Spring is Popping & so are Our Classes!

Weekly Dance & Drum Class Details, CLICK HERE

Special Guest Teacher SENY DAFFE Returns to Maine!
COME DANCE ~ Tuesday, April 23


Join us in welcoming back master artist Seny Daffe
to Embody the Rhythm, Tuesday April 23


Dance Class with Seny: $16-20 sliding scale – cash at the door
Portland New Church, 302 Stevens Ave
All levels welcome

Special Guest artist Seny Daffe, from Guinea, West Africa has a warm personality and a fun, lively dance style. We’re excited to welcome him back as our guest teacher to our Tuesday night dance class, April 23rd. Join this special opportunity!

More about Seny Daffe: http://senydaffe.blogspot.com/

Class accompanied by live drumming with master drummer, Namory Keita and friends. See you soon!

AND on Thursday April 25,
Drum with Namory Kieta & Dundun Dance with Seny Daffe

in Kittery, Maine


Next 3 Week Session of Drum Classes with Annegret Baier starts April 24


Wednesdays 4/24, 5/1 + 5/8
Portland Friends Meeting House, 1837 Forest Ave, Portland
 Register today by contacting Annegret HERE
$70 for 3 Classes  – Djembes available for rent



A percentage of our Tuesday Dance Classes is contributed to some fantastic social change initiatives. In April, donate an extra $10 or more in class, and you can take home a free jade plant!

LINK HERE For our Weekly Dance & Drum Classes at Embody the Rhythm

Join this ever-growing community! All are welcome.



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

This class is now open for drop-in students. 


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 = drop-ins $15/class

*Once minimum # of pre-registrants is met to run the class, it will 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:

View this post on Instagram

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.

View this post on Instagram

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. 

View this post on Instagram

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.

Dancing from Coast to Coast

 Click Here for our Dance & Drum Class Schedule

Portland is still buzzing from Mini Guinea Fest 

One of the highlights was the celebration of Namory Keita’s move to Portland, and the moment Youssouf Koumbassa, Sayon Camara and Abou Sylla gave their blessings for his move here, and bestowed him to the Maine community. 

Our honored guests rocked the house with their incredible performances, including Theo Martey and Youssouf Koumbassa busting up the dance floor!

Namory Keita

It is truly a gift to have Namory in Maine. If you haven’t gotten to one of his drum classes yet, now’s a great time to start! New students always welcome. Every Tuesday 7:15pm, 179 Woodford St. in Portland.

See more beautiful moments from Mini Guinea Fest 2015, HERE

The month of June brought more special performances to Portland, including Seacoast West African Dance & Drum hosted by the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project at Old Port Festival on June 13~

Old Port Festival 2015

And Portland’s Blue Moon Tribe, hosted by Friends of Congress Square Park for the Heart of Community Placemaking Launch on June 24 ~

This week I’m gearing up to head out to CA to study with master teachers Moustapha Bangoura, Abdoulaye Sylla, Djeneba Sako, Marie Basse-Wiles, Mabiba Baegne & Aziz Faye, Youssouf Koumbassa and many more, at Camp Fareta

Camp Fareta, Dancing Village Productions

I’ll be building connections to bring more master artists to Maine in the future. I’m excited to bring back some wonderful energy to share with this community!

Come dance with me in class this Tuesday, June 30th, before I go.

There will be *no class in Portland Thursday July 2nd* ~ It’s a great night to pop down to Kittery for drum class with Namory Keita and dance class with Elizabeth Fowler and Seacoast West African Dance & Drum

All other Portland classes are on, as usual.

We will have some wonderful subs for Tuesday classes (Janice Erickson) and Thursday class (Ashley Edmondson), until I return in mid July. Have so much fun with these lovely teachers! 

Reminder: Now is the time to sign up for Dundun Dance and Fire Dancing Workshops in July & August. More details in last months blog (scroll down) or at the Facebook links provided below.

Click the class name for more info:


Dundun Dance Workshop Series 

Fire Poi Dancing ~ A Beginner’s Series 


Heating it Up!

Click Here for our Dance & Drum Class Schedule

Visit our PHOTO GALLERY from MINI GUINEA FEST (linked here) ~ We had a fantastic time! 

Many more drum and dance performances coming right up ~ In addition to Mini Guinea Fest, Blue Moon Tribe (Portland’s West African inspired Dance & Drum ensemble)  members also performed at the June First Friday Art Walk event, Converge.

Photo by Jaime O'Sullivan

Blue Moon Tribe dances & drums in the evening sun at First Friday Art Walk

Photo by Martha Thompson


Saturday June 14th, 4pm at Portland’s Old Port Festival ~ Marita Kennedy-Castro will join Seacoast West African Dance & Drum for a performance lead by djembefola Namory Keita, and dancer Elizabeth Fowler.
Wednesday June 24th, 4-5pm at Congress Square Park ~ Join Namory Keita, Annegret Baier, Jeff Howe, Marita Kennedy-Castro and many more drummers & dancers, for performances followed by a free mini dance lesson and chance to get your groove on to some fantastic rhythms!
Performing arts are helping to keep this park a vibrant and active asset to our community. We hope you can join us!
Blue Moon Tribe performs for Learning Works at Riverton School

Blue Moon Tribe performs for Learning Works at Riverton School



~ Dance class for beginners, Tuesdays @ Woodford’s Club, 5:45pm Facebook Link
~ DRUM classes for all-levels every Tuesday at the Woodford’s Club, 7:15pm.
~ Dance class for all-levels, Thursdays @ Maine Ballroom, 7:15pm. Facebook Link
*All classes are on-going throughout the summer, with the exception of Thursday July 2nd (no class on this date).

