Spread Love, Be Love.

Happy February, folks ~ So many great things to share with you this month! We’re welcoming Namory Keita back to his Maine community and he’s bringing the heat to dance and drum classes, fresh from Guinea! 


DRUM CLASSES WITH NAMORY RESUME, MONDAY NIGHTS IN PORTLAND

 

Namory Keita

Drum with Namory Keita

FIT MAINE RECENTLY FEATURED OUR TUESDAY NIGHT DANCE CLASS:
Check out the story by Shannon Bryan, catch the warm vibes and join us in class this month. We’re dancing the Malinké rhythm Soko, Tuesday nights in February.


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Photo by Shannon Bryan

FRIDAY MORNING DANCE class has been hopping & the next 8-Week session starts March 15 Grab the Early Bird Discount before Feb 28thYou can also register with check or cash at class to save the online fee. Invite friends in the Facebook Event.

 

SATURDAY MORNING CHILDREN & FAMILY series is the sweetest:
3 more Saturdays, 10:30-11:45am, 302 Steven’s Ave. 
3-5yr olds with a parent/guardian ~ dance, rhythm, song, play.

 

MORE FANTASTIC AFRICAN DANCE OPPORTUNITIES, HERE IN PORTLAND, MAINE!


Rwandan Dance with Ikirenga cy’Intore 
Fridays at YMCA, 6-8pm. 
Facebook Link

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Afrobeat Dance (contemporary African fusion) with Veeva Banga

Mondays at Hustle & Flow, 7-8pm
Thursdays at Bright Star World Dance, 8-9pm
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Congolese Dance with Grace & Jenny, of Coco Maine 
Saturdays Feb 23 | Mar 9 | Mar 23 |  3pm at Mayo St. Arts

 

 

INTERNATIONAL OPEN MIC ~ Have you been yet??
It only happens every few months, and is always an amazing event and great way to see some of Portland’s international talent, onstage. Next one: Friday, March 1st, 
Mayo St. Arts, 7-9pm.
 
 
It’s BLACK HISTORY MONTH and there’s still so much work to be done to end racism. Embody the Rhythm engages Movement as Medicine for Social Change by supporting these important initiatives with a percentage of proceeds from dance classes:  Please check them out
 
Keep an eye out for upcoming discussions on ways to deepen our awareness and take action together as a community. Meanwhile, join me at one of these events: 
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Check out:
SO many reasons to get together and dance/drum/shake.
Can’t wait to see you on the dance floor!

New Moon Ensemble Joined by Seny Daffe at Henry Fest, Workshops and More

Saturday SEPTEMBER 8th,
join New Moon Ensemble at Henry Fest

New Moon Ensemble returns for a later summer outdoor performance at Henry Fest, in N. Yarmouth, Maine, joined by Seny Daffe of Jeh Kulu. 

For weekly, on-going Dance & Drum Class info, please click HERE. 

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Henry Fest is an annual celebration hosted by 317 Main, offering a day of outdoor workshops, performances and family style fun at Skyline Farm in North Yarmouth.

New Moon Ensemble (with Embody the Rhythm) performs amidst a line up of many fabulous local dance bands, including Primo Cubano (with Portland Maine Salsa), King Day & His New Imperials (with Portland Swing Project), and Joy Compass (with Portland Intown Contra Dance).

Each group is offering an open dance workshop to be included in your ticket to the Festival. We hope you’ll join us September 8, and come see what we’ve been up to!

Links for Henry Fest @ Skyline Farm, 95 The Ln, North Yarmouth, ME 04097  
Henry Fest 2018 Website
Facebook Event Page
Volunteer Sign Up Page (Volunteers get in free)
Henry Fest 2018 Tickets

Sunday SEPTEMBER 9th,
Drum & Dance Workshops
with Namory Keita & Seny Daffe

Namory Keita and Seny Daffe will teach high vibes Guinea West African Drum & Dance workshops, right here in Portland, at Maine Ballroom Dance Studio.

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10:00-11:00am – DRUM CLASS w/ Namory Keita – All-levels
11:30am-1:00pm – DANCE CLASS w/ Seny Daffe – All-levels

No experience necessary ~ All-levels welcome in both classes.

