Dance & Drum Classes


Inspiration~ Kindia, Guinea

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

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


Tuesday Evenings, On-going Adult Class

Live Drumming Accompaniment

NEW Friday Mornings, Oct 26 – Dec 21 Adult Class (no class Nov 23)

Portland New Church, 302 Stevens Ave., Portland, ME
Pricing and details below.

These lively classes are designed for both beginner students and intermediate students, bringing community together through the healing power of movement and music. No experience is necessary. Classes are gender neutral ~ the same moves are danced by all.


|FIRST-TIME STUDENTS: Guinea Love Pass = $20 for 4 classes in 4 weeks
|4 CLASS PASS: $52 –  lasts 8 weeks 
|8 CLASS PASS: $96 – lasts 12 weeks
|DROP-IN: $15
|1ST TUESDAYS, $5 for the FELLAS – For all self-identified males on the 1st Tuesday of each month – To encourage more gender diversity on the dance floors in Maine! Plus, dance is good for the soul.

Oct 26 – Dec 21 (no class Nov 23)
|EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT: $110 – Register by October 15, 2018 for the series
and help ensure the class flies!
|DROP-IN (once minimum registrations are met): $15

For True Beginner & Intermediate Drummers

Monday Evenings
with Namory Keita
For details contact Janice at:

Wednesdays Evenings
with Annegret Baier –
Contact Annegret for details and registration for the next Wednesday series.

*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? Marita provides a safe and fun environment in which to explore, and is passionate about helping people find more ease in their bodies. A few individualized classes can help to unblock and access movement and expression at your own pace. Marita is available for private or small-group lessons by request. Contact Marita to set it 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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