La Salsa Cubana showing gets Titans on their feet

Alessia Girardin

Photo: Alessia Girardin


Cubans say that “dancing Casino” is like being in the clouds, and Titans got to experience some of that this past week. On Thursday, January 27th from 3-5 pm at the Beckman Auditorium the International Film Series (IFS) hosted the showing of “La Salsa Cubana Rueda de Casino.” After viewing a documentary film about a dance group in Cuba, IWU students put on their dance shoes in the Hansen Student Center from 5:30-7:30 pm to learn Rueda de Casino with guest dance instructor, Allicia Morris.

Professor of Hispanic Studies, Jessie Dixon-Montogmery and Assistant Professor of Japanese Studies, Chisato Kojima introduced the movie to the IWU community.  

Faculty members in the department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures (WLLC) and members of International and Global Studies (IGS) were asked to recommend films related to their area of study. Professor Kojima, being affiliated with both, was asked to recommend some films to show at IFS. 

Photo: Alessia Girardin

“Our goal with the international film series is to give students an opportunity to see what they may not be used to,” senior Andrew Tietz, student assistant for the IGS Program, said. 

Tietz emphasized that movies are a great way to see perspectives, struggles and lessons of people that are harder to see in the constant news cycle. 

“By selecting movies from vastly different regions, we can see stories we might not be able to find as easily in the US. It’s easy to spot the differences between American society and the ones depicted in the movies, but all the more striking to see their similarities,” Tietz said. 

When Professor Kojima recommended this week’s “La Salsa Cubana Rueda de Casino,” they wanted to include the possibility of bringing a dance workshop because they thought the experiential component will be beneficial to our Spanish Studies/International & Global Studies. In addition, Professor Kojima thought Rueda de Casino would be a unique dance opportunity because it is not as popular as the traditional Salsa dance. 

“I was very excited to have brought the movie and the workshop to campus. I am very fortunate and feel grateful for my colleagues, especially Professor Dixon-Montgomery to help us having an instructor for the workshop.” Kojima said.

Kojima mentioned that she had some previous Rueda de Casino knowledge and dancing experience. 

“My expertise has nothing to do with the Spanish-speaking community or Cuban culture. but I have been dancing and enjoying Rueda de Casino since I was in grad school,” Kojima said. 

Kojima was able to bring their passion for the dance to campus, which was a new experience for many attendees.

“Getting to know and enjoying Rueda de Casino gave me much joy to know how dancing is incorporated into someone’s life as well as getting to know different cultures through friends I made through dancing,” Kojima added. 

Kojima hopes that the IWU community enjoyed and found the dance interesting. 

“I hope the IWU community enjoyed the film and dancing. And, I hope somebody showed up not knowing what the Rueda de Casino is and really got interested in it as a culture or a dancing style, just like I was amazed in the past,” Kojima said.