Salsa class Havana: I did that, and here is how it went (and how to book salsa dancing lessons in Havana yourself!).
When I booked my first trip to Cuba a few years ago (as part of a longer South American journey), it was possible to also book activities like salsa lessons in Havana, Cuba, after Spanish class.
At this stage, dancing was not even close to a priority for me.
In fact, I rolled my eyes, such a cliché, salsa dancing in Havana!? That is NOT something I am going to get myself into.
Just think! A naïve middle-aged lady swept around the floor by a Latino master of rhythm, oh no. Not this girl. I am going to keep my grace, no doubt. Or at least, that was the plan in 2019.
PS: At the end of this article, you can check out my salsa skills by the end of 2023!!
Salsa Class Havana Vieja at Casona Del Son
#Salsa class Havana
Situated in Calle (street) Empedrado # 411 between Calle Compostela and Calle Aguacate in Old Havana is a beautiful building with arty dance halls that is the home of Casona del Son dance school with fun and engaging salsa classes.
High ceilings and decorative tiles over two floors make the experience even more magical.
I have been going here for more than two years, taking dancing classes in salsa, kizomba, and bachata, and I love it!
The entry area and the dance halls are buzzing with dance teachers, students, and Cuban music seven days a week, offering classes in all the Latin and Afro-Cuban dances, lady styling, and more.
Courses And Classes At La Casona Del Son Dance School in Old Havana
In these dance halls, you can take group classes, or you can have a private class with one of the skilled dance teachers teaching you 1:1 on your preferred dance style.
Contact them on Facebook or their home page to book dance lessons before you get here, or just drop by and book a class when you are in town.
You can book group lessons or private lessons where you have a personal dance teacher who focuses only on you! The teacher will focus on both dancing and music lessons so that even if you are a beginner, this will take you to the next level super fast!
Advanced students who have been dancing for a while will also love the vibe and skilled teachers in Havana dance schools with considerable experience.
You will be able to go to social dancing events in Havana after just one class, head over to the Casa de la Musica for traditional salsa and bachata, and all the Cuban traditional dances.
There are also a plethora of dance clubs where you can dance salsa, but where the reggeaton and Afro-Cuban beats are more popular.
Also read: The Magic Of Dance | Cuban Dance Styles
Cuban Salsa Class Havana – Salsa Casino!
My meeting with the Cuban salsa was reluctant, but then again, the conversion was instant!
The rest of my Spanish language class is running off to salsa dance dance classes every afternoon after Spanish lessons while I am spending quality time in my own company exploring Havana Vieja.
Eventually, after a few days of comments that I am missing out on, I reluctantly agree to go along. For ONE class of salsa only.
You know, what could be the harm?
I enter the Cuban dance school and dance studio in my saggy summer dress and flip-flops, accompanied by an overbearing super-adult face.
I don’t know what I expected, but there is hustle and bustle everywhere and a lot of activity and people.
Each student has his or her own teacher, it turns out. I have to admit it all seems very professional here at La Casona Del Son in the Old City of Havana!
An energetic guy with happy eyes, a reversed cap, and a curly ponytail comes over and informs me that he is Raudel and he is going to be my teacher.
The teacher does not waste any time, and before I know it I find myself in the rookie dance room in the middle of the basic steps before I have put my purse down or even prepared a little.
And suddenly, I am slightly dazed in the much-feared way-to-close position while Raudel takes the lead, looking at me intensely, counting steps, and asking, “Yes, do you understand”?
Also read: The Magic Kizomba Dance!
Dance Stars From The ’80s
#Salsa class Havana
Somewhere in my cerebellum, some of my old salsa moves obviously are stored still.
Although Raudel is yelling at me for not having spaghetti arms (quite the opposite of what my ballroom teacher said in the last century) and because I am standing too far away, I have to say it actually does not feel too bad!
I think maybe Raudel thinks I`m not completely hopeless because he enthusiastically says “very good,” sparks with energy, and is sometimes very strict.
He shakes his head in mild despair over tense north European ladies who cannot relax and just follow his lead.
“I am the man,” he says when I swirl off on my own initiative. I am clearly not used to being led anywhere.
He reminds me a lot of Leroy from Fame (or was it Flashdance?) – the huge stars for dreaming dancing teens in the 80s.
Also read: Travel resources | Best travel deals
A Salsa-Loving Senorita Is Born
I have capitulated completely; music is pounding through the whole room and I let myself be led around the floor and taking the regular reprimands without even the smallest objection.
