La Peña offers low-cost classes in Latin American music, dance, and other art forms taught by some of the best local artists and instructors. Currently, our low-cost classes are supported by participant fees. Enrollment is limited, and instructor permission is required. Students may seek permission from instructor by speaking with them at their first class.

All classes are currently open except where it indicates that you must contact instructor for an audition.
Our complete list of classes is below. For more information regarding classes and schedules please contact:

La Peña Cultural Center
Phone: 510-849-2568


Adult Classes



Adult Afro-Peruvian Dance and Cajon Class

Saturdays 12-1pm | 15/drop-in, $50/month
Instructors: Gabriela Shiroma (Dance) and Peta Robles (Cajon) | Location: Theater Space

Learn to dance a varied repertoire of traditional dances from the coastal region of Peru such as festejos, landos, and zamacuecas.

Spanish For Everyone

Tuesdays 7-8:20pm, 8:30-9:50pm

There are two kinds of people who want to learn Spanish.

The first is the people who want enough Spanish to navigate short-term uses: travel, working with the general public, or people who want to study with teachers from Spanish speaking countries (examples: Argentine tango classes in Buenos Aires or classes in cajón with a Peruvian master).

The other kind of Spanish language learner wants to know and manipulate the rules by which Spanish is organized.

Register and pay by Nov 1 to get a special price of $70.

Course #1A: Getting Around With Spanish

Nov 4 – Dec 16 (no class Nov 25)
Tuesdays, 7:00 – 8:20 pm
6 weeks $75

This course will cover the building blocks on which everyday language is based and then apply these skills to real life situations. Doesn’t matter if you’re a total beginner or a person who needs to brush up on the things that everyone in Spanish knows. Minimum enrollment of 8 people is required.

Course #1B: Introduction to the Rules of the Spanish Language

Nov 4 – Dec 16 (no class Nov 25)
Tuesdays, 8:30 – 9:50 pm
6 weeks $75

This course introduces the Spanish language structure of verbs, nouns, adjectives, other parts of speech, as well as short literature works. This course provides a springboard for further Spanish language studies. Participants must have a basic level of Spanish. Minimum enrollment of 8 people is required.

Register and pay by Nov 1 for the special price of $70. For payment instructions, call Gigi Jensen (510) 326-6415

Gigi is also available for private instruction. Call for information.

Please call Gigi for more info (510) 326-6415. 

About the teacher:

Patricia “Gigi” Jensen was born in Colombia, South America, and was raised in Seattle, Washington. She moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1980. She earned a B.A. in Industrial Arts from San Francisco State University, as well as earning teaching credentials in Spanish Language and Visual Art. Ms. Jensen taught public school and adult education programs for ten years, leaving the field to found companies dedicated to Argentine dance.

For more than two decades, Ms. Jensen has worked extensively with the Spanish speaking public. She has appeared several times on the radio program “Hecho en California”, has written for Danza Hoy, the only dance webzine completely in Spanish, and produced and performed in several educational and civic bilingual presentations.
Ms. Jensen’s travels include teaching several times in Guatemala, and multiple trips to Argentina and Colombia. She is an award-winning dancer and has served as a judge four times for Carnaval San Francisco. She produces stage shows that bring together various Latin dance genres in the spirit of creating bridges between communities.

For more info: / (510) 326-6415



Mondays 6:30 pm (Starting September 29th) | $350 for 12 weeks

Mondays starting September 29th, 2014 (12 week course)

Instructors: MARIA MARQUEZ & DAVID PINTOVERY IMPORTANT: 6 singers only – all instruments are welcome.The purpose of this unique ensemble class is to prepare the singers and musicians as a group in how best to produce a cohesive professional sound by means of a variety of songs chosen from the vast and very rich Latin American repertoire.Each of the singers gets to choose as many songs as they want to work on (I recommend an average of 3 per singer) from a list of diverse pieces included in the last 2 courses at La Peña (see list below). The musicians are as well encouraged to choose songs to do as instrumentals.

TO REGISTER: contact Maria at

Note: We need instrumentalists: horn/ flute, drums, percussion, guitar.

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Son Jarocho Workshops-

Classes in Zapateado, Versada, and Jarana

Thursdays 7:30-9pm | $15-$20


María de la Rosa and guest instructors

Learn fundamentals in jarana, zapateado, zapateado, canto, and some percussion in a holistic approach to studying son jarocho.  These classes are a continuation of PAZ: Fandango Urbano and are opportunities to get together and discover the protocols associated with fandango and the practice of a community music.

As our friends and master artists from Veracruz come through the Bay Area, they will be invited to give the classes.  .


Discover The Guitar – Level 1 – Group Class 

Tuesdays 6-7pm | Contact Instructor for pricing and to sign up.

Instructor: Khalil Abdullah


Phone: 510-338-7974

This group class is designed for beginner to intermediate musicians seeking to find their individual voice on the guitar. Discover The Guitar – Level 1 is an 8 week course offering students the chance to develop a solid foundation in technique and theory in a fun environment. Because this is a small group class, emphasis is given to each individual student while providing attention to overall group progress as well. Student interaction and feedback is highly encouraged to infuse the “need to know” material with the wants and goals of those learning the guitar.