Maine Ballroom Dance Studio, 614 Congress St., Portland, ME
Individual class = $16, or $30 for both (Cash preferred, small surcharge for credit)
Enjoy free on-street parking on Sundays.

To reserve your spot in a class contact Marita here.
To reserve a drum for class contact Namory: info@namorydrum.com
FMI Link to: Facebook Event Page


Wednesdays, starting Sep 5th
5 week Drum Workshop Series
with Annegret Baier

Annegret

Annegret Baier is a fabulous musician and teacher, cherished dance class drummer and New Moon Ensemble performer. She brings 25+ years of experience to her playing and teaching of West African rhythms. 

These workshops will be 5 Wednesdays: 9/5, 9/12, 9/19. 10/3 & 10/10
6:00-7:30pm
Friends Meeting House, 1837 Forest Ave, Portland, Me
$120  
Pre-registration is required.
To register and rent a Djembe, contact Annegret here.

Looking forward to seeing you at Henry Fest, dancing & drumming with you in September workshops, and in our weekly classes!

 

May you find your movement. May you find your medicine.

See you on the dance floor! 

May the Sunshine Pour from our Pores

*FROM GUINEA TO MAINE*
4 UPCOMING WORKSHOPS WITH SPECIAL GUESTS!

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Room Island, Guinea

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Hamana region, Guinea

Home

With our friend, Namory Keita, and his son.

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The beautiful location where Namory has begun building Hamana Art Center.

2018 began for me amidst the beauty of Guinea, West Africa, with dear friends old and new, to study at the home of my long-time teacher, Youssouf Koumbassa:

 

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Grand Master Dancer and Teacher, Youssouf Koumbassa

 

It has taken me a Moon or more to settle back into Maine’s long winter, and tonight as I reminisce these sunny photos, we prepare for another big snow storm. 

 



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This beauty, dear friend and long time student Steph Harmon, came along for the month-long dance and drum immersion studies.

We invite our community to join us for a sharing of stories & slideshows from our trip: SUNDAY, MARCH 18
7pm, Hustle & Flow Studio, 155 Brackett St., 3rd floor, Portland.

I will continue to share Guinea stories here too, bit by bit.
There is so much!

*FROM GUINEA TO MAINE*
UPCOMING DANCE & DRUM WORKSHOPS
WITH VERY SPECIAL GUESTS!

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Bolokada Conde

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Seny Daffe

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 29
All Levels Drum Class with
Grandmaster djembefola,
BOLOKADA CONDE

The Dance Hall, 7 Walker St., Kittery, Maine
5:30-6:45pm, $20
Bolokada will lead the drum accompaniment for Liz Fowler’s dance class, directly to follow.

TUESDAY, APRIL 3
All Levels Drum Class with
Master Village Drummer,
NAMORY KEITA
The Portland New Church, 302 Steven’s Ave. Portland, ME
5:00-6:00pm, $15
Contact Marita to reserve a drum. 

TUESDAY, APRIL 3
*Dundun Dance* Class with
Master Drummer & Singer, SENY DAFFE
The Portland New Church, 302 Steven’s Ave. Portland, ME
6:15-7:45pm, $18

*Space is limited. ALL DUNDUNS HAVE NOW BEEN RESERVED, which means we’re at capacity, but we do have a WAITLIST. You may join the waitlist by contacting Marita.

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Namory Keita

SUNDAY, APRIL 15th
Special *Advanced* Drumming Workshop with
NAMORY KEITA

1:00-3:00pm, $25
Portland New Church, 302 Stevens Ave.
One-Time Event. Register HERE 

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Guinea Story #1
FIRST AID, FROM NEW ENGLAND TO GUINEA

 

Guinea, West Africa is rich in culture, contributing incredible music and dance to the rest of the world, the roots of which are seen in many popular contemporary art forms worldwide. As you might have noticed, as a follower of West African dance & drumming, Guinea has *incredible* talent. 

