What is Cuban salsa?
The real name for Cuban Salsa Style is Casino. The origins of the name Casino are casinos deportivos, the dance halls where a lot of social dancing was done among the better off, white Cubans during the mid-1950s and onward.
Casino is danced in three points which makes up a circular motion as partners face each other in intricate patterns of arms and body movement. This is distinctive from the North American Salsa styles which is danced in a slot (two points) and linear positions as taught by the North American and European dance studios.
This is also a major point of differences between Casino and Northern American forms of Salsa, which ascribe to the ballroom adage of "leather are the picture frame while follower are the picture."
Cuban Casino does not have many fast spins. Instead the movement is very circular as opposed to linear and partners tend to travel around each other. The hip movement is more noticeable in this style and stems from the pumping of the knees.
There are 3 other types of salsa:
LA Style (Dancing on 1)
LA style salsa is danced in a line or "slot" with dancers exchanging positions throughout the dance, unlike Cuban salsa which is danced in a more circular fashion. The two essential elements of this dance are the forward–backward basic step and the cross-body lead.
New York Style (Dancing on 2)
It is a linear form of salsa, where dancers dance in a slot, similar to LA style salsa. Unlike other styles of salsa, however, New York style is danced on the second beat of the music ("on 2"), and the follower, not the leader, steps forward on the first measure of the music.
Puerto Rican Style
Puerto Rican salsa lines are clean, shoulder shimmies abound and arm movements are circular. There is also an emphasis on dancing to Clave rhythm (2/3 clave). As dancers break away from their partners, they execute complicated and fast solo footwork called “shines” for the audience, as soloists.
When you sign up for our Cuban Salsa dance classes in Toronto, we'll introduce you to these other 3 types.
What will you learn?
At Shumdesalsa, we have 6 levels of dance classes. If you sign up for our Cuban Salsa dance classes in Toronto, this is what you can expect to learn.
Beginner 1 & 2
This is a course for absolute beginners, but it's also for people who have danced other types Salsa styles before.
First, we will teach you how to dance “a tiempo” (on time) and able to identify where the count start on each beat of the music. Then you will learn the basic steps and turns, as well as some nice combinations, such as:
Front and back step
Side to side
Dile que no
We’ll also place emphasis on creating a solid foundation both at the theoretical and practical levels.
The beginner stage will be your preparation to dance not only Cuban salsa (which, by the way, is known in Cuba as Casino dance), but other rhythms that make up the whole concept of Latin dancing.
By the end of the program, you will be able to hit the dance floor.
Intermediate 1 & 2
At this level you will know all the basic steps and understand the basic timing required to dance salsa.
You will also know the basics of leading and following. This is a progressive 5-lesson course so each week you will learn new turns patterns including styling moves for followers and leaders as well as reviewing previous classes.
Moves for this level will be:
They all look complicated to begin with but in time most people become familiar with each move.
Once you are familiar with the beginner 1 & 2 moves with a degree of confidence, then you can consider yourself a Casinero.
Advanced 1 & 2
At this level you are putting everything together that you learned in Beginners and Intermediate lessons .
You are able to confidently and firmly lead (if you are a leader and can follow a lead well if you are a follower).
The actual moves are more complex and intricate but they are almost always based around the fundamental steps learned before.
Please note that you must have completed a full Beginners course with ShumdeSalsa .
Moves such us:
Solo or Partner
Come with a partner or come alone. We'll match you with a partner in class.
Dress comfortably in sneakers and loose pants.
When you have a membership with us, you have unlimited classes in any of our studios in Toronto.
Don't know your level?
Contact us to book a $25 drop-in class and we'll assess your level.
About Your Instructors
Our Cuban Salsa dance classes are taught by instructors, Dailyn Martinez and Enrico Casertano.
Dailyn is from Cuba and Enrico is from the Dominican Republic. Both are passionate performer, and experienced instructors. They bring energy and personality to their classes.
I am a complete beginner, can I still join the class?Of course! Our classes are designed to cater for both beginners and dancers from any other dance styles . As long as you have the interest to start dancing, our instructors are trained to teach individuals from zero dance background to experienced dancers.
Can I do a trial class?Definitely! Contact us directly and we will indicate what will be the best day for a drop in class. Drop in classes are $20 per person/per class and we'll assess what will be the best level for you to start with.
Do I need to bring a partner to register for a class?No dance partner is required. You can attend the class individually or with your friends. We do partner rotation in class, it will be a great way to meet new friends.
What if I have to miss a class?Kindly inform us at least a full day beforehand so that we can pre-arrange your make-up session within the same set of classes.
I have a dance background. Which level should I register for?If you have experience with Cuban Salsa, please contact us directly to arrange a drop in class for $20 per class. In class, we can better advise you on a suitable level for you.
What should I wear for classes?We recommend you to come in comfortable outfit which allows you to move freely. Preferably work out or gym attire. It’s not compulsory to wear a street Latin dance shoes for your first class, as you can purchase them at a later stage. For a start, you can wear jazz shoes/dance sneakers.
Where can I practice my dance moves learned in class?ShumdeSalsa has the Students Night Out Social to Lula Lounge at least once a month. We recommend you subscribe to our newsletter to never miss all these events.
How long does it take to learn?From our experience a minimum of 3 month until you feel fully comfortable and confident with your style.
How many people are in the class?It depends on the levels and seasons, usually between 6 to 20 students per class.
What is "shum"?This is one of the most frequent questions that we get. Shum is a word that Dailyn always uses in her classes. It's not English and definitely not a Spanish or Cuban word. For her, it represents the free spirit of movements. It's the moment you just let go of fears, allow your self for the free ride of music and decide to move any part of your body. As she says "we all have Shum and is just a matter of time until we understand how to use it". That's what Shumdesalsa stand for and that's what makes us different! Once you learn how to "shum" you will become a danceholic of Cuban salsa.