn. I know when I do my lead wrong it throws the woman off in this.

    Hope this helps.
  6. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    Practice on your own! And remember: it is not a spin, it is a walking turn made in 3 steps... small steps! And keep your knees close!

    The above advices are great, btw!
  7. MacMoto

    MacMoto Active Member

    Twilight_Elena, I had the same problem with the cross-body turn -- balance has always been my problem :oops: -- and it took me many many months of practice and social dancing to get it right.

    Some tips that may help you:

    - Bend your knees, especially as you come out of the turn. Finish your turn with knees bent and your weight on the balls of your feet, not the heels. This has helped me A LOT.

    - When you turn, take small steps. Make sure you keep your thighs together (no need to clench) -- that helps reduce your step size.

    - Spot. Treat the turn as a half turn followed by a full single turn. Focus on the leader when you come out of the half turn, and spot when you do the single turn. This prevents the disorientation problem you mentioned. (Note: It's not easy -- at least, wasn't for me :oops:. Keep practising!)
  8. azzey

    azzey Member

    I agree with everything you said except this part. You would only end up facing your partner again on 7 if you were doing a CBL right 1+1/2 turn.


    If you try to rush the turn so that you end up facing your partner again by 7 this could be a cause of the problem.

    1+1/2 CBL turns to the left are three steps on 5,6,7. So it's pretty obvious that 5 is the normal CBL step forward as you described, 6 is a half turn to your left, 7 another half turn to your left. You are now facing away from your partner.

    Do not worry about this. There are many many salsa moves that require you to be in this position, for example stopping the girl and then turning her in the other direction. These you will learn later.

    Continue turning during the 8th beat and step back on the first beat. There is plenty of time to make this a continuous smooth motion of stepping on 5,6,7,1.

    One additional area to watch out for is NOT to step back with your heel down on the 1 otherwise your body will move back over that foot and will likely cause you to lose balance momentarily. At the least it will make it more difficult for you to start the next CBL unless the step back was a very small step.

    The trick to learning CBL turns is to step through them firstly with your weight on your toes but your heels almost down then gradually practice bringing your heels up and see how it feels different. Keep adjusting til you get the right balance.

    Remember that the CBL is in a slot, but NOT a tight rope/straight line. So natural turning of your steps should make you appear to drift to the left slightly as you move down your immaginary slot. This is natural and is used as part of the salsa dance to get you back into position with the man for the next lead. If you are trying to turn on an imaginery tight rope then you will likely find balancing very difficult.

    Hope this helps.
  9. azzey

    azzey Member

    Oh, another tip:

    Whenever you step, good technique for all CBL steps is to point your foot at either 1 o'clock or 11 o'clock, depending on which direction your steps are taking you.

    e.g.: CBL steps:
    on 1 - step back - this naturally has your right toe pointing to 1 o'clock
    on 2 - step on the spot - point left forwards (12 o'clock)
    on 3 - step forwards and slighly to the right - point right foot towards 1 o'clock
    on 5 - step forwards and slightly to the left - point left foot to 11 o'clock.
    on 6 - turn and step with right foot - point towards 1 or 2 o'clock.
    You'll find this easier than pointing towards 12 o'clock.
    Keep rotating the foot as you turn for your next step.
    on 7 - turn and step with left foot - point towards 1 o'clock.
    Keep going until you step back on 1.

    Shaving off little bits of the turn is a technique used by most dancers and professionals. It helps you keep balance and you gain back what you shave off by using the momentum you already have to continue turning on your toe.
  10. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    Wow, you guys are superb! Lemme answer all that...
    I've tried this on my own too, of course, but it's still sloppy. Actually, it's more difficult when I'm with a partner! Any sense in that?
    Balance is a general prob of mine: both spins and walking turns. I've checked teh balance article, and it's great! I'm going to practice more on that.
    Salsa teacher, not ballroom. Then again, my ballroom teacher has also shown me walking turns.
    My salsa teacher said, too, that ending up not facing the partner is not a prob. The prob is the BALANCE.
    Not 12 o' clock. Got that. I usually do it, but will focus on it.
    Have salsa tonight! Will see how it goes... *nailbiting*

    Twilight Elena
  11. Gentemer

    Gentemer New Member

    And you are surprised that you keep on falling?
    No nailbiting during CBL! :p

    (but serious: how did it go?)
  12. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    It's 15:14 here. No party just yet.

    Twilight Elena
  13. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    Went to the party yesterday. All in all, a good one! My CBL w/turn was just fine, which surprised me. Guess I was worrying too much and not dancing enough. In the words of every serious dancer: "Shut up and dance!"
    Then we did setenda(sp?) w/turn and I must admit it's much more difficult. Ah, I suppose there will always be the next figure...

    Twilight Elena
  14. Sabor

    Sabor New Member

    general advice:

    all footwork in dance is basically a walk.. it all comes down to a simple walking step.. either fwd, bwd, side, in place, curved..etc..

    so, in general if u are confused, strip the motion down to normal walking steps.. and with practice u get the balance and technique/style to dance it smooth..and then put your flavor to it..

    sometimes when i'm dancing with those who are having a hard time following.. i just ask her to walk with me..
  15. Lucretia

    Lucretia New Member

    I had the same problems as you have - last spring. I practiced a lot at home and I finally decided to "hand over the work to move my feets to my body". I (or my partner :wink: ) decided where to go - all I did was to keep the beat and move right,left,right,left .

    The body is the expert of motion. Don't try to controll it too much. I guess this is wats in
  16. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    Georgia (my ballroom teacher) sometimes says to us (usually during smooths, but it applies to salsa too) "just walk it." There's some truth in that. I'm trying to learn exactly that: Don't push it. If you do, it's not a dancing. It's a chore.

    Twilight Elena
  17. azzey

    azzey Member

    See there you go!

    Setenta? If so perhaps you're doing Cuban style salsa? In which case ignore everything I said as the Dile Que No/CBL is similar but different. I could explain it as I do Cuban myself but best to get a video! hehe.
  18. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    We must be doing cuban style. Honestly, I have no idea what we're doing, 'xept that it's salsa. :p Shame on me, I know.
    Actually, the dile que no is so similar to CBL that I thought the turns were also the same. Also felt very similar.
    A small edit. Setenta w/turn is tricky IF the lead is clumsy. :? It's so close together that you can get injured or just mess the whole thing up. Been there. Done that. When done with my teacher, the result is SO smooth.

    Twilight Elena

    P.s. Azzey, do explain. I have no pocket money to spare on videos! Ah, the troubles of teenage economic dependence...
  19. azzey

    azzey Member

    Not necessarily, some teachers do mixed styles. i.e. a mix of Cross-body salsa (LA, NY, Puerto Rican are all pretty much the same apart from how you express the music) and little bits of Cuban style.

    Others only teach one style, although you'll be hard pressed to find really good Cuban instructors unless either they come from Cuba/Miami, learnt from a Cuban instructor or Lived there at some point.

    See the video clips here for examples of Cuban style:

    or here for cross-body salsa styles:

    Different styles are not something that is easy to explain no matter how many technical differences I tell you you'll only really 'get it' when you see it.
  20. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    Thankies for the videos! As part of the new and improved salsa rehab me, I won't watch the vids right now, but tomorrow. Today there's lots of studying to do. :D Makes me feel better, knowing I can do that.
    Isn't there a general feeling about every style? Something you can describe? Is there a reference site/article for this?

    Twilight Elena

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