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Salsa / Casino / Rueda

During the 1950's a dance called Casino Rueda, or Rueda de Casino, or simply Rueda became popular in Cuba. It started in El Casino Deportivo, a Havana social club. The name Casino, which comes from the social club in which the dance began, refers to the style of dancing. It refers to the kinds of turns and steps you would normally do in ordinary salsa dancing, but which make Casino Rueda unique in that the dancing is done in a circle or wheel, as a group. In Rueda the followers are passed around in the circle, with the leaders rapidly exchanging of partners, and numerous complicated moves are done in synchronization, all done to the beat of Salsa music. Each move has a name and many have hand signals, and are called by the leader of the Rueda. Moves, which are also known as "calls," are sometimes called in extremely quick succession, creating a very dynamic and exciting atmosphere for everyone involved. The hand signals are designed people to be able to dance a Rueda in a loud club setting. In addition, Rueda allows many to take part in the action! As few as two couples can dance Casino Rueda, but also as large as a space can hold! Sometimes as many as fifty couples dance the Rueda, even in circles within circles!!

A wonderful new group dynamic occurs when dancing Casino Rueda. There is a unique level of awareness, unmatched in other dances, required by the group for the dance to look stylish, flow smoothly, and above all, to keep it entertaining and fun for those dancing and even for those watching! Dancers learn to open their sphere of awareness, their peripheral vision, beyond the normal restricted space of solo or partner dancing. In this way, dancers coordinate and adjust their individual feel, timing and style so as to make the Rueda work. It is very exciting when the entire Rueda is moving smoothly and on beat! A unique group atmosphere develops as you feel the whole Rueda flow, listening to the wonderful Afro-Cuban/Latin-American music. It is simply an exciting dance which is fun to do and a pleasure to watch.