Rad A. Drew Photography: Cuba and Dance!

Continental Divide at Dawn

Continental Divide at Dawn
Continental Divide at Dawn

Cuba and Dance!

Beauty and Grace
Dancers of the National Ballet of Cuba

Ramses Batista and Rad A. Drew

March 7-13, 2019

© Ramses Batista
Cuban Photographer, Ramses Batista, and I, have created a unique photo workshop for the nearly exclusive purpose of photographing Dancers of the National Ballet of Cuba.

© Rad A. Drew

For several years now, Ramses and I have collaborated to bring photographers and dancers together for some amazing portrait sessions. But there never seems to be enough time to spend with the Dancers!

That's why this trip is all about photographing dancers and all things dance! 

© Rad A. Drew


We'll photograph ballet dancers in multiple locations in Havana including historic sites, in the streets, and in abandoned structures. (See Ramses' recent AMAZING video in which he photographers dancers in a spectacular location: https://youtu.be/oULIy4vrkcI)

© Ramses Batista
Don't worry! There'll still be plenty of time for street photography including architecture, old cars, and portraiture in locations throughout Havana, including along the Paseo de Prado, the Malecon, the historic squares, and Old Havana.

In keeping with our Dance theme, we'll visit the Alicia Alonso Grand Theatre of Havana. This magnificent theater, named after prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonzo, is home to the National Ballet de Cuba. We were there in 2016 shortly after the renovation of the theatre and it is magnificent!

Alicia Alonso Grand Theatre of Havana
© Rad A. Drew
Cuba's boys and girls have an early opportunity to learn dance. Those who show promise at elementary levels matriculate to a dance school in Havana where they receive both their ballet instruction and their academic education. The Dance School in Havana is a large, old multi-story building, full of classrooms and practice rooms lined with rails and mirrors. We'll visit the Dance School and photograph students as they work hard at practice, and hang out in the halls as students do in any school! It's an opportunity to look inside one of Cuba's cultural institutions.

Between visits to these (and other surprise locations!), we'll photograph dancers against the gritty background that is Cuba through and through.

During the week, Ramses and I will coach and support you in making great images for your portfolio. We'll support photographers shooting any type of camera including traditional, infrared, and mobile. 

When photographing dancers, we'll provide remote flash equipment for fill and dramatic effects. You'll use the equipment with your camera and we'll provide instruction on the use of the equipment and techniques.

© Ramses Batista

Ramses and I will lead sessions in his studio where we'll share processing techniques using Topaz Studio and Photoshop, as well as processing using mobile devices. 

It's important to note that a visit to Ramses's studio is an experience in and of itself. It is a work of art! He's created a functional studio built from available and found materials (there's no Home Depot or Lowes for building supplies!) that come together to make a uniquely beautiful working studio that can be transformed into a restaurant for special lunch and dinner guests. 

© Ramses Batista

We'll stay in Casas (the equivalent of our B&B), with private bath, AC, and breakfast. Many of these locations are places our groups have stayed in before, and all are vetted by our travel partners on the ground in Havana.

© Rad A. Drew

$3650 (email me for information on how to make your $500 deposit and claim your spot.)

The trip includes the following:
  • Ground transport to and from the airport in Havana (we’ll pick you up and drop you off)
  • 87 CUC ($100 USD worth of local currency) upon arrival at the airport (to make sure you have cash until we have an opportunity to exchange money)
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner each day
  • Lodging in Casas in Havana
  • Ground transportation
  • Fees for photographing dancers and models
© Rad A. Drew

Not included:
  • airfare to/from Havana
  • travel visa (purchased at airport, usually $100 or less depending on your airline)
  • gratuities
  • alcohol
  • Trip insurance (in the event you can’t travel)

Mercedes Piedras
National Ballet of Cuba
© Rad A. Drew

Thursday, March 7, 2019

We'll arrive in Havana on the afternoon of March 7 and be greeted at the airport. We'll spend the rest of the day getting settled in our Casas, getting out for some street photography, and then dinner.

Friday, March 8 – Tuesday, March 12, 2019

We will not provide a specific day-to-day itinerary for March 8 to 12 until we are closer to the event. 

Ramses and I have an overall plan for these days with anchor events. We'll make decisions based on the weather, the dancer's schedules, availability of locations, and, always, we'll have an eye out for the wonderful serendipitous events that always occur. 

© Ramses Batista
Ramses refers to Cuba as a land of shifting sands, and that is an apt way of describing it. In my many trips there, I've learned that it's important to go with the flow and be ready to adapt to those shifting sands, because there is always wonder in the unexpected.

© Rad A. Drew


Documentation Requirements

A valid passport, and an Travel Card (aka Visa) (purchased at airline ticket counter) is required for Cuba.

Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC)

Trips to Cuba are strictly governed by the OFAC. We work with an experienced travel agency to ensure that all of the appropriate documentation and OFAC licenses are obtained for each participant for travel to Cuba.

Terms and Conditions 

A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required at the time of booking. Once fees are paid-in-full cancellation penalties apply.


60 Days prior to arrival date, deposit $500.00
59 to 45 days prior to arrival date - 50% of total cost.
44 days to arrival date - 100% of total cost 

Click here to email me for registration instructions