Responses to "What is Rueda de Casino?" / Respuestas al editorial, Qué es la Rueda de Casino?


By/Por: SalsaPower Readers

Responses in original language only. No translations.
  Respuestas en el idioma original solamente. No hay traducciones.

Felicitaciones!!!


Nunca había leído un comentario tan exacto de lo que es nuestra Rueda de Casino. Y aunque en estas cosas de actividades populares que envuelven grupos de personas y donde los sentimientos artísticos dominan, nadie sabe nada en cuanto a fecha de origen y/o lugar. SI!! Y por seguro, la gente que participaron en aquellos "amaneceres" de dichas tendencias, pueden atestiguar mejor de las cosas que sucedian y por qué sucedían.

Yo tengo 56 años y soy un humilde hombre cubano, que vivió de muchacho aquellos tiempos, y por eso te felicito en tu descripción de Rueda de Casino.

Cuba, antes de Castro, era sin duda, lo que han tratado de hacer en Hawai hoy día, un verdadero paraíso.

Habían dos vuelos que viajaban de Nueva York a la Habana, uno el jueves y el otro en viernes, y de nuevo, ambos lo hacían en día sábado (siempre el día más congregado), para que los millonarios "del norte", como solían decir mis padres, fueran a gastar dinero y a admirar las "nalgas" de la mujer típica cubana (mezcla de español y negra) La gente iba a Tropicana, a Sam Susie (ambos Casinos de Juego y Cabarets), genialidades de Arquitectura para su tiempo y derroche de fortunas inmensas en marmol, granite y maderas preciosas (estos dos, en las afueras de la Habana) que eran los colosos del dinero y de los "Casinos" a los que te refieres, donde la "clase" sobraba, y donde ademas se hacían derroches de ropas de lino fino (el más caro este), además de hilo de hasta 400 puntos/pulgada pero extremadamente finos, para las guayaberas que para aquellos tiempos costaban hasta 30 pesos una guayabera (una fortuna de dinero cuando un pasaje de avión Miami-Habana costaba 25 dolares. (Era tan rica Cuba que nadie aceptaba dolares pagando en lugar de pesos, pues el peso cubano valía dos centavos más que el dolar). Imagínate eso!! Podrás oir todo lo que quieras de Cuba, malo o bueno, verdad o mentira, cuentos o realidades, pero, ¿¿¿Qué te dice que el hecho de que la moneda llegara a ser mas fuerte que el "endiosado" Dollar ??? La prensa de ese tiempo lo atestigua.

Volviendo al tema: En ese estado riquísimo de Sociedad y Negocios aquí y allá, en el area de las playas se empezaron a crear Casinos pues, al Tropicano y Sam Susie, estar situados en Marianao (como decir Miami o los Angeles), los ricos de esos tiempos crearon Centros playeros.


Asi aparecieron El Casino Deportivo, Miramar Yatch Club, etc., donde se trajo desde las calles de la Habana ese baile madre llamado SON ((( no danzón, es mentira, pues este ni aun se bailaba completo, de hecho cada pieza que ejecutaba la orquesta tenía momentos donde la mujer hacía mover (después de parar de bailar) por mas o menos un minuto completo un abanico floreado y, muy femeninamente "refrescaba" a su compañero con dicho abanico sin hacerle creer que lo que realmente quería hacer era "calentarlo" ))).

El son, por su parte era más de caderas y bien "sato" (no he visto americana bailar con tanta satería cubana como lo hace Lexi St Laurent, que quiero y respeto mucho) y se refina un poco al llegar a aquellos casinos donde coreógrafos de Tropicana de aquel tiempo, (Un tal VIDAL de apellido) creó pasos como "métele el dedo", "bikinea", "sácala a Pasear ", "arriba", "abajo", "adiós", etc., ( todavía me acuerdo) y hacían la RUEDA DE BAILE DE LOS CASINOS como se decía en aquel tiempo.


