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If you love Cuban Salsa or even Salsa in general – here are the current top 10 artists who you have to know about, you are likely to come across them online or at Latin dance festivals. By learning about the dance and the masters who dance it, we deepen our connection, knowledge to the music and movements and overall dancing experience.
Maykel Fonts. Style, passion, skill, and charm combined to make this incredible dancer, and basically a Cuban Salsa celebrity and star in the dance world. He completed his studies in Cuba in ballet, modern and contemporary dance, jazz, hip hop, flamenco, acrobatics, as well as Cuban folklore dance, Afro and Rumba.
Living in Italy, Fonts teaches regularly at world festivals, and performs often, he also featured in the dance movie StreetDance 2 and Latin Dream! He is the life of the party, and you’ll never believe he is coming up to 45 years!
Born in Santa Clara, Cuba, Jimenez studied music and took up dance to compliment her artistic career. She then moved to Italy where she has been on the stage for many years performing and teaching around Europe and in festivals across the world.
She is an energetic, strong and charismatic dancer, famous for Cuban salsa, Afro-rumba, timba, and lady-styling, as well as reggaeton and hip hop, she often combines contemporary and modern dances in her choreography. Her signature move includes the twerk/ booty shake. If you get the chance to attend her classes, don’t miss it!
The only couple on our list for Cuban Salsa artists, Wilmer y Maria, super cool and creative pair who always have fun when they dance! Drawing from their ballet training which gives them those elegant lines they mix Afro-rumba and Cuban folkdance with contemporary dance styles.
Featured in many large festivals across Europe, Wilmer y Maria stand out as fantastic teachers with challenging routines and focus on Son, Afro-contemporary and Cuban Salsa, their performances are always new and exciting with meaning behind the dance.
From Havana, Cuba – Roly Maden is famous for his own brand and style “Roly Maden Style”, including Timba, Lady-styling and Son. He is also a well-rounded artist, his talents including singer, musician, DJ, producer and dancer. His passion makes him a fantastic teacher, focusing on technique, energy, originality and elegance – a trained eye can easily recognise students with his teaching and influences.
Maden has moved to Italy, the European hub of salsa dancing and teaching, and he is one of the most requested artists in his field.
Yanet Fuentes recognised as the best Female Cuban Salsa Dancer at the Cuban Salsa Awards (2006), three time winner of the World Open Salsa Championships, and star of the famous musical “Lady Salsa”. She moved to the UK and fully launched her career, appearing on the British edition of “You Can Dance”, as well as working with Shakira for her music and stage performances, and starred in 2014 movie “Cuban Fury”.
Fuentes is known for her feminine and sensual style, dancing Cuban Salsa and Timba, she moves just as well in her lady-style as when she dances more masculine Afro-rumba movements. You can also fine her featured in several music video clips including Craig David and Alicia Keys.
Cuban born Alberto Valdez is known for his energetic spirit, strict professionalism and wide knowledge and experience over many years. His elegance and passion for the Cuban culture and it’s connection to salsa and the Cuban salsa fundamentals.
One of the first Cuban Salsa and Rueda de Casino and Afro-Rumba promoters in Italy (yes, he also lives in Italy!), he still organises, hosts and teaches at many festivals across Italy and the world. Director and creator of “Cubabaila” school in Italy; Choreographer and artistic director of the group “ClaveNegra” the internationally famous dance group of the “CubaMiSalsa” event.
Yunaisy was born into a family of Cuban salsa dancers, with many successful dance artists inlcluding her mother who encouraged her to start dance at the age of seven, beginning in the Experimental School of Cuban Ballet. She graduated as “triple threat” (singer, dancer, actress) for musical theatre, and later trained as a contortionist at the School of Circus Cubano.
In 2015 she created “LADIES REVOLUTION” creating an impact worldwide for dancers, her brand often addresses issues of mental health and feminism. She also opened her “Farray International Dance Centre” a place for all styles and techniques to train and study, all the while working and performing at festivals across the world.
Another artist born in Havana, Cuba, Fernandez started dancing as a young boy in school and on the street. Now Fernandez is a dancer of Cuban salsa, Afro-rumba, reggaeton, hip hop, classical and chachacha; he also worked as a dancer on MTV and his talents extends to singing, releasing an album and songs. It is clear that Michael Jackson is a huge influence over his style in clothing as well as in his movement and voice.
Fernandez works often in Italy, choreographing, performing, directing, teaching and putting on dance festivals every year, he also owns a clothing and accessories line.
Carbo began as a ballet and modern dance student at the age of ten in Cuba, as he grew he found his true passion and connection to Afro-Cuban dance through his heritage, and so studied and graduated from the prestigious National Academy of Dance in Havana.
He moved to Italy in 2001 and started working in the dance scene, performing, choreographing and teaching. Later he opened his own dance school “Clave y Rumba” there and continues to perform, often teaming up with Barbara Jimenez for workshops in Afro-Contemporary – his current dance partner is Yunaisy Farray.
A Cabaret dancer at the famous Tropicana de Cuba club with his twin brother, Yuniel began to use influences from jazz, bolero, and cha cha cha to create his style. As another Cuban artist that moved to the Salsa hub of Italy, Yuniel specialises in Afro-Contemporary and Afro-Rumba dances, with full commitment to it’s fundamentals.
Gual is mainly a solo dancer, partnering up with Addy Mendoza for shows, as well as creating the group “Sondeakokan”, which brings together other Cuban salsa dancers/artists, who continue to travel the congresses and festivals performing, pursuing quality and innovation, their videos are interesting to check out.
Written by Rhian Saunders (Havana People)
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