‘Step-by-Step’: Cuban Dance Company Develops International Following

HAVANA, CUBA- Callejón de Hamel (Hamel Alley) — a vibrant street in the Cayo Hueso neighborhood of Central Havana devoted to Afro-Cuban culture —is where Elier Lima first fell in love with dance.

“When I went to Callejón de Hamel I saw Afro-Cuban dance and it was so amazing. There were amazing dancers and an amazing show. And for me that was like the step, the important step for getting into the dance world, ” Lima said.

In March, the professional dancer opened Pasion Caribeña dance school on Obispo Street in the heart of Habana Vieja (Old Havana). The school has a variety of offerings, including dance history lessons, daily dance classes for individuals and groups, monthly workshops and Cuba dance tours.

As a dance instructor that teaches traditional Cuban dance, Lima’s occupation is one of 201 types of jobs that qualify for government licenses. In other words, he is legally permitted to have small businesses that are “non- state” run by the Cuba government due to what he does.

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