I spent seven months living in Cuba in 2013 and 2014. With the cold upon us in eastern Canada, and after a weekend of heavy dancing in Montreal, I find myself my thoughts turning to Cuba. Many people asked what I did for so many months. Often I sum it up in six words, “learn spanish, take pictures, and dance”. It may be hard to believe that I passed months repeating this cycle over and over, from week to week, but it never seemed to get old. Really, I would repeat it all in a heartbeat.
Amongst friends who have also spent significant time in Cuba, we talk about the rich culture of Cuban music and dance. And while Cuba is famous for 'salsa' (i.e. casino), there are many other styles of dance that originated in Cuba. These dances that are inextricably linked, but still unique to one another.
The progression from danzon, to son and changui, to ballroom cha-cha-cha, casino, and rueda de casino; dances that remain more in the realm of african dance with yoruba and dances for each santo (“saint”); dances within rumba including guanguanco, yambu, and colombia; and finally, although not my favourite, no one can deny the prevalence of reggaeton and other fusions, like timbaton. Not to say there isn't also a fusion between rumba and casino, or between son and yambu. There are fusions everywhere!
Here is mash-up of months of footage I’ve taken in Cuba over the last two years. Some of it includes performances, but the majority are done in a social dance setting. This was all shot before I really had much of an interest in videography so I apologize in advance for some of the less than perfect footage. Here is the disclaimer, footage may include: iphone, lumix and canon formats, and an external mike never even occurred to me.
As you may know, I am organizing a dance course in Havana this winter from January 14-21, 2015. While I cannot promise you will witness everything in this video, you will experience the majority of it first hand. Yes, we will dance casino, and you will dance rueda de casino, but wait, there is more! Come see and dance to the other styles of Cuban dance that are less popular outside of Cuba. For more info on the event, please see the Bailando Cuba page.