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History of dancing ring and Casino-Salsa

History of dancing ring and Casino-Salsa

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History of dancing ring and Casino-Salsa

139 pages
1 hour
Jul 24, 2019


The experiences we describe in this book are part of our lives; we intend to offer an image of the surging of casino dancing and ring (Rueda) in Cuba. To do so, we have requested the experiences and anecdotes of the dancers who participated from the very prodigious beginning of a dance that is as Cuban as the palms, the sugar cane, the rum and the
Jul 24, 2019

About the author

Alan Silvano Borges Riego (La Habana, 1947). Fundador del baile y la rueda de casino, ha escrito varios libros sobre esta temática y realizado trabajos de edición de la revista digital Alborada. Es compositor y desde joven ha ejecutado trabajos de dirección artística en diferentes eventos culturales. Alicia Juana Sardiñas Amador Es fundadora del baile y la rueda de casino. Perteneció al Club Casino Deportivo de La Habana. Cantautora desde muy temprana edad, posee trescientas composiciones de su autoría, con algunas de las cuales ha alcanzado diferentes premios. Es escritora, y ha sido merecedora de diferentes distinciones por su labor en proyectos socioculturales. Es miembro de la Unión de Escritores de Artistas de Cuba

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History of dancing ring and Casino-Salsa - Alan Silvano Borges; Alicia J.

Original Idea: Alicia Sardiñas y Alan Borges

Edition, Correction and Internal Design: Mónica Olivera and Lilien Trujillo Vitón

Translation from Spanish into English: Teresita de Jesús Álvarez Suárez

Diagrams: Yuliett Marín Vidian

Artistic Direction and Design: Yorlán Cabezas Padrón

E-book design and diagrams: Luis Alfredo Gutierrez Eiró

© Alicia Sardiñas y Alan Borges, 2015

© About the present edition:

Ediciones Cubanas, Artex, 2015

ISBN: 978-959-7230-79-3

Ediciones Cubanas, Artex

Obispo 527 altos, esquina a Bernaza

La Habana Vieja, La Habana, Cuba

Telf. (537) 8631983


Son is the most sublime thing

For the enjoyment of the soul

Should die he, who, for being good

Does not admire it.

Ignacio Piñeiro

Outstanding Cuban Son lover and composer

If you wish to see me sad, Heavens!, take son away from me.

Son represents the sweetness of the sugar cane.

The cadense of the palm and the flavor of coffee.

The green of our fields, the freshness of our rivers.

The spirit of the mountains and the splendor of the


Who has seen any Cuban that does not like this son?

It is the fruit of our land, it is a national dance.

And the world likes it so much, that it has become


If you wish to see me sad, Heavens! Take son away from


Alicia Sardiñas

Singer, author and founder of casino dance


We thank Caridad de la Cruz, a great friend who was a member of Casino Deportivo de La Habana, who took out of the trunk of remembrances dozens of photographs of the meetings in that club and who remembered more than one hundred dancers, members of Club Casino as well. We also thank Carlos Cortés, who made a quick list and was increasing it day by day as soon as the remembrances came to him. We are also grateful for the cooperation received from: Teresita Segarra and her sister Magalys, Raúl Rosario, Luís Aníbal García, Braulio González, Andrés Martínez, Ángel Manrara, Cosme Luís Ramírez, Prudencio Manuel Prince, Miguelito Iglesias, Esperanza Sardiñas, Pastor Pérez, María Antonia García, Lurlines Fernández, Jorge Gómez, Merceditas Díaz, Beatriz Fernández (Baby) and her sisters, who demonstrated having exceptional memories. In the same way stood out the participation of Manolo Carvallal, who offered us effective recollections about the creation of casino ring. Alex Pausides y Teresita Cuesta, both members of the Association of Writers of UNEAC, helped us to contact Helio Orovio, to whom we are equally grateful for making a critical reading of the book. But our greatest gratitude resides in having lived again what was remembered, and this we owe to all those who we interviewed.

Alan and Alicia


We are casino dancers, we live in Casino Deportivo Neighborhood and many of us were members of Casino Deportivo de La Habana, the place where emerged this ballroom dance.

