The word Cumbia is of African origin and literally means “to celebrate”. In terms of choreography, the Cumbia is a dance of seduction whereby the women use burning candles to drive out pushy men. Cumbia music and the corresponding dance represent the cultural identity of many Colombians.

San Juanero

This is a very traditional and romantic dance from the region around Tolima and Huila. The couple celebrates being in love. The San Juanero is a mix out of popular rhythms as Bambuco and Joropo and is mainly performed during ceremonies that take place in honour of saints such as San Juan and San Pedro. For this occasion, women usually wear costumes of the Reinas del San Juanero (the San Juanero Queens).


This dance highlights the contrast between life and death in a theatrical way, which is characteristic for carnival dances. The dancers illustrate the people’s fight against death.
The word Garabato derives from a hooked wooden stick that is decorated with ribbons and carried by the dancers.


The Mapalé is an Afro-Caribbean dance, characterised by fast, sensual and strong movements. It is also said to be a dance of frenzy; some even say it is about some kind of witchcraft that, through the drum beats, leads the dancers to loose control and fall in trance, a trance of wild and uncontrollable passion.