Anyone who has been to Cuba's capital will instantly see why The Havana Bar is so aptly named! The resemblance between the building which is home to SalsaMagic's venue in Porstsmouth (or to be more accurate, Southsea) and the Spanish colonial villas that are as much a trademark of Havana City as its horde of 1950's American cars (or "clunkers" as they are know locally) is quite uncanny!
Like a stately old duchess who has seen better days but still has a twinkle in her eye and a spring in her step, The Havana Bar welcomes you in, promising a night of fun, laughter, great salsa... and a few surprises!
Debbie works her smooth "SalsaMagic"!
The evening starts much like any other salsa evening: quietly ar first, people arriving on their own, or in twos and threes, then larger groups. Its as if the salsa music is pulling the salseros closer, reeling them in... and then you feel it - that old familiar "salsa buzz" that you feel at any great salsa venue, that buzz that you feel right deep down where you live and you just know that tonight... its gonna be good!
Harry, Anthony(a.k.a. DJT) and Sam
The warm-up is led with style, grace, and agility by Noel, assisted superbly by Sam and Debbie. Teachers and students move as one, and the happy faces and spontaneous laughter (a trade mark of all SalsaMagic warm-ups) lets you know that above all, its FUN!
When everyone's limbered up, the students split into three groups: beginners, taught by Sam, Intermediates, taught by Noel, and the Advanced class taught by Miguel and Debbie. You can often find SalsaMagic teachers Katy and Chrissie here too.
An advanced salsera practices the new routine.
Each teacher runs through their ability group with a keen eye on the student's capabilities - in Sam's beginners lesson, a guy has come along on his own for the first time... nervous at first, Sam's easy and relaxed style soon makes him feel right at home, and her skilful coaching has him beaming with pride at the end of the lesson, as he grasps the basics of the Mambo and Salsa steps!
Over on the main dance floor, Noel's Intermediate students are mastering the intricate yet stylish routine he has planned for them tonight. Moving methodically from step to step, Noel breaks down the piece so that it's easy and fun to follow.
In their lesson, Miguel and Debbie are passing on those precious tips to enable their advanced salseros to add subtle nuances and sassy showmanship to their dance, empowering their students to add a new level of confidence, poise, and elegance to their salsa!
A warm welcome at the bar!
Time to go... "Buenos nochas, see you next week!"
Debbie and Sam show the way in the warm-up
Sam puts the beginners through their paces
Noel's intermediate class
Miguel and Debbie teach the advanced students
Beginners learning the basics
Merengue with Miguel
Club dancing after the lessons
Lewis and the pool-table posse!
One of the unique features of The Havana Bar when compared to other SalsaMagic venues is that it is not exclusively patronised by salseros. Over at the pool table, a happy group of punters are treating the green baize to tricks that would put local boy Hurricane Higgins to shame! This little posse turns out to be Lewis and his mates - regulars at Havana Bar on a Thursday night.
The Club after the lessons goes into hyperdrive with music mixed by DJ's Miguel and DJT, and you are left in no doubt that they know just exactly what this crowd of discerning salseros wants as the dance floor is rammed from start to finish! And man does this bunch love to merengue! And our savvy DJs didn't disappoint, blending the latest cool salsa with both new and old merengue classics to keep the place heaving hotter than a night in Old Havana itself!
All too soon, its Cinderella-time and the last track, always a scorcher, fills the floor as everyone gets their last "salsa fix" of the night. Then, sadly its time to leave, and everyone says good bye to old friends, new friends, and friends they've only just made!So... if you've never been down to SalsaMagic in Southsea, now you know what you've been missing, treat yourself to a night in Old Havana, courtesy of Miguel, Debbie, Noel, Sam, and the lovely old lady herself, The Havana Bar!We look forward to seeing you soon!!
Back to top