Dance Genres

Photo: Kerry Tasker

We are a Cuban dance company. The main kinds of classes we teach are Cuban salsa (casino and rueda de casino), salsa suelta, and son. We also have many fabulous guest instructors at our studio teaching other genres!

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 is also an antecedent to the global “salsa” phenomenon. The dance’s namesake is Havana’s Casino Deportivo in Miramar, a popular concert venue during the late 1950s and early 1960s, where “el baile de casino” was all the rage. The dance is characterized by its upbeat, playful 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 can be danced to a variety of music, but today it is often paired with salsa and with Cuba’s timba genre. In recent years, Cuban dancers incorporate more steps from other Cuban popular dances into casino, continually developing this very adaptable Cuban social dance.
Rueda de casino, sometimes referred to with English syntax as “casino rueda” or as “salsa rueda” for English speakers, is a dynamic way of dancing some casino movements within a group while rapidly changing partners, and the fun, game-like formation has achieved international popularity.
Salsa Suelta is a mix of Cuban dance steps performed outside of partner work, also referred to as pasos sueltos. Today, the music term “timba” is sometimes also borrowed to refer to dancing both casino in couples and as pasos sueltos.
Son, or Son Cubano, is a precursor to casino and salsa as well as an initial inspiration for the 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. It 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 long 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: Rumba (such as guanguancó and columbia), pilón, chachachá, mambo, and conga. We also teach the Cuban style of reggaeton, and we are working on incorporating more Afro-Cuban dance (such as orishas or Yoruba dance, arará, and palo) into our teaching repertoire in the future.

While we are primarily a Cuban dance company, we also invite guest instructors to teach and perform other styles of dance. Please contact us if you are interested in working together!