Cumbia, a Latin American dance,
is of African origin, and came
to the north coast of Colombia at
the end of the seventeenth century,
where it rooted itself as the
dance music of the black communities.
Since then it has descended from
a nineteenth century "slave dance",
and since the 1960s it has become one of the
dominant pop music forms in
the northern regions of
Cumbia combines Hispanic melodic
structures with African rhythms
as well as harmonic components
from the native Americans.
Cumbia is characterized by the dancers'
feet remaining directly one in front of
the other more or less all the time.
In most modern settings and clubs
people perform salsa steps to the
music. There is no "one right way" to
dance Cumbia, but traditionally
the female dancers wear white
skirts with red fringes and
ribbons, or long flowing
checkered or brightly colored