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 including master drummer Namory Keita from Sangbarala, Guinea.


@ 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.

On-going Weekly Adult Class – TUESDAYS

Open for Drop-In
Live Drumming Accompaniment at Tuesday class

8 Week Series, Adult Class – FRIDAYS
Jan 4 – Feb 22, 2019
Open for Drop-In

See class pricing below.

Preschool (3-5yr old) & Family ~ Dance, Rhythm, Song, Play ~ 5 SATURDAYS
Feb 9 – Mar 9, 2019
This class is for 3-5 year olds with a participating parent/guardian. Inspired by the music and movement of Guinea, West Africa, we explore rhythm, song and dance/movement play. Discussion of the origins of each song and rhythm, location and cultural awareness included. 
Early Bird discount before Jan 31, 2019
– see pricing below

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 turned away for lack of funds)

|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-ins: $16

|1st Tuesday Special: 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 – Open to Drop In
Current Session: Jan 4 – Feb 22, 2019
|After Jan 1st: $120 cash, check / $124 online LINK HERE
|Drop-ins: $16

SATURDAYS – Pre-School & Family, 5 Week Series
Winter Session: Feb 9 – Mar 9, 2019
Class size limited.
Pre-register for Early Bird Discount by January 31st: LINK HERE
|Early Birds: $65 cash, check / $68 online
|After Jan 31st: $75 cash, check /$78 online

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.
Get in touch for arrangements by clicking HERE.

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


For True Beginner & Intermediate Drummers

with Namory Keita
For details contact Janice at:

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


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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