Notes From The Lab

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Sunday Practice August 19

Posted by on 17 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: Notes From The Lab, Practice

Abby and other Boeing casineros will be joining us on Sunday to rehearse for the Aug 25th flash mob. I expect we’ll have two separate circles for much of the two hours (one circle for the rehearsal, another for folks just coming to dance for fun as well as folks working on basics), so if you’re not participating in the flash mob, come to practice this Sunday anyway. Abby has a short segment of choreography to go over with the flash mob folks, as well as some calls.

In case you missed the “call conversion chart” (cheat sheet for Boeing call names), here it is again: Boeing Seattle Rueda Equivalent Calls.

See you Sunday!

Calls for Boeing Event on Aug 25

Posted by on 08 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: Events, Notes From The Lab, Practice

Some folks who want to be part of the Boeing event on Aug 25th were asking about some of the calls, so here’s a list of equivalent calls as we know them at Seattle Rueda: Boeing-Seattle Rueda Equivalent Calls. We can run through these at 8/19 Sunday practica. But we’ll also see some Boeing folks on the ferry this Sunday so you can ask them any questions you might have. Looking forward to the Casino Cruise and the Boeing event!!!

Potluck 7/1 on the lawn at Gasworks, moves from today’s practice

Posted by on 24 Jun 2012 | Tagged as: Events, Notes From The Lab, Practice, Social

We’re having a potluck right after practice on Sunday July 1, weather permitting. We’ll set up some blanket and camp chairs on the lawn at Gasworks Park, opposite the Wallingford Steps, starting at 6:40. It’s a chance for folks who attend Sunday practice to get to know each other better, but all in the casino/rueda community are welcome.

Please let us know if you can bring a mat to spread out our potluck wares, or maybe even a small portable table, or maybe even a small portable BBQ if that’s allowed in the park. I’ll make a FB page that can help us figure out who can bring these and other supplies.

Also, since people like to see the names of the moves we went over, here are the ones that the entire group worked on today:

Caracol – enchufla, change hands, exhibela, exhibela, exhibela en la otra direccion, finish with a dile que no.

Corto con la bola – enchufla, change hands, dile que no, cero all the way around your neighbor (everyone is facing into the circle during a cero), finish with a dame (or dile que no with your neighbor who is now your partner – however you like to think of it).

Dame directo – on 123 you walk directly to the neighbor in front of you, then finish 567 in guapea with that neighbor, who is now your partner.

See you at Alki!


Chequendengue and Cambio

Posted by on 17 Jan 2012 | Tagged as: Notes From The Lab, Practice

It was fun working on chequendengue yesterday, so I’m hoping that simply writing the word “chequendengue” here will encourage more callers to call it. (I had to find out how to spell it, but here it is.) This call only works when there is an even number of couples, and it’s a good idea to check in with the circle to make sure there’s a general understanding before calling it.

Also, since “chequendengue” is for the fun staggered timing effect, let’s use  “cambio” as the call for shifting the entire dance by 4 counts (like when the musicians throw in an extra 4 counts).

Suelta is for all levels!

Posted by on 27 Dec 2011 | Tagged as: Notes From The Lab, Practice

Hi everyone,

Just a reminder that everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate in Suelta–which is happening this Sunday 4:30-5:00. This includes folks who are still new-ish to casino. It’s a great way to work on footwork and timing and improving your dancing. So I’m encouraging everyone to take advantage of this opportunity (and thanks Ofer for leading us!). Don’t sit it out!

Betsy G

Calls from Sunday 11/6 – walking, upward direction, and circle orientation

Posted by on 07 Nov 2011 | Tagged as: Notes From The Lab, Practice

Several people asked to see the Spanish or to get translations for some of the calls we were working on the first hour yesterday. Here they are:

Camínala = walk her (caminar= to walk)  When called during guapea, it means a walking version of guapea, moving to your right (which is counterclockwise when the circle is in the normal, inside orientation). We might sometimes call “caminamos” (we walk) instead of “camínala, but both commands mean the walking version of whatever position you’re in.

