Dancing through the Cuban revolution

World’s away  — Cuba is a country where dance is so inbuilt into their culture that even the Cuban revolution didn’t stop the locals dancing.

Dance is an expression of freedom, yet in some places this liberty is sought after more fervently. Let me take you back to Havana, Cuba circa the 1950s.

Tourists were flocking in for the sexy show girls, music and general debauchery. This was the real deal — sequins, feathers, colour, music and loads of sensuality. The original dancing that was later copied worldwide.

With the revolution came the closing of nightclubs, casinos and everything associated with Cuba’s hedonistic past.

Castro knew a regime that banned dance would be short lived. Cubans would give up many things, dance it turns out wasn’t one of them. And so even the show girls got to stay.

“Cubans may not be 100% socialismo, but they are 100% mambo without doubt”

I love that. Dancers and revolutionaries came together. Dance had become their ideology. This is afterall, the place that gave the world Salsa, Cha Cha, Mambo and Rumba.

And their esteemed leader?

“No one has ever seen him dance, a rare fact in a country where music and dance form part of daily life. Fidel does not know how to dance salsa”

It must have been unthinkable. Maybe that’s part of the reason he was received with such mixed feelings.

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Don’t know about you, but this all makes me want to head to Cuba.

*photo & quotes curtesy of Black & White Magazine

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