Timba is the general name for today's popular Cuban dance music, which is often simplistically referred to as "Cuban salsa" for marketing purposes. The term "salsa" is too superficial in this context, however, as it does not manage to convey the many musical levels of Cuban dance music. Modern Cuban dance music usually blends different Cuban musical styles from Son via Rumba and Reggaeton all the way to Afro-Cuban music and much more. Timba is no autonomous dance style, therefore, but the suitable interpretation of all Cuban dances deliberately matched to the music. Casino at its core is complemented by elements of Son, Rumba, Afro, Reggaeton and styling at the musically appropriate moments.
A Timbero or Timbera therefore is a person who is highly proficient in Casino but who also knows at least the basics of all other Cuban dances and understands them enough to be able to use them at suitable moments and interpret the Cuban music accordingly.
We aim to respect Cuban culture and teach and live its dances as authentically as possible without being distracted by simplifications or short-lived dance fads. Especially Casino – that's what "Cuban salsa" is actually called on Cuba, "salsa" is only for tourists or something to eat – we teach in the traditional Cuban way, i.e. first and foremost without back steps and with consistent forward orientation of the steps. In both couples dance as well as (obviously) in Rueda de Casino, the steps follow round, circular patterns - the way Casino has been danced on Cuba since the mid-1950s. (By contrast, steps following line patterns originated in the ballrooms of North America in the 1970s).
Our own Afro-Cuban dancing has for many years been inspired by annual trips to Cuba and participation in numerous festivals and workshops. We keep developing our dance skills with professional Cuban dancers to hone our own dancing and be able to teach and train others as authentically Cuban as we possibly can.
We love Cuban dances and want to spread our delight in them and inspire others – that is the main motivation behind cubaila vienaAll our dance instructors also first discovered their passion for Cuban dances and developed their dance skills with tremendous motivation. We then put the final touches on this enthusiasm to ensure standardized and didactically meaningful transfer of these dance skills and competences. In this process, the dancers themselves are always in the foreground of our activities – as is our desire to support everyone in our community in making the best of themselves and the dance.
3. Long-Term Perspective
Only continuity in learning and much practice allow you to become good at what you do – this is also true for dancing. About 90% of our dance courses are designed long-term (15-week semester courses); in addition, we provide many opportunities to dance and practice, often free of charge or very inexpensive. This has three advantages: 1) participants are thereby motivated to practice and continue learning once or several times a week, which helps to raise the dance level quickly and joyfully; 2) groups dancing together long-term, sometimes over many years, lead to numerous friendships and strong social connections that go far beyond the dancing; 3) due to the large number of long-term participants we can offer very affordable semester and event rates.
The quality of dance moves is more important to us than the number of participants in a course. Especially at the beginner levels we have therefore developed a selection method for advancing to the next level that is meant to help participants appreciate their individual dance skills and, if advisable, repeat a dance level to put their autonomous dancing on a solid foundation and not just stumble along. As a side effect, this concept also allows for a high degree of homogeneity in the dance levels of the individual groups.
5. Family-Style Community
Over time, the long-term courses and regular parties and events have created a family-like community that keeps on growing. Joint trips for instance to internal dance weekends, international festivals or our annual dance week in Havana as well as numerous dance get-togethers, Christmas or summer parties and much more foster togetherness, strengthen social cohesion and invigorate our community as a whole. Many of our participants regard cubaila viena as their second home, just like we do.
We love dynamic and complexity in music and dance, which is why our courses are designed in such a way that they provide new content and musically grow in tempo in almost every session. Physical and mental fitness are prerequisites here for enriching participation long-term. To also ensure a homogeneous community of people in similar stages of their lives, starting the general beginner course has an age limit of 30 years, the Locos group an age range of 15-19 years.
Specializing in Cuban dances enables us to go into depth with dance skills and competences, thus facilitating a comprehensive understanding of Cuban dance and music. Despite the focus on depth, our offers are nonetheless broad and diverse as they cover the full range of Cuban dances – we are the only dance community in Vienna, for instance, that also offers long-term courses for different levels in Son Cubano, Rumba Guaguancó, Reggaetón or various Afrocuban dances such as the Orishás of the Yorubá or Arara, whose elements have become integral parts of modern Cuban Casino (often called Timba).