I love ISA.
The group consensus was that our first dance class at the ISA was a success--and that it was the best decision we've made so far in Cuba.
The setting is the former Cuban country club, a resort for the Havana's elite. As part of the transformation following the revolution, fancy private buildings were converted to serve the people instead. We touched on this aspect of Cuba's urban development in my art history class today. So anyway, it's a sort of tropical paradise with big rolling hills of green grass with a few palm trees blowing in the breeze.
We were thrown into a dance class without any expectations--all we knew was that supposedly cuban folkloric dance. The class was definitely following the afro-cuban tradition, and I've never taken African dance before, so it was all new and humbling. A lot of complex footwork (which I've sort of got a handle on, I think thanks to taking tap all those years) plus arms all over the place and all the while you're pumping your chest. In fact, we practiced this chest pump for the last 15 minutes or so of class--against the wall first and then on the floor.
The music was amazing. There were three guys drumming and a big lady with this beautiful, resonant voice. She would sing, the class would sing back to her. Everyone else knew the words. So we've got to get on that.
Before class I went to try and find a free practice room with piano...but they were all full, of course. I'm just itching to get to a piano. God, it's been so long.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that we have transportation provided to our dance classes. Such a luxury to be driven to your class. We took the bus back, which took about half an hour. Not so bad, and it's dirt cheap, basically pennies. You can also take a máquina back.