“Oonka Ah” and other Innovative Teaching Techniques


One of the best reasons to come to Dance Caliente for Latin and Ballroom dancing is Oonka Ah. The three simple syllables Oonka Ah sound silly, and in fact they are! The Oonka Ah technique aims to make the student smile, feel at ease, and have fun with an alternative to counting. Oonka Ah represents the rhythm of the music vocalized to guide the patterns of footwork, the movements of the torso, the transfer of weight in the whole body, and the signals for partners to lead a turn or any movement change.

With three simple sounds, the student is able to stay in touch with the music and remain connected to his/her partner while learning all the steps and techniques necessary to facilitate beautiful, effortless dancing between dancers.

Dance Caliente is constantly innovating new techniques such as Oonka Ah to reach all levels and types of learners. Flexibility, compassion and fun characterize the classroom atmosphere of all Dance Caliente classes, both group and private.

Dance Caliente’s teaching philosophy views the dancing partnership in terms of choreographers and dancers, rather than leaders and followers. The role of the choreographer is to begin the dance, to negotiate the room, and to provide opportunities for both dancers to embellish. The role of the dancer is to maintain the distance and position to the choreographer, to embellish the dance, and to return to the choreographer.

Dance Caliente focuses on developing students’ skills and understanding as partners in dancing. Once you have learned to feel and respond to weight shifts, to maintain the connection necessary without force or submission, you will be able to master conventional and unique steps to and move confidently across the dance floor.