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Latin dance is all about making smooth moves with the whole body. And depending on the dance style, Latin dance does require lots of hip action.
What is Cuban Motion?
Cuban motion is a part of Latin dance that highlights the movement of the hips and the waist. Also known as the Latin hip action, this technique isn’t just about looking sexy on the dance floor. It’s about how the hip movements capture the sensuality of Latino rhythm. With your hips, you can express romance, sensuality, power.
The thing with the Cuban motion is that some people can execute it right away, and others take more training to get it right. Maybe you can’t concentrate the movement on the hips, or the action itself isn’t as smooth as you’d like. It’s frustrating when you have to spend more time perfecting the technique, but once you get the hang of it, your performance will look absolutely smashing on the dance floor.
Both men and women could use Cuban motion to elevate their performance. But women have wider hips and narrower waists, so the movements are more noticeable. It will take practice to loosen those hips and master the technique. Here are some tips to try:
Hip Exercises to Loosen Those Hips
Getting the Foot Position Right
The “openness” of your hips matters the most when you’re perfecting the Cuban motion, and this is determined by your foot position. It’s easier to twist and move the hips when the toes are pointing outwards. So that’s one thing to keep in mind when trying this move, do not move your feet inward! Dance every step with your feet at about 70º to build flexibility, and loosen the hips. If you’re not accustomed to dancing this way, you might feel a little pressure in certain parts of the hips, but that’s okay; you will get used to it the longer you do it.
It’s All About the Knee Action Too
Yes, the Cuban motion puts the hips front and center, but the knees also get their time in the limelight! To create the smooth movements of a Cuban action, you need to alternate the movements between the knees. Stand with your feet together, toes pointing outwards. Bend one knee, then keep the other straight, then smoothly alternate the action by making a twisting motion with your hip. Don’t push too hard; the body weight shift between the knees should be smooth and natural so the actual dance move won’t look awkward.
When shifting the weight between the legs, take a step as if you are climbing a flight of stairs. Step up as you bend your knee. As you shift your weight forward, push yourself up with the straightened left, then vice versa. This hip motion lets you concentrate the movement on the hips and not above the waist. Your ribcage should be over the knee as you straighten it.
Learn the Basics
Now that you have an idea of the Cuban motion, it’s time to learn the basics of the dance style - whether it’s salsa, rumba, etc. Keep practicing the steps; make every step with your toes turned out and the knees bent. Keep the shifting of body weight smooth as butter and stick to the fundamental technique to improve your dancing. Maintain that connection with your dance partner, so the movements are synchronized. The hip action is hard to perform perfectly the first time, but you will master it in no time at all with practice.
Cuban Motion Basics and Exercises