Tenía la principal característica que la "cantaba" (ordenar los steps) un hombre desde afuera de la rueda que era el que mejor podía notar la belleza de lo que estaba pasando.

Por último, el que "cantaba", tenía que conocer muy bien esas técnicas porque, era más famoso, el que más "seguido" cantaba la rueda (ordenar pasos uno tras otro, más seguido) pues era como un derroche de conocedor de pasos, y además mantenía la rueda en un espíritu muy activo, muy intenso espiritualmente, en otras palabras, podía llegar a sentirse lo que siente la mulata que se ha hecho tan rica en fama, que ya no es mujer, sino un delirio que ha llegado a Japon, a Australia, a Norway, y AL MUNDO.


Por eso es que te escribo a tí, por que sé respetar a cualquiera que hace una cosa tan sencilla como expresar que siente The Ultimate Compliment por que alguien le diga que baila y se mueve como un cubano. ¿¿O no es además sencillo decir que baila tango como un argentino o Rock & Roll como un americano??

Lo que si "ofende", es utilizar el Son o la Rueda de Casino para "dar clases" y hacer dinero, y no bailar como lo hacen Lexi, Enriquito y Carla (que también quiero mucho) , etc.... y seguro, muchos más por ahí.


Para aprender a "hacer negocios y tumbar a la gente" venga a los Estados Unidos, para conocer de Arte y Belleza, Europa. Para bailar Casino o Son, se nace, no cuesta nada. Es un feeling que te envuelve, no simplemente que te guste, no es que bailes cuando te saquen a bailar, Se baila !!

Para tí, Jacira, mis mejores deseos de que triunfes, y si deseas oir un poco mas, y no te aburre esta lectura, dejame saber, que si es rueda, (preguntale a Enriquito) SON o feeling, allí yo quiero estar.


Gracias,

Carlos Garcés

Hola SalsaPower,

Leí su artículo sobre el origen de la rueda de casino y quisiera anexar algo que me contaron dos bailarines y profesores cubanos con los que trabajé 6 años como su alumno en la Universidad del Valle en Cali, Colombia.


Además de los casinos, la idea era entre los jóvenes desafiarse en la complicación de pasos (recuérdese la rumba columbia o guaguancó), que por la caracteristicas de ser baile de jóvenes y clubes, estaríamos hablando de manifestación cultural urbana. Es decir como el brake dance en estados unidos (esto es interpretación mía).

Pero volviendo al tema diré que antes de la rueda cada música tenía su forma de ser bailada: Danzón, Cha cha chá, mambo. Y en eso se centraban los músicos, que su producción llegara facil al público, estaríamos hablando entonces de coreografiar. La rueda tiene una diferencia con lo anterior y es que es posible "utilizar" los pasos para diferentes músicas, aunque aquí en Cali Colombia esté asociada a la timba. Además porque el bailador aporta a la rueda, la enriquece, lo que la hace flexible y accesible para el bailador, quien observa su en torno y lo traduce en giros (balsero, p.ej.).


Diría entonces la rueda se convierte hoy en espacios de socialización importante en las grandes ciudades.

Saludos,


Alexander Arias Calero, Baila y Sociólogo
"Bailar siempre sera una pregunta y no una respuesta para vivir"



Dear Jacira:


Herein some thoughts on your attempt at setting the social phenomena around "Rueda de casino" or "Casino rueda" within a particular line of thinking, which could very well be described as a conversation starter with little historical import.

First off the matter of naming social phenomena, which impinges in at least two issues in your editorial; to wit, the wrongful conflation of Salsa with Cuban music and the so-called backwardness of English grammatical structure in relation to the Spanish one. Let us talk about the latter one first and leave the delicious pounding of the exclusive Cubanization of Salsa for later.

