This post will be short (kind of) and to the point (hopefully). The following comments stem from my experience teaching the dance of son at different places and the questions that people have asked me during these lessons, and the overall misconceptions that I perceive as existing when it comes to son dancing.
Here is hoping this post helps clarify some of these (mis)conceptions about son once and for all, especially when it comes to timing.
The first major misconception about son that I have encountered is that of the apparent interchangeability of the terms contratiempo and son. In short, some people seem to believe that these two terms mean the same thing.
Contratiempo literally means “against time,” but what it really means in musical terms is “on the off-beat”. In music, off-beats are the 2nd and 4th beats. (For a more detailed explanation click here and go to the “On-beat and off-beat” section.) Contratiempo, then, is a way to say that we are dancing on the off-beat; that is, that we are starting our three-step on the second beat. Therefore, if we were to dance “on the off-beat”, we would start our three-step on the 2 and finish it on the 4.
Son refers to the dance which is danced to the corresponding music of that same name.
So, while son refers to the dance itself, contratiempo is, first and foremost, a musical term, not a dance one. But people who dance use it to refer to the timing on which one can dance (emphasizing the off-beats), which does not necessarily have to apply to the dance of son. Indeed, casino or salsa can be danced on contratiempo timing.
The reason that some people may confuse the two terms is not unfounded, however. Indeed, when son dancing is taught, it is almost always taught to be danced on contratiempo timing.
Precisely because of the way son is typically taught, there seems to be a second major misconception about son dancing. And said misconception essentially posits that son has to be danced on contratiempo timing.
To clarify this misconception, I’d first like you to take a look at this video of this couple dancing casino. Watch it for about forty seconds, and try to figure out on what count they are dancing. Then come back to reading this.
Assuming that you watched the video as I suggested, you will have noticed something. If you know how to “find the one” in the song, you will have noticed that they were most certainly not dancing on the one here. Now, casino is typically taught to be danced on the one. But these people were dancing casino not on the one.
Did the dance stop being casino because of this?
Of course not. And that’s the point that I am trying to make. To those who argue or think that son has to be danced on contratiempo timing, I’ve got news: that is simply not true.
We just saw it with casino. They were dancing casino on a beat that is not typically taught at academies, where the first beat of the music is emphasized, and yet no one can argue that they are not dancing casino, or that it isn’t casino because they are not dancing on the one.
As the title of this post states: “Timing does not make a dance. Its structure does.”
In other words—and to bring it back to son dancing—, if it looks like son, then it is son, regardless of the timing in which it is being danced.
You can dance son on contratiempo. You can dance it on tiempo timing (on the one). If you are, structurally speaking, dancing son, then you are dancing son.
Now, what can be argued is that contratiempo timing is the preferred timing for dancing son. And it is. Son, specially the traditional kind—and even in parts of its most modern renditions—are better danced on contratiempo timing. They feel better with the music because musicians are emphasizing the off-beats.
But to go from having a preference to dancing on the off-beat to then suggest that someone who is dancing son on a timing other than the off-beat is not really dancing son…well, that is simply preposterous and ultimately misinformed.
If you can dance casino on any beat you want, then son, a predecessor of casino, is no different. Now, it does feel different to dance on different beats, when it comes to connecting to the music. But structurally speaking, the dance does not change because of the timing used.
Ultimately, I believe that these misconceptions, specially the last one, stem from the fact that son is not really a popular dance in Cuba. Sure, there are pockets in the island, like Santiago de Cuba, which have kept this dance alive. But overall, son dancing is not that popular. Most people of Cuba moved on to casino. This lack of…let’s call it “touch” with the dance, the way I see it, has made knowledge about son dancing remain “stuck” on certain principles that used to be the norm back in the day (such as using contratiempo timing), but which remained unchanged or unquestioned as the music progressed and evolved and moved away from emphasizing the off-beats, and casino gained popularity over son.
Then there is also the fact that son was incorporated into the syllabi of government institutions such as ENA (National School of Arts) to the point that much of the populace nowadays sees son dancing—when they do see it—as a time-reverting spectacle, for one’s eyes only—rather than a current social dance to be “touched” and interacted with. (Again, this is not to say that there are not regular people who dance son. I’m simply stating that the majority does not.) Ultimately , this means that there are very few people controlling knowledge about son and because said knowledge is coming from a higher place of authority, which controls the extent of the information given, very few question the information (because they do not have enough knowledge about the dance to do so), while most take it at face value. This has ramified to what happens at workshops, where most people just take in the information but rarely question what is being taught.
