'I come from an island, so I adore how close Miami is to the ocean—it's almost spiritual. The water's fantastic to swim in, especially for a dancer's muscles.'

OCCUPATION Dancer and choreographer with Ballet Hispanico
HOME BASE New York City
SONG AND DANCE Ruiz was visiting family in Miami, but the highlight of his trip was seeing Cuban singer Malena Burke. "She does everything from rumba to romantic ballads. And when she sings, everyone gets up and dances. It's hard not to end up in a conga line!"
CAFÉ SOCIETY "My favorite Miami club is Café Nostalgia [66 S.W. Sixth St.; 305/358-1999], where everything is very 1940's—chic women in sexy dresses, suave men smoking Cuban cigars. They even show movies of old Havana on the wall."
MIAMI NICE "I was a teenager when my family left Cuba, so Miami is a taste of home: the good food, the strong coffee, the language. I love listening to the people talk. The way they express themselves—language, dress, movement—inspired my dance piece Club Havana."
—Richard Alleman