¡Vamos Cuba!

Dance, Ballroom and Latin
4 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)
 (© Johan Persson)
© Johan Persson
 (© Johan Persson)
© Johan Persson
 (© Johan Persson)
© Johan Persson
 (© Johan Persson)
© Johan Persson
 (© Johan Persson)
© Johan Persson

Loveably loopy Cuban dance extravaganza

‘¡Vamos Cuba!’ is on at Peacock Theatre in Autumn 2017. This review is from its 2016 premiere at Sadler's Wells.

‘¡Vamos Cuba!’ is feel-good summer dance fare, designed to indulge all our favourite Cuban stereotypes, while showcasing a whole range of the nation’s dance, from salsa and mambo to Afrocuban folkloric and reggaeton. It works thanks to the sheer force of its exuberance, despite being in many respects completely barmy.

Director and choreographer Nilda Guerra sets her show in a sexed-up Havana airport where passengers for Miami find their flight has been delayed and pass the time flirting, fighting, drinking and, of course, dancing. Except at one point the departure lounge is transformed into a 1950s Havana cabaret, with the girls in little more than judiciously placed sequins and gigantic headdresses, the boys in waders-and-wellies get-ups, shaking maracas. Then this turns into a pounding reggaeton session, with a storming performance from the singer Geidy Chapman. The second half of the show starts with a comedy plane crash skit – revealing, possibly, something of the dark side of Caribbean humour – and segues into a commemoration of the Cuban Revolution, with the customs official weeping over images of Fidel and Che. Like I said, barmy. But also totally lovable.

The dancers flit easily between styles, shimmy through a startling number of costume changes and bring an easy humour to the whole enterprise. When they have big set dance pieces – a salsa with brandished fans, a mambo with flourished scarves, a folkloric dance to celebrate the orishas – their technical skills shine. The live musical accompaniment – and the singers, Chapman and Maikel Ante – gives an added boost to the show.  You may wander into the night wondering what just happened – but you’ll do so with a smile on your face.



Average User Rating

2.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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1 person listening

Not great! Poor storyou line. Dances all the same throughout. Disjointed story.

Habana Rakatan to Vamos Cuba: from the sublime to the ridiculous. This is the laziest dance show I've ever watched. It is a dance show, so I expected, you know, some dancing! Two formation numbers in two hours and a whole lot of posturing and strutting in between ain't enough. The solos were good, but they should be merely the icing on the cake of the main formation set pieces for the show to work. The reggaeton number was great: more like this next time please, Nilda!


Full of colour, vivacity and bundles & bundles of talent, this fiery dance show straight from Cuba sets Sadler’s Wells alight and is a joy to watch for the avid dance fan or someone who just wants a fun night out.

Set loosely in a chaotic Havana airport, this show features a range of Latin dance genres, while exploring many aspects of Cuban culture; from traditional styles such as rumba and salsa, to modern nightclub numbers fused with hip hop, to a stunning yet heartbreaking solo which lamented the country’s struggles. All of the dancers are exceptional, yet what is so refreshing about this show is that they are all distinct. In the group numbers, while all in sync, the dancers aren’t copies of each other; each brings their own style and flavour to their movement which makes the show all the more electric.

Props are used throughout, such as colourful scarves, bright fans and suitcases, yet thankfully enhance the piece, not distract from the wonderful choreography. The stories and relationships between the characters, who find themselves waiting for a delayed flight together, are touching and funny. There are elements of real humour from the overhead tannoy  which the dancers play up to brilliantly.

With all this energy, the dancers need a band that can keep up with them and boy do they have one! The live band is sensational, from the brass section to the percussion to the two traditional Cuban singers. The sound is loud, unapologetic and infectious, you can see the audience moving and bopping along right from the start.

Regardless of the expertise of the dancers, the choreography and the musicians, this show is just pure fun. You will leave with a huge grin on your face and Googling taster samba classes near you. Only here till the end of August, so make sure you snap up one of these hot tickets.