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14 April 2016 / leggypeggy

Dance—at the heart of Cuba

Dancers in Havana

Cuban dancers move to the music on Obispo Street

Did you know that Cuba gave the world two famous dances—the Cha Cha and the Mambo? Or that these two dances helped to inspire the Salsa, that hit the scene in the 1970s in New York City?

Yeah, I didn’t know either.

But on our last night in Cuba, a group of Havana’s young and energetic dancers treated us to an amazing display of their moves and talent.

Dance twirl in Cuba

Yes, he tossed her up and twirled her around. Glad it wasn’t me

It started in the late afternoon when Poor John and I were having a leisurely stroll around Old Havana. You have to soak up the culture whenever and wherever you can!

We came upon a plaza we’d visited several times before and noticed a crowd gathering in anticipation. But it wasn’t just the crowds. There were amplifiers, microphones, band instruments and the makings of a dance floor (made out of taped-together pieces of cardboard).

Havana Cuba street band

The street band

Street singers, Havana Cuba

The singers

This is when you just have to stop and wait to see what’s going to happen. As it turned out, we waited almost an hour before anything happened. I was impressed that the crowd remained so placid and patient—not necessarily a Latin characteristic! 🙂 Although one little girl burst into tears after 20 minutes and her mum left to take her home.

But when the action started, the dancers, singers and musicians hardly took a breath—and never missed a beat or a note or a step. Or if they did, we never noticed.

I have to admit that I don’t know what dances they performed, or in what order, but they made me grin and tap my toe and want the whole experience to never end.

They even changed costumes a couple of times, which floored me because the pace was so fast I still have no idea how they managed that.

Cuban dancer

Check out these dancing moves

Even Poor John, who cringes when the word ‘dance’ is mentioned, loved the whole production. And, of course, he was mightily relieved when they didn’t drag anyone (meaning him) out of the audience to perform with them. 🙂

I don’t know if this dance extravaganza is repeated every night of the week (I sure hope so). But if you are ever in Havana in the late afternoon, head down to the far end of Obispo Street and wait for the action to begin.

P.S. Cuba’s national dance is the Danzón, and I have no idea whether it was part of this display. I presume it was. No matter, we loved every minute of this performance. What a great last night in Cuba.

Cuban dancers in overdrive

Cuban dancers in overdrive



Leave a Comment
  1. weezaj / Apr 14 2016 1:32 pm

    FINALLY – I knew something you didn’t. Also, we have a Danzon troupe here in Canberra, although it offers more than just the Cuban styles. I should sign you and PJ up for some ‘magic that happens between the steps’!


    Louise Scrivener *Chinese Ducks Design* 0407 477 440

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 14 2016 1:36 pm

      Oh Louie, you can sign me up but, just so you know, Poor John will fight to the death anything related to dance.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Judy Tseng / Apr 14 2016 1:34 pm

    Wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. toutparmoi / Apr 14 2016 1:36 pm

    I’m so envious! I’ve always wanted to visit Cuba. In 1980 I spent 8 or 9 months bumming around in South America (where “Fidel” as they called him, was a hero) and I vowed to go back and check out the more northern Latinos countries. But life etc intervened, as it so often does. Sigh.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 14 2016 1:37 pm

      I’m sure you’ll get there some day. Start planning now.

      Liked by 2 people

      • toutparmoi / Apr 14 2016 2:08 pm

        I may not live so long! Plus, I always used to say a lone woman should never travel with more luggage than she could carry while running like hell. And nowadays that would leave me with not much more than a shoulder bag.
        On the other hand, my days of being chased may well be over. Or I could do a LeggyPeggy and lose it!

        Liked by 2 people

      • leggypeggy / Apr 14 2016 10:53 pm

        Go to Cuba now. It’s incredibly safe. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. wfdec / Apr 14 2016 1:37 pm

    In spite of the fact that Cuba is so poilitcally screwed up, the people look like they are pretty happy. Or is it all just for show. PS I knew about the dances.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 14 2016 1:39 pm

      Hey, I know you know the movie ‘The Castle’. In Cuba, it’s all about the vibe. The dances are vibe overkill. It’s not for show, it’s just for joy.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. thatmishmash / Apr 14 2016 1:43 pm

    Now , I learnt something new from this post , so thank you ! The pictures are awesome and exude such a positive energy .

