Dance in Havana with Joe McNally and Leysis Quesada Vera

Trip Summary

Join fellow photographers Joe McNally and Leysis Quesada Vera in an 8-day workshop exploring dance in Havana, Cuba.

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Dates

Jan. 16 – 23, 2025

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Group Size

10-12 People

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Activity Level

Moderate, some walking with stairs.

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Price

$6,850 (shared room)

Workshop Details

Please note this workshop is full! We’d love to have you join us on one of our other trips. You may also email to be wait listed for this trip using the button above.

© Joe McNally

Discover the Pulse of Havana

Join us as we engage with Cuba’s most graceful athletes – its dancers. In Havana every footfall tells a story, and each beat echoes the island’s passionate traditions in music and dance.

World class photographers, Joe McNally and Leysis Quesada Vera, will share their different perspectives on how to visually interpret dance photographically. Joe is renowned for his dynamic ability to articulate any kind of light. His images of dancers are classic and iconic; honoring the athleticism and revealing the personalities of the subjects. Leysis’ images are quintessentially feminine and personal. She uses natural light in a way that captures a gauzy intimacy and often reveals behind-the-scenes moments with beautiful authenticity. Joe and Leysis will share their images and offer on-location demonstrations designed to spark your own personal interpretation of dance.

You’ll view dance in Cuba through expanded lenses of wonder and discovery.

Dancer in Havana, Cuba by Leysis Quesada Vera

© Leysis Quesada Vera

© Joe McNally

© Joe McNally

Images & Motion

Immerse yourself in the beauty and culture of dance in Cuba. Experience it all, from sensual salsa to classical ballet. Cuban dance blends complex European and Afro-Caribbean influences. Through rumba, salsa, guaguanco, ballet, contemporary dance and the exotic flamenco, you’ll excite your creative vision and refine your technical skills, capturing scenes and subjects found nowhere else.

Recharge Your Creativity

Connect with fellow creatives who share your passion. Be welcomed into the lives of Cubans, from storied photographers and professional dancers, to those everyday citizens who embody the island’s magical culture. Fulfilling the People-to-People visa requirements of travel to Cuba, our time with the spirited and gracious Cuban people are the spark and focus of this program.

Dancer in Havana, Cuba by Leysis Quesada Vera

© Leysis Quesada Vera

Male dancer leaping on street, Havana Cuba by Joe McNally

© Joe McNally

Join Us Where Passion Meets Photography

With Joe and Leysis’ deep knowledge of this uniquely Cuban genre, Dance in Havana is far from just another workshop — it’s an opportunity to expand your creative and technical knowledge to reach broader horizons.

Secure your spot now on this popular, transformative journey. Experience the sultry allure of Cuban dance, sharpen your photography skills, and immerse yourself in creativity. Are you ready to capture the heartbeat of Havana?

Luxury Accommodations

Our home in Havana is the luxurious Iberostar Parque Central. Located off its namesake park, the hotel’s perfect location puts you within walking distance of thrilling Old Havana, the Capitolio, the Prado, and Malecón.

Iberostar Parque Central in Havana, Cuba
Fototeca de Cuba in Havana, Cuba

Travel to Cuba Legally

This trip allows US citizens to travel legally to Cuba under the People-to-People General License for educational exchanges (Title 31 CFR § 515.560). We focus on authentic connections and meaningful interactions, capturing the spirit of the Cuban people through our lenses.

Publish Your Photography

Join the community of photographers who share their images between (and on) the covers of CubaSeen, our photo zine showcasing the best of photography about Cuba. As a participant on this trip you may submit images for our next issue free of charge.

Itinerary Highlights

  • Visit the Cuban National Ballet School for a deep appreciation of the young athletes’ devotion to their training. With over 2,000 students, it is the largest school of ballet in the world.
  • Experience a powerful performance and photography session with Spanish-influenced Flamenco dancers.
  • Witness a practice session with Havana’s premiere Contemporary dancers as they explore a choreography that is an exotic fusion of modern dance and Afro-Caribbean traditions.
  • Photograph an explosive session with Afro-Cuban Folkoric dancers. Embrace the unique opportunity to converse and interact with the dancers, and create once-in-a-lifetime portraits following the performance.
  • Head out for a visit to the spectacular Fábrica de Arte Cubano (FAC), Havana’s vivid fusion of art, music and culture. Considered the most successful and popular cultural project in Cuba, Fabrica was nominated by Time Magazine amongst the 100 must-see sites in the world.
  • Flex creatively as we work with diverse genres of dancers during portrait sessions across some of Havana’s most iconic venues. Relish inventive cuisine in Havana’s finest privately owned and operated restaurants.
  • Delight in a life-changing workshop in Cuba supported by inspiration from world-class photography instructors and the incomparable team of OneWorldSeen staff and resident Cuban arts experts.

