2-in-1 Summer Holiday 2020 - Sample Itinerary
This summer, we are offering you the opportunity to join us on a 4-night transformational Orisha and Afro-Cuban Body mind retreat followed by our ever popular 11-night summer holiday. Chose to join us for both or just one - the choice is yours!
13 - 27 August 2020 (14 nights: 11 nights Havana/3 nights All Incl. Beachside hotel)
17 - 27 August 2020 (11 nights: 8 nights Havana/3 nights All Incl. Beachside hotel)
Both packages include 3 nights at an all inclusive beachside hotel followed by your choice of accommodation in Havana*
PACKAGE A: Stay at Al Capone's favourite hotel in the heart of Old Havana, the majestic Hotel Sevilla
PACKAGE B: Arrange your own accommodation in Havana in a recommended Casa Particular or choose your own
* Orisha package includes stay at the Hotel Sevilla
Orisha and Afro-Cuban Body Mind Retreat (13-27 August 2020)
If you want to look and feel grounded, fluid and empowered like a Latin dancer and embody Cuban style at a deeper level, this is the course for you. This ground-breaking dance training now in its fifth year, holds the secrets to truly dancing Cuban Salsa and the Afro-Cuban Orishas from within. The unique combination of training in the ancient Cuban Gods (Orishas) with the award-winning master teachers of Raíces Profundas, combined with Kerry Ribchester's 22 years of research of Cuban dance as a structural Integrator / Body-Mind practitioner and movement analyst is revolutionary.
Salsa students who want to go deeper into the roots of Cuban dance
Healers, Bodywork Practitioners, Structural Integrators, Osteopaths
Educators, Therapists, Anthropologists
Dance teachers, educators, lecturers, researchers
Anyone interested in Afro-Cuban culture
22 hours of classes, 56 hours of partner dancing with professional dancers
4 + 8 nights in Old Havana
3 nights all inclusive at the beach
Option to take the Orisha ceremony to find out who your Orisha is
The Dance Classes
Each day we focus on a different Orisha and the particular movement qualities each character possesses. The intricate core body movements of the major Orishas/Cuban Gods (Santeria Afro-Cuban religion) are taught and finely tuned by our Master teachers. The movements can then be applied and introduced into your Salsa styling. Embodying the qualities and dances of the Orishas is transformation in body confidence, posture enhancement, sensuality, empowerment and well being. We also explore how the endocrine system (Chakras) is linked to each Orisha movement. The 1-2-1 coaching gives you fluid access to your true core Latino.
The first five days of the programme gives you the time to take the ceremony called the 'Hand of God"' (La Mano de Orula) with a Cuban priest your choice. After finding out who your guardian Orisha is and your sign, the following classes on the holiday can focus on you learning the dance of this Orisha in detail. The ceremony is not part of our course and you are not required to do it to be on the course, it is totally at your discretion. It is an extra opportunity for students to go deeper if they wish and who have a vested personal interest.
Truly discover Cuba. Activities range from the rehearsal of a famous orchestra to parties at the live music venues with Key2Cuba dancers. A visit to a Babalawo (Afro-Cuban religious high figure) to give you an insight about the Afro-Cuban culture and religion. Other activities include a visit to the newly refurbished Gran Teatro Alicia Alonso (the ballet) in Old Havana, dancing in the evenings with the dancers, visiting a Rumba party, stretching classes, massages and one to one movement analysis and coaching.
Day 1 (13th and 17th August)
Join us in Havana for a truly transformation dance holiday experience. Check in on the Virgin Atlantic flight from Heathrow and fly out direct with other members of the group. Alternatively arrange your own flight from anywhere in the world. Let us know if we can help with flights, transfers or visas, just call Vanessa at Captivating Cuba. Check into the Sevilla Hotel from 4pm.
7.00pm: Meet in the Sevilla courtyard to go for dinner together at a beautiful roof top restaurant in Old Havana. One of the Master dance teachers will join us to hear your outcome for the course and whether you would like to take the ceremony of the Mano de Orula to find out who your Orisha is (Guardian Angel).
Evening: After dinner will head to the rooftop of Graham Green's favourite hotel with stunning views of Old Havana and the sea. Meet the Key2Cuba teachers and dance away the jet lag to a fabulous live band under Havana's night sky. Alternatively, you may choose to chill out and take it easy on the first night and be rested for the next day.
Morning: Meet with Kerry to go over any new additions to the itinerary and get to know the group. Shake off the jet lag and get back into your body with a 1-hour core body introduction to the Orishas followed by a 2-hour class on the principles of Afro-Cuban technique. Learn to embody the Orisha Eleggua who opens the way for your love, life, money and luck with the master Cuban teachers. All. levels from beginner to professional levels with 1-2-1 attention to detail.