Meanwhile, the reality remains that the average person in Guinea has only the very basics for survival. While colonizing countries have established businesses there, and imported all manner of packaged items, there is no place to deal with trash and plastic waste, no sanitation system, no running water, and scant/rationed electricity for the non-elite. The average person has no access to basic health care or even first aid such as antiseptic, bandages, fever-fighting medicines and pain reducers, no simple life-saving conveniences such as bug spray (while malaria, and other mosquito born illnesses are rampant). My friends and fellow artists whom I became close with are not even guaranteed to have food to eat each day, nor a bed to sleep in. 

On my recent journey to the country, I was able to bring along a suitcase full of traditional first aid items and lovingly prepared herbal medicines, coming from many of you in our local community. I cannot tell you how incredibly far this went. A special shout out to wise herbalists, Angel Putney Noe and Isa Beaulieu for your beautiful healing remedies ~ the herbal medicines were most deeply appreciated. 

An amazing group of friends and community members in Guinea volunteered to help with separating all of the donations into smaller units, which we then distributed home by home, around numerous villages. Local volunteers came along to ensure that proper use of the medicines was translated into the local languages. It was a most beautiful effort, linking together communities that I love and cherish from both sides of the ocean. Thank you to all who donated, and to all who helped.

As I would hear people say every day in Guinea, “Wontanara” (We are together / We are one). Let’s find more ways to give back, to share the wealth, and to honor this truth of our common humanity with care and action. 

Beat the Winter Blues, Giving & Receiving


Click Here for Weekly Dance & Drum Class Details for Adults
Click Here for Children & Family Classes, Winter Session 2018

Do you have plans in place to stay warm and inspired, active and connected this winter?
One of my favorite ways to beat the blues is gathering with community for energetic movement and inspiring live music ~
There’s a lot of love here.

West African Dance & Drum is alive and thriving here in Maine, thanks to an incredible, ever-growing community. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post for some big updates, relevant this month. 

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Post Dundun Dance Class with Seny Daffe in Kittery, ME. November 30, 2017

We had a fantastic turnout for our special day of classes with Youssouf Koumbassa and Namory Keita in Portland last month, and a great class with Seny Daffe in Kittery last week.

Click here for Video from Seny Daffe’s dundun dance class, 11.30.17

 

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Dance Class with Youssouf Koumbassa in Portland, ME. October 24, 2017

~ GIVING & RECEIVING ~

In the tradition of West African drum and dance,
there is a constant exchange.

Energy is given out by each dancer and drummer, and received in turn by each, as well as the rest of the community.

IN THE SPIRIT OF GIVING AND RECEIVING WE SHARE THIS NEWS AND INVITE YOUR PARTICIPATION:

  • Embody the Rhythm founder, (yours truly) Marita Kennedy-Castro is returning to Guinea, West Africa December 31 for a dance intensive cultural immersion with Youssouf Koumbassa.

  • Click Here to Support First Aid supplies for Guinean Families
    I will return with photos and stories from those whom you’ve helped, and I’ll be on fire with new dances to share.
    Please donate before December 27th for First Aid supplies.

  • Click Here to Support your teacher’s immersion studies at Bagatai Dance/Drum

  • Click Here to Support Namory Keita’s Dream Project – Hamana Arts Center


  • NEW Winter Dance Class Sessions for Children & Families
    Beginning February 10th – 2 Age Groups – Details & Registration, here
  • NEW Gift Certificates for New Students –  $20 for 4 weeks of Tuesday night adult class. Give the gift of dance ~  Contact Marita by Dec 27 to order Gift Certificates
  • YOU’RE INVITED – Tuesday December 19th, will be our last class of 2017. Join Embody the Rhythm for a community potluck gathering right after dance class at the New Church. Bring your dinner, or something to share. Funds and First Aid items can be donated that evening as well.
  • No class Dec 26 * Classes Resume Jan 2nd and continue on, weekly! 
    Ashley Edmondson and Anne Esguerra, from New Moon Ensemble, will be subbing for Marita while she’s in Guinea.
    Our solid drummers will keep it hopping, so there’s no need to lose your groove.

Join the ever-growing community here at Embody the Rhythm!
All are welcome.

Our lively dance classes bring community together through the healing power of movement and music, and the gift of cultural exchange. Classes are designed for beginner students together with intermediate students. No experience necessary.

Click HERE for weekly adult dance class info

Namory, Liz, Youssouf & Marita (left to right) celebrating West African Dance & Drumming, alive, thriving and expanding in Maine.

