Start with your heart. beat.

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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). 

WHAT TO BRING:

~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! 

 

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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. 

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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! 

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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!

Rise.Release.Dance.

Join us this month in weekly West African Inspired Dance & Drum Classes ~ Every Tuesday!
Click the link above, FMI | Find us on
facebook
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AND… SAVE THE DATE: 
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.

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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. 

SPECIAL NOTICE:
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

REQUEST & BARTER PROPOSAL:
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!

May we dance through the darkness

May we dance through the darkness and back again through light. The cyclical seasons reminding us, we are rhythm. Life is rhythm.

May we all know our part in contributing to the swift creation of a safe, and more just and more open minded society
for ALL people to thrive. 

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Beautiful print by Mel Shapiro, via Pickwick Independent Press.

Weekly Tuesday classes continue through 2016, and right on into the New Year.
Sweat it out. Bring a friend.
Dance for sanity. Dance for peace.
Dance your prayers.
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REQUEST & BARTER PROPOSAL:
Embody the Rhythm is seeking someone with experience to exchange tech and web based media support for dance classes. Please inquire if interested.

EMBODY THE RHYTHM TEACHERS & NEW MOON ENSEMBLE:

Marita Kennedy-Castro
Namory Keita 
Annegret Baier

New Moon Ensemble

 

Dance from your heart & your feet will follow.

*NOTICE: No Dance or Drum Class AUGUST 30th*
 – Find weekly drum & dance class info HERE –

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Marita Kennedy-Castro & Namory Keita singing at Congress Square Park, July 15th, 2016. Photo by Sullivan Photography

Thanks to all who joined Namory and I, and New Moon Ensemble on July 15th!
It is essential that we create occasions for inter-cultural celebration, recognizing and celebrating the gift of sharing and learning from one another across cultures.
It is my great pleasure to be able to collectively bring healing vibes to our community, through music and dance.

May we all use our creative fire, as Alana Fairchild so eloquently puts it,  
“to burn new ideas of love, healing and transcendent hope onto the world stage.” 

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Marita Kennedy-Castro.  Photo by Tony Castro

WHATS NEW:
In a large nutshell, Embody the Rhythm is undergoing a renovation.

 This work is expanding in ways that I’m really excited about and proud of, and some of these changes will bring new experiences to our community.
Recently I’ve begun…
  • Leading modern community rituals, baby blessing ceremonies and healing rituals with dance and drumming. Contact me if interested.
  • Volunteer teaching dance and drumming at Longcreek Youth Detention Center, alongside inspiring leader Anne Esguerra (yoga therapy), and through the incredible program Maine Inside Out.
  • Developing some of our collaborative classes for women at the Maine Correctional Center.
  • Offering individualized private and small group movement lessons, to help folks get “unstuck”, work through inhibitions and find their freedom of movement. Contact me if interested.
  • Developing a women’s empowerment retreat along with Anne at Horizon Line , and Clara at Prevention.Action.Change. Think, embodiment yoga therapy, self-love-based dance and movement, empowerment self defense… Stay tuned!
  • Designing a very exciting new program to facilitate intercultural music and dance collaborations in local high schools, based on my college thesis project, Bakunda (We Love). This program is in seed form, and all supportive connections are welcome!
  • Setting up a 5 day tour of teaching work for my biggest influence and beloved teacher in West African Dance, Youssouf Koumbassa, to bring him back to Maine (!!!) 

SAVE THE DATE ~ Classes with Youssouf Koumbassa Sep 24th in Portland & Sep 25th in Kittery, ME.

 

Youssouf Koumbassa performing in Portland, ME in May 2015.

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Youssouf Koumbassa teaches dance in Guinea, Conakry, At Bagatai.

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BIG NEWS for dance students – CLASS TIME/LOCATION CHANGES THIS FALL:

 

This fall we’ll be consolidating the two dance classes into ONE, WONDERFUL, ALL-LEVELS, DANCE CLASS, for true-blue beginners alongside advanced students. The new dance class will be 1.5 hrs on Tuesday evenings, likely to begin at 5:45pm, followed by drum class with Namory Keita.
This is a very exciting opportunity to bring the whole community together as one supportive community.  
Location and date change will be announced just as soon as confirmed. Likely to begin in October. Going to be great! Both classes continue as usual until then.
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New Moon Ensemble performance photos from July 15th show at Congress Square Park.