I hope these clarifications have helped. If there is anything else that is not clear to you about son dancing, feel free to ask it on the comment section and I’ll make sure to address it.
Gracias por la información.
Se me ocurren dos apuntes. El primero es si considera que al bailarse el Son, fundamentalmente, a contratiempo y el Casino, a tiempo, no se puede considerar un retroceso o un cierto “facilismo” este último baile.
Y segundo, ¿cuál es la estructura del Son?.
El cambio de tiempo en el baile, a mi forma de ver, tuvo más que ver con el cambio que se produjo en la música, la cual se hizo más rápida y en los arreglos comenzaron a enfatizarse otras cosas. No lo veo como “facilismo” porque bailar a contratiempo es tan fácil como bailar a tiempo. Lo que pasa es que la mayoría de la gente aprende primero a bailar a tiempo y esto crea la impresión de que el contratiempo es más difícil. Lo de la estructura, ya eso es otro post. Pero mira videos y verás. Es bien reconocible.
I’ll agree that you can’t say Son is only Son if danced contratiempo. I have to disagree with you though when you say that “structurally speaking, the dance does not change because of the timing used.”
As you note, “it does feel different to dance on different beats.” Dancing contratiempo has a specific groove or swing, and a big part of that, in my opinion, is the feeling of suspension you get on your 3rd and 6th steps that you don’t get when dancing a tiempo.
I’m no expert or scholar on the subject, but it seems to me that many or most of Son’s signature figures are built around that suspension. Even, for example, Son’s closed position basic step (step, step, LEFT; step, step, RIGHT) relies on it, and, in my experience, feels awkward when trying to dance it a tiempo. The feeling of suspension gives you more room to glide and travel because your weight isn’t rooted into the ground at the same time you are stepping–you are pushing into the last step instead of falling into it.
So in that respect, I would argue that the timing chosen does have an effect on the structure of the dance, and I would even wonder whether the familiar structure of the dance arose from the swing of the music in the first place.
Well, if you read what you wrote, the word “feel” comes up a lot. And that is my point. The difference is mainly in the feeling of the dance. The basic step does not change to the point that it’s an entirely different basic step. There’s nuance to the execution, yes, but the basic step, be it on one or two, remains recognizable for what it is. The effect seems to come at the level of execution, but the turn patterns remain the same. You can get to six by adding 3 and 3 or by dividing 18 and 3, the result is still six.
I disagree–I think it does become a different step. The groove involves more than just feel because it affects your weight transfer.
For a parallel, I don’t think anyone would argue that you can dance cha cha lokafun (also contratiempo) on a different timing. If you changed the timing, you would be dancing a different step–something like the step from rumba (though there are more differences, and I have no idea how to write this one out, ka-cha maybe?). Very similar footwork–3 plus 3–but a different timing and groove creates two completely different steps.
Also, look at Changüí. You can’t dance Chagüí on a different timing because the groove is the core of the dance. You can dance Changüí without any figures or turn patterns and it’s still clearly recognizable.
This is less prominent in Son but it’s still there.
As for turn patterns, take as an example the simple outside turn from closed position. This is a turn that I have seen many people execute while dancing or teaching Son, but one I have not seen frequently taught as part of Casino. I would argue that a big reason for this is because in order to lead the turn properly, you rely on the tension created during the suspension you get while pushing into your 3rd step to the left. Without this tension the turn feels mushy, and it is much easier to create while dancing contratiempo.
You can extrapolate this idea out to every other Son figure. Even something as simple as traveling forwards and backwards in Son. How do you communicate to your partner whether to keep moving forward or to break back and change direction? It’s all about how you play with your weight during that suspension time that you just don’t get in a tiempo.
Okay, so let me posit something: What would happen if you take out the music? Let’s say that we do the same step without the music, you on the 2 and I on the 1. Would our steps be so different then, without the music? I agree that the groove affects your dancing as far as how you connect to the music, but that’s all it does. It doesn’t change a turn pattern. Again, there is nuance in the execution, but that is about it. And personally, there is no turn pattern in son that I cannot do on 1. None. I will say this, though, there are timings that feel better, more logical and organic, depending on the song and the genre. But, at the core, and this is what I am trying to emphasize, the dance is the dance, and the timing is the timing. Two different things. If the dance were so intrinsically dependent on timing, people would be raising hell about the “right” timing on which to dance casino. But no one is doing that. That’s where I see the incongruence that I am trying to address here.
