La Peña Classes



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.


Mondays 6:30 pm (Starting July 21st) | $350 for 10 weeks

Mondays starting July 21st. through September 29, 2014 (Sept. 1ST Labor Day Weekend- NO CLASS)

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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Classes in Zapateado, Versada, and Jarana

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

Instructor: Maria de la Rosa

Learn Zapateado, Versada, and Jarana.  Classes will rotate.  Click here for updates, and to join the facebook event page to stay up to date.

These classes are a continuation of PAZ: Fandango Urbano and will grow opportunities to get together.


Discover The Guitar – Level 1 – Group Class (Start day TBA) 

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 Beyond Blues

Wednesdays 7-8pm, with dancing after, till late
$6-$16 sliding scale | Meets year round

Instructor: Ted Maddry (415-484-3031), with rotating guest instructors | Location: Theater Space

Join Ted and Beyond Blues every Wednesday to learn the partner dance that anyone can do! Then dance the night away with drink specials from Café La Peña. No partner required. No experience necessary. Come dance with us. For our upcoming schedule and classes and dances around the Bay Area, visit our website:

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 12:30-2:30pm | 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