Havana: November, 1958. 18-year-old Katey Miller (Romola Garai) brings an innate curiosity and a smattering of Spanish to her new life in Cuba's lush capital, where her father has taken an executive posting at Ford. Bookish and awkward, Katey is expected to join the smart set of American teenagers who are the Millers' neighbors at the exclusive Oceana Hotel. But Katey finds herself drawn instead to the proud, purposeful Javier (Diego Luna), a waiter who also happens to be brilliant dancer. Determined to learn the slinky, spectacular moves that Javier seems to know in his bones, Katey persuades him to partner with her in a prestigious national dance competition at Havana's glittering nightclub/casino, The Palace. Soon, the straight-A student is deceiving her parents, stealing away both day and night to discover a different part of Cuba with Javier. They meet at the steamy nightclub La Rosa Negra, where only the locals go and where the dancing is hotter than the temperature outside. Some days, they practice on the sand of an out-of-the way beach, aligning their bodies in a sensual harmony that mirrors the growing passion between them. As the night of the contest finally arrives, Katey and Javier are ready to take their place as a couple on the dance floor - unaware that the country club, and the streets of Havana itself, are about to erupt in revolutionary violence.