Rueda de Casino
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Rueda de Casino was developed in Havana, Cuba in the late 1950s and early 1960s by the group Guaracheros de Regla and one of its main choreographers and creators was Jorge Alfaro from San Miguel del Padrón, a soloist of a comparsa. As a result of the Castro regime, many Cubans emigrated to the US, many to the Miami area. With them they took their culture including various foods, music and dancing. Rueda de Casino began to slowly make its way into the Miami salsa community and in the late 1980s and early 1990s it experienced an enormous explosion of popularity. From Miami, Rueda de Casino spread first to major U.S. metropolitan centers with large Hispanic populations and eventually to other cities, becoming a popular dance around the world. In 2014, the first International Rueda de Casino Multi Flash Mob took place in which people from 67 countries, including 199 cities, danced Rueda de Casino simultaneously.
Pairs of dancers form a circle, with dance moves called out by one person, a caller (or "líder" or "cantante" in Spanish). Many moves have hand signs to complement the calls; these are useful in noisy venues, where spoken calls might not be easily heard. Most moves involve the swapping of partners, where the partners move around the circle to the next partner. The combination of elaborate dance combinations and constant movement of partners create a visually spectacular effect.
The names of the moves are mostly in Spanish, some in English (or Spanglish; e.g., "un fly"). Some names are known in slightly different versions, easily recognizable by Spanish-speaking dancers, but may be confusing to the rest. Although the names of most calls are presently the same across the board, the different towns in Cuba use their own calls. This is because the pioneers of Rueda de Casino wanted to keep others from participating in their Rueda. Many local variations of the calls can now be found. They can change from town-to-town or even from teacher-to-teacher. There are many different variations of moves in Rueda de Casino.
The circle will either start from "al Medio" (normal closed hold with all the couples stepping in and out of the circle) or from Guapea (stepping forward on the inside foot and backward on the outside foot, tangent to the circle). Some of the most common moves in Rueda include: Dame, Enchufle, Vacila, and Sombrero. You can readily find an extensive list of Rueda de Casino moves in various websites. There are different hand motions that the caller can signal in case one's voice cannot be heard over the loud music. For example, the hand signal for Sombrero is the caller tapping the top of his or her head. This move is signaled when everyone in the circle is stepping backward.
International Rueda de Casino Groups
The major Rueda de Casino groups known throughout the world include:
|Rueda de Casino Team||Location||Description and Information|
|Fuakata||New York City||Famous Rueda team known for their fun formations and innovative choreography. Principal choreographers Christopher Rogicki and Evelyn Ramírez.|
|Ruedame||New York||Formed by a group of casino dancers from New York's Rueda at the Park (RaP), Ruedame uses a creative combination of traditional Cuban casino and rumba mixed with street dancing and hip-hop. Known for their extensive repertoire of fast-paced combinations and fun and interactive style, Ethan Wagner serves as director of the group.|
|DC Casineros||Washington||DC Casineros performs Cuban dance styles, including Rueda de Casino, Afro-Cuban rumba, Cha Cha Cha, Mambo, Danzon, and Yoruba Orisha dance, led by co-directors, Amanda Gill and Adrian Valdivia.|
|Minneami Salsa||Minneapolis, Minnesota||The first "public option" Rueda group. Winners of the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Twin Cities Open Ballroom Championship. Minneami Salseros have performed throughout the world, including China, Dominican Republic, and throughout the United States (i.e., Minnesota, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Philadelphia, and New York). Principal choreographers: Jim Schuman, Carol Tonkin, Julio Cabrera (Director of Salsa Rueda Passion), and Karla Juarez. Dance On1 / A-Tiempo.|
|Salseros DKY||Cuba||Salseros DKY is led by renowned casinero Yanek Revilla, an award-winning dancer from Santiago de Cuba in Oriente province. Yanek has won the rueda championship on the popular Cuban television program "Bailar Casino."|
|Piel Canela Dancers||New York City||Currently hosting the largest Rueda de Casino program in the Northeast. Offering 5 Levels and 11 classes a week. Program Founded and Directed by Alejandro Bouza.|
|Rumbanana||Corvallis, Oregon||Famous Rueda team, achieving prominence in major championships in USA and Europe. Choreographers Mike Eskeldson and Simona Boucek. Dance On1 / A-Tiempo.|
|SALSAtlanta||Atlanta, Georgia||Founded in July 1999 by SalsaPower.com co-founder, Julián Mejía, this school promotes Cuban and Miami style Casino around the United States and Julián is a sought-after instructor for major Cuban style dance events and creator and director of SALSAtlanta 10, the 3 Day Cuban Dance festival of the East Coast. Dance A-Tiempo and Contra-Tiempo.|
|The Rueda Project||Montreal, Quebec, Canada||Founded by Eduardo Andres Pinetti & Patrick Oppelsen, It is a rueda community in Montreal since 2007. Our philosophy first and foremost is to have fun. There’s a place for everyone!. Spread the passion for rueda, keep learning and evolving rueda together. Find us at |
|Salsa Racing||Miamia, Florida||Principal Choreographer Henry Herrera. Unfortunately, the Salsa Racing school no longer exists and Henry Herrera travels to give classes at congresses around the world. Dance on1 / A-Tiempo|
|Salsa Vale Todo||San Francisco, California||Innovators in Salsa Casino in the U.S. Creators and Directors of the Salsa Rueda Festival: the largest Cuban music and dance festival in the U.S. Directed by Nicholas Van Eyck and Serena Wong.|
|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Rueda_de_Casino|
- (English) "A Rueda Wiki including streaming flash videos, Spanish pronunciation guides, an English translation of the calls and much more! Also available in a soft cover book."
- (English) Absolute Salsa - an extensive list of steps descriptions in English, Spanish and Italian
- (Russian) "Rueda Calls & Descriptions"
- (Spanish) "Historia de la Rueda de Casino y la Salsa en Cuba"
- (English) "The Norwegian Rueda Standard includes a Reference to more than 100 Rueda Calls, Translations of Spanish Rueda Calls into English (and Norwegian), links to Videos on YouTube and more."