Misty In Cuba

The streets and scenes of Misty Copeland’s trip to Havana

Barbershops, barres, murals, relaxing dancers, and love: a photographic journey with a prima ballerina

Cuba — to most of us who weren’t around in the 1950s — is a mystery. There are loose assumptions about old cars, Che Guevara shirts, cigars, and voices that recall Cuban actor Desi Arnaz of I Love Lucy. While there are plenty of those old autos, and a plethora of Che shirts being pushed at the tourist spots, Cuba is of course so much more than that. It’s a country of resilient and gracious people who spend their days working and spend their nights strolling the streets of Havana to the sounds of reggaeton, or reflecting on life and love on El Malecon with the Gulf of Mexico as backdrop. I didn’t know what to expect when I stepped on that plane in Miami and walked off when it landed in Cuba, but I do know that it was a lot more than rum and cigars. It was the understanding that sometimes you just have to slow down and cherish the moments. I hope you begin to do just that with these behind-the-scenes images of Misty Copeland’s trip to Cuba.

Dancers from Lizt Alfonzo Dance Cuba watch a performance.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

A mural in Old Havana.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

Misty Copeland walks into a restaurant that has played host to President Barack Obama as well as Jay Z and Beyoncé.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

Misty Copeland dances along with the Cuban National Ballet during a class.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

A man walks past the doorway of a gift shop in Old Havana.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

Misty Copeland sits on the floor of the Cuban National Ballet before their class.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

Dancers at the National Ballet School tie their ballet flats.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

Misty Copeland speaks with two of the dancers who performed for her at the Lizt Alfonzo Dance Cuba.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

A barbershop in Old Havana.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

Misty Copeland dances with members of the Coro Vocal Luna, an all-female chorus.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

Misty Copeland completes a turn while at Lizt Alfonzo Dance Cuba.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

Misty Copeland talks with members of the Cuban press while at the Cuban National Ballet.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

Guests walk through the Proyecto Kcho Studio, a gallery in Havana.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

Newlyweds Olu Evans and Misty Copeland ride in the backseat of a convertible Bel-Air through the streets of Havana.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

A woman hangs up clothing on a line outside of her home.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

José was in Old Havana helping to sell the work of a local artist.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

A car turns a corner around a market in Old Havana.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

Misty Copeland watches the movements of the other dancers while in a class at the Cuban National Ballet.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

A classic car sits with its hood up while a mechanic makes a repair.

Brent Lewis/The Undefeated

Brent Lewis is a former Senior Photo Editor of The Undefeated and a lover of all things Chicago except Chicago Mix popcorn. #justcheeseplease