On 28th January myself and other notable contributors to the Leeds salsa scene were fortunate enough to attend a pre-screening of Cuban Fury, this season’s hottest dance espectaculo.
Dance films have been all the rage in the past couple of decades of film history – think Save the Last Dance, Honey, the Step Up franchise – and most follow an enjoyable yet predictable pattern. Protagonist finds a dance community, usually with some sort of competition, and develops a romantic interest. The romance has issues, which almost causes the competition to be lost, but at the last minute the happy couple reunites and all is won. The previous mainstream film hits that have featured salsa have also followed this recipe – but not so Cuban Fury. An endearing film, Cuban Fury plays on stereotypes but smashes the stereotypical storyline to most dance movies.
With a recognisable cast and cameos from Leeds Salsa scene’s well loved dancers – and Susana Montero as a teacher – Cuban Fury is true to the heart of salsa. Salsa purists may cringe at the Strictly Come Dancing-style competition at the start, but get through it and you’ll be treated to a wealth of true social salsa and a soundtrack to match. Daddy Yankee and Abra Que Voy make the odd appearance, but in all the soundtrack is pleasant and bound to get your feet tingling.
Nick Frost is adorable as our protagonist, Bruce Garrett, who rekindles his passion for salsa in order to get the girl. Along with his co-stars, the film is witty and full of cleverly-played cringe, with many loveable stereotypes that set up many laughs along the way. This film would be a success if it were released at any time of the year, but is particularly well timed with its Valentine’s Day release. Not only will it appeal across genders with its humour, but to dancers and non-dancers alike, making it a perfect choice for your special evening.