“What would happen if you take out the music?”
Well the cheap answer is nothing, because you don’t need the music to generate the groove internally.
But my point is that (1) you dance with a pulse; (2) your bodyweight’s relationship to that pulse is different depending on whether you are dancing a tiempo or contratiempo; (3) your control over your bodyweight largely determines what comes naturally to do while dancing; and (4) it makes sense for dancers to organically come up with figures and patterns that feel natural. So therefore I’d argue that the figures common in Son likely were shaped by the fact it was danced or mostly danced contratiempo.
Sure with enough skill you can lead anything on any timing, but it’s harder and it doesn’t feel as good. People want to dance what feels good: if you dance always contratiempo, you’ll gravitate towards figures that feel better in contratiempo; if you dance always a tiempo, same goes.
I’m not saying that you can’t dance Son or Casino to different timings–I am only saying that the timing chosen affects the structure of the dance, but I also think there are many valid ways to dance those dances.
I just can’t agree that “the dance is the dance, and the timing is the timing” and the two are completely independent. Maybe my opinion is shaped by dancing mostly in NYC where there’s often hardly any space to dance, and a lot of the time all you can do is groove with your partner.
Hi, first of all I love your articles! I’m wondering, in your opinion then,is chachacha still chachacha if danced 123&4 instead of 234&5 ? Thx
Hi! Thanks for reading the blog! o answer your question: re-read the title of this piece. There’s your answer. 🙂 But let me ask you: why is it that son and chachachá have to be so limited by the count on which they are danced, but the same thing cannot happen with casino? That’s the kind.of conversation that should be had.
I have not studied music or am an expert, but from what I know, for chachacha, the guiro specifically makes that sound on the 4&5 and is why people dance to that rhythm. Since chachacha music and dance stemmed from son, it seems to me like there are certain beats it should be danced to, and is why dancers can often add a chachacha step in son or to a song that is son and chachacha fused, because it’s the same timing (again going with that the chachacha is on 4&5). I understand that things evolve, as has Casino dancing. But in this case I’m not sure that son has or that it should. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone dancing son in Cuba in a different time than 234, 678
*correction from my post below, I believe chachacha came first, then son, but the theory is still the same 🙂
I agree that there are certain beats that it should be danced to, that it makes more sense to be danced to, based on how the music plays. But again, that’s a should, not a must. I’ve seen people dancing chachachá on the 1, and while I cringe because they are not following the music (so I agree with you there), they are still dancing chachachá, if you look at the overall structure. On the other hand, son dancing actually did evolve…into what we know today as “casino.” But the reason that wehat we perceive as son itself stayed “stuck” has to do with what I was talking about on the post: not many people dance it. When people don’t touch things, things don’t change. The moment that son becomes popular, if it ever does, you will see changes happening because people are “touching” it and affecting it with their idiosyncrasies. It’s happening with Afro-Cuban dances left and right as of now. At any rate, to go back to your original point. Yes, the music is important here, but paying attention to the music itself does not fundamentally change the dance, just the timing. And that’s what I am trying to say.
Then it would be called rock and roll 🙂
Sorry, got the order of my reply wrong – my whimsical comment “Then it would be called rock and roll” was in answer to Jen’s question as to whether Chachacha would still be Chachacha if it were danced a tiempo rather than contratiempo. To keep on the Chachacha topic it (the music and the dance) evolved separately from Son out of the Danzon-Mambo lineage in the late 1940’s/early 1950’s. Son arose much earlier, probably, in my opinion, from Trova and percussion elements of rumba. Of course Son and Chachacha (music) share a strong emphasis on contratiempo – why this is, I am not sure; prabably the presence of Danzon in Cuban musical culture (it was the national dance of Cuba in the late 19th century when Son was developing as a musical style) influenced the way Son was played and danced. Certainly the basic dance elements of Son bear striking resemblances to Danzon basic elements.
Son (dance) of course added much flesh to the Danzon bones – dancers are more separate from one another and there is great emphasis on physical strength and balance for both partners in their individual roles, as well of course as keeping the dance partnership together. I have to disagree with the premise of your essay, Daybert, and agree with Alexander. Son dance isn’t Son unless it matches the strong contratiempo elements of the music. At a stretch I guess you could call it Son danced badly, just as Chachacha danced 1,2,3&4 is Chachacha danced badly.