The experiences we describe in this book are part of our lives; we intend to offer an image of the surging of casino dancing and ring (Rueda) in Cuba. To do so, we have requested the experiences and anecdotes of the dancers who participated from the very prodigious beginning of a dance that is as Cuban as the palms, the sugar cane, the rum and the tobacco.

In June of the year 2004 we were invited to participate in a ring of founders of this dancing style that nowadays is part of the life of young and not so young people.

In the first meetings we coincided with about twenty dancers of those days of its birth. Dancers that", the Spanish Society, Los Curros Enríquez and the Social Circle of Workers (SCW), Patricio Lumumba.

We wish to express that it has been one of the most surprising emotions that we have had in our lives. We changed so much by the passing of time, that many of us did not even recognize each other; among hugs, smiles and stories we have lived again marvelous moments.

When we decided to write this book, where?, when?, who? and why? were the first answers we had to give. Later we added where the classical steps of casino dance and ring came from, and what motivated that this dancing style took possession of the dancing halls. All these questions that we made ourselves and that we made to each interviewed, gave us a large amount of information, which even changed to a certain extent several concepts that we had about this prefered way of dancing.

Diverse opinions and anecdotes inspired us. Each one had a part of the truth, and approaches from different angles were made that allowed us to know even more about a style or way of dancing that we, a big group of youngsters, involuntarily created. Many of the founders that I mention in this book are not known, and that is why we made a list in the Annex at the end of the book.

We dedicate this book to all the founders of casino dance and ring, who definitely are the creators of this dancing style, that later has been called Salsa in other countries. We will make it extensive to all the professors, promoters, directors of casino rings and to the good dancers that are already hundreds of thousands in Cuba and all over the world.

Alan and Alicia

Chapter I

Historical Facts

1.1 Casino Deportivo Neighborhood and Casino Deportivo de La Habana, a club located in the West

of the City of Havana

Many talk about reparto Casino Deportivo as if it were the Casino Deportivo de La Habana or vice versa. In fact, these two places have a very close relation. If we go back in time, to the period from 1940 to 1950, we see with great surprise that the first thing that was built was a great recreational sport complex called Casino Deportivo, where nowadays stands a neighborhood bearing the same name. This complex had, among other spaces and services, an Olympic swimming pool, tennis-, basketball- and volleyball- courts, halls for activities and parties, a field for horse riding and a shooting gallery.

It was the first great Olympic and recreational complex of the existent Municipio Cerro, but it was only for the enjoyment of a select group of persons. Before the triumph of the Revolution the recreational sport fields were private property, therefore the development of sport in the country had very limited and almost null amplitude. The one that concerns us was property of Alfredo Hornedo, a very light colored cross-breed (mulato) who felt in himself the harshness of racial discrimination.

It is said that Hornedo wanted to become a member of the Havana Yacht Club, where a system of vote with black and white balls known as ballotage¹ was practiced.

Hornedo, although being himself a Senator, received black balls, so that he decided to create his own club at the end of the Farm of Rosalía Abreu in the present Complejo Armada of Municipio Cerro.²

The club was very profitable and Hornedo decided to create another installation called Casino Deportivo de La Habana, located by the seashore at 1st and 8th Streets in Miramar. The one located in Cerro began to be called Winter Casino Deportivo, and Summer Casino Deportivo the one located in Miramar. Thus began the time of two clubs in one.

Transport facilities and easy access ways were created for the Winter Casino Deportivo members. However, in a country of perennial summer, the Summer Casino Deportivo, by the sea, began to be preferred and Hornedo, acting as the businessman that he was, extended and parceled out the grounds where Casino Deportivo del Cerro was located, creating thus a neighborhood called Casino Deportivo.

This residential suburb was created with the purpose of establishing an exclusivist space of friends, members of the Liberal Party. The work was directed by the engineer Cristóbal Diegues, an associate and co-owner of the newspapers Excelsior and El País, both being Hornedo’s property. Nowadays Casino Deportivo Neighborhood has about fifty blocks extending

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