Evening: Meet at the Sevilla hotel to visit the home of a local Cuban priest. Hear from a knowledgeable source about the Santeria religion. Discover more about how the dances of the Orishas, Rumba, Son and Salsa are rooted to the religion. After an optional cleansing ceremony led by the priest and his Santeria wife and a few Q&As we continue on to a Rumba/Salsa evening.
10.30pm: Head off to see the famous Rumba ensemble Osain del Monte perform in a flamboyantly decorated club that looks like it was designed by Picasso. Here you will see your teachers performing the Orishas in full costume and all three styles of Rumba. Enjoy the mix of Salsa music with the ancient rhythms of Rumba infused with the Orishas and sung by Rumba legend Ruben Bulnes. This is the and and club that Mick Jagger chose to visit with the Rolling Stones on their only free night. in Havana. The atmosphere is electric, a total baptism of Afro-Cuban culture and celebration.
Morning: Dance class with Kerry and the Afro-Cuban dance Master teachers. Today's focus will be Ochun, the Goddess of Love. Find the secrets to performing Ochun from the sensuality of your skin and lymphatic system, getting her movements accurately and how to apply this sensuality to your styling and partner work. The Key2Cuba private chef will be available to bring home cooked organic food to the class. Pre-order your request i.e. vegan, vegetarian or celiac or pop into the local cafe for an organic beef burger.
Afternoon: Free to meet with your chosen Babalawo (priest) to start your 3-part ceremony or go for a swim in the pool, get a massage or sightsee around Havana.
Evening: Dinner in Old Havana along the Malecon in a stunning restaurant overlooking the sea and dancing at a local club with our dancers.
Morning: Dance class with Kerry and the Cuban dancers. Today is the day we embody the male God of Love, war and music, Chango. This will be taught by one of Cuba's most celebrated exponents of Chango. Notice the difference in your energy after class and the power you feel in your pelvis and the extra oxygen in your lungs.
Afternoon: Free to meet with your chosen Babalawo (priest) to start your 3-part ceremony or go for a swim in the pool, get a massage or sightsee around Havana.
Evening: This evening we meet to to to the Cuban ballet at the Garcia Lorca building. Admire the intensely beautiful and intricate architecture and staircase. Drinks afterwards at a piano bar opposite the Capitola building and walk home under the stars.
Start of 11 night holiday
Day 5 / Day 1
Morning: Free morning to complete your ceremony or have a swim in the pool. In the afternoon make your way along the coast to our beach hotel where you can check into this all inclusive paradise resort just 20 minutes outside of Havana - all food, drinks and most water sports included. Take a dip in the turquoise blue sea and chill out.
At 10pm a luxury coach will pick us up to take us to the Key2Cuba welcome party in Havana for the new group. In a charming outside venue with stunning colonial architecture, you will be accompanied by the Key2Cuba team of dancers and have the chance to dance away the jet jet lag in a relaxed and spacious venue. Alternatively, if you prefer, you may choose to chill out and take it easy now that you are at the beach and have a cocktail on your balcony or at the bar and be rested for the next day.
Day 6 / Day 2
Free morning to relax, sunbathe, swim in the pool or the sea, take a massage on the each or a private Spanish lesson, enjoy all the free water sports or sip free mojitos with the clan. If you have any last ceremonies to complete with your Babalawo, this is the day to complete tem.
Lunch: A Key2Cuba table is reserved every day and night in the main restaurant for all our group to dine together. Enjoy fresh grilled fish, chicken, pork, salads, rice, plantain and a huge range of fresh fruit..
Afternoon: Meet with Kerry and the group to go over any new additions to the itinerary and get to know all the new members of the group. Discover the link between the core principles of the Orishas and how they gave birth to Rumba, Son and Danzon with an explanation by Kerry of what we call the layers of the Cuban Cake.
After dinner, enjoy free cocktails in the bar followed by a night of Salsa dancing with the dancers in Havana. It's Sunday night so we will go the the new Salsa club in Old Havana where they dance Rueda. It will be packed full of great Cuban dancers and our team to ensure a night of world class dancing and fun.
Day 7 / Day 3
Free day to relax on the beach, enjoy free water sports, take a massage, swim in the pool, have a Spanish lesson or take the free shuttle bus into Havana and go sight seeing.
1.00pm: Meet informally for lunch
4.30pm: Salsa class (2 hours). Introduction to Cuban style with Kerry and our Masterclass Teachers.
