Three Months of Cultural Immersion

In 2014, I had the opportunity to spend three months in Cuba with my partner, who was writing a book at the time. For my part, I was immersed in a flamenco dance project, where I took classes, taught, and supported my Cuban friend’s project and her school “A compás flamenco.”

Besides my artistic commitments, I took advantage of this period to travel across the island. I visited Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba, and Camaguey, and discovered Havana. These three months allowed us to forge local friendships, better understand Cuban daily life, go to the cinema, see alternative theater performances organized in private homes, and of course, dance salsa.

I loved taking the bus, where there was always salsa music playing at full volume, which put everyone in a good mood. I also appreciated that around 3 PM each day, a brief refreshing rain would fall, allowing the city to breathe.

One of the stories that touched me the most is that of the woman who rented us our room, Madame Neri. She was a Black woman living in a neighborhood historically inhabited by wealthy white Cubans. Her husband was Fidel Castro’s doctor, but despite this, the family faced harassment in the neighborhood, which unfortunately led to their son’s suicide. I spent many afternoons chatting with her, watching the city from her balcony.

Although Cubans are easily photographed in the street, it was difficult to roam freely in the city to take photos. People would stop me every five minutes to chat.

Despite these challenges, I admire the spirit of my Cuban friends. They endure daily necessities for decades and still manage to undertake creative projects and work, and keep moving forward.

Here are some photos taken during my stay, and I strongly encourage you to travel to Cuba. But avoid overly touristy places; favor spots where you can meet locals and discover their way of life.

A little tip: when traveling to Cuba, bring small simple gifts like notebooks, pens, or soaps. These small tokens will be greatly appreciated by the people you meet. They really need them.

Visit this link to learn more about the flamenco dance project in Cuba.