Cumbia Dance Lessons

We complement our social Latin dance series with Cumbia classes! This style of dancing goes hand in hand with our Salsa dance lessons, and is very typical in Mexico and the southwest United States, including of course, Austin.

Above: Our instructors showing double follow turns into cuddles, hammerlocks, and bridge turns for the leads.


Suzanne Bertran
Mateo, my partner, has been the conga player for El Tule since 2009 and has always enjoyed watching the cumbia dancers from the stage having a blast on the dance floor. He decided he wanted to experience that joy for himself and of course, I was happy to join him in learning! That’s how we found the Cumbia classes at Dance International!
Suzanne Bertran



Cumbia Origins

Because Latin America is so diverse, so are the cumbias! In our classes Helen teaches Back-Break and Tejano. Cumbia started in Colombia with artists like Carlos Vives, Bomba Estéreo, Andrés Cabas, and Humberto Pernet, and then moved to Mexico and produced hits like Mi gallo tuerto, Caprichito, and Nochebuena. It spread rapidly all over Latin America and finally caught on in America. Tejano singer, Selena Quintanilla, has world famous techno/Mexican cumbias.

Cumbia started in Colombia and was danced by slaves in the area to showoff for courtship (that’s why it’s sexy and playful) and express resistance from Spain (why it is so wild and original and why it was layered with European instruments). The earliest cumbias only used drums and claves.

En Español

Porque América Latina es tan diversa, ¡también son las cumbias! En nuestras clases Helen enseña la original y Tejana. Cumbia comenzó en Colombia con artistas como Carlos Vives, Bomba Estéreo, Andrés Cabas y Humberto Pernet, y luego se trasladó a México y produjo éxitos como Mi gallo tuerto, Caprichito y Nochebuena. La Cumbia se extendió rápidamente por toda América Latina y finalmente se apoderó de América. La cantante de Tejano, Selena Quintanilla, tiene cumbias de tecno mejocano famosas en el mundo.

Cumbia comenzó en Columbia y fue bailada por esclavos en la zona para mostrarse para el cortejo (es por eso que es sexy y juguetóna) y apara expresar la resistencia de España (por qué es tan salvaje y original y por qué tenía instrumentos europeos). Las primeras Cumbias solo usaban tambores y claves.


Where can I dance it?

You can either look for Cumbia heavy clubs like Cielo downtown, or go to any of the Latin social events in Austin. In general, anywhere were they play Salsa and Bachata will also play some Cumbia, and most dedicated dancers prefer the variety as well. You’ll recognize it by it’s galloping cowboy rhythm, exaggerated moves and high energy. Don’t sit out the dance and come learn with us!

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