7.30pm: Meet for dinner. Enjoy the free wine and extensive buffet. A table will be reserved for Key2Cuba clients.
10pm: Coach to Havana to visit the world's number one Salsa club. Enjoy a VIP entrance with the top table reserved for our group and dancers. Splash some rum and let your Cuban style have wings on the dance floor as respect to your ancestors (a Cuban tradition) and let your Cuban style have wings on the dance floor. After the show, backstage photos with the band are a real treat for those on the Key2Cuba holiday.
3am: Return to the beach hotel for free drinks in the bar and for those that have the energy, late night partying till the sun comes up.
Day 8 / Day 4
After breakfast, have a swim in the sea, relax around the pool finish your packing, squeeze in some lunch.
1.30pm: The coach will be waiting to take the group to Havana where you can check in either at the historic four star Hotel Sevilla or go to your casa of choice.
5pm: Pick up from the hotel for our coach to take us to Cuba's leading Salsa venue to see Alexander Abreu and Havana de Primmer, one of the leading Salsa orchestras in the world. We have our VIP table reserved in advance to ensure it will be one magical matinee you will remember for the rest of your life. Our dancers will sweep you off your feet before they join the artists on stage for some world class performances. As Kerry has worked with Alexander, we can sometimes go backstage for a photo shoot. Bring CDs if you would like them signed.
Evening: After a steamy Salsa matinee and photo shoot, we will head to one of Havana's most famous Cuban restaurants. It is close to the club and after many hours of dancing you will be ready to take advantage of the offer. Eat as much Cuban style food as you like, chicken, beans, plantain, rice, salad, coconut ice cream and Cuban coffee. This is one of Havana's most popular restaurants and the 'frijoles negra' and chicken recipes are a military guarded secret.
Day 9 / Day 5
Morning: Dance Class with Kerry and the Cuban dancers. Warm-up, and technique for the first hour followed by classes of you choice at all levels. This is where you can continue your study of the different Orishas at all levels, concentrate on your personal Orisha (having taken the ceremony Mano de Orula Awo Fakan for men / Ikofa Fun for women) or join the Salsa, Son, Rumba or Rueda classs. Stretches to finish.
Evening: Meet to go dancing at the local Salsa club in Old Havana. Walk through the Main Street, Calle Obispo, and soak up the atmosphere and architecture. Enjoy a plentiful dance space and a relaxed atmosphere with our dancers dancing Rueda, partner dancing and fun line-ups. We ware the party wherever we go and this is great place to boost your confidence and practice your moves.
Day 10 / Day 6
Morning: Dance Class with Kerry and the Cuban dancers. Warm-up and Rumba technique for the first hour followed by classes of you choice at all levels. Stretches to finish.
Evening: Dance at a colonial Arabic style salsa venue with our fabulous Key2Cuba dancers. This new venue is practically unknown to tourists. There's a secret cigar room for aficionados hidden in the back corridors. Table reserved on the stage and let's dance with our dancers and all the locals in this very relaxed downtown Havana vibe. The best dance floor in Havana too!
Day 11 / Day 7
Morning: Have a rest in the morning then roll out of bed onto our luxury coach to go to a stunning part of Santa Maria beach with all the dancers. Chill-out, swim in the turquoise clear sea, Rueda in the sea, enjoy a late picnic lunch and share some rum. Dance the afternoon away with a privately hired live band, on the long white sandy beach as the sun sets.
Everyone is invited to join in or watch the dancers in a short cleansing ceremony / offering fruits to the Goddess of the sea, Yemaya. Return to Havana covered in sand and smiles.
Evening free to meet informally for dinner in the local Spanish restaurant, next to the Sevilla hotel, where there is a late night Salsa club.
Day 12 / Day 8
Morning: Salsa Class (3 hours) with a Rumba warm up, Son technique, then split up into different levels and Orishas groups
Afternoon: Meet at the Sevilla to take an open topped Cadillac on a tour of Old Havana an stop off to meet the Godfather of Cuban Rumba, Amado and his ensemble from Clave y Guaguancó. We all bring rum to share as the world’s leading Rumba group play, perform and party with us in their private residence. Hear Amado sing next to you, sending shivers down your spine and dance with all of Havana’s legendary Rumberos. See his personal shrine to the Orishas and feel free to ask Amado about the Rumba's connection to the Orishas. You will be moved!
Evening: Group dinner on the border of Old and Central Havana. Walk back to the hotel along the sea front (Malecon) and soak up the starry Havana night and fresh sea breezes as roving musicians play Chan Chan and the The Beatles on their guitars.
