Hot on the heels of my yoga retreat in Mexico, I jumped on a plane to fly directly from Cancun to Havana. It was a long overdue reunion, as it had been 13.5 years since I last visited that magical time capsule of a city.
The week in Cuba combined my top two passions: travel and dance. I was joined by members of my team at Saskatoon Salsa Dance Company along with a local team of professional Cuban dancers for a week of levelling up our suelta and casino de rueda dance skills.
With the two teams combined, our salsa family grew to nearly 40 dancers as our Cuban partners became an absolutely integral part of this trip. Dinners, beach time, night clubs, and so many laughs. I had not had this much fun on consecutive days for years. If ever? (check out my IG story highlight for some great video evidence of the silliness that ensued)
The Canadians frequently commented on how joyful the Cubans were as a whole, often forgetting that this week was an anomaly for them too; being treated to many luxuries that they normally do not get to experience
How can we all learn from the week, and bring more joy into the everyday, especially through times of struggle? Here’s to making the lightness last
Our nights out were full of music, movement, laughter, and connection. The only thing better than a night of dancing in a Cuban club, is when there is an absolutely incredible band to accompany it. We enjoyed the musical stylings of Pupy y Los que Son, Son, Alain Perez, and a pile of local artists doing their thing. There was a feeling of electricity in the air everywhere we went.
Due to full days and hectic pace, this Cuban dance intensive absolutely flew by. It felt like I landed in Havana one minute, and in the next we were showcasing all we learned in our final performance, leaving my brain absolutely full. I was worried that if I learned one more thing, my own name might have been the next thing to be pushed out of the memory bank.
Aching feet, dehydration, exhaustion... and yet so deliriously happy. The week was so overwhelmingly fantastic. Despite my efforts to freeze time, the day inevitably came where we had say goodbye to our Cuban friends, teachers, and family.
While I was looking forward to starting the trek home, the parting was so incredibly hard. These fabulous humans taught me so much; about music, about dance, and most importantly... about always having passion for your passions. I am so grateful to everyone who made this journey so impactful, as well as the people back home who extended me grace and patience in my absence.
I was so proud of myself for putting my desires and my health at the top of my list and taking this much-needed adventure to replenish my soul. And it was a wonderful reminder to always come back to my roots. Dance was my first passion - before I could even walk - and dance always brings me back to my center. To the core of what is Shannon.
What is that thing that makes you feel so alive that all of your troubles melt away? Do it. And do it often. xo