But yes, Casino can be danced a tiempo or contratiempo, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it can be danced on any beat at all, at least not comfortably for the leader, follower or watcher. In the video you have shown by the way, while it is interesting Casino, I can only watch it with the sound turned off! With the sound on, and assuming there is no technical problem with syncing of the audio and video tracks, that couple is dancing on (i.e. stepping the first quick of the quick, quick,slow sequence) the 1, the 2, the 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 – and probably every possible fraction between – all in the same song. That can’t be a pleasant experience for the follower as it sure wasn’t for me, the watcher.
Casino can be danced with the slow steps falling on the 3 (a tiempo) or the 4 (a contratiempo) because as Son Montuno, and later Songo and Timba, developed from the less instrumetally complex Son the musicians found ways to emphasise both tiempo and contratiempo elements of the 4-beat bar in the one piece.
James raises an interesting question as to how then to distinguish between the dances of Son and Casino a contratiempo. The similarities can be reconciled by viewing Casino a contratiempo as a link (perhaps the “missing link”) between Son and Casino. Certainly others (and I wish I could remember who … sorry!) have indicated that Casino was danced contratiempo in the early days of its evolution. I imagine that as the music acquired more of an emphasis on the down beats through the expanded brass section and the (louder) piano replacing the Tres and reduced emphasis on the up beats (the contratempo) which had largely been played by the bass and congas, dancers were provided with freedon to dance either tempo or contratempo (but hopefully not in the same song, or at least not uncontrolled in the same song).
The only real difference, then, between Son and Casino a contratiempo lies in the complex combinations of steps (aka the much abused term “turn patterns”) that characterise Casino and are largely absent from Son. Son instead emphasizes exhibitions of strength and balance in long sections of tornillos and trompos which can be maintained for many multiples 4-beat bars. Tornillos tends to be much shorter in Casino often only lasting a few bars at most before the dancers move onto the next combination of basic elements in the construction of the dance. But you are right James, it’s a grey area!
I have been told by many older Cubans that in the 40’s and 50’s, fast tempo guarachas were routinely danced with “en clave” or “on one” timing. In those decades, of course they were dancing Son.
Very good point, the timing and the dance are two completely separate concepts. How you “feel” about the rhythm and the music dictate your choice. I love to dance casino contratiempo to son music. Why not? It’s still casino.
The problem with these sorts of discussions is that many people really have no sure idea of when casino starts and son stops. It’s a grey area (isn’t it?) and would make an interesting blog post in itself I think (hint hint). 🙂
Good question James – I’ve offered my answer in the post just above yours … cheers!
Martin, thank you for your thoughts. So if we were watching a video of a son or casino dance with the sound turned off, how would we go about distinguishing it? You posit that the tornillos are much longer in son than in casino.
One of the problems facing us is that casino evolved from son during a process that lasted for many years. When people first started dancing son in ruedas, they were still dancing son for a while. And things started changing with the faster paced music, the need for partner changes, more complicated figures etc etc The rueda was a crucible for optimizing stepping and movement patterns … it changed the son into casino. The point at which we say this is now casino and is not son, has to have a large component of individual taste in it. We are all going to choose different points along that evolutionary path and say HERE!
My personal opinion is that if two things are present then it is casino: (1) The extensive use of caída positions (2) The use of pivots to (A) change body position and orientation during the pause beats (4 and 8 for a tiempo or 1 and 5 for contratiempo) and for (B) Cuban walking turns (such as 70 and its variants or coca-cola and its variants).
I agree that usually long tornillos are a “son thing” but I don’t really think it is anything identifiably structural in the dance as to whether they are present in a son or a casino dance.
All I’ve gotta say about this discussion on how things feel when you dance while nothing really is changed, well, this type of nuance is why there’s always an argument about salsa vs son.
Hi James, to answer your first question: distinguishing between Son and Casino can be difficult but I would agree with Daybert (who I have just been discussing this with on FB) that Son doesn’t really include enchufla to any great extent and probably not guapea at all, although I am not sure on that one. I include guapea in my Son, albeit slightly different to the guapea I use in Casino, but maybe that wouldn’t be historically correct (maybe I should call it an evolution 😉 …).
