Let’s Dance it Out

Bring on the empowering medicine of movement and music!


New Moon Ensemble, performing at Henry Fest on Sep 8, 2018


In response to the myriad reasons we need movement medicine, I’m excited to announce a


8-Weeks | Fridays Mornings | 9 -10am
Oct 26 – Dec 21 
skipping Nov 23)
Portland New Church, 302 Stevens Ave

Sign up Before October 15 for the Early Bird Discount


Accompanied by beautiful traditional rhythm recordings, this class will focus on the therapeutic aspects of Guinea style, West African dance; tuning in to breath and heartbeat as our guiding force and energy.

An opportunity to dip your toes in or dive deep into a new form of expression and connection through heart and hip opening movement. Beginners and experienced dancers welcomed. No experience needed.

Minimum number of pre-registrants needed to run the class. Sign up for the Early Bird discount and help this class fly.*

Early Bird Price = $110

After October 15 = $120

*Once minimum # of pre-registrants is met to run the class, it can open to drop-ins


York County Mini Makers Faire
Saturday, Oct 13 | Pepperell Mill Campus, Biddeford, ME | 4:00pm


For details about York County Mini Makers Faire, SEE THIS LINK.
For directions and parking info, SEE THIS LINK. 


Thanks to everyone who came out to support all of the fabulous artists and the annual fundraiser for 317 Main, last month.

We had a great time performing in the field, and I loved offering this mini dance workshop with our drummers bringing the fire ~ Check out the overflowing dance floor energy:

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We had so much fun bringing Guinea style West African Drum & Dance to all ages at Henry Fest last month. Thank you to all who danced with us!! That dance floor was overflowing. ✨Thanks to @317main & @unfaithfulservant ✨Thank you to the parent who sent us this video ✨Thank you New Moon Ensemble drummers and dancers @embodytherhythm ✨ #embodytherhythm #movementismedicine #movewithspirit #danceforthesoul #bodypositive #bodyempowerment #trysomethingnew #danceforallbodies #livedrumming #comedancewithus #Guineadanceanddrum #cultivatecommunity #peace #love #unity #dancelove #drumlove #danceforallpeople #danceforhealing #artismedicine #supporttraditionalarts #diversityisbeautiful #dancelife #drumlife #findyourmovementmedicine #portlandmaine

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Thank you to all who came out
for the drum & dance workshops with Namory Keita and Seny Daffe!!

Your presence in these workshops makes them possible.

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Amazing class with Seny Daffe yesterday! ✨ So grateful to everyone who showed up to support our guest artist. Thank you to our fabulous drummers @namorydjenekeita, @jerickson002, @jeffreyahowe !! Thanks to @alisongreenparsons for the delicious sorrel and handmade jewelry market. Thanks to everyone who helped make it such a great day. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 Come dance with me ✨ West African Dance, Guinea style, every Tuesday, 6-7:30pm 302 Stevens, Ave Portland, Maine • Live drumming. ✨ All levels welcome ✨ No experience necessary✨ New student discount: $20 for 4 classes ($5/class!) Returning student discounts too ✨ Spread love. Be love. Find your movement medicine. EmbodyTheRhythm.com • #embodytherhythm #movementismedicine #movewithspirit #danceforthesoul #bodypositive #bodyempowerment #trysomethingnew #danceforallbodies #livedrumming #comedancewithus #Guineadanceanddrum #cultivatecommunity #peace #love #unity #dancelove #drumlove #danceforallpeople #danceforhealing #artismedicine #supporttraditionalarts #diversityisbeautiful #dancelife #drumlife #findyourmedicine #portlandmaine

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Are you aware there are many annual West African Dance & Drum festivals throughout the nation, as well as world-wide? These cultural traditions have inspired an international family, bringing people together from all over the globe through dance, drum and song.

Join dancers and drummers from Embody the Rhythm community in attending Jeh Kulu’s Annual West African Dance & Drum Festival this year!


For all who, like me, feel little rattled by what’s going on in our world, I invite you to move it on out with me on dance floors, here there and everywhere. 

Movement is medicine.
Let’s dance it out. 


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Keeping Warm & Cultivating Community

This is how we keep warm as we anticipate a long-awaited summer in Maine … (Click the arrow embedded in right side of image, to see more sweetness)



Thursday June 14th, Seny Daffe returns to the Dance Hall in Kittery, to teach Dundun Dance & Namory Keita teaches Drumming. Visit the links for details, and see videos below from our recent workshops.
Facebook Event Link / Seacoast Dance & Drum 

Friday June 15th, Music on Main – A Night of West African Drumming & Dance with special guests, Theo Martey, Abou Sylla, Seny Daffe and Namory Keita!
For more info and tickets, visit Music on Main


Here’s a peek at the fun we had in Dundun Dance Class with Seny Daffe, April 3rd in Portland, ME:

.. and April 5th in Kittery, ME:

Meanwhile, as we cultivate the Earth with the coming of warmer weather, we also continue to plant, water and grow this community.

