|2004 Calabash Award||Stage performance in 2011||In Feb 2012 in San Francisco|
We are located in Santa Cruz, California and serve the community since 2001.
From 2001 to 2011 we served the community as “Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz” offering Rueda de Casino classes. After 10 years we ceased operation of “Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz” in July 2011 and created “Salsa Gente” (Salsa People) offering more than just Rueda de Casino (commonly known as Salsa Rueda or Rueda) such as Suelta, Casino partnering and the roots of Cuban-style Salsa such as Rumba and Son.
The mission of Salsa Gente is to bring the excitement and fun of Cuban-style dance such as Suelta, Casino, Rueda de Casino, its Afro-Cuban roots and Cuban-style music (such as Timba, Son and Rumba) to all people. Cuban-style Salsa is much more relaxed and has much more body movement including often Afro-Cuban elements which were the roots of modern day Salsa such as Rumba and Son but also Mambo and ChaChaCha.
We emphasize to be non-intimidating, friendly, and fun and offer drop-in and series classes of Cuban-style Salsa from Beginner levels to Advanced levels. We also offer the opportunity to shine on the dance floor and perform also in front of large audiences.
We are using Cuban and Miami style vocabularies and techniques of Suelta, Casino Partnering and Rueda de Casino.
We frequently study dance and music with renowned teachers in the USA but mainly from Cuba. See more in our bios below. Our inspiration comes mainly from Cuba but also from Miami, and also from our travels, nationwide and worldwide, to countries such as Russia, Germany, China, Japan, Mexico, Singapore and Cuba. We are fluent in English, Spanish and German.
Dancing with "Salsa Gente" now is not just a class, but offers great entertainment. We will keep you moving, balancing new fun moves with clear instruction on dance technique, all to the latest and hottest dance tunes. In our classes you do not need a partner. You have to keep your feet moving but you have do it with your heart!
Some of our history
From 2001 to 2011 we served the community as 'Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz' offering Rueda de Casino classes. In those 10 years, “Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz”' did not only maintain but also thrived the Rueda scene in the Monterey Bay area. Many people began their Salsa dancing with 'Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz'. Because of “Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz” the "Salsa Rueda" community in Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay area grew from a few to hundreds of people. The organization supported community events with over 95 performances in its 10 years existence. Major awards and recognition include: 2002 WE Carnival parade, 2004 Calabash award, 2005 TV show dedicated to “Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz”. Since its existence many former students and teachers split off and created their own Salsa Rueda venue in Watsonville and Santa Cruz.
How we became Salsa Gente
After teaching and performing only Rueda de Casino commonly known as "Salsa Rueda" or “Rueda” for ten years, we were eager to advance and to explore the roots of Salsa and to go beyond "Rueda".
One of our study trips to Habana, Cuba in June 2011 helped us to complete this vision and Salsa Gente (= Salsa People) was born. Since then we continue to expand our knowledge of dance and music with study trips to renowned teachers in the US, in Habanam, Cuba and Santiago de Cuba.
About the dance we do
Cuban-style Salsa is much more relaxed and has much more body movement including often Afro-Cuban elements which were the roots of modern day Salsa such as Rumba and Son but also Mambo and ChaChaCha.
The three major types of Cuban-style Salsa are commonly known as:
Suelta: body movements and open work also known as Suelta (dancing “released” from a partner, by yourself, incorporating popular dance steps, fancy footwork and body styling to salsa music).
Casino: partner dance moves also known as Casino in Cuba (partner dancing emphasizing the circular Cuban style with open breaks and rotating turns). These moves are great for any Salsa dancer.
Rueda: fun group moves also known as Rueda de Casino or just “Salsa Rueda” or “Rueda” in English versions (is group dancing with two couples or more, with hands linked, weaving patterns, and the special fun dynamic that comes from moving together).
Come and explore one of our drop-in or series classes or join us for a performance.
We are looking forward dancing with you!
Chris & Jessica
|Chris & Jessica with Yanek Revilla
and Karelia Despaigne (Zhuk) in Habana, Cuba in 2011
|Dance study group
in Habana, Cuba in 2011
|With Henry Herrera in Miami||Chris with Billy Fajardo in Miami|
|Jessica with Ramani Nicola in Miami||Chris and Jessica with Karen and Jeffrey
from Eugene, Oregon
|Chris with Yoshiyuki Sakuma in Tokyo,
Japan in 2009
|Chris and Jessica with group "Miami Rueda"
in Tokyo, Japan
|With Rueda group "Girasoles"
in Stuttgart Germany in 2007
|Rueda in Shanghai, China in 2006|
|Jessica in front of Karma in Moscow
Russia in 2008
|Dancing Casino on the Great Wall of Chinal
near Beijing, China in 2006
|With Jackson and June of JJSalsaRengue
in Singapore in April 2012