Adult Dance Classes

Immerse yourself in the joy and vitality of music and dance from Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean!

All classes are Open Level (suitable for beginner to advanced students) unless otherwise noted.

West African

Kutiro with Ousmane Sall

Learn Kutiro rhythms and dances with Ousmane Sall! Cumbe is excited to offer you a chance to learn the high energy Kutiro dances from the Cassamance region, south of Senegal. Kutiro, named for the the drum used to play the dance’s rhythms, is inspired by nature and traditional activities. The Kutiro family of dances are often fast-paced and feature intricate footwork and expressive arm movements. The dance Ekonkon, for example, draws its movements from rice planting and harvesting, while the movements in Linjin emulate a flying crane! Ousmane brings a warmth and presence into the classroom that encourages each student to feel at ease, inspiring the freedom to open up to the rhythm.  

Sabar with Lamine Thiam

With Live Drumming
You’ll learn two key styles of West African dance in this class: Sabar and Djembe. Sabar’s celebratory rhythm is featured in the music of Youssou N’Dour and is aerial and sensual, with high kicks and jumps. Djembe dances mark everything from everyday events (farming, hunting) to special occasions (birth, marriage) and express strength, playfulness, exuberance, grace, and more. Master teacher Lamine Thiam comes from a line of Senegalese griots, and will teach the fundamentals of West African dance and ground you in an understanding of the accompanying drum rhythms.

Beginning West African with Darian Parker

Learn the basics of West African dance in these introductory classes designed to make the shyest new dancers feel welcome, have fun, and build the confidence to get on the dance floor. If you’ve always wanted to start dancing but felt intimidated, our Absolute Beginner classes are for you! Or if you want to get back to basics and learn the footwork from the ground up, these are also for you. The amazing Darian Parker will return to Cumbe to breakdown and share the soulful and intricate dances of Mali, West Africa. Class begins with a warm-up that is designed to improve flexibility, strengthen the core, improve stamina, and get acquainted with West African music. The second part of the class starts with a brief history and context of the dances (that will inform your execution of the movements) and continues with an extensive breakdown of technique. Then, you’ll practice what you’ve learned as you move across the floor.

West African Dance & Drumming with Vado Diomande


Explore the heart of all West African musical traditions: the drum. Learn to play the many parts of djembe, doundoun, songbas and kenkenes with Vado Diomande, life-long drummer, drum-maker and repairer. Learn to play accompaniment lines to Kookoo, Temate, Katana, Bolohi, N’Goron and more as you build up to playing lead drum. Growing up in the rich musical culture of West Africa, Vado learned both dance and drum at an early age. Vado’s wealth of knowledge demonstrates the fascinating patterns and rich tapestries of Ivory Coast drumming. Master dancer, teacher, choreographer and drummer Vado Diomande was initiated as a youth to be the keeper of the sacred mask stilt-dance for his village in the Ivory Coast.


Vado draws on the rich and diverse dance tradition from the Ivory Coast. With over 60 different ethnic traditions, the variety of steps and rhythms taught is complex, exciting and vigorous. Class is taught first with a simple 20-minute warm-up, followed by 30 minutes of learning steps to a particular dance. Drumming begins and the dance is performed as a whole. Then steps are practiced across the floor with the drums to several other dance rhythms for about 40 minutes, culminating in a final run-through of the learned dance in front of the drums. Spontaneous solos are also performed at the end of class with the drums.

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Central African

Traditional and Contemporary African Congolese with Funmilayo Chesney

Go deeper into your core and connect with your body with the healing movements of Congolese Dance. Called the ‘medicine dance,’ Congolese dance has therapeutic properties that open your heart, body and soul. Additionally, the unique grooves of Congolese are the root of many forms of dance we know and love such as Hip Hop, Salsa, Merengue, Reggae and Samba, among others. Accompanied by  live drumming, this class invites you to not only have fun, but to also get an incredible work out. Forget the gym, dance with Funmi! Join Master Dance Instructor and Artistic Director of Fusha Dance Company, Funmilayo in the healing power of dance.

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Samba with Danielle Lima

With Live Drumming. Spark your energy and awaken your hips with a fusion of traditional Brazilian dances and contemporary styles. You’ll learn samba, samba reggae, samba rock and funk, and pagode from Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, all while getting a dynamic cardiovascular workout. Danielle will lead you through a gentle warm-up at the beginning that includes isolations, basic postures, and a slow stretching routine aimed at improving flexibility and balance. From Rio de Janeiro, Danielle Lima is a highly sought-after performer, Certified Teaching Artist with Dancing Classrooms, yoga teacher, and founder of Brasileirando Dance Group.

Capoeira with Pena Verde

Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines dance, gymnastics, and music. The movements taught in Capoeira class will develop your coordination; balance; flexibility; strength; cardio; rhythm; and creative thinking. You will also develop a beginning Portuguese vocabulary by learning the movements and the music of Capoeira, as well as the origins and history of the art form. Capoeira is extremely active and gives you the opportunity to express yourself in a fun and positive way.

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Beginning Afro Cuban with Stevie Insua

Learn the different dances of the Orishas (African deities of the Yoruba/Lucumi tradition) as well as the rhythms, movements, and stories behind the dances. Involving undulations, contractions, and intricate hand and head movements, this class is suitable for various levels: beginners can learn the fundamentals while more advanced students can focus on technique.

