Differences between Cuban Salsa and Casino on the dance floor

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by TomSchueler, Jan 28, 2017.

  1. TomSchueler

    TomSchueler Changui

    After reading through many threads in this forum, I think the question about the history and the historic influences of (Cuban) Salsa, Son and Casino has been debated numerous times.

    As far as I could see, people here do not really make a difference between Cuban Salsa and Casino. This stands in stark contrast to what I recently discovered on this blog, Son Y Casino, in which the author argues Cuban Salsa and Casino were two very different things. I quote:

    The first two points I could agree with, where I could not follow his argument was the last one. What are people's opinions here? If you agree, I would love to know what makes each style unique when being danced? Not by a historic point of view, but by comparing the two styles on the dance floor, preferably with videos, getting to the nuts and bolts of body movement, circular motion, etc.
  2. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    I don't know what he means by "cuban salsa". So until we know that we cn't really say anything about it.
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  3. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    He means Miami.
  4. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    OK well I would prefer to call that Miami casino. I think it still is more casino than it is linear salsa
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  5. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    1) History and names:

    -"Salsa": an American form of dancing. (Danced "linear". Based on breaking steps).
    -"Casino": predates Salsa, and is Cuban. (Danced in: "Girl encircles guy" shape).

    If what he dances is indeed that "Casino" - then I can see why he'd call it that name.

    I don't think anyone here argues about that.


    2) Salsa (Technique):

    -Some people who wanted to do dance in Rueda, took 'Salsa" and changed altered it in a way that makes the girl "Encircle" the guy.
    But it remains "linearish" and "Salsaish" in technique, and keeps its heavy reliance on breaking steps. As a consequence - while people may thinkg it's "circular" - they actually dance on a "line", but creating a new "line" every 4 beats, so in reality it's not "circular", but rather "Linear", or "polygon-ish". I often give it the nickname: "Triangular Salsa".

    -There is "linear", or "slotted" Salsa - danced back-and-forth on a "line".
    -And there is that dance that is still Salsa, but the lady does go around the guy.

    To distinguish between the two - people called the latter: "Cuban Salsa".

    -While there is no unanimity regarding the difference between, people here to say 'Casino' when they talk about how Cubans in cuba dance, and "Cuban Salsa" (Sometimes in quotation marks!) when they speak about how the Non-Cubans dance.


    3) Casino (Technique)

    Then came the "purists" (Or maybe just people who know better? Go figure) and said:

    "Hold on, guys!~
    Don't you think your "Cuban Salsa" is how Cubans do that dance! We cubans dance "Casino", and it's a completely different dance, with completely different mechanics then the ones you know!"

    Is it true? Go figure. Casino was in its prime during the 70s~80s, and I wasn't there to ascertain that "Cubans danced that way, and not this way".

    -Anyway, "Cuban Salsa" is a "studio dance" - it's technique was set in stone and spreaded worldwide through popular DVDs, and people who learned from them.

    -The technique of 'Casino', however, is a mystery to me - as I don't have any means to know "for sure" that the things those "purists" say were right.


    4) BUT:

    -I personally believe that as a 'folk' dance, and a 'street dance' - Casino has to be "natural". If the girl encirles the guy - then why would she throw random steps backwards? I a guy wants to "take the girl there" - why wold he make her go to the opposite direction before that?

    -Some videos in the internet can make one "suspicious" - that Cubans do dance differently. Do all of them do? Nope. There are videos of Cubans dancing "like us" - but the purists say that they were just adapting to us tourists / costumers in congresses and festivals.

    -I really liked the dance them "purist" described, and showed, and I tried dancing more in that fashion. I liked how it felt and looked and adopted it.


    -Here is an article I have already recommended before. (Including the links to other articles, mentioned in that one):


    It's written in a very "open mined", "objective" and "policitly correct" attitude...Throwing inormation, explanations and ideas on you - but letting you decide what's good for you.

    And honestly - "what's good for you" is all this is about.
    You are not here to "recreate how cubans did it in the 70s-80s" - you are there to create your own dance. Or to quote a dancer who really inspired me:

    "Dancing is freedom!!!"
  6. wol

    wol Sonero

    There is no difference IMHO. All the mentioned "differences" are just a matter of preferences (like how circular to make the moves, to step backward or not, even to use spins or not). But I agree, that Cuban salsa should be always called Casino, as there is already too much mess with all the Salsa subdivisions ...
    TomSchueler and MAMBO_CEC like this.
  7. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    "Cuban " salsa ? an oxymoron ?.. Cuban "styled " yes/maybe/
    And Casino , is a style unto its self .

    As in pretty much all dances, the music should determine the " style " .

