by Ron Montez
One problem that a lot of beginners have is that they don’t produce the Cuban motion in a fluid-enough manner. They’ll throw a hip one way or another, or they’ll force the leg straight prematurely. They don’t use enough muscle tone or muscle control to prevent a floppy-looking motion.
Tone means to not do it with the legs and flop, but to use pressure in the muscles so that the dancer can control the rate of knee straightening. Once exercise to help produce hip rotation that dancers can practice is as follows:
Start with your feet together at the heels, with the toes slightly apart, to alternate the bending of the legs, and then the hip over the straightening leg goes back slightly, and the knees will go forward at a slight angle inward to help produce the hip rotation.
Along the same lines, a dancer could practice the changing of the knees, very slowly and controlled, slow and fast rhythms. If a couple is good at practicing with partners, the partners can face each other and synchronize the speeds of the knee shift or weight shift. This helps the awareness of one another, and really ties the dancers together as a couple.