Embodying Gratitude and Altruism

The earth dances a little further from the sun each day now, bringing us ever more reason to dance more warmth into our lives, and the lives of others.

Next week many of us will gather with loved ones to share in the gifts of this years harvest, reconnect with good friends and family and give thanks for these blessings. 

In honor of those who’s cultures birthed these rhythms and dances, and in recognition of the current struggle to control Ebola in numerous West African countries, over the next few months we’ll extend this embodiment of gratitude to the peoples of West Africa.  For the months of December and January, beyond the energetic support and prayers we send, a portion of the proceeds from each class will be donated to the aid efforts of  Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders)

Even if you can’t make it to class, please consider contributing directly. Here’s a link ~ http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/our-work/medical-issues/ebola

Hope to see your lovely faces in class tonight! There will be no class next Thursday, Novemeber 27th. Wishing you all a sweet time to celebrate the harvest and enjoy gathering with loved ones. 



Hearts that ache, still can sing. Let’s take them dancing.

Happy late October!

With the Day of the Dead almost here, it’s a wonderful time to honor and celebrate the lives of loved ones who’ve passed on. If you’re looking for a reason to take yourself out dancing, I hope you’ll let the call of live drumming, presence of community, urge to sweat something out, or the wish to celebrate the life of a loved one, carry you to class this evening.

This month we’ve been celebrating the rhythm and dance, Soli, which comes from the Susu people of Guinea, West Africa. Although we’ve switched to Kassa, on Tuesdays, there’s still one more chance (tonight!) to bust a move to Soli, with our fantastic drummers to put some heat beneath your feet.

Last week in dance class.

Last week in dance class.

Check out this VIDEO LINK on our Portland Maine West African Inspired Dance facebook page for inspiration!

Special news~ Our talented dancer and friend, Alison Green-Parsons will be selling some of her crafts in classes this week and next. Bring some extra cash and get holiday shopping done while supporting a local community member. 

Alison Green-Parson's beautiful hand made earrings and cloth covered journals.

Some of Alison’s beautiful hand-made gifts, from my own collection. 

It’s a good night for hearts to sing.

Let’s generate some LOVE to send the world, through dance

Greetings community,

Perhaps you, like me, have been thinking about things going on in the world that weigh heavily on the heart. I am grateful that we can lean on the healing and regenerative power of coming together in rhythm and dance, to boost hope and resilience. It is my intent that by dancing I not only regenerate strength and energy for myself, but that the healing energy will spread out to those around me, and beyond.

For September in our Thursday class I’ll share with you what I have learned of the beautiful dance, Yankadi (from the Susu people of Guinea, West Africa), with the wish that as we move to this beautiful rhythm, we send love in all directions. 

Here’s a snippet of Yankadi at a dance class, with Youssouf Koumbassa, at the Ndaje Festival in Cambrige, MA. Mangue Sylla on djembe and Fode Bangoura on dundun~


Also, a NEW 12 week BEGINNER DANCE CLASS SESSION, starts on Tuesday, September 30th at the Woodford’s Club.

FMI please visit the page: About Our Weekly Classes, and stay tuned in by signing up to follow this blog. You can also follow on Facebook at: Portland Maine West-African Inspired Dance

Be love.

Portland dance studios are rocking in August

West African inspired dancing and drumming in Portland: 3 nights/week in August

Mondays at 5:30pm ~ Join us for drum and dance workshops with 5-gallon buckets (scroll down to 8/27 post for full details, or click here for fb event)

Tuesdays at 5:45pm ~ We’re dancing Djolé at the Woodford’s Club (click here or here for class details)

Thursdays at 7:15om ~ We’re dancing Macru at Maine Ballroom Dance Studio (click here or here for class details)

Come join us!

AND finally, I am sharing some footage with you (taken by my lovely papa) from our incredible workshop with master dancer, Youssouf Koumbassa, here in Portland, in June! All in perfect timing… Enjoy! 




Drum (& Dance) With 5-gallon Buckets in August

I’m excited to offer 3 Drum/Dance workshops in August ~ Mondays: August 11, 18 & 25th

Join the fun and learn a rhythm and dance in a style inspired by West African dundun dancing. We will be drumming with drumsticks on 5 gallon buckets, and a few dundun drums will be provided for students to experience as well.

Those who wish to drum, but are not yet ready to dance, are also welcome!


Bucket Drumming and Dancing


Dundun dancing in the traditional style

Dundun dancing in the traditional style


August 11, 18 & 25th


$10 per workshop
Come to all 3 (get solid on the rhythms), and there’ll be potential to perform for First Friday Art Walk on September 5th!

If it’s SUNNY~
Fort Sumner Park, 60 North St., Portland, ME

If it’s RAINY~
U.U. Church, 425 Congress St., Portland, ME

*Pre-registration is advised, so we can assure there’s room for everyone.*

5 gallon bucket & set of drumsticks.
A limited number of 5 gallon buckets and drumsticks will be provided. Please let me know if you’d like to reserve a set.

It is best to wear clothing that provides you with ease of movement, bring a water bottle and stay hydrated.

*Tell your friends*

We also have 2 weekly classes in West African Inspired Dance ongoing throughout the summer. Click HERE for more information.

If you can’t beat the heat, join it! We’re dancing every Tuesday & Thursday

We now have TWO Weekly Classes in Portland: 

Beginner classes on Tuesdays, July 15- September 16th, 5:45pm @ the Woodford’s Club


All-levels classes on Thursdays (on-going), 7:15pm with live drumming @ Maine Ballroom Dance Studio


Photos from our amazing workshops with Youssouf Koumbassa last month, coming soon.

Exciting West African Dance Opportunities Coming Soon

A very special guest & my beloved teacher, Youssouf Koumbassa, will return here on June 20th, to teach an all-levels dance class @ the Mechanic’s Hall!


Youssouf brings incredible talent, breath-taking dancing and masterful teaching to this experience.

Live drumming in gorgeous Guinean rhythms will be provided by special guest drummers from Guinea – Namory Keita, Abdoulaye Toure- and beyond.

This is guaranteed to be a summer highlight!

Friday, June 20th, 2014, 6:00-7:30pm,

Mechanic’s Hall, 519 Congress St., 3rd floor, Portland, ME

$16 advance*/ $20 day of  

Additional opportunities to take drum and dance classes with Youssouf & Namory in Kittery, Maine on June 19th & 22nd, and Cambridge, MA, June 23rd. 

*Find out how to pre-register (by pre-paying) for Yousouf’s classes & sign up for the carpool to Kittery in either of our local classes or contact me.

I can’t wait to share this experience with you! 

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