I am a Latin dance instructor and have been a resident of south St. Pete for 30 years. I have seen the good and the bad, and last month I participated in the best of the good. Like the Tampa Bay Rays’ sports exchange, I coordinated an arts exchange. Networking with the Straz Center for the Performing Arts’ Patel Conservatory, a little bit of Havana danced its way into Tampa.
A dance ensemble from Cuba called the Havana Compas Dance, which means Havana Beats Dance, shared their talent with the more than 25 students in attendance from the Artz 4 Life Academy, Bomba y Plena, Hillsborough County Community College and Arts Conservatory for Teens.
In awe of our talent here in Tampa Bay, this was the first time the Cuban dancers visited the States. They didn’t speak a word of English, but I’m blessed to be bilingual and was able to translate.
Like the 400 inner-city kids they teach for free in Cuba, this workshop was also free of charge.
I hope to continue the friendships created that day through letters and a visit to Cuba. I would love to see a diverse dance studio in St. Pete for children where they can learn that dreams can come true with a little guidance and knowledge.
I love the arts and the communities I partnered with.