The streets of Cuba come alive with the pulsating beats and smooth steps of son cubano in a dance video posted by Latinsalseando – a dance studio in Havana. Capturing a unique performance, the footage spotlights a pair of dance instructors effortlessly gliding through lively choreography. With intricate footwork and subtle hip sways, they lead viewers on an invigorating cultural journey. However this one is a modern take on what is considered a very traditional dance with some innovative steps and moves:

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Son cubano, is a genre of Cuban music and social dance birthed in the eastern provinces in the late 19th century. It blends rhythms from Spanish and African traditions into an infectious, syncopated sound. The term “son” refers to the pleasant musical sound, while “cubano” denotes its Cuban roots. Dancers move to the driving percussion rhythms, accented by guitar, trumpet and other instruments.

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The steps draw inspiration from rumba, mambo and other Afro-Cuban dances, with swaying shoulder shimmies, taps and kicks. Partners intertwine and separate in close embrace, the leader guiding with subtle cues. Styles vary between regions, from quick triple-steps to slower, drag-step movements. Through it all shines the soul of the “soneros” – full of charisma, laughter and romance.

Our demonstrators embody this spirit, their chemistry electrifying the street. Smiles stretch wide as they losing themselves in the dance, hips circling in fluid motion. Even though there are no onlookers to admire the show and clap a long, the scene captures a slice of Cuban culture far from the resorts and postcards.

For those compelled to try son cubano, studios worldwide offer classes tapping into this tradition. Look for studios offering Cuban Salsa classes, they are the ones that most likely will offer Son classes from time to time as well. Beginners need no prior dance experience. Instructors break down the steps, from basic side steps to more intricate shines.

Partners aren’t required either, as many attendees come solo. Rotating couples allow everyone to enjoy the social aspect. Those comfortable dancing “in close embrace” will transition smoothly to other partner dances like salsa. But the basics can be learned individually, focusing on the rhythmic footwork and body control.

Son cubano classes promise a vibrant, accepting environment for students of any age to immerse in Cuban heritage. The passion and artistry of the music and movement beckon. Just slip on dance shoes and get ready to sway to the hypnotic rhythms. Let the steps transport you, if only for an evening, to the streets of Havana.

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