Sunday, 6 May 2007

Orishas Dancing at Buena Vista Club in Oxford

Not the Buena Vista Social Club of massive Cuban-band-fame, but a monthly Oxford Cuban salsa event organised by local Cuban dance fans who arranged for us to have our very own locally-based professional Cuban dance teacher, Ariel.

I've been chatting to Ariel quite a bit since we happened to coincide in Havana when we were over there. I'd mentioned to him about seeing Yoannis and partner doing an improvised Afro-cuban dance in Santiago de Cuba. Maybe he remembered that, because at the end of the afternoon workshop in which he taught us the dance of Eleggua, one of the orishas, or Santeria deities, Ariel offered to dance to the song "Y Que Tu Quiere Que Te Den?" (And What Do You Want Them To Give You?) and show us the dances of all the orishas who are sung to in that song.

Which was a major bonus for me, because of something I'm planning for an important scene in my latest project codenamed 'Jaguar'. No more info for fear of spoilers... Perry, one of the organisers of Buena Vista in Oxford, is going to put up a video on Youtube.

Another one of those weird coincidences - I saw a British woman dancing reggaeton and recognised her from the world-famous dance hall, Casa de La Musica, Havana, a few weeks ago. She was pretty unmistakeable - I've rarely seen a white woman, let alone British, move like that! When my daughter and I went to Casa de La Musica, the Cuban guys we were with were amazed and said about this woman - "She moves like a Cuban." I went over to talk to her and her friend, and they were indeed the two women we'd watched dancing with two quite well-known dance teachers from Havana.

She told me that just over a year ago she went to Cuba to learn to dance for the first time - as a beginner! I was staggered!

That does it. I must practice reggaeton at least half an hour a day from now on.

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