Languages, as well as cultures, or anything else for that matter, develop according to their own logic and experiences that do not have to absolutely correspond to any other or even anything else. German grammar would seem barbaric or even illogic to a Spanish speaker, Mandarin Chinese has thousands of characters, Hungarian is no walk in the park, Bushman speak in clicks that sound like someone with two castanets imbedded in the mouth and Navajo verb forms, after being attached to a gazillion amount of prefixes, must agree with the subject, and both the direct and the indirect object. 

Which one is more backward in relation to the other? Why? Who cares? Is the grammatical structure of English "a bit backwards from Spanish?" Perhaps to an ideological Spanish speaker, otherwise, the best type of communication between human beings relies on effectiveness and economy of expression in relation to the conveyance of meaning. That is one of the reasons why religious dictums such as "God is love" or "If you do not keep your master’s teaching in your heart will you not become your own deceiver?" are more effective in passing on meaning than any Summa or commentary seeking to explain them. There are very good grounds for English, for example, being the business language of the world. One could immediately think of its economy of expression, its malleability that lends itself to abbreviation and a facility to serve its purpose without getting laden with affected purisms. 

Therefore, for the intellectually challenged "Rueda de casino" would be the GC Spanish term and "Casino rueda" an adaptation under English influences that rose from the people themselves to facilitate the process of communication about this dancing and cultural phenomena. Which one should be used? Whichever you want or like! You say "tomatoe" and I say tomato. Hehehe…

As for Salsa, let us begin with a simple expression: Salsa≠Cuban music. Salsa proper is the way of doing music, mostly from varying degrees of Cuban, Puerto Rican, Spanish-Caribbean and North American stock, stemming from New York from the mid 60’s onwards that corresponds to its own social, intellectual, musical and cultural contexts that differ significantly from anything commonly mistaken as "purely" Cuban. From there, it became what Venezuelan author César Miguel Rondón rightly called, in his famed and almost definitive work on Salsa, the urban music of the Spanish Caribbean. Salsa has its own social, economic, cultural, linguistic, artistic, ethnic and musical identity from which many are increasingly leeching off polluting the dialogue about these matters. Surely, much more could be said on this matter but suffice it to say that merely equating or reducing Salsa to Cuban music says more about the ideological and political intentions, prejudices and limitations of those purveying such misinformation than the actual truth of the matter at hand.

"Casino" dancers in pre-dictatorship Cuba, for example, were not dancing to Salsa; they were dancing to various forms of readily identifiable Cuban musical genres. Contemporary "Casino" dancers, on the other hand, more often than not, dance to Salsa music and not to contemporary Cuban music. Of course, it would be possible to do a "Rueda" with Timba, but one often sees Frankie Ruiz, Grupo Niche or Conexión Latina working out far better for such purposes than Klimax or Manolito y su Trabuco. "Rueda de casino" is not "the roots of what you can see danced in Miami, and around the world today," as you state, unless you are exclusively talking about the "ruedero" environment, in which case, it would be the truth. "Rueda" was and still is a fringe growth within Latin dance musical developments and was not even as dominant in Cuba as you make it to be. Who was dancing "Rueda" in New York during the ‘50’s? Who was dancing "Rueda" in Puerto Rico during the ‘60’s? Who was dancing "Rueda" in Venezuela during the ‘70’s? Hell, who was dancing "Rueda" in Cuba during the ‘80’s! The dancing frame of reference for the complex represented by the Salsa phenomena has more in common with dancing styles coming out of New York, Puerto Rico and the Spanish Caribbean than anything that happened in Cuban Casinos. As a matter of fact, "Rueda de casino" has been recently revived from its actual historical obscurity rather than being a somewhat leading form of dancing pattern or point of reference for those audiences that enjoy dancing to that which is properly called Salsa and some forms of Cuban music. Tracing the roots of "Casino rueda" dancing to Danzón, Son, Guaguancó and Mambo is quite misleading as all those musical genres have their own complex interactions and points of social, cultural and historical interjections that connect at times, albeit remaining separate at others. They also developed in many alternate ways outside of Cuba with and without direct connection to their Cuban predecessors. Cachao, by the way, was not simply the inventor of the Mambo and Pérez Prado its popularizer as many mistakenly believe. The best scholarship on these matters has conclusively shown that what became the Mambo was already in the air so to speak and there are even recordings of a Cuban pianist derided in his country for his "strange way of playing," that preceded anything that Cachao did with Arcaño y sus Maravillas in or out of the Tropicana. That strange piano playing and its concomitant musical vision forced said pianist to move to Mexico to seek better fortunes. The name of the pianist was Pérez Prado.