    Could one dance different styles to all the same music ?.. of course, but then, each dances distinct " styling " would be pointless..
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  8. TomSchueler

    TomSchueler Changui

    Dissonant Harmony was right, I was referring to the difference between the "original" Cuban Casino and Miami Casino/"Cuban Salsa" (not the "slot" style but the "triangular" one). wol already gave an answer hinting into the right direction. Concerning the differences of both dances, though the backstep seems to be really a unique feature to Miami Casino, it is something that still seems being debated in the forum as Cuban from Cuba backstep as well (Miami style influence?).

    To make it simple: How can I tell if someone dances Casino and someone dances Miami Casino/Cuban salsa when looking at a video? Any way to recognize it? And how to find out when even Cubans incorporate even Miami style Casino elements into their dance nowadays?

    @Dissonant Harmony How did you start to adopt Casino? Which elements/movements exactly did you try to alter?
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  9. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    I see the differences in things like vacílala, where they do the "wind-up" prior to the turn, or when they do spins or non-rotational moves. When you have only danced Cuban casino, you just see the difference with Miami. I guess that's not a good explanation. I personally think that teachers should say if they are teaching a Miami move. That may actually be the norm in the US without having to say it. But in Europe I think there are plenty of Cuban teachers and many of us started only with Cuban casino. For example when I see new teachers (non-Cubans) teaching rueda and doing vacílala Miami style, I think they should tell people that it is Miami style and maybe explain the difference.
  10. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Can you post some video clips to see the difference ?
  11. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    I'll look and see what I can find.
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  12. DC1

    DC1 Changui

    I can't post a link here yet, but if you look at dancecubanodotcom at check out the blog entry there are four videos that might help clarify a few things. Hope this helps
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  13. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    Most of the videos I find are on-Cubans teaching casino. salsaville has some good ones but their demo videos are so short and tiny. The nice thing is that they were filmed back in the late 90s before the whole international salsa scene had stared to affect the dancers in Cuba. You see a lot more linear ideas in Cuban salsa today than 20 years ago. I'll have to check when I get of work. I don't have time right now to really look much.
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  14. wol

    wol Sonero

    I would use "old school" vs "modern" names for both these casino styles,
    If the dance is smooth, there is high degree of rotation and you do not see a lot of back steps its "old school", if there is little rotation, but quite a bit of sharp movements and backsteps (often go together with complicated and sharp hand movements) its "modern". Most of the dances is a mix IMHO.

    As for video references - I have seen this video used as an example of "right" casino:
    Juanan likes this.
  15. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    I actually wanted a different thing - a video of Miami style casino, so that we can see how particular moves differs in Miami style from cuban casino.

    As about the "right" casino, if I don't see a cuban guy and girl in the video, it's not "right" for me no mater how "right" or how "latin" it may be. This one is lacking cuban flavor
    TomSchueler likes this.
  16. wol

    wol Sonero

    Daybert Linares Díaz. Born and raised in Cuba ... https://sonycasino.com/about/
    Follower Digna Rodriguez also seems to be from Cuba.
  17. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Really? Well ... still lacks the flavor, can't help ...
  18. wol

    wol Sonero

    Ok, I will try, even if I am not an expert: Video bellow is "Miami" style from Cubans - very little rotation, lots of back steps.
    To look at specific move - setenta at 1:15 - total rotation is ~90 degrees with a lots of backsteps. Look at "classic" version of setenta in the video above 0:42. Rotation is close to 360 degrees and there are no backsteps for lead and follow ...
  19. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    These guys do Miami style and have lots of video. these are specifically for rueda though, not just plain casino. When they get to vaciliala you note the make a big deal about the turn in and tap, which I think of as a wind up. they do that in panque as well and probably other moves. Typical miami.
    Juanan, Dissonant Harmony and vit like this.
  20. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Yeah, I have copies of these DVDs, so I understand they should be Miami stye, but they didn't look enough different from cuban version to me (I actually checked only first 3 or 4, because I wasn't interested in studying more complex moves that are not useful for dancing outside rueda). For instance, preparation for vacilala - Daybert guy does exactly the same at pos 0:34 in above clip, stopping the girl at 4, so she doesn't step back, but transfers the weight forward to the left foot and continues into vacilala. I like to do it that way as well, but can be done without that early stop and the girl will step with right foot near the left or so ...

    The same about setenta wol was talking about - every move in dancing can be underrotated or overrotated, it's not a different dance if someone does that. For instance in BR we have defined amounts of rotation for each move, but if someone does more or less rotation to connect it better with the next move, it's ok, so english waltz is still english waltz and doesn't become miami waltz because someone underrotated the right turn ...

    I understand that break steps found in baila habana clip are not usual in casino though

    Do we have some other examples of different moves ?
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
    TomSchueler likes this.

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