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 South America.

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 skirts.

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