CUBAN SONG & DANCE—A SU-CASA RESIDENCY
SU-CASA is a collaboration among the New York City Council, the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), the Department for the Aging (DFTA) and is administered by the Brooklyn Arts Council on behalf of the borough of Brooklyn. The program pairs artists with senior centers throughout the borough. In 2019, the Dorchester Senior Citizens Center was paired with artist, Danielle Brown, to learn about Cuban dance.
During the residency, seniors learned the basic steps of casino, the name given to a type of partner dance that is often referred to as “Cuban salsa.” The dance developed in the casinos (or clubs) in Cuba around the middle of the 20th century. A typical workshop began with a warm-up, which included a review of the basic steps, followed by a review of material from the previous class, and an introduction to new material. Classes focused on getting seniors comfortable working with a partner, learning new moves, and executing those moves on cue and in time with the music. Participants first learned the most basic moves, before progressing to more complex ones.
Seniors at the Dorchester Senior Center were treated to a demonstration of rueda de casino by members of the Remsen Neighborhood Senior Center where instructor Danielle Brown completed her 2018 SU-CASA residency. In rueda de casino, pairs of dancers form a rueda (wheel) and execute dance moves simultaneously at the instruction of a caller.