Afro Cuban Explosión with Danys ‘La Mora’ Perez

With Live Drumming
Celebrate the rich diversity of Afro-Cuban dance in this very special class with beloved teacher Danys ‘La Mora’ Perez. Explore an exciting range of traditional folkloric dances with origins in West and Central Africa – some via Haiti. Featured cultures include Yoruba (Orisha dances), Congo (e.g. Palo) and Dahomey (e.g. Arará). The class will also delve into Rumba and popular styles such as comparsa and merengue. Some sessions will be taught by guest teachers selected personally by La Mora for their artistry and knowledge of Cuban dance. Join us as we light up the dance floor on fire with Cuban heat!

Rumba with Stevie Insua

With Live Drumming
Learn different types of rumba, including guaguancó, yambu, columbia and rumbas mimeticas. Students will learn the relationship between the dance and the music, so that they learn to dance inside the timing. The origins, significance and context of rumba will also be explained for a deeper understanding and expressiveness. A focused warm-up will help students develop the distinctive movement style that is characteristic of Afro-Cuban dance.

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Afro-Haitian with Julio Jean

With Live Drumming
Journey to the nanm (“soul” in Haitian Kreyol) of Afro-Haitian dance and become acquainted with the different Iwa (gods) in the Vodou religion through their dances, songs, rhythms and rituals. You’ll explore the undulating movements of Yanvalu, the powerful precision of Nago, and the grace and beauty of the Kongo dance – all traditional Haitian dance forms with roots in West Africa and the South American Amazon. Haitian dancer and teacher Julio Jean’s extensive credits include work with Katherine Dunham and performances of his company’s choreographies at Alvin Ailey and Central Park’s Summer Stage. He is also a songwriter and composer of traditional Haitian music.

Dancehall with Yaminah Legohn

Dancehall is a unique and expressive style created within Jamaican culture. Derived from Reggae music, this style has it’s own culture and dances that have been created by individuals and dance crews from Jamaica and around the world. This specific style became known in the mid to late 80s and has become popular ever since.  In this class students learn the history of Dancehall culture as they master classic steps to corresponding riddims, choreographies and freestyle techniques. Each class includes a warm-up covering old, middle and new school dances that are danced at dancehall/ reggae parties across the globe. For the second half of the class, students incorporate these dances into choreographies and freestyles set to the hottest Dancehall tunes. At the end of class, students perform for each other, developing confident and bold self-expression- the foundational element of Dancehall culture. Through learning these energetic and fun dance, students will become stronger, more knowledgeable and dynamic dancers.

Soca with Careitha Davis

A high-energy dance class with a cultural experience that blends Caribbean dancing with African and jazz dance technique. This class starts with a group stretching session to calypso music then progresses into the explanation and practice of foundational Caribbean dance steps and movement then followed with occasional choreography. Many Caribbean movement from the West Indies  derived from Africa, isolating the body to compliment the rhythm and the bass of the music. These movements are most performed in social settings, carnivals and fetes. Soca class will bring that energy and in the studio while also extending your movement vocabulary with African and jazz dance technique. This is an open-level class suitable for all age groups and learning abilities.

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Street and Social Dance

Afrobeat by Nado

This energetic class takes you on a journey across Africa on the dance floors. Let Nado introduce you to the most popular Afro club music hits and dances from the Ivory Coast, Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Angola. Come experience this lively blend of beats alongside traditional and contemporary movement.

Chicago Style Steppin’ with the New York Chicago Style Steppers

Learn the smooth, sexy, and soulful art of Chicago Style Steppin’. Originating in Chicago, Steppin’ has its roots in Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, and the Bop, and is a sophisticated social partner dance usually done to R&B, Soul, Neo-Soul, Jazz, and Funk music. It grew in popularity in the ‘90s with the release of R. Kelly’s song, “Step In the Name of Love,” and with classic songs like, “Be Thankful for What You Got” by William DeVaughn in the ‘70s. Beginning students will learn fundamentals like the basic “8-count” and simple turns, and intermediate and advanced students will learn to enhance their technique, style, and turns before moving on to more complex combinations.

Dirty South Twerkout with Dani Criss

This high energy workout takes you straight to the Dirty South, exploring the culture and movement styles of the Southern states of the US. Participants will delve into styles such as Nola Bounce, HBCU Band/Majorette, Hip-Hop Social Dances and Twerk techniques, while gaining an understanding of the influence of Africa in the Dirty South.  Griddy Southern music and flavor guides participants into an exhilarating warm-up including deep stretching and body isolations, then moves to delving into specific styles across the floor. Class will culminate with a non-stop movement phrase, engaging in a liberating experience head to toe.  

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Dance Fitness

Afrobeats Fusion with Faith Jones

A class for all! Come and enjoy this African dance class that infuses contemporary dance with traditional moves. Students will enjoy Urban Afrobeat steps infused with traditional West African, Hip Hop, Jazz, Funk and Dancehall. This class is designed to strengthen the student’s ability to adopt a range of styles and get an understanding of how these movements are connected. Get ready to sweat, workout and enjoy the sounds of popular music from Nigeria, Ghana and across the African continent.

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Click here for this week’s class schedule and prices