History of Rueda de Casino

Rueda de Casino is a style of salsa dancing that was created in Cuba many years ago. It is a dance for two or more couples, with one leader who calls out different movements or steps. When there are more than two couples the dance is done in Rueda (circle shape). This kind of dance is excellent for creating a social environment among the dancer or the people watching. At the same time, it is lots of fun!

To find the origin of Rueda de Casino we should go back in time in Cuba. In the 18th century, one style of dance with European origin became popular all over Cuba during that time. This dance was Contradanza, another type of group dance, with several couples dancing directed by one caller called a Bastonero.

With all the fusion and mixes that our culture has been exposed to, Contradanza was also influenced by all the other immigrant cultures in Cuba of that time. At the same time, the creation of other Cuban rhythms, like Son, Danzon, Danzonete, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, and Rumba created the foundation of the Casino style. Later, Rueda de Casino appeared, showing the character of the Cuban people.

The name, Rueda de Casino has its own history. After 1959, gambling casinos were closed and some of them reopened as dance halls. At the beginning, people kept calling the dance halls casinos and, as a result the type of dance done there was called Casino. Some people say that the name of Rueda came from the Patricio Lumumba, a famous dancing place at that time. Others say that it came from the Sociedad de Recreo de Casino de la Playa. Regardless of where the name originated, the style of dance came to be part of the Cuban identity.

In the 1980’s, a couple named Rosendo y Caruca, choreographers and dancers of the National TV Ballet in Cuba, brought the Casino style and Rueda to the big stage of dance on the TV program Para Bailar. Since then, Rueda is danced all around the world.

There are many different calls involved in Rueda dancing. Some of them change from country to country, or group to group, depending on where you are. A few examples of the basic calls are: enchufla, setenta, vacilala, la prima. You can also create your own calls and join the growing family of Casineros (Casino style dancers). Whether you are Cuban or not you will have fun dancing Rueda de Casino!