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, and live drum accompaniment from a talented crew of local drummers including master drummer Namory Keita from Sangbarala, Guinea.


True Beginner & Intermediate Drummers

6:15-7:15pm ongoing weekly
with Namory Keita
For details contact Janice:

with Annegret Baier –
Session 1: 3/27, 4/3 + 4/10
Session 2: 4/24, 5/1 + 5/8
Contact Annegret for details and registration.


@ Portland New Church, 302 Stevens Ave., Portland, ME

Adult Classes are designed for beginner and intermediate students, bringing community together through the healing power of movement and music. No experience is necessary.
Classes are gender neutral ~ same moves danced by all. See pricing options below.

TUESDAYS – Ongoing Weekly Adult Class 

Open for Drop-In
Live Drumming Accompaniment at Tuesday class

FRIDAYS – 8 Week Series, Adult Class
March 15 – May 10 (skips Apr 5)
Early Bird Special before Feb 28. Register HERE.
Open for Drop-in. 

See class pricing below.

Private and Small Group Lessons 
Would you love to take a dance class, but don’t quite dare?
Do you wish to find your movement freedom but struggle with 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 within their bodies.

A few individualized classes can help to unblock and access movement and expression at your own pace. Private or small-group lessons are available by request.
Contact me for arrangements by clicking HERE.

Embody the Rhythm Dance Class Video Samples: LINK HERE 


TUESDAYS On-Going Weekly
Prices have increased by $1 in 2019 to support social change initiatives. Nobody is turned away for lack of funds. See blog post from Jan 6 for organizations we support. 

|First-Time Students: Guinea Love Pass – $24 for 4 classes in 4 weeks
|4 Class Pass (lasts 8 weeks): $56 
|8 Class Pass (lasts 12 weeks): $104
|Drop-in: $16

|1st Tuesday special for the FELLAS: To encourage gender diversity on the dance floor, the 1st Tuesday of every month is just $5 for gender-non-conforming and male-identified dancers. Dance is good for all bodies.
|As-needed Discounts – Contact Marita. Nobody turned away for lack of funds.

FRIDAYS – 8 Week Series
Current Session: March 15 – May 10 (skips April 5)   Drop in any Friday!
|Full series: $104 before Feb 28 / $120 after Feb 28
|Drop in:

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


West African Dance Class – Guinea Style

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…


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.

dance class 3

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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