Cuban Music and Dance (With Videos!)

At the entrance of the Afro-Cuban cultural exhibit, la habana

During a recent delegation to la habana, I learned why people so often associate Cubans and Cuba with dance and music!  Spontaneous dance parties erupted all around us, in courtyards and buses, restaurants and walkways.  I have always been a fan of Cuban music, but was unprepared for the dancing.  Cubans can dance!!!  So skillfully and effortlessly it puts me to shame (not that I would ever pretend to be a dancer….I have VERY limited moves.) However, it seems the Cubans are born with an innate rhythm and when they dance it is a powerful demonstration of culture and history and passion and sensuality unlike anything I have ever seen.  I fear the best I can ever hope for is to not embarrass myself entirely while on the dance floor with a Cuban….I am not optimistic.

My apologies for dismal lighting conditions and poor “videography” skills evident in these videos…..I am not an artist!!! (I cook and I doodle, that is about it…)  However, here are a few examples of music and dance culture around Havana as seen during a June 2010 delegation to the island.

I have posted two videos on YouTube from an afternoon at an Afro-Cuban cultural exhibit/courtyard in la habana.  One of these videos emphasizes the music heard at the exhibit, and the other showcases the traditional dance we had the opportunity to see.  I hope to gain more background information on this location during my time in Cuba and will have a future post on the artwork and artists themselves.

The other set of videos is from a show our delegation attended at a Havana theater on traditional Cuban/Afro-Cuban dance and music, including a demonstration of Cuban salsa dancing and musical performances with incredible percussion and group vocals.  I apologize for the poor lighting in the theater, I took the video (as well as all the photographs used in my blog) with my little pink Canon Elf…so this is not professional equipment!!

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