History of Rueda de Casino

Thanks to the defined structure of Casino, appeared the popular Rueda de Casino, a type of choreography in circle form that is made by several pairs of dancers, guided by a leader who "sings" the movements.....

In order to speak of the antecedents of the Rueda de Casino it is necessary to go back to the reign of Luis XIV in France where the first ballets first appeared. As of that moment they instituted "ballets de corte". In order to have a good title it was necessary to know certain choreographies that were performed in the celebrations of the nobility. Clear examples: the Minuet and the Contradanzas.

In the XVIII century, with the presence of French fleets in the bay of Havana, the arrival of emigrants of Louisiana, New Orleans and fundamentally the French emigration coming from Haiti with the 1791 revolution produced the appearance in Cuba of the French Contradanzas and derived from this the Cuban Contradanza arises. The court of Luis XIV, the Creole aristocracy, Spanish and including the town interpreted the dance with pre-planned figures that all had to know and directed by a bastonero.

There have been contradiction between the informants of the place where casino fist appeared. Some say that it first appeared in the Spanish Casino, Grammar school of Havana, the Patricio Lumumba and others say in the Sport Casino; what is true is that it expanded throughout the capital.

Rueda de Casino became a national phenomenon after Rosendo, choreographer and dancer of the “Ballet de la Televisión Cubana”, presented it in the televising program Para Bailar in 1980.

In orde to make a Rueda, there must be at least two couples, a leader, and that all " men " know the figures that he is going to sing. It is deduced, that the sprouting of the wheel has a social and group character. Rueda de Casino is done between friends and its main intention is diversion. Although, when acquiring the ability to dance in a Rueda, the competition starts between Ruedas and dancers: " The one that makes a mistake gets out of the Rueda " this constitutes diversion with a certain sense of responsibility.

Rueda de Casino demonstration by the Ritmos Latinos Club



If one is dancing Rueda for diversion, it does not matter, generally, if you are make a mistake, you do not know what "they sing", or if you invent a turn to solve the situation. It is very common to make a Rueda de Casino in private parties, meetings with friends, and, of course, in the dance floors.


The second case: the competitions between Ruedas, more typical in the dance floors where each group prepares its Rueda and its calls. The peculiar thing is that after they danced, they were their own judges.

The third case " The one that loses leaves ", as its name says, the leader calls and tries to deceive the dancers so that they lose, if they make a mistake they leave along their partner, or if the leader makes a mistake when calling "out of time", he also leaves and is replaced by other leader.

In order to dance in a Ruedal it is necessary to ask permission to the leader, he can approve it or not since this is a group manifestation. Another " democratic" way to disapprove the entrance of another couple is declaring " The one that loses leaves ". This consists of letting the couple enter and immediately singing a move that is only known by the group, evidently the unliked pair makes a mistaken and leaves.

The graduation of a casino dancer is to learn the Rueda. Therefore, in order to dance, it is necessary to first dominate casino.  It is true to say then that if the couple dominate casino perfectly,  they could dance Rueda de Casino with their eyes closed.

In the Rueda, the figures are executed by the men and the women constitute the base. The women maintain the circular structure and the rythm and the men do the "piruetas(turns)", the changes and the improvisations.

A Rueda de Casino is good not necessarily if the dancers are making complicated turns, but it depends on the skill of the leader. A leader must "sing" the Rueda with grace, creativity, respecting the times and continuity, because it would be possible to be turned into a disorganized Rueda for the dancers as for the spectators. A good leader is able to create figures in the moment and is able to precisely communicate them to the other dancers. Also a good leader adorns the calls with a phrase, Ex: "Oye ella te quiere apretar, pero tu le dices que no.

If the Rueda has too many couples, it is possible to make a Rueda inside a Rueda. But, above all, with or without a strict organization of a Rueda, remember that the entire purpose of the Rueda is to have fun with your friends.

The following are some examples of Rueda calls: Setenta, Panque, Evelyn, Enchufla, BeBe, and much, much more.


This is also a very imformative video on the history of Rueda de Casino: 

 Visit www.ritmoslatinos.org for Tucson's very own Rueda de Casino club. :)