SWAYED EF­FECT

Step on up. There’s a salsa in­struc­tor on ev­ery street cor­ner in Havana

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - DESTINATION CUBA - ELISSA DO­HERTY

On the sul­try, sexy streets of Cuba, ev­ery man is a salsa in­struc­tor – or so they’ll tell you. Whether you are sip­ping mo­ji­tos at a bar in Havana, catch­ing the sun­set on the city’s famed sea­wall, the Malecón, or even tour­ing a mu­seum at lunch, the be­guil­ing hom­bres are ready to re­cruit.

The pitch typ­i­cally starts with lofty claims of per­form­ing at the es­teemed Trop­i­cana Club – and ends with an in­vite to their home.

“All the men in Cuba teach salsa, my dear,” warns the owner of my Havana home­s­tay, a casa par­tic­u­lar.

The mes­meris­ing Latin Amer­i­can dance is a pop­u­lar draw­card for vis­i­tors to the Caribbean is­land na­tion, which beats to the rhythm of the lively mu­sic. But you don’t need to be se­duced by the over­tures of a stranger. The own­ers of casa par­tic­u­lars are armed with rec­om­men­da­tions of dance teach­ers, and, for as lit­tle as $5 an hour, you can be tu­tored by some of the coun­try’s best in the steamy front rooms of their homes. Fork out a bit more for a course at one of Havana’s boun­ti­ful salsa schools, or head down to an open-air bar and be shuf­fled around the dance floor for free.

Dur­ing a two-week sashay about the is­land with a twin­kle-toed friend, we dis­cov­ered tal­ented, pro­fes­sional salsa in­struc­tors on ev­ery cor­ner. In Havana’s up­mar­ket Vedado neigh­bour­hood, Leonardo, a doc­tor by day and dancer by night, con­verted his breezy, tiled lounge room into a dance stu­dio for our first les­son.

With the fan on high in the

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