Cuban Salsa in the Round

Arcata Rueda is offering a 6-week introductory series in salsa rueda. The introductory class is offered only 4 times a year so take this opportunity! The cost of the series is $45. Location: Redwood Raks (824 L St, Arcata). Every Wednesday 7:15pm.

What is salsa rueda? The "Rueda" (wheel) is a circle of couples dancing together, frequently changing partners, to patterns called out in Spanish or shown with hand signals. It's also known as "Rueda de casino", basically a wheel of cuban salsa. The dance has its roots in Cuban Son and Afro-Cuban Rumba; the name originates from the "casinos" or community centers in Cuba where it became popular in the late 1950s. Casino is a playful and flirtatious style in which dancers move in a circle around each other rather than in a linear slot. It is most often done by individual couples, but the rueda format is used for teaching and is a super fun activity for dance parties and other social events. Examples abound on YouTube.

You don't need to come with a partner (most people do not). In fact you must be willing to change partners as it's part of the dance, helps you learn quicker, and is part of the fun. Previous partner dance experience is helpful, but the only requirement is a positive attitude, a desire to learn, and a degree of stick-to-it-iveness.

In the introductory (Level 1) classes, we will progress through the basic building blocks of casino: the basic step (guapea), cross-body lead (dile que no), how to change partners (dame una and dame directo), enchufla, adios, exhibela, paseala, and closed position calls. If you're new to cuban salsa, you should plan on attending the entire series.

For those who have mastered Levels 1 and 2, an intermediate class will continue at 8:15pm and typically focuses on figures built up from the motions learned in the beginning class, as well as leading and following technique and elements of other dances that have become part of the casino repertoir: cuban son, afro-cuban rumba, pilon, reggaton. Drop-ins may attend the intermediate class for $11.