Hotel Nacional de Cuba was opened in December 1930 and was a favourite destination amongst Americans before their embargo against Cuba. It was an incredibly glamorous destination and attracted some celebrity guests such as Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Errol Flynn, John Wayne and Marlene Dietrich. Nat King Cole was invited to perform in Cuba in 1956 but was not allowed to stay at the Nacional because of being black but his trip was such a massive success that he returned the next year and the Nacional now have a permanent tribute to him on display.
During the crisis 1962 Cuban missile crisis Fidel Castro and Che Guevara set up their headquarters at the Nacional to prepare the defence of Cuba from aerial attack. The hotel suffered when tourism disappeared from Cuba after the revolution but had a big renovation in 1990s.
Hotel Nacional de Cuba is now hosting the Cabaret Parisien where guests sit at traditional cabaret round tables and you have the option of having dinner at your table served just before the show. Included in the ticket price to the show is a cocktail to sip on and although the room is pretty cramped there are no shortage of waiters waiting to take your order.
There was just one section that stood out for me and that was the tango scene that consisted of just two dancers dressed simply in black who took hold of the stage and kept the attention of their audience. The couple had a real intensity in their dancing and an emotional connection that was lacking in the rest of the show.
This show was clearly aimed at tourists as there was an offer of a post-show salsa lesson and the selling of a show DVD but to be honest after an hour I was watching the clock and I was pretty relieved when it was over.
Nevermind, back to Danza Contemporanea de Cuba later today for class.
Photos by Monster Cats Pics