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Rueda de Casino (commonly known as Rueda) is a Cuban Street dance that was originally done in the 50’s in Cuba but became increasingly popular in the 90’s in the U.S. Some dance historians suggest that Rueda originated as a dance done primarily among poor, black Cubans who could not afford to belong to the social clubs (a.k.a. casinos) found in the cities. More affluent Cubans adopted the dance and moved the dance form into the social clubs where it became known as Rueda de Casino. Some suggest that the dance was seldom done outside of Cuba until the poorer Afro-Cubans (who continue to be the primary innovators of the dance) were able to migrate abroad. The emergence of Rueda outside of Cuba began in Miami but has now spread to many salsa communities all over the U.S. including New York, Chicago, Washington DC and San Francisco.
Rueda is composed of the same footwork done in Salsa but
couples dance in a round (Rueda is Spanish for wheel).
Couples initially assemble in a circle and the Rueda leader or
“caller” yells out patterns. One
of the unique features of Rueda is that couples perform synchronized patterns
and often change partners in response to the caller’s instruction—much like
what is done in square dancing.
to nine or ten couples usually perform Rueda.
In the beginning of the Rueda, the leaders, keeping a close eye on the
caller, move their followers in counterclockwise direction around the circle.
Two to nine or ten couples usually perform Rueda. In the beginning of the Rueda, the leaders, keeping a close eye on the caller, move their followers in counterclockwise direction around the circle.
“ Arriba” means that the couples is moving counterclockwise and “abajo” means that the couple is moving clockwise while maintaining the circle.
At various times during the dance, participants can move “in” or
“out”. in relationship to the center of the circle.
Some of the common “calls” or instructions that couples respond to
UNA (Give me one)
leader performs a cross body lead but at the end moves to the next follower to
DOS (Give me two)
leader performs a cross body lead and moves to the second follower to his right
For descriptions of more Rueda patterns, check out:
San Francisco Bay Area Rueda instructors include:
Russ Hamer at http://www.salsarueda.com
Ramon Ramos-Alayo at email@example.com or (510)436-7427
Tony Ramirez (510)848-9622
Gabriel Romero at firstname.lastname@example.org Website/email: www.albertos.com
Alain Amilkar Soto at email@example.com or (510)436-7427
people estimate that there are over 200 different Rueda patterns and new
patterns are being created all the time. The same Rueda pattern may be called by
different names depending on your caller or what city you are dancing in.
the spring, Rueda fanatics and other devotees of Salsa from all over the world
descend upon Miami to for the Calle Ocho Festival (officially known as Carnival Miami) for workshops, performances ,non-stop dancing and parties.
The annual festivities take place along the 23 blocks of Calle Ocho
(Southwest Eighth Street) in Miami. Since 1977 Calle Ocho has been organized by
the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana, a community based service organization
engaged in numerous civic projects. Calle
Ocho now attracts over one million people dancing and grooving at what may be
the world’s biggest block party. There
are plenty of foods and drink stands featuring a wide array of selections from
all over Latin America. In prior
years Calle Ocho have had 20 band stages and featured performances from world
famous salsa stars such as Grupo Niche, Oscar D’Leon, Celia Cruz and El Gran
Combo from Puerto Rico. For more
information on the history of Calle Ocho check out Liz Hackley’s essays at:
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