Havana Street Party does exactly what it says on the tin. It scoops you up and deposits you on the streets of the sultry, sexy Cuban capital, complete with streetside card tables, empty diesel cans and distinctive Cuban art. The show boasts ten dancers who salsa and spin through a fifty minute smorgasbord of dance styles that defy an easy description. This reviewer’s best effort is street salsa but that’s inadequate because there’s high energy street dance, ballet, rhumba, contemporary dance and a sliver of acrobatics thrown in to spice things up. And all of that’s inadequate because three of the dancers also sing part of our way through the hitlist of popular Latin tracks.
The company’s assembled from Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, Ballet Rakatan, Ballet Revolucion and street dance group, Los Datway who shot to instant stardom after winning a competition posed on TikTok. This melting pot of dance styles translates into a taut, gritty, tightly choreographed show, delivered at lightning speed. Each dancer is allowed time to show off their own style but it’s all nicely woven together so breaking follows ballet follows a seductive salsa with deceptive ease. There’s a wee bit of a story knitting it altogether that culminates, appositely, in a typically Cuban ‘blackout’ – and we’re whisked to the steamy rooftops by candlelight for a couple of (marginally) slower numbers before the helter skelter whirlwind pace resumes.
The promoter’s introduction explains that this show was Edinburgh-bound in 2020 but the pandemic got in the way. Last year, visa paperwork thwarted their Fringe. So this is a long awaited debut. Reward their persistence by come to this street party for a slice of steamy summer amidst Edinburgh’s typical Fringe downpours.
Havana Street Party runs until Sun 27 Aug 2023 at Underbelly Bristo Square – McEwan Hall at 17:30