Teach me how to dance cumbia

How to Dance Cumbia | The 2023 Dancer’s Guide

If you’ve been wanting to learn how to dance cumbia, it's time to grab your dancing shoes and get in the groove! This lively and exciting Latin dance is relatively simple, which makes it one of the more beginner-friendly styles of dance. So, even if you don’t consider yourself much of a dancer, you can easily learn how to dance cumbia and master the steps with just a bit of guidance and practice. 

Excited to learn how to dance cumbia, but not sure where to start? Our beginner’s guide will introduce you to the art of cumbia music and dance and provide you with all the resources you need to learn how to dance cumbia, whether you want to teach yourself or work with professional dance instructors. Before you know it, you’ll be dancing away your worries and reaping all the wonderful benefits of dance! As experts at the Better Health Channel state, learning to dance can lead to physical and mental health benefits such as improved aerobic fitness and greater self-confidence. So, let's get started!

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  • How to Learn the Cumbia
  • What is Cumbia?
  • Cumbia Steps

How to Learn the Cumbia 

Dance Classes

One of the best and most exciting ways to learn how to dance cumbia is to take in-person or online dance classes. When you take a dance class, you’ll receive detailed guidance from top-rated dance teachers and have the chance to practice your skills with a partner, all while getting immediate feedback and tips from the professionals. Not only is it a great and effective way to learn how to dance cumbia, but it’s also extremely fun, especially with friends or fellow dancers! Whether you are looking to learn how to dance cumbia or some other style, be sure to check out the dance classes near you, as well as dance classes in NYC and dance classes in Las Vegas.

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Practice, Practice, Practice

Of course, the best way to learn how to dance cumbia and to really perfect your moves is to practice as much as you can! The good news is that cumbia is not a particularly difficult style of dance, which means it is relatively simple to learn the steps on your own and practice, even just from the comfort of your own home. All you need is some cumbia music (and there’s plenty of playlists for free on Youtube), a positive attitude and our handy guide to how to dance cumbia. Keep reading to learn all about how to dance cumbia. We’ll explore the history of this art form, including where cumbia is from, and easily break down all the cumbia steps and counts. 

What is Cumbia?

History: Where is Cumbia from?

Cumbia music and dance traces its origin back to the country of Colombia during the 1800s, and more specifically the coastal town of San Basilia. Cumbia began as a folk dance that blended together the culture of native Colombians with that of the enslaved Africans, who had been brought over by Spanish colonizers. Then, in the 1940s, Colombian singer Luis Carlos Meyer Castandet emigrated to Mexico and started working with the Mexican orchestra director Rafael de Paz, first bringing this lively style of dance and music to the country. It quickly became popular and as more Mexicans learned how to dance cumbia, it gradually evolved into the subgenre now known as Mexican cumbia. Around the same time as the dance was being adapted in Mexico, cumbia dance was also spreading throughout other Latin American countries, including Peru, Chile and Argentina, and now it has become one of the most popular Latin dances performed throughout the world, both by professionals and amateurs.

Cumbia Music

Cumbia music is largely considered by many to be the “mother of all Latin music.” It blends together the rhythm of African drums with the melody of Colombian flutes and maracas, but since its creation has now expanded to incorporate many more instruments, including the guitar, clave, accordion and bass guitar. Cumbia music is lively and energetic, a crossover between salsa and samba. Although it doesn’t feel quite natural to dance salsa to cumbia music, dancing cumbia to salsa music is quite popular among dancers in Central America. So, as you learn how to dance cumbia, make sure you’ve got some authentic cumbia music to play!

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Cumbia Steps

The Basic Cumbia Step

The back-break basic is the main step you need to learn when mastering the art of how to dance cumbia, and luckily, it’s perfect for beginners. It can be broken down into a four-count pattern. So, here’s how to dance cumbia:

First, you start with your feet together, then on count 1, step back with your right foot at an angle – you’ll want to make an approximately 45º angle with your angled right toe almost in line with your back heel (keep a fair bit of distance, though, as you don’t want your feet to be touching). On count 2, step in place with your left foot (easy enough, right?). On count 3, step your right foot back in place with the left. Count 4, just wait and shift your weight. You can even lightly tap your right heel if you’d like to add a bit more flair to your step.

Then, you’ll repeat the same steps, only this time you’ll switch sides, stepping back with your left foot at an angle on count 1. On count 2, step in place with your right foot this time before bringing your left foot back in place again and waiting or shifting your weight for count 4. As you are learning how to dance cumbia, go through the steps slowly to start and then gradually speed up as you get more and more comfortable. Before you know it, you won’t even be thinking about it anymore, and once you’ve mastered this basic back-break step, you’re ready to move on to the more fancier stylistic elements of the dance.

