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 Sangbaralla, Guinea.


with Annegret Baier
NEXT 4 week series begins January 22, 2020!
All Levels Welcome
@ Portland Friends Meeting House, 1837 Forest Ave, Portland
For details and sign up, contact: Annegret

with Namory Keita
6:15-7:15pm (Resuming mid Feb, 2020)

Beginner/Adv Beginner, Weekly
Intermediate/Adv Drum on final Mondays monthly

New Location: 255 West Concord St., Portland, ME

For details contact: Namory

Namory also teaches on Thursdays in Kittery, ME and accompanies dance class with Liz Fowler. See Seacoast West African Dance & Drum for details. 


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

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

TUESDAYS – Ongoing Weekly (open to drop in)
with Marita
Hours: Sep – May
 ~ 6:00-7:30pm / June – Aug ~ 7:00-8:30pm 
Live Drumming Accompaniment
See class pricing below.

FRIDAYS – 8 Week Series (open to drop in)
with Marita

Current Session runs through February 14, 2020

See class pricing below.

Do you wish to find your movement freedom but feel “stuck” in some way?
Would you love to take a dance class, but don’t feel quite ready?

Marita provides a safe and fun environment in which to explore and is passionate about helping people find more ease within their bodies, at a pace that suits their needs.
A few individualized classes can help to access movement and expression at your own pace. Private or small-group lessons are available by request. Contact Marita for arrangements by clicking HERE.

Embody the Rhythm Dance Class Video Samples LINK


Prices increased by $1 in 2019 to support social change initiatives. Nobody is turned away for lack of funds. CLICK HERE to learn about Movement Medicine for Social Change.

TUESDAYS On-Going Weekly
|Guinea Love Pass (*New Students*) 4 classes in 4 weeks = $24
|4 Class Pass (Returning Students) 4 classes, lasts 8 weeks = $56 
|8 Class Pass (Returning Students) 8 classes, lasts 12 weeks = $104
|Drop-in = $16

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

FRIDAYS – 8 Week Series
Current Session Dec 27, 2019 – Feb 14, 2020
|Full series = EARLY BIRDS: $104 by cash/check / $116 after December 13
|Drop in =
|As-needed Discounts – Contact Marita. Nobody turned away for lack of funds.
*There is a small surcharge for credit card payments. 

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


Guinea Style West African Dance Class 

Dance and drumming are a rich part of culture and community in Guinea. 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 20 years of study under master West African dance and drum artists, both in the U.S. and in Guinea, West Africa. 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. We let loose and have fun, while generating a lot of energy. 

Marita teaches a different dance each month, starting a new dance at the beginning of the month. Live drumming in the traditional rhythms 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. 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. 


Click below for more information about our instructors:
 Instructor, Marita Kennedy-Castro
Drum Instructor, Namory Keita
Drum Instructor, Annegret Baier

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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