~ SUMMER DANCE INCENTIVE: Dance more, pay less ~

8 class pass* for $96 (Good for 3 months, June-August!)
4 class pass* $52 (Good for 2 months from purchase)
Drop in $15
*Class passes are designated to either Tuesday or Thursday location, but cannot be transferred. 
 *All classes are on-going throughout the summer, with the exception of Thursday July 2nd (no class on this date).

DUNDUN DANCE WORKSHOP SERIES ~ Drum & Dance with 5 Gallon Buckets:

Do you like to dance AND to drum?
In this workshops series participants will learn the exciting Guinean tradition of Dundun Dance ~ dancing and drumming together! We will use easily accessible buckets as drums.
We’ll play a series of rhythms and movement sequences, which will all come together in a fun choreography.
Blue Moon Tribe dundun dancing in Bakunda. Photo by Arthur Fink

Blue Moon Tribe dundun dancing in Bakunda. Photo by Arthur Fink

bucket drum

Blue Moon Tribe bucket drumming to promote Garbage to Garden, door to door compost service

In leu of a dun dun drum, bring a 5 gallon bucket and drumsticks (or inquire about reserving one – limited number available). Opportunity to perform, for those who are interested!

(Pre-registration required by July 15th ~ Contact Marita here to register)
$60 for 4 Wednesdays: July 22, 29, Aug 5 & 12 
5:30-6:30pm (Location TBA with registration. Planning for outdoor location with indoor back up in case of rain)
Share & Link to Facebook here


Fire Dancing ~ A Beginners Series (no fire required)
Participants will use practice sets of poi (limited number provided, very easy to make yourself) and learn basic to advanced skills and tricks in fire poi /fire dance.
Final workshop includes a tutorial for making your own fire poi and taking fire safety precautions, for those who are ready for the flame.

Marita dances with fire at Mini Guinea Fest

(Pre-registration required by July 15th ~ Contact Marita here to register)
$60 for 4 Wednesdays: July 22, 29, Aug 5 & 12 
7:30-8:30pm (Location TBA with registration. Planning for outdoor location with indoor back up in case of rain)
  Can’t wait to dance with you all in the studio or the grass this summer!

Announcing ~ Mini Guinea Festival!

Click Here for our Weekly Dance & Drum Class Schedule

Mini Guinea Fest

Saturday May 16, 2015 

At the Woodford’s Club, 179 Woodford St. in Portland, Maine

 Building community and sharing the love, we celebrate master drummer Namory Keita’s move to Portland, the 10 Year Anniversary of Portland’s West African Inspired Dance, and the many artists and students who have helped build the energy here over the years. 

Click HERE for Tickets

Some of the amazing artists we’ll celebrate with:

Namory Keita

Youssouf Koumbassa

Sayon Camara

Sayon Camara





Abdoulaye Toure

Abdoulaye Toure

Abou Sylla

Abou Sylla















Mini Guinea Fest is a celebration of West African Dance and Drumming, and its growing community here in Maine and New England.


The event begins with a lively dance class with Youssouf Koumbassa ~ world-renowned for his dancing, and gift for making Guinean dance accessible to all learners.

Youssouf Koumbassa teaching at Mechanic's Hall Ballroom, in Portland 2014

Youssouf teaching at Mechanic’s Ballroom in Portland, ME 2014

Youssouf teaching at Camp Fareta in California

Class will be followed by breaking bread together, an evening of performances with some of Guinea’s finest musicians, and some local talents from ME and NH. 

Stay on afterward to join the dance party and help us give Namory a warm welcome!


Welcoming Namory Keita!

Welcoming Namory Keita! Photo by Philip Styles

Mini Guinea Fest ~ Saturday May 16

At the Woodford’s Club, 179 Woodford St. in Portland, Maine

Doors Open at 3:30pm 

4:00-5:30pm ~ All Levels West African Dance class with Youssouf Koumbassa 

No experience necessary in what is certain to be a joyous dance class with revered teacher, and renowned master dancer, Youssouf Koumbassa, from Guinea. ($15 advance/$18 at door)

5:30-7:00pm ~Potluck and mingling 

Please bring something to share.

7:00-9:00pm ~ West African Dance and Drum Performances 

With Guinean artists, Namory Keita, Abou Sylla, Sayon Camara, Abdoulaye Toure, Theo Martey and more! Portland’s local Blue Moon Tribe, lead by Marita Kennedy-Castro, Kittery dancers lead by Elizabeth Fowler, and Araba-Lon, from New Hampshire will open up the show. ($15 advance/$18 at door)

9:00-11:30pm ~ Stay on for the party, and join the celebration! 
(Included in performance ticket)

Purchase Tickets Here:


Join and share the Event on Facebook:


Learn about some of the guest artists: 


Youssouf Koumbassa: 


Class with Youssouf in Portland last June:

Youssouf’s Summer Camp in California:


Namory Keita: 



Sayon Camara: 


Abou Sylla: 


Abdoulaye Toure: 


Plus many additional musicians and dancers!!

Join our weekly classes in West African Inspired Dance and West African Drumming with this welcoming and ever-expanding community in Portland Maine!

~ More info HERE ~

See you at Mini Guinea Fest!

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