Dancing With a Partner: Lead or Follow?

When you are learning how to dance cumbia, you’ll need to know if you are the leader or follower. Although the cumbia dance doesn’t require leaders (traditionally men) and followers (traditionally women) to learn different steps, in order to dance together as partners, you’ll need to make sure you are on opposite feet. This means that the leader should first step back with their left foot, while the follower should first step back with their right foot. Doing so will ensure that your feet movements mirror each other and flow in the same direction without your feet unintentionally colliding and disrupting your groove. As you dance with your partner, you can raise your arms in front of you and hold hands before gradually introducing some of the more advanced moves together as you keep exploring how to dance cumbia.

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Advanced Cumbia Moves

As you and your partner keep the basic 4-count back-break step pattern going, you can spice things up a bit by adding hip dips, spins and other moves. When learning how to dance cumbia, you must learn how to feel the music, so after mastering the basic 8-count step, you’ll want to spend some time practicing the basic dance pattern to music, letting your hips and body sway to the beat. Once you both feel more comfortable moving to the rhythm in step, you can start experimenting and having a bit of fun with learning how to dance cumbia.

Adding a Turn

Adding a turn is one of the more advanced moves when it comes to learning how to dance cumbia. Starting face-to-face, you and your partner will each step backwards together while continuing to hold hands. Then, release hands. The leader will use their left hand to guide the turn by pulling the follower forward on their right foot.

Important note: the follower should firmly plant their right foot at this point, as this is the foot they will turn on, their pivot point. While the follower is planting their foot, the leader grabs their partner’s right hand, raising up their arm and beginning the turn. Finally, to finish the turn, the leader steps forward and to the side on their left foot to complete the turn and bring you both back to the neutral starting point. 

The counts for the turn are as follows:

  1. Both step back
  2. Follower steps forward and the turn begins
  3. Leader steps forward and to the side, completing the turn
  4. Arrive back at neutral
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Now you’re ready to crank up the music and start exploring how to dance cumbia! Whether you decide to learn on your own, with a partner or at a dance class, the steps are pretty beginner-friendly, which makes this Latin dance a fun and accessible option for everyone, no matter what your skill level. Most important of all, have fun as you learn how to dance cumbia! Keep practicing and before you know it, you just might be a professional Mexican cumbia dancer.

For even more creative ideas and inspiration, check out other experiences happening on Classpop!

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Private Cumbia Dance Lesson in Houston and Sugar Land-DanceSport Club

Learn to dance Cumbia! Private Cumbia dance lessons are easy to fit your busy schedule and they are specifically tailored to your needs. After you complete your purchase call us or email to schedule your first lesson.

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Flexible Scheduling: We know that you are busy. Sometimes it is difficult to squeeze everything you want to do in 24 hours. Well, actually less, considering we need to sleep sometime. According to research, lack of time is the number ONE reason people give for not dancing. Our Private Cumbiaa Dance Lessons are designed to be flexible to schedule. You have time Tuesday morning at 11am? We can do it. Thursday afternoon? Not a problem. Friday evening? Sure. We are here to help aligning your schedule with our instructors.

Learn dances that you want: Many times people start dancing by going to group dance classes. This is a great start. However, you can't always choose the dance that you want in a group setting. In private Cumbia dance lessons this is not an issue. We will teach what you want to learn.  

Private Environment: Not everyone feels comfortable learning to dance in a group class. There can be many reasons for that. In addition, it is more diffiuclt to focus on something new when there are other people around you. Even if they are nice, they may be distracting to your learning process. In a private Cumbia dance lesson you will get undivided attention of the instructor and will be able to focus better.

Personalized Curriculum: Group dance classes are good way to get familiar with the basics of Cumbia dance. However, even the best group class is geared primarily to addressing common concerns that apply to a majority of students. In a group class setting, dance instructors simply do not have enough time to address specific needs of individual students. And since everyone is unique, different people have different needs when it comes to dance. That is why it is very beneficial for students to take private Cumbia dance lessons with dance instructors to get more individualized attention. You may want to think of a private dance lesson as a combination of tutoring and a personal trainer. In private Cumbia dance lessons instructors have the ability to adjust teaching methods to better suit your individual needs and closely monitor your performance to address any concerns.

A basic step often seen in Cumbia dancing is the back-break basic. Cumbia is characterized by a "wind-up" motion and it is often danced in a circular pattern sometimes called the Columbian or Cumbia circle basic.

