Welcoming back Youssouf Koumbassa

Happy Autumn!
(CLICK HERE FOR OUR WEEKLY DANCE & DRUM CLASS INFO)

West African Dance Class Youssouf 2017 final

TUESDAY OCTOBER 24
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.

ALL LEVELS WELCOME. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY.



YOUSSOUF KOUMBASSA 
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
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)

 

 

HOW TO PREPARE:
`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.

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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 

 
Peace

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

MORE PERFORMANCES COMING SOON:

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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.
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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!
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Blue Moon Tribe performs for Learning Works at Riverton School

Blue Moon Tribe performs for Learning Works at Riverton School

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SUMMER CLASSES IN WEST AFRICAN DANCE & DRUM:

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~ 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).
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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.
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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
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 FIRE POI WORKSHOP SERIES:

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.
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Danceswithfire

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)
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  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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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!

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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:

http://miniguineafest.brownpapertickets.com

Join and share the Event on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1575977879343761/

Learn about some of the guest artists: 

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Youssouf Koumbassa: 

http://youssoufkoumbassag.wix.com/site

Class with Youssouf in Portland last June:

Youssouf’s Summer Camp in California:

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Namory Keita: 

http://www.namorydrum.com

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Sayon Camara: 

http://sayoncamaradrumming.com/sayon/

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Abou Sylla: 

http://www.abousylla.com

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Abdoulaye Toure: 

http://www.meetup.com/westafricandrumdancewestchesterny/events/217732082/

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!

Sing, Dance & Drum with International Guinean Star, Ismael “Bonfils” Kouyate

Click Here for Our Weekly W. African Dance & Drum Class Schedule

Join us for a weekend of exhilarating workshops & performances with Ismael “Bonfils” Kouyate                       & Namory Keita ~ January 16-18, 2015! 

All Workshops Open to Beginners ~ W. African Drum & Dance is for Everyone!

Scroll down to learn more & click HERE to pre-register for the Portland workshops

Ismael_dance

Ismael “Bonfils” Kouyate

Ismael “Bonfils” Kouyate was born in Guinea, West Africa to a long line of ‘Griots’, the oral historians that preserve the history and culture of Africa through songs, stories, music and dance. He began dancing professionally at the age of 12, when he was recruited by Les Percussions de Guinee’ to perform in their international tour, which included Europe and Asia. In 2004 he joined Les Ballets Africains, The National Dance Company of Guinea, for their 50th Anniversary Tour of the US. 
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He amazed audiences throughout his travels, and was contracted by the team of the Broadway hit FELA! to serve as a Master Choreographer and Performer for the production. He performed with FELA! internationally, to sold-out audiences from 2008 to it’s final show in 2013.
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Ismael Kouyate in Fela!

Ismael Kouyate in the Broadway Production, Fela!

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In 2011, Ismael was sought out to do a special on CNN about Africa in America. His class of over 100 people ecstatically learned and modeled his movements, while speaking of their excitement to study from this legend of Guinea (Link to video). You may also recognize Ismael from his studio time with Beyonce, adding his amazing vocals to her hit, “Grown Woman”. Ismael is available as in individual performer or with his band, Waraba or his West African Dance Company, African Soul International.
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Kouyate, Ismael

Ismael “Bonfils” Kouyate with Waraba Band

Namory.Keita

Namory Keita, djembefola.

Namory Keita was born in 1982 in the village of Sangbarala, Guinea. At age 7 he began drumming and became the lead drummer in his village since 2006. Members of his family are other well-known drummers, Solo Keita, who lives in Japan, and Nansady Keita, in England. He grew up drumming with his uncle Famoudou Konate, who is highly regarded for his African drumming around the world.

Namory recorded his first CD in 2010 named Kolafolo (“Beginning of Everything”), and he is a featured artist on many additional artist’s recordings. As a teacher and performing artist, he has travelled to share his culture internationally, and since coming to America in 2010, has played with Famoudou Konate, Mamady Keita, Bolokada Conde, Mousa Traore and many more.

Currently Namory performs and teaches weekly drumming classes throughout New England. He is a patient teacher for all skill levels and brings a thorough understanding of the drum ensemble and West African musical experience to his students.

WEST AFRICAN SONG, DANCE & DRUM WORKSHOPS & PERFORMANCE 

Friday Jan 16th, Saturday Jan 17th in Kittery, ME

To Register for Kittery workshops & performance CLICK HERE

Sunday Jan 18th in Portland, ME

To Register for Portland workshops CLICK HERE 

Reserve your spot today!

