We just signed up for classes at ISA, the conservatory. There are 7 of us taking classes there, so we drove together in one of the mercedes vans that they take us in everywhere. Our driver got confused and we got lost, but eventually we got there after like 45 minutes or so. It's in Playa, which is a suburb that's still considered Havana as far as I can tell. Same one as the hospital where I went Monday.
When we first got there, I chuckled a little bit because it's obviously an old hotel/resort that they've converted into administration. So imagine going into a hotel and climbing to the second floor to find your room. Except your room is the office of such and such. I found it amusing.
We talked with the lady whose door said "international studies" or something like that. At first she gravely told us that it would be difficult to schedule dance classes and the percussion classes were all full. Some of us didn't take the news well. But then one of the dance professors arrived and told us the schedule. Mon-Wed-Thurs 11:45-1:30. It aligns with all four of our schedules, miraculously.
The dance coordinator took us to meet the students we will be taking class with, who are second year students. We walked over to the place I think we'll have class, and it's this round room with a raised wooden floor, pretty interesting looking. It has four beams holding up the roof, so not an ideal dance studio but it must work fine. There were three drummers getting ready for class, and their warmup instantly made me want to dance.
We also met a really lovely girl who will be taking class with us, named Allison. She's studying dance education at NYU--I think it's a masters program. There's also a family from Iceland who moved here for the year and the whole family is taking classes at ISA. I felt a little sorry for them because they don't really speak Spanish and I could tell that the heat was getting to them (one environmental extreme to the other, and they had only been here 3 days).
I asked the lady from the office about taking jazz piano, and she knowingly smiled and confirmed my suspicion that they don't teach jazz at ISA. This still boggles my mind. But maybe it has something to do with funding/space. I looked around and found some music studios--it's all really haphazardly spaced around the place, as it was a hotel. The practice rooms were full except one, which had an upright Kawaii piano. The lady told me that they're usually full. Of course they are. It looked like one hallway of rooms for a whole conservatory. There must be more somewhere around the campus.
For a moment I was tempted to take music as well as dance, but when and where would I practice? I haven't found any pianos in Vedado yet, and I couldn't just go to ISA every time I want to practice. Could you imagine? It just seems like a big hassle. And again, it wouldn't really be worth it to me unless I could study latin jazz. It's a shame. My fingers are really itching to play.