June 2019 in Cuba comes laced in art and wrapped in festivity as the 9th edition of Havana’s Art Festival takes centre stage halfway through the month. But it´s not the only event in the cards as there’s also a special contemporary dance performance by Carlos Acosta and Cienfuegos inaugurates a brand new contemporary art gallery to host local talent. Get the full low-down here!
If you’re planning to book a casa particular in Havana this June then this is the blog you need to read to help you make the most of your trip. And if you plan to hop around a bit and say, explore Cienfuegos (where we have lovely casas too) then you’re in for a treat as this month sees the grand opening of the city’s newest, biggest contemporary art space.
It´s definitely all about art this June in Cuba and in more ways than one! Allow us to elaborate…
Cuba’s Events Calendar – June 2019
Our top pick – highlights not to miss
OK, so while in this blog piece we might not manage to capture everything that goes on in Cuba this month (some events are given less publicity than others so it’s harder to know about them before they happen, in true Cuban style!) but what we do strive to do is bring you the biggest events of the month as they’re unveiled, and maybe help you decide whether or where to book that casa particular in Havana you’ve been dreaming of. Without further ado here are our top picks in Cuba this June
Havana’s Art Festival – 11th to 17th June
First up we have the month-long celebration of Havana’s Festival de las Artes, taking over the city all throughout June in various public places, especially at the Don Quixote Park (Parque Quijote), the event’s official headquarters as this year’s edition is dedicated to this literary masterpiece. Why? Because it symbolises resistance and perseverance as well as the will to do good against all odds (and this was the first book to have been published by the Cuban Revolution, so it has added symbolic value). The park’s centric location in downtown Vedado (casas particulares in this trendy neighbourhood are often booked out for months) make
s it all the more appealing. The theme this year is “Viaje a la Semilla” (Journey to the Seed) and explores the city’s artistic routes in a variety of formats.
So, what can you look forward to during Havana’s Festival de las Artes? Well, the event is organised by the Cuban University of Arts and it includes exhibitions, performances, masterclasses, workshops, competitions and audiovisual presentations, all to promote the work of young creators. You can check the full programme of events before deciding whether to book that casa particular in Havana in time to catch a good performance or two (bear in mind that it’s published in Spanish so Google Translate might come in handy!). In any case, we’ll keep you on the loop about the biggest events, the one worthy of underlining in the calendar and perhaps (why not?) travelling to Cuba for. Any old excuse is good for an art-filled Cuba holiday, right?
This is a young and hip festival, so if that’s your sort of thing you’ll be in Cuban artsy heaven, especially if staying at one of our artful casas particulares in Havana. Trust us there’s more than one casa particular in Havana that you’ll fall in love with due to its arty appeal!
Acosta Danza’s Student Gala – 8th June
Celebrating the success of his contemporary dance school in Havana and the talent of his young students, CBE Carlos Acosta, the Cuban “primo ballerino” who rose to worldwide fame (and acclaim) as part of the British Royal ballet, will be given a special “End of School Year Gala”.
Dedicated to the founder of Cuban modern dance, the recently diseased Maestro, Ramiro Guerra, the gala will be staged at Havana’s Teatro Martí on 8th June with doors opening at 7 p.m.
The programme will span different dance genres, opening with “Belles Lettres” and choreography by Justin Peck, music by Cesar Franck. Other pieces will include “La Fille mal gardee”, “The flames of Paris”. There will also be local pieces like “Siervo” and pieces from aspiring young Cuban talents.
But the gala’s climax will arrive with the performance of scenes from Carlos Acosta’s “Don Quijote”, which debuted last April to great acclaim from the audience. If you know of Acosta’s amazing dance versatility and of his young pool of Cuban talent (and even if you don’t) this gala brings the perfect chance to get acquainted or re-acquainted with it.
Cienfuegos inaugurates its first contemporary art gallery
Cienfuegos’s youngest artist will have a new place to showcase their work with the opening of a new contemporary art gallery this month. The one thing that was missing from this city, a space for young artists to congregate, exhibit their work and make cultural exchanges, the new art gallery will be the artsiest venue Cienfuegos has seen.
