Dances

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Photo: Kerry Tasker

We are primarily a Cuban dance company, specializing in Cuban salsa and son. 

Casino, sometimes referred to outside of Cuba or in broad contexts as “Cuban salsa” is a lively social dance that is led and followed. Casino draws from son, chachachá, mambo, and other Cuban sources as well as American rock and roll, and is an antecedent to the “salsa” phenomenon. The dance’s namesake is Havana’s Casino Deportivo, a popular concert venue during the late 1950s and early 1960s, where “el baile de casino” was all the rage, inspired by the different Cuban dance musics of the time. The dance is characterized by its upbeat energy and, among other stylistic elements, its many enredos, or pretzel-turns, which test both agility and rhythm. It is unique among Cuban dances in that it has no musical genre associated to the name and actually can be danced to a variety of music, but today it is often paired with Cuba’s timba genre. In recent years, Cuban dancers incorporate steps from other Cuban popular dances into casino, further expanding the bounds of Cuban social dance.
Rueda de casino, sometimes mistakenly referred to as “casino rueda” or “salsa rueda”, is a dynamic way of dancing some casino moves within a group while rapidly changing partners, and the formation has achieved international popularity.
Cuban dance steps performed outside of partner work are referred to as pasos sueltos, or sometimes as “salsa suelta“.

Son, or Son Cubano, is at once an antedecent to casino and to the first “salsa” dancing in New York as well as a basis for the “International Style Rumba” or “Rhumba” ballroom dance (not to be confused with the Cuban popular dance of the same name). It is a musical and social dance genre from Cuba’s eastern side which has existed for well over a century, and is performed contratiempo to the son clave, a rhythm which has long permeated Latin and American music in the United States and beyond. This dance’s suave elegance and its characteristic tornillos are a highlight, along with its classic social dance patterns which have inspired dancers across social dance genres.

Other Cuban dances which you may find making appearances in our workshops and/or with guest instructors include, but are not limited to: Afro-Cuban rumba (such as guanguancó and columbia) and other Afro-Cuban dances, pilón, chachachá, mambo, and conga. We also teach the Cuban style of reggaeton.

While we are primarily a Cuban dance company, we also invite guest instructors to teach and perform other Latin, Afro-Latin, and African dances – all of which are pertinent to Cuban history and development of Cuban dance!