Your Instructors

Joe McNally

Joe McNally

Instructor

Joe’s photographic career has been intertwined with dance since his early professional days when he, “began to witness the beauty, the audacity, and the sheer grit of the dancer.”

Joe is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning photographer whose prolific career includes assignments in 70 countries. His photography combines incredible technical prowess and vivid imagination. He is the “Real Deal.” His work has been selected for five covers of National Geographic and seven covers of Life Magazine, as well as countless other publications, sharing significant visual stories brought to life by his authentic imagery.

Website: joemcnally.com

Leysis Quesada Vera

Leysis Quesada Vera

Instructor

Leysis Quesada Vera’s images convey sensitive vignettes of women’s lives in Havana. Moments with her daughters, local dancers, and her neighborhood are elevated into elegant, almost dreamlike visions . Her images transport the viewer into a Havana that is both deeply personal and cleverly metaphoric.

Leysis’ dance images are included in collections in the International Center for Photography (ICP) and the Getty Museum. She has been commissioned by the Annenburg Space for Photography and has completed projects supported by the Magnum Foundation.

Website: leysisquesada.com

Jennifer Spelman

Jennifer Spelman

Trip Leader | Co-Founder

Jennifer Spelman is a documentary photographer, educator and workshop leader based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has worked extensively across Cuba since 2011.

During over sixty visits to the island, she’s experienced the friendly generosity of a people always willing to share conversation and a cup of coffee. She has come to understand that to be Cuban is to greet adversity with ingenuity, patience and humor. Life in Cuba is lived on the streets, and Jennifer is happiest amidst their constant motion and layered serendipity.

She co-founded OneWorldSeen in 2021 and co-publishes its photo zine, CubaSeen.

Jennifer is a patient educator who has co-instructed with Santa Fe Workshops and National Geographic Expeditions. Among her many other photography-related endeavors, she has traveled extensively, teaching workshops in Turkey, Morocco, India, Romania, Spain, Mexico, Japan, India, and Cuba.

Website: jenniferspelman.com

Carlos Otero Blanco

Carlos Otero Blanco

Partner | Resident Cuban Expert & Guide

Carlos Otero Blanco is a dynamic photographer who specializes in inventive conceptual projects and creative underwater photography. His wide range of thematic interests spans documentary photography, portraiture, and nature.

Carlos may be best known for his sensitive photographic study of Cuban bedrooms, with hundreds photographed since 2009. The exquisite images were published in his book, Dormir con… (To Sleep with…), co-authored with Enrique Rottenberg, which has been shown in several national and international exhibits, and was featured in The New York Times, among other publications.

Born and raised in Havana, Carlos knows Cuba He has explored its rivers, its shorelines, its cities and villages, its mountains, its farmland and, most intimately, its people. His many friends across the island light up whenever he arrives. His wit and character are threaded throughout his vividly expressive portrait series, Cuba Vive, and are readily recognizable within his diverse selection of photographic subjects from around and across the island.

Carlos has a deep commitment to the natural world, and relishes adventure photography. He has participated in studies of subaquatic archeology, and holds several divemaster and instructor titles, as well as numerous awards for his spectacular underwater photography.

Instagram: @oteroblancocu

What's Covered?

Included

  • Lodging with breakfast all days
  • 5 lunches and 4 dinners
  • Transportation within Cuba, including airport pick-up and drop-off
  • Models’ and location fees
  • Please review our Terms and Conditions before registering

Not Included

  • Airfare to/from Havana
  • Meals and incidentals not listed as included
  • Visas and mandatory Cuban health insurance. This is available for purchase from your airline with prices varying from $50-85
  • Travel insurance, which we strongly recommend

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