Se fué = it’s gone. Sounds like “Safeway” but with the emphasis on the second syllable. This call means that you stop whatever special thing was last called, and continue as before. If we call it during camínala, it means that at the next count of 1 you go back to guapea in place.

There is also a call “se quedó” which means roughly “keep it in the current position or formation.” You might hear this sometimes. What you do when se fué and se quedó are called depend on what you were doing before.

Enchufla pa’arriba = enchufla up. “Up” in this case means the damé will be in the opposite direction from normal, which means—if you are a lead—instead of moving to the next follow on your right (counterclockwise), you move to the follow on your left (clockwise). Follows stay put and let the leads come to them. Enchufla your current partner on counts 123. Then leads look to the next follow on the left. Head toward her far side on 567, and scoop her up with your right arm into the díle qué no on 123-567.

Enchufla pa’fuera = enchufla to the outside. This is the call that turns the circle inside out. Enchufla your partner on counts 123. On 567, the lead raises his left hand, which is connected to the follow’s right hand, making an arch, and walks under the arch, circling toward his left about 270 degrees until the pair is in guapea position with their open side oriented out from the circle. The trick here is that he has to use all 3 counts (5, 6, and 7) to walk into position. If he back-steps on 5 he’s not going to get there in time for guapea on the next 1.

Enchufla pa’dentro = enchufla to the inside. This call turns the circle back to an inside (normal) orientation. Lead and follow do exactly the same as in enchufla pa’afuera, and everyone ends up oriented into the circle rather than out.

I know there are videos out there on you tube, and now that you have the words you should be able to search for them.

Who has really watched the video of the week? A lesson in musicality and Why I Love Timba!! (and Duane)

Posted by on 15 Aug 2011 | Tagged as: Notes From The Lab, Video

Take note:

Duane starts dancing on one, but starts his phrasing on the right foot – why not?
at 0:16 on the accent on four (listen to the bass), he switches to ‘four’ (aka son or contra tiempo) and stays with it until…
0:26 when the music changes to a “Reggaeton” section, Duane responds and changes back to dancing on ‘one’
0:29 he accents the four beat, but doesn’t switch to four. Some of us know this as a ‘ponche’
0:31 another ‘ponche’
0:41 he accents the hits with his feet (on the and of three and the and of four) – this is slick – try to do it!
0:51 he accents the hits (on beats ‘three’, ‘three and’, and ‘four’, where four is a ponche, but this time with two anticipating steps) – this is even more slick!! Try it!!
1:14 he drops the tap on four, twice in a row creating some nice pauses, thus tension
1:23 another ponche
2:05 Rumba footwork
2:20 back to dancing on four (son/contra tiempo)
2:40 another ponche to the hit in the music
3:02 he accents the lyrics and steps to each syllable (“ciao-ciao-es-ta-fu-era” – sorry Latinos, this is the best I can do for lyrics)
3:04 back to dancing on one
3:10 steps to the accents in the syllables like at 3:02

This is only a sample of what he’s doing and what’s going on in Timba…

…and follows take note – she is following all the time changes seamlessly

Now watch the video!!


A BIG THANK YOU to Ryan & Sidney from San Francisco

Posted by on 17 Apr 2010 | Tagged as: Music, Notes From The Lab

I just want to give a shout out to Ryan and Sidney for impacting my learning of casino and rueda in line con el ritmo de la musica. I can’t tell you how much your teaching has meant for me and I find that now, more than ever, I am intentionally looking to dance with the music and dissecting a song for ponches and rhythm changes. Betsy and I were on fire last night listening to Issac Delgado’s song ‘Deja Que Robert Te Toque” and I feel I am a much better lead, follow and teacher from it.  Can’t wait to see you both come back to visit us again. Have a safe trip back home.

