Our Teachers    

 Lorena Ayub    

Traditional Colombian Dance 


Lorena Ayub was born in Barranquilla (Colombia) and currently resides in New York City where she is a dancer, Dance instructor and choreographer for music vid-eos and performances.Starting her training at the age of 4, Lorena has trained with international dance teachers such as Nadejda Podtchikova (ballet), Raquia Hassan, Mohamed Shahin, Portia and Antonina Canal (Arabic rhythms,classic egyptian), summer intensives at Steps on Broadway (with the school faculty), intensive courses with the Camaguey Cuban ballet and Ballet Hispánico NYC. Performed with Nadejda Podtchikova at the prestigious Colón Theater of Bogota, Colombia. She has danced with the Afro-Caribbean dance company at the Barran-quilla’s carnival (declared intangible heritage of humanity by the UNESCO) where she won Congo Gold award for best choreography and artistic presentation. She par-ticipated in the international dance festival of Panama with Jorge Arnedo Company representing Colombia; she participated in the “Tengo talento mucho talento” (I Have Talent) Television contest in Los Angeles, California, reaching the semi final top 10, as a dancer. Went to the INT theater festival in South korea as member of Tabula Rasa NYC The-ater and Performance Lab, beside that also Performed as a Guest Artist at the gala. At last she has been performing with the folk dance company Pajarillo Pinta’o in different occasions, performed with Raks Al Zahra Oriental Dance Company, as well as her latest project as a lead dancer Anoranzas de Colombia season at the Thalia Spanish Theater.

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  Rafael Leal 



Drummer, Percussionist, Composer, Band Leader, Producer and Educator with 40 years of experience. Since his early years, he has been active in different playing situations such as Concerts, Shows, Recordings, and touring with different artists and bands in Colombia and other countries. During his years in Colombia he used to teach in different Music Schools, Academies, and Universities from Colombia such as Universidad Pedagogica, Universidad EAN and Taller Musical Francisco Cristancho to name a few. In 1998 his first Book named “Como tocar en Batería ritmos internacionales y autoctonos”, authored with drummer Jorge León Pineda was published by Planeta Colombiana Editorial S. A. Since he arrived to New York City he has been working on different projects with different musicians.

Daniela Serna


Daniela Serna Cuevas is a New York-based professional percussionist, composer, rapper, vocalist and educator with an emphasis in Latin percussion and interpretation. Born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, she is an investigator and ambassador of Colombian-Caribbean rhythms, co-founder of LADAMA, and the producer of El beat del bullerengue, Totona Power Podcast and The Totona Power Festival. With an academic degree in music and fluidity in the oral traditions of Colombia, she is able to perform, teach and compose across genres.

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Isaac Sawyer

LatinX Beats & Rap  


Isaac Sawyer is an active musician, beat artist, rapper and educator. For over twenty-five years he has been dedicated to building community through HipHop music, visual art, and creativity. With several self-released albums, he has opened for, or been a featured performer for numerous mainstream and underground hip hop artists. 

More recently, he has been a teaching artist, giving live-loop workshops and classes, helping children explore their creativity through the production of their own music. The newest member of FolkCOLOMBIA Escuela, Isaac is excited to bring his talents and skills to the Colombian community.

Danzas Andinas


Maestro Ruben Dario Mejia was born in the town of Anserma Caldas. He is a Colombian folklorist dedicated to spreading Colombian dance with an emphasis of the Andean region. He has been a dance teacher, musician and choreographer of Colombian Andean dance, published several articles on pasillo, and led workshops in the academy, an instructed in a wide variety of Colombian dance genres. 

He studied dance in Colombia with masters Julian Bueno Rodrigues and Octavio Marulanda Morales, graduating with a degree in Colombian dance. Since 1982 He founded the dance company and music “Aires de Colombia”, in the city of Manizales. He is a researcher of traditional dances of their region and has won several national awards for dance. In 1994,1997, and 2002,he won the national prize for research on the “Pasillo Colombiano”, in Aguadas, Caldas, Colombia. Ruben lives in New York with his dance partner and wife Paola, and founded “Los Viajeros de la Danza”, a Colombian dance company.

Ruben Dario Mejia

  Guest Teaching Artists    
  • Johanna Castañeda - Vocalist/Cuatro player

  • Ronald Polo - Gaita player/Composer/Vocalist

  • Moris Cañate - Master Colombian Percussionist 

  • Erica "Kika" Parra - Colombian and Latin percussion


Jorge Arévalo Mateus Ph.D.

Program Director

Rafael Leal 

Administrator, Academics

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Children Playing Bongo Drums