Latin Practice Notes

Latin General

  • Weight more forward: basic, Rumba cucaracha. (Test: pushing from front and back, shouldn't fall.)

    • Send body weight to ground, do not have center too high. One foot pushes to ground, the other hip rotate back with strength to create resistance.

  • Making movement more oily:

    • Not all same energy. Breathe into the muscle and create dynamic (some places faster, some places slower)

      • Faster placement of foot (timing), body continue moving. Do not stop the movement (e.g. after switching feet in cucaracha)

      • Create bigger volume with the side, squeeze one side back (shorten side), while the other side of body/chest go forward, do not lose center.

  • Swivel action:

    • Get onto the foot, but do not stick hip out, which will break vertical line.

    • Retract and turn the rib cage, do not just turn shoulder joint. The feeling of where it's initiated from is important.

    • Breathe out when turning rib cage and then really settle hip at the end (rotate more).

  • Forward Walk Turn action:

    • Depending on how much one has, can articulate hip, keep back hip high longer, or neutralize hip as one turns.

  • Turns:

    • Practice half turn, 3/4 turn, then full turn. Breathe, rib cage rotate, bring arms inward to wrap around belly, at end rotate enough and finish hip.

Cha Cha Cha

  • Shoulder opposition, squeeze side. Weight more forward.

  • Hand: should not move randomly.

  • Turns: wind up first, then turn shoulder, spot head, lengthen spine, use core.

  • From Fan position: 2 - settle right away, RH has pull tension with Man.

Practice combo:

  • Open one hand hold, Lady on the RF.

  • 4&1: side chasse

    • keeping tone in R arm.

    • overall body weight fwd, but because it's side chasse, so move rib cage to side, not body/chest diag fwd (which is the case for fwd walk)

    • At end of 1: wide up to prepare for New Yorker, Lady prepare L arm in front of body (not too high)

  • 2: New Yorker

    • squeeze side, but keep spine straight, long, chest up, arm high back.

  • 3: Lady LF back, &: collect RF next to LF to prepare for twist

  • 41: twist on RF to face partner, hold

    • Drop R heel, twist, not just step, do not step to side. do not pop up.

    • overall weight fwd, suck tummy, chest fwd.

  • 2: New York variation, Lady tap LF cross behind RF

  • 3: Ronde, Lady R hip up, collect center, body fwd

  • 4&1: Ronde chasse

  • 2&3: another ronde chasse with Lady's LF

    • 3: Lady turn 90 to L, LF fwd, do not step big, collect center

    • 3&: on & Lady turn 180 to R

  • 4&1: tight turn to R

  • 2: high New York

    • Lady LF whole foot, RF cross behind tight on ball

    • Body/spine long, up, shoulder rotated to R, body fwd, squeeze L side; R arm up high behind head, R hand palm face down.

    • L arm straight on the side of body, Man's catches Lady's L arm to prep her to spin to her left next.

  • 3: Lady RF back, prepare turn to L

  • 4&1: tight L turn

  • 2: Lady RF fwd, high New York.



    • In general, weight more forward, knee more fwd, neck long. Body toned, but not stiff. Use core and sides, but don't hold too tight that ribs sticks out fwd..

    • Knee from bent to straight should be faster.

    • Want everything underneath body.

    • Different thinking, release the front hip to get body to move. Think forward, don't think about back.

Bounce action

  • Going "down"/"forward", don't go too low, it will look heavy. Imaging pushing spring down, the more down, the harder/heavier to push, prepare to bounce back.

  • Don't bend too much, only bend as much as you can keep head flat.

  • Do not go up and down like basket ball. Spring: harder to push down, not too light, not too heavy, but there is resistance, not too low, don't go down.

Stationary Samba Walk:

  • 1a2: on 2 front foot slide back on flat foot. Weight forward, arms breathe. 1a2: goes through 2 bounces.

  • back hip roll more to back with front upper thigh rolled inward a bit when it straightens before it start to bent and roll the other way, more free movement

  • fwd knee circle, front foot should be solid at same place, do not lift off floor. When switching foot, do not move feet a lot. just switch heel up.

  • body weight don't go too back, just throw hip back

  • Practice against wall with music, using the tension.


  • Keep head as flat as possible.

  • Cross not too behind, but cross more, so knee is more together.

  • When knee is fwd with feet cross in the back, really squeeze under butt muscle, that gives you speed and power when straightening.