Advice from

Posted by on 24 Aug 2009 | Tagged as: Notes From The Lab

There are two distinct types of weight perception problems: it can be a visual phenomenon, or it can be mechanical. Let’s start with the latter.

The body is a machine, and it works in ways very similar to a car, hence we have:

    1. Legs = motor
    2. Hips and upper body = transmission
    3. Arms and hands = steering wheel
The machine will appear heavy when the hands transform the body into a trailer rather than behaving like a steering wheel, in order to spare the motor Compare Clip 6.1 and 6.2.
It’s also possible that the man, through it’s “driving”, forces the woman out of balance.  This occurs when he jerks the wheel, leading the woman to “hang on”. It’s important to understand that;
    1. The man suggests, but the woman has the last word;
    2. We do, we don’t «make do»: what you do in turn influences the other, but it’s not puppetry;
    3. The woman participates actively, you cannot and should not force her;
    4. Tension is contagious, tenderness isn’t: both partners must strive to maintain smoothness in the arms at all times, and regularly make sure that tensions did not appear;
    5. The best defence against tension is a shock absorber! Compare Clip 6.3 and 6.4.

Visual heaviness is a totally different phenomenon, which occurs when the weight transfers from one foot to the other are too sudden, or not gradual enough.  A one on the one marker makes it even worse.

Information taken from Please go to and look under Doscondos for dance instruction. Then enter into Q&A for more detailed information like this.

(Direct Link here – Ofer )

Notes From The Lab

Posted by on 06 Oct 2008 | Tagged as: Notes From The Lab

Notes from the lab
It came to mind the other day, as I was dancing as a follow in Rueda, that leads often put too much force into their movements when leading. Now, what exactly do I mean by that? Well, if the follow can feel the force/torque in the leads’ hands, or if they feel a forceful push in their back as the lead checks them (like hockey)  with their free hand, then the lead is substituting force for technique.
Now before everyone starts bellyaching about what I’m saying here, give it a good listen first, and then you can complain.
When I was first learning Rueda, Dennis Ruiz often told me that, because my body was spatially out of place in the dance circle, I consistently used force to compensate for my lack of technique. I also had a habit of leaning on the follower in order to complete my turns. All of this could be contributed to my lack of good footwork, slot-style salsa background and a limited knowledge of the basics of Casino dancing.  So I decided to do some homework, AND to practice and here’s what I found.
Rueda de Casino is more  a series of angled lines that in total form a circle. Confused yet? Read on.
We often hear that N-Y salsa is danced in-line, whereas Cuban is danced in a circle.  In fact, no one actually dances in a circle, for the centrifugal force would make the girl very uncomfortable!  The reality is that NY is danced on a line clip 1.1, but it tends to blur over the years and be of less importance, and Cuban is danced in a series of angled lines that form a circle in time clip
. Therefore it is essential that the lead begins to move him/herself in a clockwise nature in the beginning* of the move in order to assure that the follow is in the correct position by the end of the sequence.(*for many moves but not all moves)
We stated it from the start, there is a major philosophical difference between the two salsas.  In N-Y salsa, the turns are at the very core of the vocabulary.  The vast majority of them are spotted or axed, which means there is no horizontal travel of the axis in the course of the turn clip 1.5.  If you have to turn and walk, it shall be done in two separate operations, and multiple turns are a regular feature.  In Cuban salsa, the turns take a back seat to the body movement, walks and curbs.  They are generally executed in a walking fashion, meaning there is a gradual horizontal travel of the axis clip 1.9 and multiple and spotted turns, if any, are the exception. –
In video clip 1.9 the lead begins the move by moving himself in a clockwise manner. Most importantly is the fact that the leads’ hand does not need to spin the follow around the circle but merely to be in the correct position to allow her to walk through the turn. 
This small adjustment makes a huge difference in both the flow and the feel of the dance. Give it a try. 
In order for any of us to be good rueda dancers we need to understand the nature of the dance. I hope that this will help move us all along that path.

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