People dance for different reasons: for competition, to keep fit, meet new people, or simply to have a little fun. It's even become a way of visiting new countries, as shown by the growing popularity of dance holidays in Cuba, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Egypt and many other countries. But, whether they like to admit it or not, most people would in some way agree with the definition of dancing as “a vertical expression of a horizontal desire. "
Let's face it, out of the list that I started with, all except the first have probably got some link to feeling sexy or meeting people to feel sexy with, and nowhere is this more apparent than in Cuba. Salsa, Mambo, Rumba, and Cha Cha Cha are some of the islands most prominent styles of dance, and each one is intimate, flirtatious and an important part of traditional courtship rituals in Cuba. Salsa may be the most well known of the island's dances, but is it the sexiest?
History of Dance in Cuba
For any visitor on holiday in Cuba, dance is inescapable. It is part of the culture, rooted in its mixed Spanish and African heritage. Most forms of dance in Cuba have evolved from Rumba, also know as Son. This older style came to Cuba in the 19th century, and ranges from the slow and formal Rumba Yambu to the fast and overtly *** Rumba Guaguanco. The more modern styles of Mambo, Salsa and Cha Cha Cha were all born in the aftermath of the Communist revolution in the 1950s. It was a revolution in Cuba's dance halls as well as its politics, with the excitement of change fuelling passionate and inventive new forms of dance. Due to their common roots, many of the styles have similarities, such as the distinctive Latin hip movement and close footwork. Salsa and Mambo are based on a “quick-quick-slow" rhythm, while the Cha Cha Cha has a quick three step in place of the slow step.
Learning the moves
Whether you are drawn to Mambo or Cha Cha Cha, Rumba or Salsa, a dance holiday in Cuba can provide the best introduction to your style of choice. The capital, Havana, features the best clubs for Salsa in Cuba, while the northern city of Matanzas was one of the birthplaces of Rumba. A dance holiday in Cuba certainly isn't the only way of learning your first Cuban dance moves, and it can certainly help to have a handle on the basics before splashing out on a trip abroad. But a taste of Latin American culture can be vital to really get into these dances, and a holiday in Cuba, Salsa oriented or otherwise, can only help you get into the swing of things.
When it comes to judging which of the Cuban dance styles is the sexiest I have to admit to a certain bias; I fell in love with the Salsa dance on holiday in Cuba a long time ago. The island has shared its popular coffee, cigars and rum with the world, but when it comes to rating the finest export of Cuba, the Salsa dance should rank high on anyone's list. It's now evolved into many different styles and is practised by millions of amateurs and experts around the world, but the Salsa in Cuba remains the original and best.
Part of the appeal of the Cuban Salsa dance is its accessibility. Basic Salsa dancing is easy to learn, much more so than some of the other styles of dance in Cuba. Salsa is as tough a dance to master as any, but you can pick up the basic three step within a very short space of time; once you've got that, you're ready to go. You won't be winning competitions, but you'll be good enough to have fun and feel good on the dance floor.
Sexier than Son and more intimate than the Cha Cha Cha, it may not be the most beautiful or complicated dance in the world, but for me at least, Salsa in Cuba is still the sexiest dance of them all.
Emma Lelliott is the general manager of Captivating Cuba, an independent Cuba holiday specialist. With offices in Havana and the UK, Captivating Cuba can offer Cuban dance holidays holidays to Havana as well as expert advice on holidays to Varadero and Cayo Coco and lesser known resorts such as Jibacoa and Trinidad.