Join us for Weekly Dance & Drum Classes, every Monday & Tuesday!

Movement is Medicine. Find your movement. Find your medicine. 

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Come dance tonight ✨ Movement is medicine. West African Dance (Guinea style), honoring the source and teachers of this form, every Tuesday 6-7:30pm. Live drumming. All are welcome. No experience necessary. New student discount: $20 for 4 classes in 4 weeks ($5/class!) Returning student discounts too. Spread love. Be love. Portland, Maine Find your movement, find your medicine. www.embodytherhythm.com #embodytherhythm #movementismedicine #movewithspirit #danceforthesoul #bodypositive #bodyempowerment #danceforallbodies #livedrumming #musicismedicine #Guineadanceanddrum #community #peace #love #unity #GuineatoMaine #GuineaLove #drumlove #dancelove #danceforallpeople #danceforhealing #diversityisbeautiful #artismedicine #supporttraditionalarts #dancelife #drumlife #findyourmedicine #portlandmaine

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See you on the dance floor.

Link Here for Dance Class Video Samples 

Link Here for Dance & Drum Class Details

Welcoming back Youssouf Koumbassa

Happy Autumn!

West African Dance Class Youssouf 2017 final

World renowned master teacher, Youssouf Koumbassa returns to Maine.

Master village drummer, Namory Keita will begin the night with Drum Class, and lead the smoking drum accompaniment for dance class.


Perhaps the world’s most sought-after teacher of Guinea-style African dance, Youssouf was born in Conakry, Guinea. He was a principle dancer with Ballets Djoliba, one of Guinea’s most important national dance companies, for 13 years, training and touring extensively throughout the world. With his prodigious skill and thrilling talent, as well as the precious pedagogy and choreography of his teachers before him, Youssouf relocated to the United States to share his passion and his legacy with dancers and audiences everywhere.

Namory Keita, Master Drummer, is a sought after teacher and performer with a unique style and a wealth of traditional knowledge very rare to find outside the villages of Guinea. His resources include not only his wonderful ability to engage any audience but also his relationships with dancers and drummers locally, and around the world.

Tuesday October 24, 2017
Woodford’s Club, 179 Woodford St, Portland, ME
5:15-6:15pm –
DRUM CLASS with Namory Keita 
6:30-8pm –
DANCE CLASS with Youssouf Koumbassa

Preregistration Price*: $17/class or $32 for both classes
Preregistration is closed, but you can still pay at the door ~
See you tonight!

$20/class or $34 for both classes (Discounts offered for New Mainers/low-income. Inquire at the door)



`No prior experience is needed. 
`Bring an open mind, and an interest to learn.
`Wear comfortable clothing that you can move and sweat in.
`Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated.
`Dancing is with bare feet (dance shoes but not street shoes) are okay, if needed.

ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES to Dance with Youssouf in Maine:

Thursday October 26th, at Kittery Dance Hall
Kittery, ME

Friday October 27th at High Mountain Hall
Camden, ME


Embody the Rhythm had a busy summer, so there’s more good news to come, including exciting developments and opportunities for dancers coming up in early 2018.
Follow this newsletter to keep up to date.

See you on the dance floor.

Celebrating Cultures

Come dance or drum with us!
Check HERE for weekly class info

Now more than ever we need to engage our communities with creative visions of cross-cultural collaboration, build opportunity for more intercultural exchange and togetherness, and create supportive and celebratory environments for the expression of traditions that come from afar. 

Join the ensembles of Many Waters (June 25) and New Moon (July 13) in celebrating cultures, building community, and raising up some positive energy for the healing that is much needed in the world:


13709915_10153553905307163_1648242248180838027_nNEW MOON ENSEMBLE

Tides ~ Les Marées ~ 
A Celebratory Performance of West African Dance and Drumming

Thursday July 13th, 7:00-8:30pm
Mayo St. Arts
in Portland.

New Moon Ensemble’s performances offer intoxicating rhythms and energetic dances into the world as prayers for peace and well-being for all. Join us for this special evening!

Learn more about New Moon Ensemble
Reserve your spot. Purchase TICKETS

Share/Follow on Facebook






Representing an exciting new intercultural arts exchange, our initial formation brings together devoted dance artists from 4 different countries of origin.

Like the streams and rivers of the Earth we all call home, when we flow together we create something bigger than ourselves. Many Waters creates inspirational fusions drawing from present day culture as well as deep cultural traditions brought together by the artists involved. 

Many Waters will be sharing our very first dance collaboration in the Theatre Ensemble of Color’s community arts showcase on Sunday June 25th, 12-2pm at Mayo St. Arts in Portland. We hope you’ll come see and support our work, and learn more about this exciting collaboration and exchange. Donations graciously accepted.





~ Meanwhile, come dance or drum with us ~
Check HERE for weekly class info
See you on the dance floor!