Peace. Love. Unity.
See you on the dance floor!
*Notice: No Dance Class AUG 30th*

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Follow Embody the Rhythm on Instagram & Facebook 

Welcoming Summer with a FREE Show

What’s New:

New Moon Ensemble Performs on Congress Square July 15!
* Private movement lessons * Dance discounts for men *
* Possible Thursday dance class time change *

For Weekly Dance & Drum Class Schedule, please click HERE

NME - Congress Sq

Hosted by Friends of Congress Square Park – Friday July 15th, 6-8pm
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New Moon Ensemble is an inter-cultural performance ensemble of West African dance and drumming. We bring community together through rhythm and dance, deepening awareness and understanding across cultures, reconnecting with traditions of communal sharing in life’s seasons and passages.
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Come enjoy an exciting evening of music and dance
lead by dancer/choreographer Marita Kennedy-Castro, with master drummer Namory Keita, from Guinea, West Africa.
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Bring your kids, bring a friend, tell your neighbors…
Free outdoor show in downtown Portland! We hope to see you there! 

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NEW: Private Movement Lessons ~  Have you often thought you’d love to take a dance class, but don’t quite dare? Do you wish to find your freedom of movement but struggle with body image, or feel “stuck” in some way? Individualized classes can help to unblock and access movement and expression, at your own pace.  Marita provides a safe and fun environment in which to explore, and is passionate about helping folks find more ease and confidence in their bodies. Contact Marita HERE to explore the possibilities. 

NEW: Men Dance for Just $5, first Tuesdays or Thursdays ~
Acknowledging that Maine can be a tough place for men to feel at home on the dance floor, I want to give the fellas a little boost – All identifying males dance for just $5 on first Tuesdays or Thursdays of the month. Tell your people! Flood the dance floor! 

Possible Thursday Dance Class Time Change ~ Heads up ~ Starting in the fall, we are looking to switch our dance class day and time to better serve this community. Stay tuned! 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM MAY
Mini Guinea Fest in Kittery was a blast!

~ Here are a few glimpses of the fun we had ~

Amazing Dance Class with Sidiki Sylla ~ 

Love Sayon Camara! All smiles & skills ~

Seny Daffe sets the drums on fire! ~

There were SO many more amazing moments, and many more to come.
Thanks to Elizabeth Fowler and Kittery Dance Hall for hosting! 
 

Save the dates: September 24-25, Youssouf Koumbassa returns to Portland & Kittery! 

See you on the dance floor!

 

The Winds of Change are Blowing…

Fresh winds are blowing, the colors outside are changing, and things are evolving and shifting too at Embody the Rhythm…

Click HERE for our schedule of weekly classes 

Here’s a moment from our Thursday night class, last month ~

After long last, the formation of an official West African-Inspired Performance Ensemble is under way in Portland.
This exciting project is “under construction” as I build the ever-evolving, pop-up performances by Blue Moon Tribe into an official ensemble offering. Keep your eyes out for a kick off party for the newly-formed Blue Moon Tribe (same name, new form) in the coming months! 

A small portion of the larger ensemble performed this past weekend, at the Biddeford Ball. I’m awaiting more photos, but in the meantime, here’s one of just a few of us, posted on Faces Maine ~

Dancers & Drummer from the Blue Moon Tribe

Gina, Marita, Alysia & Sandra ~ Blue Moon Tribe performers at the Biddeford Ball. Photo by Hannah Holmbom

Sandra & Adrian, Blue Moon Tribe Drummers at Biddeford Ball.

Sandra & Adrian, Blue Moon Tribe Drummers at Biddeford Ball.

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Early in September, Annegret Baier (another of our fabulous drummers) and I teamed up again for a presentation in a few Southern Maine schools. Here are a few highlights from that collaboration ~

An upcoming change to note for Tuesday Class:

On October 27th, there will be no Tuesday night beginner dance class. Drum classes will continue, with Namory Keita as usual, at the Woodford’s Club at 7:15pm.

On Tuesday November 3rd, beginner dance class will be held at Evo Rock & Fitness, at 65 Warren Ave in Portland. Class will begin at 5:30pm. 

See you all on the dance floor!

Peace

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