Like most Latin dances, Cumbia is closely related to Swing and there are many common moves found in Cumbia and Swing. In Costa Rica, they call the Cumbia, "El Swing".

Hector Lavoe's 57 best phrases / Other phrases | Thpanorama

I leave you to the best phrases by Hector Lavoe (1946-1993) "The Singer of Singers", probably the world's most famous salsa singer of all time. Among his most famous songs are Mi Gente, Aguanile, Singer or Yesterday's Newspaper. .

You may also like these music quotes.

1-Your love is yesterday's newspaper, which no one else tries and reads. Sensational when he left at dawn, at noon and with confirmed news, and in the afternoon a forgotten question. nine0005

2nd singer, and my job is to sing. For those who follow me, my song has suggested.

3 -How cute carnation, just wanted to bloom. And teach us your beauty and wither to perish. Everything has an end, nothing lasts forever. We must remember that there is no eternity.

4th Street is a jungle of cement and wild animals, why not? Nobody goes crazy with happiness. Wherever you wait, the worst is waiting for you.

5 - With the same coldness that you give me, which makes me want to go crazy, I will give your winter loneliness. Glacial breeze every night. nine0005

6-Another chapter of my life is over. The woman I loved today left me. He waits day and night and does not decide to return. But I know that he will return. And if not, I will die of sadness.

7-She walks sad and empty, crying bitterly from betrayal. For the one who told him that it was his love and his madness, he is trying to achieve what he dreamed of. Take advantage of life experience, forgetting about past suffering.

8 - with a broken heart and a wet face; I am so unhappy, I would like to die. Lies, everything was a lie, words in the wind, just a girl's whim. nine0005

9th I thought you were different, I thought you were sincere, and I gave you my life without conditions.

10-Sweet well, you are the water that flows between the stones, not knowing that you have come to quench this thirst. Desire is power and nothing is clearer; we are history, we talk about fame, about love.

11. Put your hand in your pocket, take out and open the knife, and be careful! Listen to me in the area, many handsome men have killed him!

12-You always told me that you felt love. Today I live convinced that what you proposed was an illusion. nine0005

13-Because I'm like that, they call me crazy. Nobody knows my pain, it's that they know me a little.

14-Get away from me! I don't love you anymore. Chever, go, go your own way! Go ahead and leave me alone. Get away from me! I don't love you anymore. Hey, sweet mommy, can't you see that you're not going to.

15 - Like a rose without sun, like a spring without a flower, my heart does not cry if its cause is taken away.

16 - And when you come to me, go away, bandolier. Go and preach there, I'm on my mother. nine0005

17-You say you love me, I know it can't be. But when you kiss me, I will believe you again. I don't know how you do it, you'll drive me crazy. The things that happen to me I can't understand.

18-Don't ask me what my name is, I want to forget who I am. I think I'm just a man. And if I cry, don't be surprised. It's not for lack of value.

19. My poor old woman, washing someone else's clothes, broke her spine at the foot of the tinahon. For miserable coins that can calm the pain, the cruel bitterness of our situation. nine0005

20-Don't listen to people, go with the flow and love me more. What if it's scandalous, then it's a shame not to know how to love.

¡Ay 21! Grandmother of my life, as I remember you. I love you, I adore you. It's that you are my only treasure.

22-Let's dance the rumba, the rumba of Panama. The boys are upset when they see her walking.

23rd Amparame, Lord. Why do you let me keep pushing for your love when you know in good faith that it's absurd and that I'll never get it? nine0005

24-Let's all dance African style. If you can't dance, I'll show you my brother. You like the bomb and you love the baquiné; so now you enjoy.

25-United in one piece, modern, Rumberos, we're about to touch. Rejecting those who fight us and respecting those who don't know how to respect.

26-Where are those old poets who spoke about love? Where are the women who dreamed of flowers? Where are the happy songs that people sang?? nine0005

27-Today I saw your eyes, your eyes are so beautiful, your eyes are so green, greener than the sea, and in your eyes I saw the wounds of your pain.

28-What a cute little girl! I really love her, but no one can see her, because she is mine, mine is no more. How he moves his hips! She really moves. What a cute little girl! More dancing with Fana.

29-Cursed liquor that's killing my life. I let myself forget the loss. The need to carry this heart drunk and suffer from the contempt and embarrassment that the drink gives. nine0005

31-Tell me what's wrong with you, that this love hugs your chest. Love me so, madly, my love, as I love you.

32-They don't let him out because they say he's ungrateful, give him a chance, my love is just for a good time. What a sweet moment! But when I woke up, I saw that it was not true that I was dreaming.

