Dance & Drum Classes


Inspiration~ Kindia, Guinea

All are welcome ~ No experience needed.
Classes are on-going. Drop-in any time!

Embody the Rhythm
 brings weekly Guinea style West African Dance Classes to Portland, ME with dancer/choreographer Marita Kennedy-Castro, and live drum accompaniment with a talented crew of local drummers lead by master drummer Namory Keita from Sangbarala, Guinea.

These lively classes are designed for both beginner students and intermediate students, bringing community together through the healing power of movement and music, and the gift of cultural exchange. No experience is necessary.

DANCE CLASS ~ Weekly On-going Tuesdays*
Adult Class

True Beginner & Intermediate Dance
with Marita Kennedy-Castro
Live Drumming Accompaniment
Portland New Church, 302 Stevens Ave.
See pricing and details below.

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Yes indeed, the rhythms are infectious. West African Inspired Dance Class every Tuesday at Portland New Church, 302 Stevens Ave.. The drummers are on fire and the rhythms of West Africa fill the house ~ Come dance! Portland, Maine. We start a new dance this week (first class of every month). Live drumming lead by Namory Keita. #embodytherhythm #movementismedicine #danceforthesoul #movewithspirit #livedrumming #westafricaninspired #danceclass #communityisunity #diversityisbeautiful #GuineaLove #dancelove #danceforallpeople #danceforhealing #dancelife #drumlife #portlandmaine #peace #love #unity #joy #welove

A post shared by Marita Kennedy-Castro (@embodytherhythm) on


DRUM CLASSES ~ Weekly Mondays
Beginner & Intermediate Drum
with Namory Keita
For details contact Janice at:

On-going Drum Workshops (Wednesdays)
Beginner & Intermediate Drum Series
with Annegret Baier –
Contact Annegret for details and registration.


|FIRST-TIME STUDENT DISCOUNT: $20 for 4 classes in 4 weeks.
|4 CLASS PASS: $52 –  lasts 8 weeks 
|8 CLASS PASS: $96 – lasts 12 weeks
|DROP-IN: $15
|STUDENT DISCOUNT & AS-NEEDED DISCOUNTS honored ~ please inquire with Marita.
|1ST TUESDAY DISCOUNT FOR THE FELLAS – $5 for all self-identified males on the 1st Tuesday of each month to encourage more gender diversity on the dance floors in Maine! Dance is good for the soul.

Classes are gender neutral ~ the same moves are danced by all.

*Private and Small Group Dance 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? A few 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 people find more ease in their bodies. She is available to offer private or small-group lessons by request, on 1st & 3rd Tuesdays before the weekly class. Contact Marita in advance to set that up, by clicking HERE.

“If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing.”
~ Proverb from Zimbabwe


West African Inspired Dance Class 

Dance and drumming are a rich part of the cultures of West Africa. There are traditional rhythms and dances that accompany all manner of life’s passages and natural cycles, including births, weddings, coming of age ceremonies, the planting and harvesting of crops, full moons, and celebrations of many sorts.

In these classes Marita shares dances from her 19 years of study under master West African dance and drum artists, both in the U.S. and in Guinea. She will share the names, meanings, regions and ethnicities from which the dances come. Marita seeks to promote awareness and appreciation for the culture and traditions of her teachers; for the interconnectedness of all life. 

What to expect:

Classes begin with a warm up, to tune into our bodies and get our blood flowing…


Next, dance sequences are broken down and repeated in parts…

feeling the rhythm

Inspiration~ Doundounba in Conakry, Guinea

Once the steps are broken down students move and groove the dance through the studio. The sequences raise the heart rate, challenge the mind and invigorate the spirit.

Marita teaches a different dance each month, starting a new dance at the beginning of the month. Live drumming in the traditional rhythm for each dance is provided by a fantastic crew of professional drummers.

Dance steps and sequences are broken down for every class. No prior knowledge is required for drop-in students, while those who come consistently can really get the moves into their bones.

You can often learn which dance/rhythm is being focused on for the month by staying tuned to The Monthly Groove.

embody the rhythm!

Inspiration~ Nongo, Guinea

What to wear & bring:

We generally dance barefoot, but dance shoes (not street shoes) are fine too, if preferred.
Wear comfortable clothing that allows ease of movement, and the ability to work up a sweat.
Please bring a water bottle and stay hydrated. 


For more information about Dance Instructor, Marita Kennedy-Castro, click HERE
For more information about Drum Instructor, Namory Keita, click HERE
For more information about Drum Instructor, Annegret Baier, click HERE

Still have questions?  Get in touch. We hope to see you on the dance floor!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. jazel40
    Dec 02, 2011 @ 06:02:08

    Thank you Marita for bringing this dance to Portland. You don’t have to be a dancer to learn this. This dance is a special experience because you will have a great work out but so much fun while you sweat. Live djembe drumming create vibration and energy, dancing barefoot allows a great connection to the floor and earth, and a beautiful cultural experience of learning dances from different tribes and areas of West Africa. Experiencing a part of a different culture that is more in touch with nature and their heart chakra is so good for this western society that is very much in our head, busy, and distracted. Marita’s class is fun, a real work out, a cultural experience, and a healing experience. Check it out.


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