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Hello salsa friends! I just returned home from a March Break trip to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico with my son. I didn’t get a chance to dance any salsa there – but we did have the pleasure of visiting El Bodeguita Del Medio – one of a chain of restauraunt/bars that pay homage to the Havana original. We enjoyed their all-you-can-eat roast chicken, rice, beans and plantains meal that seemed based around Havana favourite El Aljibe, and a fantastic live band that played an opening set of gentler son and traditional type music – think Guantanamera – followed by a second set of salsa.... It was a blast, and if you happen to be in the area, I recommend it – and if you’re not too busy playing Go Fish with a seven year old like I was, you’ll probably find your self enjoying some salsa dancing! 
Featured Move: El Cero
Our featured move today is El Cero, a Cuban salsa casino move:
* It begins with an enchufla
* Towards the end of the enchufla, the lead continues to hold the follows’ right hand, and then steps forward while raising their arm straight up in the air to allow the follow to walk around behind the lead
* As the follow reaches the leads’ left side, the lead releases the follows hand and lifts their left arm straight up in the air in order to place it behind the leads back and then steps back to allow room for the follow to continue around in front of the lead to the leads left side
* As the follow approaches the leads right side, the lead once again places their own arm behind the follows back and guides the follow back to face them in a guapea position
View this move
Mije DanD demonstrate El Cero
Mije DanD demonstrate El Cero
The Rueda Standard

Background

Rueda de Casino, the Cuban group circle dance, was born in Havana, Cuba in the 1950s. Created over time by a group of young friends who danced together on Sunday afternoons. The genesis of the dance is closely associated with the recreation centre El Casino Deportivo de La Habana, hence the name.

As the new dance evolved, people around Havana and Cuba started to see what the dancers from the casino were doing, and it caught on – becoming quite popular for a period, eventually fading out a bit in the late 60s and early 70s. It was revived in the 70s in part thanks to cultural initiatives by the Cuban government, and also due to the Cuban TV show Para Bailar.

Thanks to the global explosion of salsa music and dancing in the 60s and 70s, as well as tourism to Cuba and the diaspora of Cuban expats, casino and rueda has been on the rise worldwide in recent decades.


The Standard

In 2002, a group of Norwegian rueda instructors from the SalsaNor organization got together at a rueda congress in the country and decided on a core set of rueda basics that would allow students and dancers to have a shared set of basic knowledge and moves.

The standard was originally known as “The Norwegian Rueda Standard” and comprised 50 moves. It has been revised consistently over the years – growing substantially in size to well over one hundred moves – rueda is a living breathing art, and the standard aims to acknowledge that, and remain current. As well, the “Norwegian” designation was dropped from the title to reflect both that the standard is being used elsewhere in the world, and that there’s nothing Norwegian about the style of the dancing – only the origin.

You’ll find Rueda Standard videos available on YouTube, and an index of the standard on their Rueda Standard website.
 

Dancing The Beautiful Wheel

Dancing the Beautiful Wheel - A Guide to Rueda de CasinoA book by Ian Smith, a member of Cambridge Rueda UK, Dancing The Beautiful Wheel, published in 2012, contains an extensive index of rueda moves, as well as background information and also an index of the Rueda Standard circa 2011. It offers both a good read and a useful reference on the subject.

 
That’s all for this week, thanks for reading, and I hope that you find some time to get out there and dance the beautiful wheel yourself!
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Copyright © 2019 Gordon B. Isnor, All rights reserved.


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