 

 

Inhale, Exhale, Repeat.

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Dance class will begin at 6pm, starting this week.
All-levels dance class with live drumming.  
Every Tuesday, 6-7:30pm
Come dance in Spring, 2017! What better time than now?
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Loads of fun things being cooked up, behind the scenes, at Embody the Rhythm.
So much so, that this post needs to remain brief… Inhale, exhale, repeat.  Join me on the dance floor!

Surprise Special Guest, Wadaba Joins us for Dance & Drum Class this Week!

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18 ONLY – Special drum & dance opportunity!

Mamady Kourouma, affectionately known as Wadaba, and a good friend of Namory Keita is a true Djembefola (master drummer), expert of Malinke Rhythms and one of the world’s great djembe players!

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THIS TUESDAY WADABA WILL PLAY FOR OUR WEEKLY DANCE CLASS
@ 5:45-7:15pm
AND GUEST TEACH AN ALL LEVELS DRUM CLASS
@ 7:30-8:45 pm

This is a surprise visit and a unique opportunity to experience the rich artistic playing of Mamady. He brings Malinke rhythms, songs and an understanding of the ceremonies of his village of Oroko, Guinea (just down the Niger River from Namory’s village of Sangbarala).

Don’t miss this special unexpected treat and opportunity!

Beginners to professional levels – All are welcome.
Bring your djembe for drum class
(some extra djembes available).

Drum class just $15.

Our weekly classes are at: Portland New Church, 302 Stevens Ave, Portland ME

See you on the dance floor!

We Have Moved!

After 12 years of West African Inspired Dance & Drumming on Congress St. in downtown Portland, WE’VE MOVED to TUESDAYS.

NEW DANCE & DRUM CLASSES BEGIN OCTOBER, 2016
Join us at our new place, time and location!
(please see below for details) 

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Videos from our final Thursday night dance class at Maine Ballroom, Sep 29, 2016. 

I am beyond grateful to all of the drummers and dancers who’ve shared Thursday nights with me over the past decade, building and being part of this ever-growing community ~

Thank you for helping create space for movement without judgement, movement that brings people together, movement that brings liberation to bodies and minds, that allows us to feel and be and still keep moving amidst our grief, to celebrate our successes together and to honor and give thanks to the tradition and culture of Guinea dance & drumming for showing us how.
May we continue to create modern community rituals that bring us together across cultures and creeds, honoring our unity and our diversity at once, and connecting us with the cycles and seasons of nature – to the Earth, from which we all come.

TUESDAY NIGHTS –DANCE & DRUM CLASSES – BEGIN OCT 4th
Portland New Church, 302 Stevens Ave. Portland, ME


TUESDAY DANCE CLASS | 5:45-7:15pm

This class is for true beginners and experienced students together. 

Dance class is taught by Marita Kennedy-Castro. This is an open, welcoming space to learn something fun and new. Special discounts for both new and returning students. 

The same amazing lineup of musicians provide live drumming, including most frequently Janice Erickson, Jeff Howe, Sandra Benson, Chris Gager, Annegret Baier and master village drummer from Sangbarela, Guinea, Namory Keita.

 

TUESDAY DRUM CLASS | 7:30-8:45pm
This drum class is for intermediate to advanced drum students.

Drum class, taught by Namory Keita will include a full ensemble of West African Traditional Melenke Rhythms on djembe, as well as the full doundoun family of drums.

WEDNESDAY DRUM CLASS* | 5:45-6:45pm
This drum class is for true beginners. 

*Wednesdays are at Woodford’s Club. 179 Woodford’s St., Portland, ME
Beginner drum class with Namory Keita is a blast, whether you want to improve your drum circle skills, or dig deeper into the wonders of West African rhythms. 


We look forward to meeting and welcoming new students in this move!

Meanwhile, I’m working on development of a family dance class (kids and parents together). Please contact me if you’re interested.

Big Up to everyone who came out to classes with Youssouf Koumbassa & Namory Keita in September, (photos/video HERE). Special thanks to Maine Ballroom Dance Studio for the space to enjoy these fabulous teachers in Portland! 

Follow Embody the Rhythm on Facebook

Peace

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