Areas Covered Include: Chords, Scales, Introduction to Modal Theory, Rhythm, Technique and Learning Songs.

Required Materials: Guitar, Tuner and Notebook


Blues Dance with Sundown Blues

Wednesdays 7pm
Sliding scale $6 – $16 for practice, drop-in and social dance | Meets year round

Instructor: Rotating instructors | Location: Theater Space


7 – 8 Practice (included in admission) or series lesson (separate admission)

8 – 9 Beginner-friendly drop-in lesson (included in admission)

9 Social Dance

Blues dancing is all about connection, musicality, partnership and having fun! It can range from sensual to sad to gritty to soulful and anything in between. Our DJs play a variety of vintage and modern blues music in many styles and tempos, suitable for many styles of blues dancing.

If you’ve never danced before, no worries. We teach a beginner-friendly drop-in lesson before every dance from 8-9, and it’s even included in the price of admission! Once you’re ready to take your dancing to the next level, we teach practicas and series classes from 7-8. Read more…

Your first time is free! No partner necessary, all ages welcome!

West African Dance for Youth and Beginning Adult

Saturdays 3-4pm
Monthly Price $32 adults – $24 youth | Single Class Price $10 adult – $8 youth

Instructor: Kamesha Fofana (510-878-8881) | Location: Theater Space

Get a great workout while learning traditional dances from Guinea, Mali and Senegal, West Africa. Our classes are designed to improve flexibility, strength and rhythm as well as knowledge of Africa and it’s rich culture. All levels are welcome. Classes accompanied by live drumming

Bomba, Afro-Puerto Rican Dance

Sundays 1:00-3:00pm | Ask instructors for fee info.
Instructor: Shefali Shah & Hector Lugo

Location: Theater Space

Students will learn bomba dance, rhythms, and songs, accompanied by live drummers. For more information you can email Shefali Shah at

Latin Jazz Orchestra

Mondays 8:30-10:30pm | $15/class
Instructor: Josh Jones | Location: Theater Space

Class meets year round.

In this large ensemble with horns, vocalists, and percussionists, students learn and perform great Salsa and Latin Jazz arrangements.

Puerto Rican Music Ensemble

Mondays 7-8:30pm | TBA
Instructor: Hector Lugo | Location: Lounge

This is a workshop designed for all instrumentalist and vocalists interested in studying folkloric and popular Puerto Rican music. We will cover a variety of genres such as plena, aguinaldo, seis, guaracha jibara, and bomba popular, focusing on the dominant musical and lyrical structures, as well as the central rhythmic and melodic patterns, variations, and approaches to improvisation within each of these genres. For more info contact Héctor Lugo at hectorlugo65(at)

hecto lugo for the web

Children’s Classes


Rockin’ Kids Sing-Along

Fridays 10:30-11:30am | $10 per family/class | $10/class or 5 classes for $40
Instructor: Stephanie Pepitone | Location: Theatre Space
Class meets year round.

A musical play group for kids of all ages. Hosted by Stephanie Pepitone, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and former punk rock singer/guitarist. Stephanie plays acoustic guitar and leads families in about an hour’s worth of singing, dancing, music making and fun/chaos. Features original children’s music and some of your old time favorites.

Jam session with instruments
Fun songs that teach about the alphabet, colors, shapes, opposites, feelings and lots more.
Trilingual nursery rhymes and counting songs in English/Spanish/Chinese (Mandarin & Cantonese)
Story time

Vocals for Kids! (Ages 5 & Up)

Mondays 6-7:15pm | $10/class
Instructor: Gail Dobson | Location: CR I
Class meets year round.

Let’s sing! With the help of instructor Gail Dobson students will work on how to sing, learn to breathe properly, learn how to sing in a microphone, and get over their fear of performing – yes, it can be scary! Bring in your favorite songs to share. Students will sing both group and solo songs. This is their time to express themselves as individuals. They will also work on playing percussion and small shakers that the instructor will provide. The class will work towards a performance for family and friends. Prerequisite: Bring your love of music to class!

Bomba Percussion & Dance Youth Workshop (Ages 4 & up)

Thursdays 4-6pm:
Under 7 group (starts at age 4) 4-4:50pm
Over 7 group is from 5-6pm | $12 Drop-in fee; Discount prices available if trimester is paid in full.

Instructor: Shefali Shah & Hector Lugo | Location: Theater Space

Students will learn Bomba songs, dances, rhythms, and beats along with Bomba history and its significance and place in Puerto Rican and Afro-Caribbean culture.

Bomba is a traditional form of Puerto Rican music and dance. The central feature of all bomba dancing is its improvisational character. The dancer calls, with her or his moves, for specific accents and figures, piquetes, that the drummer has to execute on the drum. Musically, bomba features the use of the drum and other percussion instruments in combination with an African derived call and response vocal style.

Email for more information.

bomberos y pleneros for web
Huaranguitos Ensemble (ages 3 and up)Location: Theater space | Instructors: Peta Robles & Gabriela Shiroma.Time Saturdays from 1:00PM – 2:30PMAFRO PERUVIAN MUSIC AND DANCE YOUTH ENSEMBLE huaranguito