The Cuban style describes a dance style of Salsa, also called “Casino” or “De la calle” (= Spanish: street) style.
The different names indicate the different origins of Cuban Salsa: Salsa was at home in the noble casinos and cabarets of Havana as well as in the barrios and rural areas of the island.
The Cuban Salsa is in a dilemma: in the 70s, when the Salsa came into being, there were no more casinos and cabarets in Cuba. The casinos and cabarets were visited in former times predominantly by the Cuban upper class and the US-American tourists. After the Cuban revolution in 1959, however, these were abolished. For this reason, it is practically impossible to distinguish between a Cuban “casino” or a “De la Calle style”.
Cuban salsa is more playful, rhythmic and lively and has no clear direction. In a way, it is “shirt-sleeved” and little regulated. Nevertheless, there are various basic step combinations for the different, sometimes extremely complicated and confusing figures, which have to be mastered in order to execute the figures correctly.
In contrast to the US-American styles, New York Style and L.A. Style, the man always starts with the right foot. The essential feature of the Cuban style is the couple’s turns into a common center. The woman is almost never let go by her partner, which leaves her relatively little room for her own interpretations when dancing.
The normal dance steps begin on the first beat of the bar: 123-567. The 4th and 8th beat consist of a pause, which is realized with a “tap”, but it is often hardly visible to the viewer, especially with the fast songs, and serves to accentuate the dance rhythm. But the steps can also begin on the 2nd or 3rd beat.
The steps are danced either back and forth, especially for Europeans and North Americans. Or to the side, especially with Latin Americans. In the latter case, the steps are also danced backwards.
The Cuban style and the New York or Puerto Rican style are often perceived as competitors in the US and European salsa scene. The consequence can be that their respective representatives find it difficult to get along with the common dance.