I have no idea who I was trying to fool, but there really is no hint of nonchalant worldliness detectable in my body. I decided I might just as well embrace the cliché sooner rather than later.
The fact that I am a grown-up overbearing lady has completely slipped my mind, and anyway, who cares?
I had completely forgotten how much fun it is to dance! It was my passion way back before I finished high school, but since then, life has directed me to thousands of gyms instead.
I am sweating and completely in the zone, but flip-flops? What was I thinking?
Suddenly, lesson time and class were over, and I was devastated – that was way too soon!
No time to lose, I ask Raudel to keep a space in his own schedule and immediately start planning the quest for good dancing shoes in Havana.
No use for sweaty flip-flops; they definitely do not add spark to the salsa. And I could clearly see in the dance hall mirror it does absolutely not promote elegance.
I think I just found, or maybe re-discovered, my passion!
My Current Cuban Salsa Casino Skills!
Since 2019, I have spent a lot of time in Havana (and Cuba); I have even lived here for a couple of years! Staying in Havana for shorter or longer is a great way to get to know the diversity of Cuban dance traditions and music styles.
(Well, you can not LIVE in Cuba as a foreigner, but I spent up to 6 months at a time without having to leave the country).
Of course, I will go salsa dancing, which I have done.
And even though I am not Cubana in blood and bones – here are my current salsa moves with a Scandinavian twist!
FAQs Cuba Travel
Why are US citizens not allowed to travel to Cuba?
This is NOT correct. US citizens ARE ALLOWED to travel to Cuba.
Americans can choose a reason for Cuba travel among 12 pre-approved reasons for traveling to Cuba, determined by the US Government.
Can US citizens travel to Cuba as a tourist?
Technically, US citizens are NOT allowed to travel to Cuba as a tourist. Americans choose between 12 pre-approved reasons for Cuba travel, among which the most common one is “to help the Cuban people”.
What are the 12 requirements to travel to Cuba?
You can read about the 12 pre-approved reasons to travel to Cuba for US citizens here.
The easiest and most common reason for Cuba travel is “to help the Cuban people”. There is no paperwork or application process connected to this, you just choose your reason and state that reason if anyone asks.
What happens if a US citizen travels to Cuba?
Nothing happens if a US citizen travels to Cuba, apart from hopefully, the US citizen will have a fabulous holiday and encounter with Cuban culture.
Selected airlines sell this visa/tourist card, or you can buy one online.
What documents do I need to travel to Cuba?
You need the following documents to travel to Cuba:
- Passport valid for 6 months after the date of entry
- Cuban tourist card / tourist visa
- Proof of travel insurance, including health insurance
- Fill out the d’viajero.cu digital document before your journey
Do Americans need to be vaccinated to enter Cuba?
No, there is no requirement for specific vaccines prior to entering Cuba.
Your country’s health department probably has recommendations for what vaccines you should consider before entering Cuba.
How Do I get a tourist card for Cuba?
You might also be able to buy a Cuban tourist card from your airline or at the airport prior to departure.
It is possible to buy a Cuban tourist card at Miami International Airport at the check-in counter with American Airlines and Delta Airlines.
How Do I Get A Tourist Visa For Cuba?
- Buy one online from Easy Tourist Card
- Buy one from your airline if they offer this
- Buy one at the airport of departure if they offer this
- Buy one from the Cuban Embassy in your country
Is Travel To Cuba Allowed Right Now?
Yes, Cuba travel is allowed right now. There are no COVID or health restraints from entering Cuba right now.
There are no political constraints from entering Cuba right now for most international travelers.
American citizens need to, in addition, choose one of the 12 pre-approved reasons for traveling to Cuba (Americans can not travel as “tourists”) and follow some simple guidelines for traveling in Cuba.
Wrap-Up Salsa Class Havana Cuba!
I hope you feel a little inspired right now!
Also, if dancing is your passion or on your bucket list, check out all the other dance styles you can meet in Cuba. This is a great way to get to know the Cuban dance culture, music, and son sound, as well as learn some of the amazing dance styles like the Afro-Cuban rumba, Rueda de Casino, salsa casino, bachata, and more!!
Especially magic is the Kizomba, a beautiful couple’s dance that makes you flow!
You can try them all out in the capital of Cuba!
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Cuba Visa Online: Easy Tourist Card
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