Day 13 / Day 9
Morning: The last salsa class followed by a short ceremony after class to say "Thank You" to the teachers and to take photos.
Dance class (3 hour)
Evening: The Key2Cuba dance team joins us for dancing at the famous concert at the Malecon at La Piragua for a 200,000 strong crowd. We secure VIP backstage passes, VIP coach entrance and have unprecedented up close and personal access to Cuba’s leading orchestras, the musicians themselves and hang out with their families in the safe area next to the stage before returning back to old Havana. Enjoy four consecutive live bands and dance the night away with all our dancers. If it is raining, plan B will be to head to a live concert in a huge club outside of Havana which is teaming with professional dancers, locals and not a tourist in sight.
Day 14 / Day 10
Free morning to go shopping, get a massage, visit the rum museum, chill out or simply wander the atmospheric streets of Old Havana.
12pm: Join a walking tour of Old Havana led by our lively and informative production manager. Discover the hidden secrets and history of Old Havana and see the boat that Fidel Castro brought his men on back to the island in the war. Finish with a Piña Colada on the rooftop of Hotel Ambus Mundos overlooking the port.
Early evening: Meet for an authentic private party (Bembé) at one of the dancers house in the suburbs of Havana. Enjoy the warm hospitality of tasty home cooking and world class performances of the Ceremonial Orishas. Kerry introduces and explains each Orisha, so that you can understand the characters, the movement qualities and the significance of the ceremony. This extraordinary and powerful experience ends with Ellegua closing the ceremony and a wild Salsa party kicks in. Make sure you dance with all the neighbours, locals and professional dancers alike.
Day 15 / Day 11
Have you packed your Fedora Trilby? Best to wear it as we meet at hotel Sevilla in the courtyard to say our goodbyes and sip one last Mojito as the live band serenades us. You can understand why Al Capone loved this place, with its Spanish colonial charm, history and elegance.
If you are travelling on the Virgin flight to London, transport will be arranged back to the airport (if booked) where we have a last dance in the café, before boarding the flight. Private transfers will also arrive for our travellers, at the requested time.
Day 16 / Day 12
Arrive home, splash Cuban rum on your kitchen floor and make your Cuban dancers proud! Show off your all new dance moves, body confidence and Cuban charisma at your local Salsa club and get ready for all the compliments. We want to hear your feedback too!
Please note that flights are not included on this holiday.
Hotel prices have risen substantially over the past year therefore we are delighted to be able to offer you two options.
Standard Package A
3 nights All Inclusive at beachside location | 8 nights Bed & Breakfast at Hotel Sevilla
Airport transfers (if requested), hotel transfers
Dance programme with 15 hours of tuition at 5 levels with equal male/female partnering
Access to Optional Extra excursions
Free Welcome Party
Free tour of Havana
1-2-1 dance coaching with Kerry Ribchester
Dancers and master teachers from leading dance company, Raices Profundas
Standard Package B
3 nights All Inclusive at beachside location | Arrange your own accommodation in Havana
All else as above
Paradise Beach Location, Blau Arenal,
Santa Maria, Havana
The beauty of spending the first 3 days at the magnificent Santa Maria beach means that every night we still have access to the world's leading Salsa orchestras in Havana accompanied by our Key2Cuba dance team. Unwind on the white sandy beach, swim in the turquoise sea, enjoy the free water sports, treat yourself to a masage and get to know your fellow travllers from all over the word as you sip fresh coconut juice and dine with the group in the stunning fresh fish restaurant overlooking the sea. Late afternoon, we have a short dance class with the Cuban masters, then in the evenings, we head to Havana. You can swim until the sun sets in heavenly tranquil waters.
All food, soft and alcoholic drinks and water sports included.
Luxury Hotel Sevilla
All of our summer holidays are now based at the stunning colonial 4* Hotel Sevilla in the heart of Old Havana. Steeped in history with its Moorish architecture, white marbled entrance, elegant courtyard with fountain, a huge outdoor swimming pool, rooftop restaurant with panormaic views of the city and port, you will feel like you are walking back into a 1940 movie. No need for taxis here as you can walk to two of Cuba's most famous Salsa clubs plus hundreds of bars, restaurants and museums on your doorstep.
All rooms have air-conditioning, ensuite bathroom, tv, daily maid service, room service, 24 hour bar and cafe services, internet facilities, money changing services at the front desk and live music daily.
As you follow in the footsteps of Al Capone, you will soon realise there is no other hotel in the world with quite the same Cuban charm and elegance as the Hotel Sevilla.