And while you’re getting immersed in all the art, why not stay at an equally artistic casa particular in Cienfuegos? We’ve got a selection of beautiful bed and breakfast accommodation in Cienfuegos exuding art through every pore, even if only for the sweeping city views – Cienfuegos is art in motion (slow motion at that!).
Beyond Cienfuegos itself being one of the most picturesque (and cleanest) cities in Cuba, it has a soulful, artistic nature as do its inhabitants, the calm and collected cienfuegueros – quite a contrast to their loud and boisterious Havana counterparts – but who are nevertheless full of art and passion.
Contemporary dance fest at Havana’s Teatro Mella ‘-14th to 23rd June
The legendary Cuban contemporary dance company that embodies the style of dancing known as “La Combinatoria” is turning 30 this month and to celebrate it, its founder (after whom the company is named) Rosario Cardenas has prepared a special repertoire of performances with the debut of various new pieces at the centric and somewhat Gaudi-esque Teatro Mella.
Under the theme “Una cita con el riesgo y el espacio” (A date with risk and space), the Compañía Rosario Cardenas’ programme for this month includes the following pieces: “Al final de cada lluvia”, “La gaviota y trazos en aire curvo” (14th, 15th and 16th June) and “Deseo” (21st, 22nd and 23rd June). Catching either of the above-mentioned performances at Teatro Mella will sure be a treat for the senses. Curtains are drawn are 8:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 5 p.m. on Sundays.
Trust us when we say it comes highly recommended!
Ballet Nacional de Cuba in Holguin – 14th, 15th and 16th June
To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Eddy Suñol theatre, one of Holguin’s most prestigious (and most beautiful) landmarks, Cuba’s most international (and most globally acclaimed) dance company will be giving a series of special performances to mark the occasion. You can look forward to special performances by Ballet Nacional de Cuba in Holguin’s Eddy Suñol theatre on 14th, 15th and 16th June at 9 p.m.
And it´s not just Cuba´s national ballet dancing company that will be performing at the magnificent art deco Eddy Suñol theatre this month, as Danza Contemporanea de Cuba has also announced performances (with dates to be confirmed).
But why would you be in Holguin this month of all Cuba places? Well, there’s more to this eastern provincial city than meets the eye and if you’re in nearby Santiago it might be worth the hop to enjoy all the dance performances scheduled for this month and get acquainted with the majestic, recently restored Eddy Suñol theatre.
Holguin is famous for its Guardalavaca beaches, lined with all-inclusive resorts, but beyond the beach appeal there’s provincial charm to be soaked up. Casas particulares in Holguin are not as sophisticated or modern as the ones you can find in Havana and they’re fewer and further in between. If you want to explore Holguin you can do so while based in nearby Santiago as it’s a scenic two-hour car ride away. Finding a good casa particular in Santiago de Cuba will be easier, and far cheaper than Holguin’s hotels!
Other events in the Cuban calendar
Beyond our top highlights in Cuba this June there are other more short-lived events on the island taking place throughout the month. From concerts to art exhibitions or anything else that comes up and is announced before the month ends, you’ll find it here! So check, back this space to find more
Design Biennial in Havana (until 16th June)
BD Habana 2019 kicked off at the end of May and will continue until mid-June. The second edition of Havana´s design biennial had a different theme this year, titled “Mas allá de la forma” (Beyond Shape). Dedicated to Havana’s 500th anniversary this year, the festival will be simultaneously celebrated in Camaguey and Santiago de Cuba as well. Staying in a Havanan casa particular this month and wanting to check out the biggest design festivity in the island? Be sure to check out the fair’s headquarters this year – the Centro Hispanoamericano de Cultura.
So, should you book your stay in a casa particular in Havana this June? Most definitely! Not only because of the great line-up of events but also because June is the transition month between the dry and wet season in Cuba, so a good time to travel to the island before the hotter months of July and August make the holiday experience a lot steamier.