Instituto Superior de Artes (ISA)
ISA professors are all active musicians, dancers or artists. Study at the Institute is comparable to conservatory work in the United States. ISA was the Havana Country Club converted by President Fidel Castro into an arts complex in 1961 and recently reopened. Between them, ISA’s two buildings house five schools in the arts. Each Facultad (Faculty) in the arts provides a combination of theory and practice designed for students serious about pursuing artistic achievement through concentrated study.
ISA’s Facultad de Artes Plásticas offers studio courses in the visual arts. If you have an interest in enrolling at this school, we strongly encourage you to bring samples of your work to Cuba for portfolio review. Most Cuban students who enroll at ISA have highly developed visual arts skills, having attended art schools since they were young. Assessment of your level is therefore important for appropriate placement.
Students on the program thus far have explored studio work in painting while studying Cuban and Latin American painting, history and theory, but all aspects of the visual arts are open to exploration, and tutorials can be created for you in special areas—wood sculpture, for example. Whatever your interest, faculty members will find ways to involve you in Cuban cultural life. One professor, a painter himself, has taken students to the Museum of Cuban Art and two art shows.
ISA’s Facultad de Artes Escénicas (theatre and dance) specializes in the dramatic arts. Classically trained faculty members teach a well-defined sequence of courses in dance, including ballet, modern dance, and Cuban dance forms (danzas folklóricas cubanas).
The Facultad de Música at ISA offers a music program that combines tutorial study in composition, voice and/or instrumentation with work in theory, history and performance, and includes attendance at local concerts. Music students need a basic proficiency level and must audition before enrolling. ISA’s music professors are active professionals and will help you gain access to Cuba’s cultural scene and encourage you to attend their performances.
Cuba is a particularly fertile location for music study. Courses in the rich tradition of Afro-Cuban music include percussion studies, Cuban and Afro-Cuban rhythms, popular vocal techniques and individual tutorials on special topics.
The following courses constitute a sampling of what students on the program have studied at ISA:
- Canto Clásico Cubano (ISA)
- Guitar: Practice and Theory (ISA)
- Percussion: Cuban Rhythms (ISA)
- Percussion: Practice and Theory (ISA)
- Popular Dance (Danza Folklórica) (ISA)