El Rincón de La Salsa Cubana welcomes everyone to dance

From its birthplace in Havana to West Seattle, Salsa Cubana is alive and thriving in the Puget Sound.

SEATTLE — Salsa Cubana is alive and thriving in the Puget Sound from its birthplace in Havana to West Seattle.

Born and raised in Havana, Yasiel Calderón fell in love with the style of dance thanks to his mother, Olga.

Calderón started to dance in the “underground” Salsa Cubana scene and watched countless people dance. While he also took classes, Calderón said you will never know every step because there is improvisation. It’s his favorite part about the dance.

During a visit to Cuba in 2018, Clari Ricco-Delahaie of Seattle met Calderón. She was amazed.

While getting to know Calderón her view on Cuban culture and dance changed.

“I had certainly been to salsa dancing here in the US before but had never experienced it the way I did in Cuba,” Ricco-Delahaie said. “The dance is different. Their music is different. They dance with a lot of passion, a lot of soul.”

MIRA: Yasiel Calderón comparte su passion para bailar y la history del Rincon De La Salsa Cubana.

(Watch as Yasiel Calderón talks about his love for dance and how El Rincón De La Salsa Cubana got started.)

The history of Salsa Cubana runs deep.

Salsa Cubana mixes elements of Spanish guitar playing with the rhythm and call-and-response vocal tradition of African music. The “son” or “Cuban sound” started in rural eastern Cuba before it reached Havana in the early 1900s.

For some time, Calderón learned more about Salsa Cubana and other forms of dance while in Santiago, Cuba. His passion to teach grew and he even started competing.

Calderón and Ricco-Delahie started El Rincón de La Salsa Cubana as an AirBNB experience in Havana before bringing their business venture to the United States. Their first plan was to open their dance studio in the Bay Area, but the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown derailed those plans.

The next stop would be returning to the Seattle area, the place Ricco-Delahaie calls home.

A little more than a year ago the couple opened El Rincón de La Salsa Cubana on Alaska Street Southwest in West Seattle.

Ricco-Delahaie said they partnered with two other businesses – Move2Center Studio and VivaArts – as they ramped up coming out of pandemic restrictions.

Besides classes and private lessons, the members of El Rincón de La Salsa Cubana are most excited about their regularly hosted “social night” events.

Ricco-Delahaie said the social nights are the perfect opportunity to try Salsa Cubana, hear music from authentic Salsa Cubana artists and learn about other dance genres.

“I don’t have to be the best person on the floor,” Ricco-Delahaie said.

The next social night is on Oct. 22. Social dancing nights are held from 8 to 11 pm at VivaArts in West Seattle. Free parking is available in the lot north of the building. The first half-hour includes a dance lesson before the dance floor opens for the remainder of the evening.

For more information, click here.