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.

Instructors

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Antonio Diaz and Heather Haugland

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.

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 Menefee instructor for rumba northwest

Chelsea Menefee

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.