TORONTO AFRO-CUBAN LESSONS
Add organic flavour and real soul to your Salsa dancing by incorporating Afro-Cuban movement in your dance, the way they do it in Cuba!
OUR AFRO-CUBAN CLASSES
Return to the Roots of Salsa - with authentic and inspiring Afro-Cuban movement. Learn fascinating and organic body movement and musicality as the incredible beat patterns touch your soul. Combining these movements with your salsa, will add power to your dancing and set it on fire!
This course covers some of the vast Afro-Cuban vocabulary, such as:
- Yoruba (Orishas) dances: Elegguá, Yemayá, Oyá, Changó, Oggún, Ochosi, Ochun, Obatalá
- Arará dances: Babalúu Ayé
- Congo dances: Palo, Makuta, Yuka
- Afro-Cuban Haitian dances: Gagá
CURRENT AFRO-CUBAN CLASSES
No Partner Needed
You do not need a partner to join any of our Afro-Cuban classes.
Workout gear is recommended for this class. Socks or barefeet is best.
The rich variety of music and dance in Cuba has its roots in Cuban history. When the Spaniards settled Cuba, a combination of disease and abuse largely obliterated the native peoples. African slaves brought in to work on the sugar plantations soon outnumbered Europeans. Although Cuba’s African population was undeniably oppressed, they also managed to preserve many rituals and customs, and their rhythms and instrumentation were eventually absorbed into existing mainstream Spanish music culture. These rituals and traditions many a times had to be disguised to be connected with catholicism, in order to be allowed.
YORUBA / ORISHAS TRADITIONS
A big branch of Afro-Cuban culture derives from the Santeria religion, or Regla de Ocha. Based on the Orisha worship by the Yoruba people from West Africa, in what is now northwestern Nigeria and Benin, Santeria in Cuba presents a series of synchronocities with catholicism, where each one of the African deities (Orishas) are also known by the name of a catholic saint.
The Yoruba branch of Afro-Cuban is also represented by a set of music and dance, of a sacred character, connected to religious cerimonies. Played by a set of sacred drums called the Batá drums, the music is also considered a representation of an Orisha, and is used as a vehicle to invoke the spirits of the different deities. Characterized by complex rhythms played by 3 dual drums, this polyrhythm is a central base of modern Cuban music. The dances are also complex in the sense that the dancer needs to know which steps go with each one of the specific rhythms and chants.
The trickster Orisha, Guardian of destiny, represented often as a child, he is the owner of all roads, which he can open or block. He loves candy, toys, rum and cigars, and his colors are red, black and white.
The Orisha of iron, war and labour, he uses a machete to clear the pathways. He gave humans tools and technology, but prefers living in the forest. He likes rum and his main colours are black and green.
The older sister of Ochún, Yemayá is the mother of all, who rules over the ocean and all its creatures. She is the maternal force of life and creation. Fish are sacred to her, and her colors are blue, white and silver.
The warrior Orisha Changó rules lightning, dance and drums, fire and passion. He represents virility, power and passion. He is handsome and very masculine, and loves women and music. He uses a double-bladed axe and his colors are red and white.
The fiery warrior Orisha Oyá guards the cemetary and rules over the egun or dead. She is also the ruler of the winds, tornados and hurricanes, and wears a skirt of nine different colors. She is a strong protectoress of women and an Orisha of change. Her colors are burgundy and purple, and she represents change.
Ochosi is the hunter Orisha, who scouts the forest so that a path can be opened and clear by his fellow warriors, Elegguá and Oggún. He helps us focus our attention on our desired goals and results, and shows human the fastest path to our destiny. He is also associated with justice, and is friends with Obatalá.
The popular, beautiful and seductive Orisha of love, wealth, sensuality, fertility and art. She owns the rivers, and loves the color yellow, honey, sweets, pumpkin and champagne. She is both loved and feared, since she has a terrible temper. She renews the process of creation.
Considered to be the father of the other Orishas, the oldest Orisha and the creator of mankind. He is a peaceful and compassionate Orisha, who represents wisdom and clarity. He is also the guardian of those with mental illness, birth defects, drug addiction and alcoholism. His color is white and his ornaments are silver.