Or pre-register in person, at either of our weekly West African Inspired Dance classes  

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MARITA4-3
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All classes open to beginners / No experience necessary

Facebook event Link HERE

Guinea is coming to Maine!!

Click HERE for our Current Weekly Class Schedule

 SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS:

I never anticipated a day would come that I’d get to make this special announcement:  Portland is welcoming master drummer Namory Keita, from Guinea, West Africa ~ to LIVE HERE!

I am thrilled to share that this gracious, kind, djembefola (master drummer) from Sangbarala, Guinea, has chosen Portland, Maine as his new home and community. Big Up to you Namory! We have much to celebrate!

A Warm Welcome to Namory Keita!!!!!!! 

Namory.Keita

Namory Keita, djembefola

Starting in January, Namory will be accompanying our Tuesday night beginner dance class at the Woodford’s Club (yes yes!) and teaching drum classes directly following. We are blessed!

Weekly Drum Classes with Namory Keita, starting January 6th, 2015

Tuesdays 7:15-8:45pm at the Woodford’s Club, 179 Woodford’s St. in Portland

Please bring a drum if you have one. Limited number of drums available for reservation.

FMI contact Janice Erickson: jerickson002@maine.rr.com

Dancing & Drumming Without Borders ~ Supporting ebola relief efforts

Reminder: Over the next 2 months a percentage of funds from every dance class will be donated to Doctors Without Borders to aid in ebola relief efforts. Please consider donating directly, via their website, and help to support the people and families from which this music and dancing comes!

HOLIDAY Discount Offers &  Gift Certificates Available in December & January

Good for Tues OR Thurs night Dance Class ~ (we can’t do multi-location passes)

*4 classes ~ $48
*8 classes ~ $88
*12 classes ~ $120
*Introduce someone new to class and you BOTH attend their 1st class at 1/2 price (redeemable one time only)
*Barters available for members of Hour Exchange Portland
*Students: $2 discount with I.D.
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SAVE THE DATE  January 17-18, 2015

Workshops & Performances with Special Guest: 

Ismael ‘Bonfils’ Kouyate!

Ismael ‘Bonfils’ Kouyate, world renowned artist of traditional Guinean dance and song is coming to Maine in January 2015, for a weekend of workshops and performances.
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Bonfils comes from a family of artists, and was a long time performer with Les Percussions de Guinea and Les Ballets Africains, one of Guinea’s national ballets. You may have caught him in the Broadway musical FELA!, or performing with Ismael Kouyate: Waraba Band.
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Spread the Word
Saturday Jan 17th ~ Ismael teaches song, dance, drum and dundun dance classes in Kittery, topped off by an evening performance with several other musicians and dancers from Guinea, including master balafone player, Abou Sylla.
Sunday Jan 18th ~ Ismael teaches song, dance, drum and dundun dance classes in Portland
 More Details Will Be Posted Soon!
 
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Click HERE to find us on Facebook

Drum (& Dance) With 5-gallon Buckets in August

I’m excited to offer 3 Drum/Dance workshops in August ~ Mondays: August 11, 18 & 25th

Join the fun and learn a rhythm and dance in a style inspired by West African dundun dancing. We will be drumming with drumsticks on 5 gallon buckets, and a few dundun drums will be provided for students to experience as well.

Those who wish to drum, but are not yet ready to dance, are also welcome!

BucketDunDun_MayoStArts

Bucket Drumming and Dancing

 

Dundun dancing in the traditional style

Dundun dancing in the traditional style

 

August 11, 18 & 25th

5:30-6:45pm

$10 per workshop
Drop-in
OR
Come to all 3 (get solid on the rhythms), and there’ll be potential to perform for First Friday Art Walk on September 5th!

Location:
If it’s SUNNY~
Fort Sumner Park, 60 North St., Portland, ME

If it’s RAINY~
U.U. Church, 425 Congress St., Portland, ME

*Pre-registration is advised, so we can assure there’s room for everyone.*

WHAT TO BRING ~
5 gallon bucket & set of drumsticks.
A limited number of 5 gallon buckets and drumsticks will be provided. Please let me know if you’d like to reserve a set.

It is best to wear clothing that provides you with ease of movement, bring a water bottle and stay hydrated.

*Tell your friends*

We also have 2 weekly classes in West African Inspired Dance ongoing throughout the summer. Click HERE for more information.

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