Discover the most popular dances in Cuba

Salsa dancing

Salsa dancing, photo by No Lands Too Foreign/flickr

Cuba is the perfect place to spend your holiday at! Especially if you are looking for gorgeous attractions, sunny beaches, interesting culture and friendly local people. Let’s not forget about the Cuban traditions either! Cuban people just love to dance and sing! The Cuban music is mainly a mixture of African and Spanish origins and is characterized by vigorous rhythm, the so-called “Latin rhythms”. The atmosphere of a Cuban club full of dancing people can not be simply described, you have to see it! People dance tirelessly all night long to the vivid music. If you would like to learn some of the Cuban dances, the best is to learn from the local people! They are very friendly and will surely help you! There are also dance classes, so if you spend your next holiday in Cuba, don’t miss to take some salsa, habanera or comparsa lessons!


Habanera – the traditional dance in Cuba


Being one of the most popular of the traditional dances of Cuba, the habanera is a slow-paced dance. This type of dance has its origins in the 19th century. It has developed of the contradanza dance, partly due to the influence of French-speaking immigrants. The habanera dance differs from other well-known forms of Cuban dances and is characterized mainly by slow-pace and delicate movements. It is a more moderate than most of the other types of dances for which Cuba is well-known.


Salsa dance


This type of dance is perhaps the most popular dance of Cuba. It has its origins in the Cuban Son and Afro-Cuban dance. This popular social dance is characterized by vigorous rhythm, body rolls and movements, turns and figures. Salsa is also open for improvisation. There are different types of salsa depending on the country they are performed in. The Cuban salsa is also known as Casino. Dancing Casino is an expression of popular social culture for Cuban people. To make a better notion of Cuban lifestyle, you can not miss to take some salsa lessons if you are in Cuba!


Salsa dancing

Salsa dancing, photo by No Lands Too Foreign/flickr


Comparsa or conga


It is a little known fact that the comparsa or conga dance, which is certainly a well-known dance in the whole world, has its origins in Cuba. This dance originated among the African slaves who were forced to work on the plantations in Cuba. The comparsa is characterized by short steps, imitating the way slaves were chained to each other, having shackles around their ankles. In Cuba, the word comparsa refers to the groups that take part in carnivals. Comparsa is a very popular dance performed during Cuban carnivals.


Comparsa dancers

Comparsa dancers, photo by Hector Alejandro/flickr




There are two major categories of rumba dance. Usually “rumba” is used as a short version for Afro-Cuban rumba. The best-known Afro-Cuban type of rumba is considered the guaguancó. Other types are the Yambu and the Columbia. The “rumba” also refers to a ballroom dance which is a social dance. The rumba dance in Cuba is performed to a chorus of drums which keep the rhythm as well the shaking of maracas. The best-known Afro-Cuban rumba, the guaguancó is characterized by complex rhythms and involves flirtatious movements.

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