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Salsa Dancing Draws European and American Tourists to Cuba holidays

  • 12-May-11 13:49
  • Cuba
  • CNN International

Cuban nightclubs are seeing an increase in foreign travellers coming to bust their moves on the dance floor during Cuba holidays as salsa dancing becomes the latest trend for Asian and European tourists from Germany, Switzerland and Japan.

Salsa Dancing Draws European and American Tourists to Cuba holidays

Travellers from Europe and Asia are hitting the dance floors of Cuban nightclubs during Cuba holidays in an attempt to show off their salsa dancing moves.

Salsa is native to Cuba but the dance style has become increasingly popular throughout countries across the world and European and Asian travellers are enjoying it so much they are heading to holidays in Cuba to show off their new moves at local nightclubs.

Known for their hip-swivelling moves, Cubans pride themselves on their salsa dancing but more foreigners are taking an interest in the energetic dance style and sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between the locals and the tourists.

At Las Canitas nightclub in Havana on a recent Saturday night, a young woman shouts over the blaring music: "See, look at him. He needs to move his hips more."

She was referring to an individual with a group of tourists from Switzerland but some of the tourists’ dance moves surprised her.
"Wow, he's got tremendous feeling," she said pointing out another dancer as he spun his dance partner around in circles. "He could definitely be Cuban."

The recent increase in interest for salsa dancing has enabled Cuban dance instructor, Marisuri Garcia, to open a dance school in Switzerland, where she lives part of the year.

During the rest of the year Marisuri lives in central Havana and after obtaining a licence from the government, she now offers private lessons charging approximately $5 per hour.

"Dancing helps you live better," Marisuri said. "It helps you to look inside and open up, to be free in mind and body."

Many tour operators are offering salsa dancing lessons as part of Cuba holidays packages, with tuition at state-run dance studios like SprachCaffe. The packages include accommodation at Cuba hotels, dance classes with individual instructors and some meals. Prices for these packages start from $1,300.

Because of the US –Cuba travel restrictions, there are very few Americans who can enjoy holidays in Cuba but as the restrictions are gradually eased, there is hope for the future as more American tourists plan cultural Cuba holidays.

Garcia hopes that dancing the salsa will help people to overcome political differences on the dance floor.

"We've got Swiss and Germans dancing salsa like Cubans, she added. “It's time to see more Americans!"

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