LA RUEDA - Background and FAQs

As the popularity of Cuban style salsa continues to grow then so does La Rueda – Cuban style salsa in a group (see below for a full description).


I have been running Rueda classes in the area continuously since 2005 and have had up to four separate groups running each week, ranging from beginners to intermediate-plus.  As more people come into salsa and their abilities and confidence grows so they may  become interested in La Rueda.


The classes are structured and progressive; we do both couple combinations (which can all be used in free-dance) as well as group patterns.  It’s a system that has proved very successful over several years. 


Please note that rueda is NOT for salsa beginners, it is not about learning salsa but applying and developing the salsa that you already know in a Cuban style and having a lot of fun in a group activity. 


Please note that there are no Rueda Beginners sessions at the moment.



What is La Rueda?

La Rueda de Casino, to give it its full name, is a group salsa dance from Cuba. "Casino" is the name for Cuban style salsa and “rueda” is Spanish for wheel.


In La Rueda couples form a circle, the wheel of the name, and the whole group is under the control (Ha!) of the leader (the singer) who calls out the moves wholly at their whim.  Moves are a mixture of pre-set couple commbinations (which can all be used in free-dance) plus various exchanges of partners and group patterns.  The whole group performs these combinations and changes as one flowing, synchronised, harmonious mass.  Well that’s the theory anyway!  It’s fun when it works and even funnier when it doesn’t. But once again that’s the emphasis – rueda is FUN. Not only is it a great group-dance form but it will increase your salsa-move repertoire and improve your salsa generally.


How good does my salsa need to be to join in?

Rueda is NOT for salsa beginners. If you are thinking about doing La Rueda for the first time you should be competent with your basic salsa, i.e.

  • be at least at improver level;
  • know your left from your right and your one from your five;
  • be completely at ease to lead/follow clockwise and anti-clockwise turns, and a cross body lead - both simple and with an inside turn (rotating cross body).
  • be able to maintain the salsa rhythm completely automatically, even when out of hold - and be able to get back into step quickly when it goes wrong – and it will!

Doing Rueda is about applying and developing the salsa that you already know in a Cuban style and having a lot of fun in a group activity. Although it will undoubtedly improve your dancing and increase your repertoire of partner combinations it is NOT about learning basic salsa.


If you are in any doubt about whether your basic salsa is up to a level for rueda then please come and talk to me.


I dance cross-body salsa, will I manage?

Absolutely.  There are some differences between cross-body and Cuban salsa styles but as long as your basic salsa is ok then come along and have a great time.


What's the point, there's not much rueda about?

Apart from having a lot of fun in the sessions and learning some group routines, rueda develops and improves your salsa generally and you will learn new couple combinations that can all be used in social free-dance.


I don’t have a partner, can I still join in?

Absolutely.  As with any salsa class lots of people come on their own.  Although La Rueda is fundamentally a group dance for couples we can always manage when there are extras.


Rueda Session Video

This is a video of one of the groups quite a while ago.  It's not a beginners' group (they were once though!) but it is typical of the combinations and changes of intermediate level rueda.  And as you can see, it doesn't always go right all of the time, but what the heck, it's fun.



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This site last updated

10 May 2022


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