  • Straighten knee is faster, knee going fwd is slower action.

  • Squeeze side as well.


  • Fast crossing feet, straight legs, front foot turned out.

  • don't try to go for bigger hip circle if it sacrifices body alignment, or becoming going down instead of fwd, need to use core/side to squeeze, not just hip.

  • Frame, R arm/elbow not out, not in. down/out angle, toned, not flopping elbow while doing multiple voltas.

Bota Fogos:

  • straighten faster, juicy, powerful and flexible, using side, chest fwd.

Cruzado walks:

  • foot forward step on the line or a bit cross the line.

  • can't have weight in the back. weight really needs to be more fwd (but not move fwd too fast either, so it doesn't look like falling into the step). push from back leg.

  • Spend tine to prepare, both legs straight, A, strong, using butt muscle, knees not already bent. This is the oil part. Create body K shape, not I shape. Recover, collect feet hip neutral is soft action.

  • Use more twist of the standing foot, not too soft. Quick twist, quick legs. Then slow oily. Leg ready and straight before stepping onto it. Weight needs be fwd on front foot already.

  • foot does not lift above floor too much, do not be sticky on floor either.

Promenade runs:

  • more juiciness from side squeeze

  • 2: look at partner, shoulder parallel with partner, before opening.

Samba locks:

  • more core, side



  • Connection:

    • Push and pull, right amount of tone without being too soft or stiff

    • Keep wrist flat, 4 fingers together, not twisted up.

    • Keep arm at waist level. For lady, R elbow never goes behind. (Man's elbow can go behind.) Chest is more "forward and out" of arm.

  • Looking forward, chest up with energy. Strong legs.

  • Movement:

  • Don't separate, be continuous (fast and then slow, changing speed, but don't stop).

  • Start with moving body first, then foot, then body catch up and finish.

  • "Finishing the hip", "melting" the hip at end of 41. Don't cut short and skip. More "bite" into ground. Movement is smooth and continuous, no "stuttering"

    • Action goes through the "neutral hip" (41), then (at & during 1&), open/release the hip and bent the knee (which gives a fwd to partner feeling, not leaning back) - even when it's a backward walk.

      • "release" one hip, drop the hip girdle down, create the K shape, do not lean body fwd, the chest and rib case go fwd. "Release" is on the way "out" (next step), not on the way "in". Need to be solidly aligned at 41 and only release at "&".

      • rotate the other hip back more (strong, test: push from back and front and one shouldn't fall) and that initiate moving forward into next step.

      • Create shape: stretch opposite ways to create vacuum in belly area, it appears butt is back and there is curve in back, but don't throw butt back/side. Shape is very grounded and solid, not extreme/stiff

      • Exhale into the hip. When melting into the hip, the opposite site chest has to go fwd to counter, otherwise you'll fall back, more melting, hip opens more and opposite chest goes fwd more.

    • Never fully release the tension and let go, center always collected, so to not look like just sticking butt back.

  • Typically, when stepping onto the foot, weight is 70-80% on the foot, use rest of beat to deliver (except for e..g. Three Alemanas, full weight onto LF and use rest to twist.)

  • Finish the hip (rotate and lift) in walks. Use sides.

Open Basic starting position (One hand hold):

    • In Latin, Lady invites Man. Start with settling on Lady's RF, L leg in front straight. R arm to front to invite Man. 4 fingers together. Arm not too high.

    • L hip release (L girdle down), body fwd, RH push into Man's hand, just enough pressure which comes from settling, not artificially created. Don't work too hard to release. both lighter in body (not heavy to move), but strongly connected to ground at the same time.

    • LF starts from pointing position (outside edge) when LF is in front, when L hip is released, start tracing/retracting foot, change to inside edge and then trace/drag back. Delayed walk. 41&. Hip settling even more when LF reaches back. On &: step on LF.

    • RF back rock on 2: R hip settling creates the pull with partner (keep hand at same place). The tension is created from shoulder blade going down, squeezing R side, not from leaning back. L hip girdle is down and L chest fwd, body should still be very balanced (except when intentionally doing over balance). The feeling is going fwd, not back.

Forward Walk:

  • More hip rotation and twist to the back, create more space between 2 legs, show shoe laces, open hip more, squeeze side, use leg muscle, more stable, body weight fwd

  • Then swing hip diag fwd (spine moving too, don't just put hip fwd without spine), legs really tight. upper thighs tough.

