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An affiliate to Center for Traditional Music and Dance 
Un afiliado al Centro de Música Tradicional y Danza.

  Our Teachers    

  Ruben Dario Mejia    



Was born in the town of Anserma Caldas. He is a Colombian folklorist dedicated to spreading Colombian dance with an emphasis in the Andean region. He has been a teacher, musician and choreographer of Colombian Andean dance, published several articles on pasillo, and has led workshop on the academy, he provides training in wide variety of Colombian dance genres. He studied dance in Colombia with masters Julian Bueno Rodrigues, and Octavio Marulanda Morales and then graduated with a degree in Colombian dance. Winner of several national awards for dance. 1994 -1997- 2002. Currently he lives in New York and founded the company: “Los viajeros de la danza”.

  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.

 Nestor Gomez 



Nestor Gomez is a virtuoso percussionist born in Barranquilla, Colombia. A master of Atlantic coastal drumming, Nestor has played with numerous groups that showcase traditional Colombian music since the early age of 8. Since moving to New York City he has been part of distinguished groups such as Los Macondos de Colombia, Grupo Chonta and Diego Obregon, Folklore Urbano, and Alejandro Zuleta’s Vallenato Collective. He has performed with artists including Arturo Farril, Carlos Vives, Maria Mulata, and Colombian vallenato legends Alfredo Gutierrez and Anibal Velasquez. In addition, he participates in various educational projects that seek to teach both children and adults about traditional Colombian music. He currently leads his own band, “Parada Vallenata,” which is part of the Music Under New York program sponsored by the NYC MTA.

  Guest Teacher Artists    
  • Johanna Castañeda - Vocalist/Cuatro player

  • Ronald Polo - Gaita player/Composer/Vocalist

  • Moris Cañate - Master Colombian Percussionist 


Johanna Castañeda

Community Outreach, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator

Jorge Arevalo Ph.D.

Project Director

Rafael Leal 

Administrator, Academics

Ruben Dario Mejia

Corodinator, Academics