Certainly the empahasis on tornillo, trompo and plancher is less in Casino than in Son, but this is hardly a discrete difference between the two as all these elements can be used in Casino. Complex turn patterns (even a simple one like Setenta) are part of Casino but not Son. A musical analogy I like is that Son is jazz improvisation as compared to Casino as Jazz-rock-pop fusion- the musical notes are the same, the combinations used are very similar but whereas the former is very free-form and allows the participants the freedom to improvise, the latter has longer structures which reduce (but do not remove) freedom. This is especially true in rueda de Casino of course.
I don’t agree that rueda changed Son into Casino. It is easy to imagine (lacking much in the way of historical recources) that Casino evolved from Son independently of the rueda format given the changes in music that were happening between the 1930s and the 1950s – Arsenio Rodrigues, the influence of US big band music, jazz and swing (both music and dance). However, I have no doubt the rueda format contributed to the later (post 1950s) development of fixed combinations of steps that could be carried out synchronously as a group.
I do agree with your points in paragraph 3. Thanks for your reply!
Martin, thank you for your comments. I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree about the importance of Rueda in transforming Son in Casino. There is a LOT of circumstantial evidence that that is exactly what happened (the name itself evokes the Ruedas that were being danced in the Casinos of Havana). Up tempo music alone did not create the need for forward stepping and breaking away from the backward marking of Son … you can dance Son perfectly well to very fast tempo songs and lots of classical Son songs are very fast tempo indeed.
All of your examples of figures fall within my classification if you would care to reflect on them. The Enchufa requires a pivot turn, the 70 is a forward pivot turn … the so-caled Cuban forward walking turn of 70, Sombrero, Vacilala and Coca-cola …. Pivots and pivot turns are NOT part of Son (in my view).
More or less planchas, tornillos, or trompos can not be a basis (in my opinion) for distinguishing between Son and casino. Contratiempo or A tiempo is also (again in my opinion) not useful for distinguishing between the two dances.
Thank you for this interchange.
You may well have covered this in other posts, so apologies on advance, but:
As a dancer who has been taught to listen for the 3-2 Son clave, I find a track like Calle Real’s ‘Yo Lo Se’ (which I rightly or wrongly regard as a Son track) infuriating, because whilst it has a clear clave it’s actually 2-3 or rumba clave if you are also following the musical phrasing. To my point: in this instance, should one always religiously follow the clave, or the other instruments (eg bass) which would lead to dancing son on 2-3 instance (which feels ‘jarring’). Help!
Best wishes, Mark
Hi, Mark. Thanks for your comment. I have written about the clave here, too. I’ll link you to the piece so that you can read it if you want, but I’ll paste here the paragraphs I think are pertinent to your questions:
“Regardless of where the dancer’s 1 actually is, there is nothing that says that you have to dance to a certain 1 count. Because musicians are using two 1s, you, too, could use any of the two. Either way, you will be hitting a 1 count.
“Hitting the “right” 1 count becomes more important when you want to apply some musicality to your dancing; you want to get the “hits” that are happening in the song, you want to be more connected to what the instruments are doing. Then yes, going with the “right” 1 there matters, because that is the one that the musicians are emphasizing.”
So, yeah, have your one be on the 2 side if the phrase begins on that side.
Also, as a little side note. A rumba guaguancó clave is not necessarily 2-3. Here’s a video I made clarifying that. I hope all of this helps!
Thanks Daybert – oops, I just opened Pandora’s box! I had never thought of the third beat in rumba clave as being the ‘and’ of four ‘and’ but it makes sense. I have seen Son dancers (leads) start with their left both on 4 and on 8, and with their right both on 4 and 8, and often wondered if there was a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way. For me, left on four and right on eight feels natural and, depending on the song (whether there is suspension on three or a strong conga on eight) I may start to move left or right to pick up the pulse of the rhythm. Does that make sense? However, that track (Ya lo se) bugs me in particular because the clave seems to go against the flow of the track and I get torn between listening to the flow of the phrasing and bass, versus clave. I’ve even tried dancing it both ways (on clave and on the 8-count) and it feels quite different each way. I guess we become accustomed to the idea that one way is right and another wrong, maybe there is room for both!
I have to salute you on the effort and Im really Happy to read all the content and commentarys. Awesome piece of work you do here, Your the man mr 🙂 Im Happy that Your trying to clear up about all the myths around This subject. It dosent matter if you disagree or not, it all depends on how you feel about it. To me the music is what determines how you dance or what beat you like to emphasize in it. Its up to what makes it easier for you, or Your students, if you have some. It all depends on the music i guess. How you interpred it, is individual an personal but the structure of Son remains the same. Thats my take on This. ID like to add that if you dance on 1 Its Casino and you Get a shorter brake, and it dosent give you the time to emphasize the upperbody movements Thats caracteritic of Son. Even still, I like to dance Son to Casino cause it blends inn so well with the structure of proper Casino. Again, Great post and very inspiring. Please keep it up!
