Although Rueda Cubana is not a new and cutting edge addition to the realm of salsa dancing (it originated in Cuba in the late 1960s), it has become a recent addition to my partner-dance repertoire and as such, gets its own post.
Salsa Rueda – sometimes called Rueda Cubana or Rueda de Casino – is Cuban Salsa danced with two or more couples “in the round.” Similar to square dancing, there is a caller who gives either vocal commands or hand signals to signify to the group what move they perform next.
To give you an idea, here are some members of Oklahoma State University’s Latin Dancing and Cultural Club rehearsing for a performance in 2007:
For the lead, the basic steps are slightly different from club and ballroom salsa, but for the follower, the basic steps are the same. The turn and cross-body lead that allows for the partner switch is called an Enchufla and Dile que no.
I consider myself a good follower as far as dancing goes, so picking up this variation of salsa came fairly easily for me. I danced Rueda once last semester and could barely keep up with the advanced group I ended up in. However, this past Wednesday, I joined the Rueda group here in Stillwater to learn the basics and loved it.
This type of dance is very different from regular forms of salsa in that the emphasis is less on the relationship and connection between partners and more about the “game” at hand – trying to keep up with the caller and the rest of the group.
Here’s another example of an actual performance. If you listen carefully, you can hear the commands.