Intent & Bio

Marita Kennedy-Castro

 

Marita.Kennedy-Castro

Marita Kennedy-Castro is a builder of modern community ritual through collaborative arts creation. She is a fire dancer, stilt walker, singer, physical theatre performer and 19 year scholar of West African Dance.

Marita teaches classes and workshops, sharing her enthusiasm for broadening multi-cultural awareness, and illuminating new avenues to healing through the arts.

Marita is founder/owner of Embody the Rhythm, artistic director, choreographer, and performer of New Moon Ensemble, and co-founder of the multi-cultural collaborative, Many Waters Arts.

Marita Kennedy-Castro ~ Background and Intention

I was born in the United States into a family of mixed background with healthy doses of both Irish and Sicilian. As a young girl I dreamt of doing ballet until I could fly, but it was in my first West African dance class, in 1999, that I really felt the the air under my feet.

I was (and still am) enraptured with the movements, and and the way these traditions honor our interconnection to the rhythms of nature and to one another, through celebration of life’s cycles and seasons. Something that is intrinsic to many traditional dance forms, yet so often goes forgotten in American culture.

Since ’99, I have studied under master teachers from Guinea, Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Congo, with a primary focus in Guinea dance. It was my beloved teacher, Youssouf Koumbassa, from whom I received the blessing and encouragement to teach and perform.

I share my love for this cultural dance & music with my community to help build appreciation, interest and understanding. I position myself not as an expert, but as a facilitator and a healing agent, a bridge. Together with a committed crew of drummers, we’ve been able to develop an ever-growing community base with which to host master dance and drum teachers from West Africa, here in Maine.

In January 2015 we were blessed to be joined by master village drummer Namory Keita from Sangbarala, Guinea. Namory accompanies weekly dance classes, and teaches drumming in Portland and Kittery. He travels to teach and perform around the country and beyond.

In 2015 Namory and I formed New Moon Ensemble – West African Drum & Dance to expand horizons, inspire international study and share our love for cultural exchange. Many of the same talented crew of dancers and drummers I’ve worked with for a decade are a core part of this ensemble. Our intention is to bring healing across cultures and to build community. We offer private and public workshops, residencies, choreographed productions and modern community rituals for weddings, graduations, baby blessings, ceremonies and occasions of all kinds.

I encourage anyone who’s interested in West African dance to immerse themselves in the traditions, at the source. To add motivation, we continue to host master teachers to Maine each year. Together with my friend and colleague Elizabeth Fowler, we’ve brought in Brigitte Ndikum-Nyada, from Cameroon, Theo Martey from Ghana, and from Guinea: Youssouf Koumbassa, Abdoulaye Sylla, Sidiki SyllaIsmael BangouraSeny DaffeSayon Camara, Ismael Kouyate, and Namory Keita.

I received my Bachelor of Arts from Goddard College with a major in Dance & Performance Art for Healing & Social Change. I am passionate about broadening multi-cultural awareness and appreciation, and illuminating avenues to healing through the arts.

fly

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sarah
    Aug 16, 2016 @ 03:13:17

    Hello marita, was wondering if you have any children’s classes..my girls love to dance and they are finally old enough to take a class..its pottery Sarah. I own earth and soul, but have moved out of Portland and to the country…some of my students are going to take your class but th girls have school on Tuesdays..hope your having a great summer. Cheers, Sarah…….and pleas give Yoti a hug for me.!

    Reply

    • danceswithfire
      Aug 29, 2016 @ 15:34:27

      Hi Sarah! I’m sorry I don’t often see notes in the comments section so I missed this! I am working on classes for children and will add your name and address to the list of interested families. Can you please use the contact link at the top of my page here and email me your info so I can add you to the list? Thanks so much for your interested! I am excited to work out some classes for kiddos 🙂

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: