22-25 May 2020

Artist: Raul Garcia Lao

Raul Garcia Lao was born in Havana , Cuba . He was identified as being a dancer of “national interest” by the Castro regime as a ten year old whilst dancing salsa with his mother in El Medio Ambiente bar in the city in front of a government cultural official.

He trained in the same dance group as Alberto Costa. Realising the limitations of life for a Cuban national in his field and their ‘show pony’ to the outside world politique.

He, like Costa, managed to leave Cuba. Originally planning to head to Europe.  Raul , however made a “pit stop” in Miami where he ended up teaching Salsa in Latino club in South Beach. There, he was talent spotted by Ralph Lauren and became their Latino face for the USA for over 15 years.  He eventually moved to Amsterdam where he teaches Salsa and dance in the trendy Amistel 50.

Now, since the regime has relaxed a little, he regularly takes amateur European dance groups for salsa tours of Cuba, allowing them to experience the dance in their authentic locations.

The highlight of every trip is the plaza fiesta in the beautiful cigar growing valley of  Vinales. This town in the headquarters of the world famous Pablo Montanes Foundation for national Cuban music.

He loves to share his love of salsa with everyone, complete beginners to advanced amateurs alike.

“Salsa is a celebration of all types, all ages and it is a time for everyone to get involved and have a lot of fun. So come along and give it a try.  We will have a great fiesta together.”