When I was living in Corvallis my friend, Pat wanted to take a Cuban Salsa dance class but didn’t want to go by himself, so I told him I’d take the class too. I like dancing and thought, why not? Turns out it was just the introduction I needed and led to multiple years of involvement and fun.
The way I learned was in the format of Rueda de Casino. Rueda de Casino is danced with a group. One member of the group calls out a move (typically in Spanish) that we’ve all learned, and the group performs the move in unison, often switching partners. It’s very social and makes the dance very approachable for non-coupled individuals. Once you’ve learned the moves in Rueda de Casino, they can translate into moves you can use while social dancing with just one partner. It’s really a brilliant way to learn a dance. After some months taking classes I also began to participate in a Rueda de Casino performance group in Corvallis.
While learning the dance started as something to do on Tuesday nights in Corvallis, it turned into a beautiful way to meet people from all over the world. The people I danced with were from Ukraine, Mexico, Iran, Czech Republic, Nigeria, etc. I formed friendships and still maintain those relationships today even though both they and I have moved away from Corvallis. This dance is also taught across the world. When Kurt and I went on a Europe trip in 2016, we specifically made a stop in Stuttgart Germany. There was a dance festival taking place and my Ukrainian friend, Nastya who was living in Germany at the time met us there. She and I took classes and attended a concert. Though few people spoke English we could still learn, dance and have a great time.
The 1st Friday of every month is Cuban Salsa night at a club in Portland. The dancing doesn’t start until 10:30 p.m.(!!), so I don’t go nearly as much these days because sleep is a precious commodity with little ones. My husband Kurt, knows how much I enjoy it, so he encourages me to go on occasion even if that means staying up late!
If you’re interested in trying Cuban Salsa, I’m happy to connect you to the local dance community.
Check out Patricia’s videos of her group Rueda performance in 2015, and her dancing in Stuttgart with Instructor Rafael Baro.