Cuban Dance: Casino and Rueda de Casino

A few months ago, one of my travelers was excited about Cuban salsa. This meant two things: One, I incorporated a lot more dance into the trip than I normally would. We hung out with some dancers I’m friendly with, got expert instruction from them, and found fun places to go out dancing. And two, I was confronted with the sad state of my salsa abilities!

When I got home to Austin, I found some Cuban dance classes and started practicing. I’ve been taking two related classes, casino and rueda de casino. Casino is the Cuban variety of freestyle salsa, where the lead decides what figures you’ll dance. Rueda (“wheel”) is danced in a group, and there’s a caller like in square dancing, so everyone’s doing the same steps at the same time. (Please don’t ask why square dancing is my frame of reference.) There’s lots of switching partners and stuff. It’s easy to get confused, especially if there’s a call you don’t recognize, but I still have a blast. And some of the pros are just a joy to watch.

I’m going to keep working on it… and I’m recruiting some of my Cuban friends to help me improve. My goal is that when I’ve got travelers who want to dance, I can take them out on the floor without boring or embarrassing us!

Here’s an example of rueda from the city of Santiago de Cuba. My favorite moves are when the lead abandons their partner, rotates around the circle a bit, and lands a couple spots away with a new partner. Check it out!

Cover photo courtesy of Addicted2Dance and posted with permission.

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