Koubek Center Offering Free Virtual Afro-Cuban Dance Classes

If you’re looking for a distraction from the coronavirus pandemic, the Miami Dade College Koubek Memorial Center has you covered.

To keep students active and healthy throughout quarantine, the center has teamed up with Marisol Blanco to offer free virtual Afro-Cuban dance classes live on Instagram and Facebook

Classes take place every Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

“I emphasize the connection between steps, story, song, percussion, body expression, philosophy, psychology and technical knowledge in my classes,” Blanco said on her website.

Each virtual session augments what was taught the previous week. That requires students to remember the steps they learned to keep the pace in her class. 

“If it were the first class, no experience is needed but we are already halfway through the year,” Blanco said. “At the point that the program is running now, you have to have some dance skill.”

Blanco was introduced to Afro-Cuban dance by her grandmother when she was five. Throughout her childhood, she’s enrolled in various performing arts classes like dance, drama, piano and choir. 

Before moving to the United States, Blanco earned a bachelor’s degree in dance from Cuba’s Superior Institute of Arts, where she specialized in Cuban Folklore Profile. She later obtained a master’s degree in sociology and dance from the same institution. 

Since becoming a professional dancer, Blanco has traveled around the world to teach classes in Mexico, France and Italy.

“Marisol has been a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer for more than 15 years,” her website reads. “She creates an environment of support, motivation, creativity, and curiosity, while encouraging her students to reach their full potential in her classroom.”

But teaching virtual classes is new to Blanco. She taught dance classes at the Koubek Center before the coronavirus forced it to shut its doors, focusing on Afro-Cuban dancing and popular dance.

Blanco was reluctant to teach online classes because she can’t see students on Instagram or Facebook live to properly correct them.

However, Blanco says she has received positive response from studentsaround 135 students have attended her live sessionsinspiring her to want to continue offering online classes after quarantine is over.

“The people are so happy and so grateful,” Blanco said. “If I show you my personal inbox, all of them always tell me to not stop the virtual classes.”