Salsa class Havana Cuba

Salsa Class Havana | Salsa Lessons In Old Havana Cuba? (2024)

Do you want to take a Salsa class Havana in Cuba? I did that on my first visit to the Cuban capital, initially quite reluctantly, and this, friends, is my story of how it went (and how to do it yourself if you feel inspired after reading this).

When I booked my first trip to Cuba five years ago, the plan was to explore and take Spanish lessons. It was also possible to book salsa lessons after Spanish class, but at this stage, dancing was not even remotely 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.

But what do we do with plans? We change them; that’s what we do, if the first plan turns out to be crap.

PS: At the end of this article, you can check out my salsa skills by the end of 2023!

Affiliate disclosure: I only recommend tours, services and purchases I know and love on this website.

Salsa Class Havana Vieja at Casona Del Son

Dance class at Casona del Son in Old Havana, Cuba. A group with a teacher is dancing in a beautiful room, with decorative tile floors, art on the walls, and colored glass details on the doorways. Everyone smiling and having fun.
Dance class at Casona del Son in Old Havana Cuba

#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. It is the home of Casona del Son Dance School, an incredible place.

Spoiler alert: I have been going here for more than two years, taking dancing classes in Cuban 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. Classes are offered in all Latin and Afro-Cuban dances, lady styling, and more. 

High ceilings and decorative tiles over two floors make the ambiance almost magical. 

My First Cuban Salsa Class Havana – Salsa Casino!

So, back to the story of my first lesson.

The rest of my language class goes to salsa dance classes every afternoon after Spanish lessons while I spend quality time in my own company exploring La Habana Vieja, the historic part of Havana.

Eventually, after a few days of comments that I am missing out, I reluctantly agreed to go along for ONE class of salsa only.

You know, what could be the harm?

Registering for salsa class in Casona del Son in Havana. People waiting to sign for the class, on the decorative tiled floor, in front of a desk.
Registering for dance class at Casona del Son

So I finally 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 was hustle and bustle everywhere, a lot of activity, and a lot of people. 

Each student has his or her own teacher, it turned 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.

Ok then!

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 even put my purse down or prepared a little. 

And suddenly, I am dazed in the much-feared way-to-close dance position while Raudel takes the lead, looking at me intensely, counting steps, and asking, “Yes, do you understand”?

Dance Stars From The ’80s

#Salsa class Havana

Somewhere in my cerebellum, some of my old salsa moves are obviously still stored (because I actually used to dance, like, a million years ago. Had forgotten all about it).

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 northern 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.

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 take 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.

I have completely forgotten that I am an overbearing grown-up lady, and anyway, who cares? 

I had also 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!

With no time to lose, I asked Raudel to keep a space in his schedule and immediately started planning the quest for finding 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! 

What are you going to do in Havana?

My Current Cuban Salsa Casino Skills!

Since 2019, I have spent a lot of time in Havana (and Cuba); I have even been based here for a couple of years.

And of course, whenever I am there, I always prioritize going for dance classes!

And even though I am not Cubana in blood and bones – below are my current salsa moves with a Scandinavian twist!

Staying in Havana for a shorter or longer time is a great way to get to know the diversity of Cuban dance traditions and music styles, in addition to the adventures in getting to know the country and the culture in general.

Courses And Classes At La Casona Del Son Dance School in Old Havana

Dance class in Havana, me with a red skirt and pink blowse, looking happy. You will feel super welcome when you drop by Casona del son to sign up for a salsa class Havana Vieja, in the heart of Old Havana!
Learning the Cuban salsa in Old Havana

In these dance halls, you can take classes in a variety of dance styles and you can choose 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 in and book a class when you are in town.

The teachers will focus on both dancing and musicality 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 where the teachers are “naturally born” dancers 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 all the Cuban traditional dances.

There are also a plethora of dance clubs where you can dance salsa, bachata, rhumba, but in the nightclubs the reggeaton and Afro-Cuban beats are more popular.

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”.

American citizens still need to buy a tourist card, also called a tourist visa, to enter Cuba.

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 Cuban culture.

US citizens need to choose one of the pre-approved reasons to travel to Cuba and need to buy the PINK Cuban tourist card, also called a tourist visa.

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:

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 can buy a tourist card online from Easy Tourist Card, or from the Cuban embassy in your country.

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 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?

A tourist visa is the same as a tourist card for Cuba. You can buy it from the following places:

  • 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.

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!

Related blog posts:

Is Female Solo Travel In Cuba Safe? A Local Woman’s Advice

Cuba Trips From US: How To Travel To Cuba From US

43 Best Things To Do In Havana Solo By A Local

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