34-Why do you give it as wise if I know your story? You stayed with me, I know you scared me. The scam you got me baby don't bother me If the plant you give, they sell it in the pharmacy. nine0005

35th Hector Lavoe, five eight tall. Look, what muscles? Look what a beautiful figure.

36-Death by its power can take us away. And with her I would go to the grave. But as long as my soul and my heart live in my being, my illusions, my beautiful existence will be yours.

37-Cry, cry, cry... How can I not cry? How are you and I'm crying on the seashore? And how does it happen and it makes me cry at the seaside?

38-An illusion is reborn when Christmas comes. Already now you can hear the troubadours with their songs and drums all over the city. nine0005

39-You will find joy and happiness. You will also learn about the good. Time will show you. I know you think it's all lies, pure promises, just lies. Erase this nonsense in your mind and you will see that everything is correct.

40-Yesterday I wept for your absence, feeling deep sadness in my soul. And today I'm laughing out loud because I don't love you anymore, I have a new love.

41. She was a woman who deceived many men. But one day a man came with a kiss that betrayed her. And this man never wanted to, and that's why Juana Peña cried. nine0005

42-Have fun in this life and always look for the hesitation that if you hurry you will die and if you don't hurry too, Willy Colon.

43-Nature cannot be corrected, a stick born twice or never straightening the body.

44. The ticking of the clock passes, it passes like years. No, don't make me wait, what to expect hurts me.

45. We are dust in life, nothing, what does it matter? And this is what will finally tear us apart. nine0005

46. Many times I start to think that I never hurt anyone. Why should such a life apply to me if I'm looking for happiness?

47-Today I dedicate my best proclamations. If they don't want me in life when I die, don't cry.

I don't know if this wound will heal over time. There was no reason to end. I tried to forget it, but still I remember it more. Don't be surprised if you see a man crying.

49- ah, woman! How was my life! Oh woman! So long ago I dreamed of your love.

The 50th is going to take you to Brazil, then we will go to Colombia. We will dance the cumbia, from Puerto Rico I have a pump. Oh good mom! It is that you are my desire, you will be my treasure.

I could be happy and I'm still alive when I die. And between the tears living from the most terrible passage of this drama without end.

52-You know well, I don't like it when you talk to others, I don't like your beautiful eyes, I look at other eyes that are not mine. nine0005

53-Hey, I'll tell you something. Don't work at night, don't sleep during the day. You'll be fine Don't drink caffeine because, look, it causes cancer. Everything, now everything gives cancer.

54 hospital land, this is Barranquilla. Land of my Eden, hear my prayers. Need land, oh sleepy heron. My song is inspired, it won't forget you. And I will sing to you from the afterlife.

55-Waiting for my luck, I stayed. But my life took a different path. Survive in a reality that I couldn't escape. To eat, you need to look for a real one. nine0005

56, I became handsome and they locked me up behind bars. And like a prisoner, not a single friend came to me. Only the haggard and adored face of my old woman was smashed against the bars to kiss me.

57-I am impossible in love, my thinking is confused, vain expectation. I live in illusions and fantasies, waiting for a love that never comes.

1. Japan: I am especially attracted to Japan before the beginning of the 19th century…

1. Japan:
I am especially attracted to Japan before the beginning of 19in. In addition to the interesting structure and psychology of society, it attracts me with its rituals, customs,
cuisine, tradition, priorities, poetry...

2. Eastern Europe:
I dream of traveling all over. I consider its history the most exciting, the architecture the most beautiful, the people the most interesting. Was in Hungary, Czech Republic,
Slovakia, Romania.

3. The smell of rain:
My favorite scent. Smells are of great importance to me and can improve or spoil my mood, set a certain mood, resurrect
forgotten memory. The smell of rain for me: freshness, cleansing, light euphoria, wet hair, running holding hands, kissing, dizziness...

4. extremes:
I am a person of extremes. All my life in search of the middle, I fall from one extreme to another. Accordingly, I am attracted to maximalists and extremes themselves :)

5. to bask under a duvet:
I can fall into bed all day, and if my beloved is nearby, then not alone. There is nothing nicer than
will wake up in winter before the alarm clock, burrow deeper into the blanket, snuggle up to your beloved and count the long
seconds of happiness... or wake up and realize that today is the day off... and around the warm softness of pillows and
blankets. Osho said that people are trying to turn their beds into a mother's womb, into paradise.

6. swim naked:
I am a naturalist, but not an exhibitionist. I love the feeling of nakedness, I associate it with freedom.
And swim at night, and even in fresh water, at
the full moon, for me, cleansing, meditation, bliss.

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