2014 The Beginning
In February 2014, we started talking about using Rueda de Casino as a means to welcome new dancers into the community. Brainstorming started and it all kicked into action in June in response to a dare. Mike Eskeldson of Rumbanana dared us to start something in New Orleans and make it a destination for Cuban dance.
We pulled together a group of instructors and experienced dancers to develop a base, hosted a workshop on Zydeco & Rueda de Casino and then started open practicas in September, 2014. In November, we incorporated at a non-profit.
September 2014 We opened up practicas and relying almost completely on word of mouth, avid supporters Mario Pineda and Annaliza as well as others filled the studio with new dancers week after week. Many of those new dancers have now become mainstays as Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, and Casino dancers.
Starting with the Zydeco & Casino Workshop in August, Bookoo Rueda began looking for ways to support established local venues, DJ's and bands by adding their gigs to the itinerary for workshop and festival weekends. Instead of booking separate, isolated events, we wanted to incorporate as much as possible of the city itself.
Fall of 2014 we started teaching monthly Cuban dance lessons at Dragon's Den, encouraging dancers to take what they were learning out to the club.