Cuban Salsa (“Casino”) and Rueda de Casino grew up in Cuba in the second half of the twentieth century, a “Salsa” emerging from the rich mix of dances and rhythms already thriving throughout the island, including Son, Cha Cha Cha, Mambo, and multiple African-based expressions. The widespread global popularity of Cuban Salsa speaks to the depth of its roots in Afro-Cuban traditions, and its capacity to keep growing and re-rooting in new places.
Casino refers to Cuban style salsa in partners, while Rueda de Casino, is a circle, or wheel (rueda) of partners dancing in unison in response to the calls of the leader in the group. “Calls” in a Rueda include turns patterns, footwork sequences, and various games. Many of the calls for Rueda in Cuba speak to pop-culture themes and expressions, a repertoire that can expand and adapt to the many local cultures it encounters as it spreads throughout the globe.
Many students new to dance, or new to this form, find Cuban Salsa to be a joyful and social opportunity to re-discover a more easeful, natural way of being in their bodies. Cuban Salsa does not prescribe “style,” but allows for discovery of the beauty and sensuality of each individual body in motion.
Creativity, playfulness, surprise, improvisation, connection with your partner, and most importantly, an active relationship with the music are some of the unique aspects of Cuban Salsa.
In the Beginner Workshop, students focus on developing dance fundamentals, including rhythm, coordination, balance, and range of motion, and the specific artistic and technical aspects of Cuban Salsa, including body movement, basic steps and turn patterns, partnering technique, and the basic calls of Rueda de Casino. The Intermediate and Advanced levels are for students who have worked on the fundamentals and are ready to develop their artistry and personal style.
The technique and vocabulary for this class reflects over a decade of study of the African-based dances of Cuba, Ballet, West African, and Contemporary dance, and an ongoing exploration of how these forms speak to each other. Rooted in Yoruba-based dance from Cuba and classical ballet, the technical foundation for this class focuses on the “set-point” between tension and release, and where that point is “felt” in the body in different dance expressions. The interplay between contraction and expansion, gathering energy verses sending it out, explorations of the ways rhythm, time, and space may be understood and felt differently across genres, may all offer insight into how dance embodies multiple ways of being and seeing. Questions that might arise from this process include: what can dance and various cultural forms teach us about each other and ourselves? How static or how fluid are these various body-based perspectives? What are the opportunities and what are the limits around engaging dance forms labeled “traditional,” “popular,” “sacred,” “folkloric,” “classical,” and “modern”? Is it possible to create brand new languages? If so, when, how, who is speaking, and what are the implications?
Click here to view my class calendar