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B
eneath a star-strewn sky, couples crowd the huge dance floor, whipping suddenly into dazzling spins and twirls too tight to be improvised but too loose to be choreographed. The band continues with a jam that goes on for five minutes, 10 minutes, longer; and no one can sit down, no one can stop. Sound and movement have conspired to produce a moment that flirts with both the delirious and the sublime.

This is a place beyond salsa. This is the realm of timba brava, the innovative Cuban dance music that fuses elements of jazz, funk and hip-hop with traditional Latin rhythms to create a unique sound – one that has already won international acclaim. Cuban music officials go so far as to boast that only three truly vibrant and fertile strains of popular music exist in the world today: American, Brazilian and Cuban.

The Washington Post’s Dudley Brooks takes you there through his photographs. Enter



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