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 14 2016 10:53 pm

      Thanks. I hoped the pics would go some way to conveying the energy of the dancers.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. mopana / Apr 14 2016 4:16 pm

    This is wonderful. They look so genuine. I love dancing. I used to take dancing courses when I was little.
    Beautiful post, Peggy ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Suzy Barker / Apr 14 2016 6:10 pm

    Fabulous images – you’ve painted a wonderful picture of Cuban dancing in this post – much enjoyed it.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. poshbirdy / Apr 14 2016 9:17 pm

    How brilliant. All that energy and joy

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Louise Terranova / Apr 14 2016 10:22 pm

    I would LOVE to go to Cuba. Love the dance shots.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. spearfruit / Apr 14 2016 11:01 pm

    Your pictures look exciting! I felt like I was there – thanks Peggy for sharing. Glad you were able to experience this. Happy day my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 14 2016 11:09 pm

      Just looking at the pics makes me smile! Hope you have a happy day too!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. The Whitechapel Whelk / Apr 15 2016 1:00 am

    We tried to go to Cuba once but were held by immigration officials at Havana airport due to our sports editor trying to smuggle in his own tin of cigars. They were John Cotton Cigarillos too! 😦

    Liked by 3 people

  12. mukul chand / Apr 15 2016 2:00 am

    wonderful post

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Carol Ferenc / Apr 15 2016 3:23 am

    This looks like so much fun! What a great way to experience some of their culture. My sister is going to Cuba later this year. I’ll be sure to direct her to your blog, Peggy.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 15 2016 7:59 am

      Oh yes, please do, Carol, and tell her the dancers were at the end of Obispo Street.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Carol Ferenc / Apr 16 2016 5:56 am

        She’ll be very interested in this, Peggy.

        Liked by 2 people

      • leggypeggy / Apr 16 2016 9:54 am

        I’ll be posting more about Cuba that I hope will be useful too.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Lynz Real Cooking / Apr 16 2016 7:39 am

    Wow what a treat Peggy! Love the pictures

    Liked by 2 people

  15. ninja network / Apr 17 2016 12:37 am

    Reblogged 💐💐💐

    Liked by 2 people

  16. scribbler / Apr 17 2016 1:14 am

    Lovely pictures, thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Sy S. / Apr 17 2016 10:20 am

    I love the expression on the dancers faces, all looking like they are having a good time. Nice photo shoot and capturing the spirit of the Island. Next time maybe a short video and sound!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Apr 17 2016 11:53 am

      Sometimes I don’t realise, until it’s too late, that I should have the video running!


  18. fiftywordsdaily / Apr 17 2016 4:16 pm

    Well jel – as I understand the young folk in Essex say. Totes wel jel…great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. voulaah / Apr 17 2016 11:46 pm

    Vive la dance cubéenne
    merci pour ce post

    Liked by 1 person

  20. J. A. Allen / Apr 18 2016 1:38 am

    Great pictures. I thoroughly enjoyed this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. chattykerry / Apr 18 2016 4:17 am

    I love these posts and am envious. Can’t wait to go to Cuba, now that we can!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. findingnyc / Apr 18 2016 8:25 am

    What great photos! You really captured the dancers’ movement. Cuba is definitely on my list of places I want to visit, and your descriptions make me want to go even more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Apr 18 2016 1:15 pm

      So glad you’ve enjoyed the photos and hope you can make it to Cuba soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. mommermom / Apr 26 2016 10:10 am

    Cuba must be loving the visitors to their country. Wow is all I can say!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. milliethom / May 2 2016 6:08 pm

    Great photos of a wonderful event, Peggy. We went to Cuba in 2010 but didn’t manage to get into Havana. It seems we missed out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 4 2016 8:47 pm

      Havana is amazing. Hope you make it back there soon.


  25. MichaelStephenWills / Apr 13 2021 11:26 pm

    You captured the feeling


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