Rad A. Drew Photography
Dancers of the Cuban National Ballet
Rad A. Drew
This trip is all about photographing dancers and all things dance!
It is with great pleasure and anticipation that we announce our next Beauty and Grace Dance Workshop in Havana, Cuba.
Email RAD here for Registration Instructions.
In November 2022, Ramses Batista and I led our first dance photography workshop since March of 2020 and the outbreak of the pandemic.
Despite many changes in Cuba since 2020, we were pleased to find that we were able to resume our workshops there in the fall of 2022.
In November of 2022, our group of six photographers photographed 20 dancers from four different genres in five days in beautiful locations in and around Havana. It was an exhilarating experience and we are looking forward to repeating a variation on that theme for you!
Ramses and I created this unique photo workshop for the nearly exclusive purpose of photographing Dancers of the National Ballet of Cuba.
For several years now, we have collaborated to bring photographers and dancers together for some amazing portrait sessions.
Although our primary subjects will be ballet dancers, we'll explore other forms of dance practiced in Cuba that may include Contemporary, Afro Cuban, and Flamenco! Who we photograph all depends on availability of the dancers during the time we'll be there. On our last three trips (one in 2020, one in November of 2022, and most recently February of 2023) we photographed 16-20 dancers in 5 days from Ballet, Contemporary, Flamenco, and Afro Cuban disciplines.
Here are a few of the comments from participants on our last two Beauty and Grace workshops.
I can not say enough positives about the experience. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that I would have access to photograph 16 Cuban dancers. By the last day, I was giddy from the experience. It proved way beyond any expectations. Job very well done, Ramses and Rad.
— MF, Arlington, MA, 2020
Made it back alive and was totally energized by the workshop! Ramses is a Rock Star! I learned so much from him and Rad, and really everyone else there. Great camaraderie...!
–– JP, Dayton, OH, 2022
Still on a high from the workshop which was amazing in so many ways. Ramses' patience with me while I was struggling with my flash, I will never forget. I learned so much about flash photography, composition, and portraits. I have looked at my photos and love what I took!
–– YO, New York, NY, 2022
I have just started to review the photos, overwhelmed by the beauty; of the dancers, of the dance, of the place, of the situations that Ramses and Rad created and shared with all of us. It is clearly one of the highlights of my photography life.
–– WW, Dayton, OH, 2022
We'll photograph dancers in multiple locations in and around Havana including historic sites, in the streets, and in abandoned structures.
Depending on the conditions in the streets, we'll plan to make 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 engage in activities that support the theme, photographing dancers in a wide variety of settings.
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.
If circumstances permit, 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, and in locations not readily available to most visitors, thanks to Ramses' intimate familiarity with Havana.
During the week, Ramses and I will support you in making great images for your portfolio. We'll support photographers using any type of camera including traditional, infrared, and mobile. While we'll be there to support you, it's important that you have an understanding of the exposure triangle, and a working knowledge of your particular camera.
As an option, when photographing dancers, you'll have the opportunity to use remote flash equipment for fill and for both subtle and dramatic effects. We'll provide remote flashes and triggers for each participant. You'll use the equipment with your camera and Ramses and I will provide support on the use of the equipment and techniques. We'll also have plenty of opportunities for available light photography.
Information about lodging will be provided upon registration. Whether we stay in a hotel or a Casa in Havana, we always select accommodations that are safe, clean, and comfortable.
Note that on this trip, we are including ALL meals!
A $1000 deposit is required to secure your spot.
The workshop fee balance of $4,995 will be due on Friday, August 16, 2024.
Email RAD here for Registration Instructions.
This trip includes the following:
Ground transport to and from the airport in Havana (we’ll pick you up and drop you off)
opportunity to exchange money
All Meals; Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner each day
Lodging (six nights)
Fees for photographing dancers and models
Photo location fees
airfare to/from Havana
travel visa (purchased at airport, usually about $100 depending on your airline)
Trip insurance (in the event you can’t travel)
Friday, November 15, 2024
You'll arrive in Havana on February 21 and be greeted at the airport. We'll spend the rest of the day getting settled, and depending on arrival times, getting out for some street photography, and then dinner.
Saturday, November 16 – Thursday, November 21
We do not provide a specific day-to-day itinerary for the week.
We have created 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.
Thursday, November 21, 2024
Depart Havana. We will coordinate your transportation to the airport for your trip home.
A Land of Shifting Sands
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 almost always wonder in the unexpected.
A valid passport, and a Travel Card (aka Visa) (purchased at airline ticket counter) is required for Cuba.
U. S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)
Trips to Cuba are strictly governed by the OFAC. We work to ensure that all of the appropriate documentation and OFAC requirements are met for each participant for travel to Cuba.