Rumba Northwest (RNW) is a Latin dance company based in Bellingham, Washington specializing in Cuban Salsa, LA Salsa, Rueda, Cuban Son, Afro-Cuban, Cha Cha Cha, Bachata, Reggaeton, and Merengue. We have two themes to our dancing and teaching: Feel the music — and above all, have fun! We offer weekly classes in Bellingham and occasional workshops in Seattle and Vancouver, BC. We perform regularly at events such as farmers markets, fundraisers, dance festivals, and outdoor concerts. We are also available for private classes in any of the above styles.
RNW was founded in 2010 by Antonio Diaz and Heather Haugland. They had previously run the dance company Rumbalaska based in Juneau, Alaska from 2002 to 2010. With Rumbalaska, Antonio and Heather taught a wide variety of Latin dance classes, performed with both adult and high school dance teams, and traveled around the state performing and teaching workshops including Anchorage, Fairbanks, Nome, Skagway, Haines, Sitka, and Ketchikan.
Antonio is RNW’s lead instructor. Originally from Lima, Peru, Antonio spent several years dancing in Seattle, where he won first prize at the Seattle Salsa Contest in 2000. Antonio has trained in Cuba (with legendary rumba instructor Juan de Dios, among others), Puerto Rico, Peru, Seattle, San Francisco, and Vancouver (BC). In addition to teaching, performing, and choreographing, Antonio is an accomplished Latin musician, having played percussion and sang vocals for the salsa bands Cambalache of Seattle and Salsa Borealis of Juneau.
Antonio’s wife Heather Haugland assists with many of RNW’s classes and performances. She received most of her dance training in Cuba, where she has spent over six months since her first salsa workshop there in 2000. Heather has also studied in Seattle, Vancouver (BC) San Francisco, Peru, and Puerto Rico.
Chelsea helps with some of the beginner salsa rueda classes and performs with RNW. She first learned Cuban rueda in Michigan, at her high school’s Hispanic Dance Club, and got her first experiences performing salsa rueda through school and community based events.
Since then, she took some supplementary salsa classes at Lansing Community College, and has trained with Heather and Antonio both as a teacher and performer since she moved to Bellingham in 2011.
Chelsea firmly believes that music and dance can be enjoyed by anyone as tools for socializing, expression, and as a way to portray art and culture.
Alissa French has been dancing with Rumba Northwest since 2010. She started as a Lindy Hop & Charleston dancer in 2005, but Salsa stole her heart. Alissa teaches, performs and has a blast with Heather and Antonio. She also hosts the monthly salsa social Timba Tuesday with Giancarlo Gacad at Glow Nightclub every 3rd Tuesday.
Alissa studied linguistics at WWU and views dance as a conversation. A good dance is all about clear, direct communication and listening skills!
Alissa is available for private lessons. You can contact her directly to schedule: firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to nerd out on dance? Alissa manages a community calendar of all partner dance events at http://danceinbellingham.com.