Casino Rueda, otherwise wrongly called Cuban salsa, predates salsa. It’s a fascinating social dance that originated in Cuba, where groups of couples gathered together to dance. It came to light in the early 20th century and involved people dancing in a circular motion.
What is casino rueda?
Casino Rueda, which sprang in Cuba in the 1950s, was a social dance form involving many couples. These couples would then band together; and, under the guidance of a “caller”, execute fascinating dance moves in a choreographed manner. The dance then evolved to a form that is danced exclusively by one to one couple. However, the original genre is still present today and is prevalent in many countries.
One of its main characteristics is that dancers move in a circular motion, similar to the rotations of a casino game. Depending on what moves the caller asks for, dancers either move forward-backward, walk, turn, bend or step sideways. Today one can see many acrobatic moves incorporated into the dance style. The key is that the structure keeps moving, and people form a cohesive group. Of course, all these steps need to be done on beat.
Facts about casino rueda
This dance style drew its inspiration from many different Cuban dance styles, such as Son, chachacha, or rumba Guaguanco. It became so popular in Cuba that at a regional level, many clubs were formed and participated in dancing competitions. As a result of its group structure, casino Rueda played a vital role in the social cohesion of Cuban society. Later, it evolved to include single couples in what became known as casino salsa. However, the latter is a misnomer as the style differs from salsa, even if some choreographies are similar.
Benefits of casino rueda
Casino Rueda is one of the best ways to socialize and create networking. Based on my years working for MNCs, I argue that it is more effective than any other team-building activity in creating employee cohesion. Indeed, there are three great reasons for this fact.
🇨🇺 Break physical barriers
First, the physical barrier that prevents an intimate conversation between individuals is broken. Indeed, when you dance casino Rueda, you are just a few inches away from your partner. However, unlike other settings where close contact might be inappropriate, in casino Rueda, this is acceptable as individuals are concentrated solely on executing their moves.
🇨🇺 Increase networking
The second benefit of this dance is that the changes of partners allow for a rapid spread of contacts. How often have you been in a seminar and sat close to a colleague you don’t know the name of? With casino Rueda, the only two things you can do is dance and communicate.
🇨🇺 Enhance Cohesion
A third valid point could even be added to the list of benefits: Cohesion versus a common enemy (all done in a fun and great spirit). Most people do not know how to dance casino Rueda. Therefore colleagues using Casino Rueda to participate in a team-building activity are likely to help each other and focus on executing the task. I witnessed it when my team in Shanghai had to do a casino Rueda choreography in front of judges and spectators we did not know. Our only option was to join forces together, rehearse properly and ensure everyone was ready for the day of the show. Even up to the last seconds before our choreography, we helped and communicated with each other. Therefore, I highly recommend companies and businesses that need more ideas to motivate their team to consider casino Rueda.
Basic moves of casino rueda
🇨🇺 Walk forward-backward
One key step that characterizes this dance is a walking motion on the full count of 8. Generally speaking, in salsa, dancers move forward and backward on a basic step timing (an eight count). With this move, casino Rueda dancers can go 1,2 or more eight counts in one circular direction. This is generally used to prepare dancers for more complicated steps to come. Note that dancers can go backward also using these steps.
🇨🇺 Basic back step
This move is used frequently in casino Rueda. It consists of dancers breaking backward on the first beat, then gently pushing their partner on the 5th beat at the center. It is used to initiate turns or when a change of partners is about to be requested.
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