Havana Nights - Inspiration behind the theme

We are so excited about our upcoming Havana Nights event - and to get you as hyped as we are, we wanted to share a bit of behind-the-scenes/themes information. Why we chose the theme, the dances and the food for the event and what you can look forward to.

Havana Nights at Milner Fashion HouseWhy Havana Nights? 

When we were brainstorming this event we needed a theme to tie together the dance styles that we wanted to incorporate into the event. Cuba has a diverse and vibrant music and dance culture influenced by various cultural traditions, including African, Spanish, and indigenous Cuban. Some of the most popular and widely known Latin-American dance styles trace their origins to Cuba. Salsa, Rumba, Cha-cha and Mambo all originated in Cuba's cultural melting pot. 

If you are looking to host a dance event - you look towards a culture where music and dance are a way of life. The lively music, colourful tropical backdrop and spirited culture are the perfect inspiration to create a fun evening of dance, music and food. It is the ideal opportunity escape from the daily grind - we will try our best to create an event that will transport you, if only for an evening, to a tropical island where you dance to unknown music while the smells of exotic food cooking hang in the air. Havana Nights at Milner Fashion House

Let’s Dance

When it came to picking the dances to show you on the evening we went with the experience and wisdom of our professional dance instructors from De La Vida Dance Academy. According to David Lombaard the Mambo is one of the most fun and vibrant dances to learn in a group format, especially for a dance event like this one. “You can learn the basic forward and back steps quickly as a beginner and start incorporating turns once you understand the count and hear the rhythm of the music”

The Mambo originated in Cuba in the 1940s - and was heavily influenced by the Cuban music style of the same name. It gained international popularity when Cuban immigrants brought it with them to New York in the 1940s. Thanks to the catchy rhythms and energetic dance style Mambo dance clubs soon emerged in the city, attracting crowds of dancers and music lovers from all backgrounds.  The Mambo’s significance in the Latin American dance canon can also not be understated - it was a significant influence in dance styles such as the Cha-cha, Rumba and Salsa.

While the Tango did not originate in Cuba we felt it was a good fit for the event because of its popularity and dramatic effect. The characteristic sharp movements and recognizable basic steps provide for a fun and interactive learning experience.  

The Tango traces its origins to the working-class neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo Uruguay in the late 19th century. Its earliest roots can be traced to the fusion of European, African and indigenous cultural traditions mingling in 19th-century Argentina and Uruguay. Later it became more structured and choreographed as elements of European ballroom dances were incorporated.

We are excited to give you the opportunity to experience a little bit of the magic of these dances for yourself. You get to take part in a dance tradition stretching far back in history yet still evolving every time someone new steps onto the dance floor for the first time.

Havana Nights at Milner Fashion

Food for thought

The cultural ties between Africa and Latin America are strong and noticeable in our shared food heritage. We found countless touching points when we started looking for menu inspiration. 

Argentina shares our passion for meat grilled over a fire and that shared tradition inspired our choice of lamb and pork cooked on a spit. Pork is also a common ingredient in Cuban cuisine and “lechon asado” (roast pork), a whole pig roasted on a spit, is typically served on special occasions.

Our side dishes and condiments also take inspiration from various South American countries like Chimichurri from Argentina and Peru’s Salsa Criolla or pickled red onions. Of course, we could never leave our homegrown food traditions completely out -  a slow-roasted tomato-based chilli sauce, roosterkoek and street style mielies/corn make for the perfect accompaniment to all the Latin American fare.

We hope that is enough to whet your appetite for a night of dancing, food and fun.  Book your tickets here and join us for an unforgettable evening!