BOSTON RUEDA began in 2002-2003 and has been “home” to many casineros ever since. Back then, José and Ivan were taking Rueda classes offered at Sofia’s (a night club at the time, currently “the Baseball Tavern”) and decided to hire Katie Seamans to teach Rueda lessons to a small group of 5 friends. Katie taught us for two months before she had to concentrate on her PhD program in neuroscience. For the next 3+ years, Ivan, José and friends took turns teaching each other Rueda at weekly MIT Sid-Pac practices. The group “Boston Rueda” was born!
We grew to 40+ dancers and were teaching ourselves new moves every week! The majority of BR dancers were MIT undergraduate and grad students and thus we had a very loose, transient membership. We held parties, taught classes at Brandeis U. and other local colleges, and performed at university and community dance festivals … all for free. Ivan became the lead Rueda / Salsa instructor at Havana Club (picture below) and José became an adjunct professor with the MIT PhysEd department teaching Rueda at Simmons Hall.
Our dance skills improved so much that we wanted to become a “performance group”. After long discussion, we became “dues-based” and hired successive professional choreographers (at up to $100 per hour) to advise us. Twice, in fact, BR casineros performed at the Salsa Rueda Festival of the Americas in MIAMI during this initial period!
Overextended financially by $3,600 in November, 2006, and divided internally into “those who performed and those who didn’t”, our BR membership fell to just 12 members. Boston Rueda truly almost died … but BR leaders Pavan, Vineet, Kamiar, Theresa, and others taught Rueda at An Tua Nua for the Boston dance company to whom we owed the debt.
At that point, we really needed to take a look at ourselves to re-define who we were and what we wanted to accomplish. Our group decided to focus on our CORE MISSION: dancing RUEDA ourselves and sharing the fun of RUEDA with others..
We were NOT a “Salsa School” … NOR a “performance group”. We were just a group of friends who enjoyed dancing together! Hard times, however, really hit BR hard when MIT Sid-Pac no longer could offer us free space for our free weekly practices!
After “wandering” for a whole year searching for free spaces to gather to dance, we decided that our only alternative was to follow the successful model of our rental of the Cambridge YWCA for monthly socials: to rent practice space in different locations for classes and parties such as the YMCA and the Green Street Studios.
By 2010, we were on the road back! We recognized that, if we all “shared the rental cost” at dance-studio locations, we could maintain “a base” and grow as a not-for-profit organization. We could then sponsor free outdoor Ruedas (Boston Common, etc.) and “pay-our-own-way” to travel together to dance festivals in San Fran, NY, Atlanta. We could offer a HOME to an ever-growing number of fans of Cuban music/dance who enjoyed listening to Timba music, dancing Rueda, and making new friends!
We now teach our own RUEDA curriculum 2 evenings per week in Cambridge, post an extensive (240+) collection of free, on-line Rueda video lessons on YouTube, support exchanges with other Rueda groups within and beyond Boston, and offer a high-level of instruction in cutting-edge, innovative Rueda de Casino dancing.
In 2014, along with Ruedame NY, Cuban Vibes London, and Salsa Macht Spaß Germany, Boston Rueda became one of the 4 founding members of SERIOUS ABOUT RUEDA (SAR), an international ALLIANCE of teachers to promote Rueda de Casino world-wide.
This opens up new resources for teaching/learning here in Boston as well as travel abroad opportunities for BR casineros on two continents: in New York, Montreal, and Europe.
In August, 2015, for example, a half dozen BR casineros traveled to Budapest Hungary to attend the Salsa Diabolica Summer Camp. In 2016, several of us are planning to go to Norway to attend the SalsaNor Rueda Congress.
By focusing on COMMUNITY, rather than profit or performance, Boston Rueda has gained local, national, and even international recognition as a “go-to” organization for RUEDA de CASINO in the Boston/Cambridge metropolitan area.
If you have had the interest and patience to read our history, we invite you to join us on the dance floor! Find out more about Classes, Socials, Events at the links above!