Your comments on the different names, as well as the cultural and social relations for the dancing moves present throughout the "Casino rueda" environment are quite enjoyable and enlightening; except, of course, for the unfortunate comment about Cubans allegedly not wanting to name turns after the so-called "Aguas negras del imperialismo." Cubans, as you well know, are not allowed freedom of expression and it is actually quite sad that Coca Cola, which is the base for the universally known drink "Cuba libre" cannot be even freely sold and marketed in such an economically backward country. The fact that a Cuban named Roberto Goizueta was one of the most important figures in the development and growth of Coca Cola as a product throughout the world adds a further note of irony to your comment about the sad state of affairs in Cuba under Castroite abuse.

One has to genuinely celebrate "Casino de rueda" for what it does and is: a form of entertainment to be enjoyed while dancing your cares away. The minute it becomes a subject and object of serious scholarly study and reflection, it is best to leave such matters to proven authorities in the field while staying clear from lay interpretations that have more to do with assorted mutations of the "feel good curriculum" and leftist mental defects than the truth.

Bechou and call a 69 for me next time you are in a Rueda… Vaaaaciiiilaaa!

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Jacira Responds to Jaqo:

In the interest of brevity:

1. Regarding the grammatical structure of English being backwards from Spanish, perhaps the word, "backward" was not my best choice.  I simply meant that the grammatical structure was inverse, such as when we say, "Casa blanca" and in English they say "White house".


2.  I never meant to equate Salsa to Cuban music, simply that Salsa had many of its roots in Cuban music.  Larry Harlow actually does a very nice job of explaining how Salsa got started...you can read about it in my interview with him, "Between the Sheets with Larry Harlow".

3.  You state,"Rueda de casino" is not "the roots of what you can see danced in Miami, and around the world today," as you state, unless you are exclusively talking about the "ruedero" environment, in which case, it would be the truth."...Actually, I was talking about the Rueda environment around the world.


4.  I won't dispute you on the history or who invented Mambo. I'm not a musicologist nor historian.  I am a dancer.

5.  Your assumption that Coca-Cola cannot be purchased in Cuba is mistaken.  I've personally consumed this product in Cuba, and it is readily available, albeit produced in Mexico.  Although its imported price is somewhat out of the reach of most of the local populace at about US$0.50 a can, it is still substantially cheaper than the same "aguas negras del imperialismo" that I drank in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which cost about US$2.00 a can.


6.  I agree that Rueda de Casino is a wonderful form of entertainment to be enjoyed while dancing your cares away, as you say, but it left the realm of being a frivolous pastime once people got organized, formalized the training, created a list of steps and standardized some of them.  The proliferation of schools teaching Casino style salsa and Rueda around the world is proof positive that it has grown into much more than just a "feel good curriculum". If there is any doubt in your mind as to whether this is a field that warrants (even if up to now it has not received it) serious study, just check out all of the SalsaCity pages where you will find extensive listings of schools all over the world that are teaching this dance style.  It was precisely to combat this mistaken notion that Casino style was somehow inferior to the NY style or the LA style that SalsaPower was created.

Casino style Salsa and Rueda de Casino are valid dance forms in and of themselves that have not been given the recognition they deserve.

 

--Jacira

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Esta página fue actualizada / this page was updated on 07-Jun-2013