  • When twisting the hip, that will bring the back foot fwd (let it go, not forced), show brushing and leading from the knee before stepping foot out.

Back walk:

  • step back (weight is still pretty fwd), push from front foot, hip to side, contract center and hip back.

Side step:

  • When closing feet, do not take too long. Place foot down, flat on ground, then release/finish hip. Brush thighs together.

Forward Walk Turn:

    • 23: 3 RF forward and slightly cross LF. One style: turn earlier on 3, leaving & to settle hip after turning. The other style: turn on &, sharp.

    • After turning, make sure to settle into R hip first, which creates push pressure with Man, then LF back.

Open Hip Twist:

    • 2341:

      • get really close to Man, weight fwd, before twisting to R on 1, wait till Man leads the twist.

      • After swivel, think about "screwing a screw down into the floor, into wood" to settle R hip (not direct hammer down, or stay on surface)

        • first swivel twist, then release L hip girdle down and rotate R hip, which creates pull tension with Man in Lady's R arm.

        • Elbow with the hip, chest fwd, "above and out of" arm. "pop it up".

        • Pay attention to position of LF, L heel to side of R ankle (no gap). LF on high toe. RF should not be turn out to 90, it should be slightly turned out <45.

    • 2341: use Forward Walk Turn technique. After the turn, LF is still in front

      • Release L hip, body fwd to Man, push connection before stepping LF back, quickly, at this time, RF is still on floor, R hip high.

      • Push RF to floor to release, RF hip roll to R, makes hip neutral first, before L hip settle to L again, release R knee and then collect RF to Fan close position.


  • Previous step to finish in Fan position: thighs very tight together, zipped. 1&: Open L hip, bent R knee before closing RF to LF.

  • 23: close feet: not too fast, going through neutral position first, release L hip, bend R knee, brush RF, ball of LF (heel high, not whole foot), then settle R hip, send L chest fwd, stretch and create space. Continuous motion, not chopped up. Elbow bent going back, "take" not "give", do not straighten arm.

  • 41: solid R arm and shoulder joint, don't break the arm joint. body starts turning to R. 1&: turn to R, L arm out to side, body facing partner, but L leg fwd and slightly cross, pointing straight diagonal (do not collect bent next to RF), Contra-body feeling. Lean body over with weight more fwd into Man's LH. Create space under body, collect center. Hip rotate to R more,

  • 2: turn to neutral (do not leave it in the diag direction), collect center, thighs very tight (R leg is close, is not too far fwd, if it's underturned, thighs will be open.), strong leg, &: settle L hip (rotating to L) which moves R chest, R leg fwd,

  • 3: RF twist to R, keep shoulder tone.

Advanced Hip Twist:

  • 41:

    • energy fwd before turning, R hip open and high.

    • Keep solid arm frame, shoulder joint toned, not loose. L arm round Man's R arm, try not to have gap in Lady's L elbow. Solid frame/connection.

    • Turn to R at end of 1. Options for RF: turn and then step RF back; OR, RF very quickly, simultaneously step back. (It also depends on Man's lead.)

  • 2: R hip back. Extend the R arm.

  • 3: do not do pendulum diag up onto L hip in this case, just use L leg as axis and rotate on L hip (do not use R hip or R leg to help turn)

  • 41:

    • Press line: center in, L hip back, RF slightly cross, drop R hip girdle down (more immediate release R hip), spine fwd. solid and not wobble when pushed from back or front.

    • Frame toward Man, counter body action with L hip back, do not turn frame with body, which cancels the counter action.

    • RF can slide fwd a bit when stepping onto it. Turning on 1, same finishing position as Open Hip Twist.

  • 23: fwd walk, do not turn too early, do not turn too quickly, slow turn and after turning, body more fwd to Man.

  • 41: 4 onto foot (foot is timing, L arm collect to side of body and extend to side, elbow doesn't go back), then articulate and finish L hip to back, L shoulder down, R chest fwd

Hockey Stick

  • Pay attention to arm position. If Man completely leg go, brush R arm behind head. Don't do delayed walk (no support) when Man is not connected.

Opening Out Left and Right:

    • Forward Walk Turn, small step. Don't dip outside shoulder, contra twist upper body, present leg and side.

    • Could have slow or sharp/quick dynamic.