Rueda de Casino, the Cuban group circle dance, was born in Havana, Cuba in the 1950s. Created over time by a group of young friends who danced together on Sunday afternoons. The genesis of the dance is closely associated with the recreation centre El Casino Deportivo de La Habana, hence the name.
As the new dance evolved, people around Havana and Cuba started to see what the dancers from the casino were doing, and it caught on – becoming quite popular for a period, eventually fading out a bit in the late 60s and early 70s. It was revived in the 70s in part thanks to cultural initiatives by the Cuban government, and also due to the Cuban TV show Para Bailar.
Thanks to the global explosion of salsa music and dancing in the 60s and 70s, as well as tourism to Cuba and the diaspora of Cuban expats, casino and rueda has been on the rise worldwide in recent decades.
In 2002, a group of Norwegian rueda instructors from the SalsaNor organization got together at a rueda congress in the country and decided on a core set of rueda basics that would allow students and dancers to have a shared set of basic knowledge and moves.
The standard was originally known as “The Norwegian Rueda Standard” and comprised 50 moves. It has been revised consistently over the years – growing substantially in size to well over one hundred moves – rueda is a living breathing art, and the standard aims to acknowledge that, and remain current. As well, the “Norwegian” designation was dropped from the title to reflect both that the standard is being used elsewhere in the world, and that there’s nothing Norwegian about the style of the dancing – only the origin.
Dancing The Beautiful Wheel
A book by Ian Smith, a member of Cambridge Rueda UK, Dancing the Beautiful Wheel - A Guide to Rueda De Casino by Ian Smith (2-Jan-2013) Hardcover: Amazon.com: Books), published in 2012, contains an extensive index of rueda moves, as well as background information and also an index of the Rueda Standard circa 2011. It offers both a good read and a useful reference on the subject.