Wrapping up another year & celebrating the fire inside us all~

Here we are in the final month of 2012! It’s a big time, not only for the turning in our individual lives to a new beginning, but for our collective human community. The winter Solstice on Dec 21st, marks the shortest day of the year and also the end of a very long cycle and beginning of a new one, according to the Mayan calendars.

I’m excited about the Mayan prophesy that says this is the beginning of a new phase, offering heightened awareness and cooperation for humankind and the opportunity to collectively create a more peaceful and healthy relationship with one another and the planet. Whether one believes the prophecy or not, we can hold this beautiful intention for one another! 

In the spirit of collective cooperation and support, specifically for many of our African friends in need of assistance, there are a number of fantastic causes and projects that I’m supporting and sharing with you this month:

1) This Thursday’s dance class will be in honor of and benefit to Amara Mansare, an incredible musician from Guinea who is one of the best djembefolas of his generation. Amara has been unfairly detained at the Elroy Detention Center in Arizona since July of 2011. Money from our class on December 6th will be donated to Amara to help him with his continued need for legal representation. For more information on and his situation: freeamara@gmail.com or click the link: Amara

Amara Mansare

Amara Mansare

Brigitte Ndikum-Nyada

Brigitte Ndikum-Nyada

2) Many of you may remember our beautiful dancer friend from Cameroon, Brigitte Ndikum-Nyada, who used to live and teach in Maine.  Her family has experienced multiple hardships in the past months and she is in need of assistance to return to Cameroon to give her beloved mother a proper burial. Please Contact me for information on how you can send support her way. As the saying goes, “every penny counts”. It’s true.

Youssouf dancing at a wedding Dundunba in Conakry

Youssouf dancing at a wedding Dundunba in Conakry

3) Our wonderful teacher, Youssouf Koumbassa, needs help to build Nimba Center for Arts & Sustainable Energy in Guinea ~ A nonprofit organization working to promote African dance culture and renewable energy solutions for quality-of-life improvement in Guinea, West Africa. Please check out this link for: Nimba and support if you can.

4) Young women in Kenya need help to receive the same rights that everyone deserves worldwide yet are still suffering from ancient practices that violate these rights. We can help via Human Rights for the Pastoral Girl Child. Through this resource a rescue center, community education, formal and vocational education will provide safety and choice. Please check it out and support if you can.

Kenyan girls

Kenyan girls

5) Muisi-Kongo S. Malonga,  a fantastic Congolese dancer and teacher who I had the honor of studying with at a dance camp in 2010, is raising funds for her creation of a solo ChoreOpera, Kimpa Vita! The story of a great female prophet and spiritual leader from Congo, circa 1684, who’s spiritual teachings and influence still remain today. Please check it out and support if you can.

Muisi-kongo Malonga

Muisi-kongo Malonga

I’m excited to dance and drum together as we head towards the new beginnings of 2013 letting the fire inside each of us burn brightly as we approach the shortest day of the year!

The studio will be jammin’ with the funky groove of the rhythm, Sinté, for the month of December, and dancer/teacher Nyama McCarthy-Brown will be subbing for me on 12/20, so we will have class every Thursday all this month. To stay up to date throughout the month you can find us on facebook at Portland Maine West African Inspired Dance.

Can’t wait to get down with you all again soon!

Peace & Happy Holidays

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