Start with your heart. beat.


Community Celebrates after a New Moon Ensemble performance. Photo credit to Sage Heyes


On Friday, April 14th, Embody the Rhythm will have our first Dance & Drum Community Potluck. Bringing together our ever-expanding dance & drum community to share food and stories, in a casual setting.
We hope you can join us!  6-9pm in the community space at Portland New Church, 302 Stevens Ave. (Same location as dance class). 


~A potluck dish to share

~Any extra paper plates, bowls, cups and plastic (or compostable!) dinnerware you have kicking around, to contribute

~ Donation ($1-3) to help cover the rental. *Any additional donations from the evening will go toward supporting the construction of the Hamana Arts Center, in Guinea, West Africa*: https://www.gofundme.com/hamana-arts-center-project

RSVP for Potluck by visiting the event: on Facebook

This week we will celebration the Malinke dance, Kassa (intermediate steps from this dance can be seen in the video above) once more, before switching to a new dance for the rest of April… quite possibly Soboninkun!

In Other Embody the Rhythm News:

  • Want to be our Social Media Rockstar? Seeking technical support for such things as website help, facebook posts, and other media savvy assistance. Got skills? Want to exchange for free classes? Get in touch with Marita.
  • New Moon Ensemble is entering a new phase. We’ve added some new members to the crew, and still seeking a few more dancers! If you have a depth of experience in West African Dance (or even just dance/choreography, plus the stamina and drive to learn quickly, and deepen your relationship with this form) consider getting in touch with Marita. 
  • Dance Class Time Change ~ Starting in May, 2017 Dance Class start time shifts to 6pm. Class will be 6-7:30pm.  If you are looking for drum classes, you have choices of Mondays or Wednesdays. Click HERE for more info on dance & drum classes.


Come dance with us! If you think you, “don’t have rhythm”, remember that every atom in your body vibrates with rhythm.
It starts with your heart. Feel that beat. Let it move you.
May we all move from our hearts! 


Community, Culture & Connection

NOTICE: Drum Classes and workshops on Monday & Wednesday nights. Link here FMI. 

Have you heard? Our friend, local master Guinea drummer, Namory Keita is developing his dream project ~ The Hamana Arts Center ~ in Guinea, West Africa, and he needs our help to build it.

The Hamana Arts Center will be a school where masters and students from around the world come together to exchange, teach, perform and study the traditional arts of the Hamana region. 


Namory, breaking ground at the Hamana Arts Center.

For all of us who enjoy the study of West African arts, helping to fund this project is a wonderful way to show our gratitude and support.

Together we can help ensure that young artists in Guinea can continue to learn their traditions, and carry them on for generations to come. Click here to link to Namory’s GoFundMe account, and help the Hamana Arts Center get off the ground. Donate, spread the word, and help support a vibrant future for Guinea! 


This Saturday, March 11th New Moon Ensemble will be performing in this righteous event:
Rise! Release! Dance! ~ A Dance & Poetry Showcase
benefiting the Maine Sex-Trafficking and Exploitation Network’s Survivor Support Fund. First Parish Church, 425 Congress St., Portland, ME – 7pm.
We hope to see you there!


Join us this month in weekly West African Inspired Dance & Drum Classes ~ Every Tuesday!
Click the link above, FMI | Find us on

Dance & Drum Community Potluck ~ Friday April 14th, 2017
Come share some food, meet friends and build community outside of class time.

Movement is Medicine

A movement for social change, and a syncopated step/jump/spin on the dance floor; intersectional movement building, and a communal arm raise to the heavens and back to Mother Earth. . . We need the medicine of movement.
We need each other.


Move, rise, love, and lift up those who need it most.

This month we’ll be practicing the  rhythm/dance, Yoki/Guinea Faré.
Guinea Faré translates as “women dance”, from 
the Susu people of Guinea, West Africa. It is traditionally danced the day before weddings, accompanied by the balafon – a type of xylophone made of wood, with gourds resonating the sound.

In honor of my beloved teacher Youssouf Koumbassa, and the blessing he gave me to teach these dances, it is a joy to share my passion for Guinea dance and music with our community. Join me this month, and let’s dance for healing ~ May the good energy we generate on the dance floor resonate out for the good of all. 

Time and Location change for one-class-only ~ Tuesday February 21st
We will bring our regular Tuesday class with live drumming to:
Equilibrium Studio in the Pepperell Mill, 40 Main St., Biddeford, ME
Class will be 6:15-7:30pm.
Regular dance passes and drop-in fees will apply.

Otherwise, classes continue as usual (Feb 14th, 28th and beyond) at the community space in Portland New Church, 302 Stevens Ave. 5:45-7:15pm.
Visit this LINK for more info

Embody the Rhythm is seeking someone with experience to exchange tech and web based media support for dance classes. Please contact Marita if interested. 

See you on the dance floor!

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