Further to the above: the Calle Real song – unless I’m mistaken – is a Son clave isn’t it rather than a Rumba one. Please correct me if I’m wrong . . .
Hi Kester – I’ll let Daybert rule on that one – but to me, the clave in the song sounds like 2-3 if you follow the phrasing of the son;g for example, if you take the first line, which is effectively two bars of eight you might imagine that to follow the rhythm and lilt of the phrasing it would be two bars of 3-2. But it begins with a 2 and goes 2-3, 2-3. Now if we read Daybert’s analysis of 2-3 or so-called rumba clave he would argue (with some logic) that 2-3 isn’t actually 2-3, as if you break it down into 1-and 2-and 3-and 4-and, rumba clave actually has the 3rd beat (ie the first beat of the 3 in 2-3) on ‘4-and’….
However, what I suppose I was getting at in the original post I made is that to me the song flows best with what we think of as 3-2, but as I listen to it I am hearing 2-3. I then have an internal dispute over whether to follow the 2-3 and dance on the clave, or follow the rhythm of the phrasing and dance on the 3-2. Listen again to the start of the track – it starts with 2 to my ear:
If you hammer out a 3-2 over it instead, it flows better imho….but ohters may not see it this way 🙂
Best wishes, Mark
The clave in the song is Son clave not rumba. To me the phrasing sounds like 3-2 … which would be the normal phrasing for a son song but not modern timba music which is mainly (but not always) 2-3 …. most of Calle Real’s music is 2-3.
I agree on what Mark says about starting with the left on 4. On the Calle Real song that would feel right if you were dancing contratiempo (or I would start on the 1 on the 2 side of the clave). I find it a difficult area, and have been shown different ways, but thanks to this site and the comments it’s becoming a little clearer to me.
All of my old Cuban friends from Cuba would definitely disagree. The timing matters and it’s based around the clave.the right foot steps back on the 2nd strike of the 2 side. Cross-referenced with an older dvd I have of an old Cuban instructer showing the timig for Danzon (cincquillo), son (clave) and chachachá (tumbao). You can boil a pizza if you feel like it and I guess it’s still pizza.
The main argument here is that you can mute a video of a couple dancing son and you would still recognize it as son. Because it is muted, you don’t know what they are dancing to. So while clave can add to it and all of that, the dance in itself doesn’t need it to be son.
When the statement is put that wy I can feel ya. I have always been told that the timING matters on son. And watching someone dance chavha (the balltoom-y over styled chachachá) on the wrong timing (or to a Dominican bachata, not kidding) makes my head hurt.
We have the same dvd.
It matters not, whether a dance appears to be Son when viewed without music. To define Son dance outside its relation to the music it’s danced to is to abstract it from one of its living relationships and in so doing misrepresent it. That teachers of Son will do this every time they demonstrate it to students without music is no proof to the contrary. They would be demonstrating only a part of the whole, the idea surely being, to build up to the whole of the dance through learning its parts. In relation to the music, in the case of Son, this is invariably to dance it a contratiempo.
Completely disagree. We don’t hold the same standards for casino. Indeed, people dance casino in whatever time they want, and it’s still casino because the structure of the dance makes it so. Timing has nothing to do with a dance’s identity than the feel of it.
In comparing Casino with Son you’re comparing chalk with cheese. they have a different if related history and are danced to music with different punctuation and emphasis. I personally dance Casino a contratiempo but acknowledge that this doesn’t necessarily go better with the Salsa or Timba I often dance it to. It’s a choice. Son has a powerful accent on the 4 through the bass and tumbadora where it’s also used, which is uncluttered by other musical layers found in subsequent music like Timba and Salsa.
If Cubans were now dancing Son in a different relation to the music and this was becoming an accepted way to to dance it, you’d have an argument, though I’d regard it as a weakening of culture. As far as I know, this isn’t the case. But Son, unlike Casino and the music it’s danced to, is barely a living, evolving dance. It’s more historic and a contratiempo is how it has always been danced. To represent it in any other time is plain wrong. Sorry.