About West African Dance

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Embody the rhythm that pulses within your chest, the beat of life beginning
Embody the rhythm of your breath, of the moon waxing and waning,

of the ocean tides flowing in and out, in and out
Embody the rhythm of the seasons changing, the cycles of life repeating,

the rising and the setting of the sun,
Embody the rhythm, beyond the beat of the drum

~ MKC

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About Traditional Dance of Guinea, West Africa 

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.

Marita shares dances from over 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, honoring the source and recognizing our place in the lineage of learning. Marita promotes awareness and appreciation for the culture and traditions of her teachers and for the interconnectedness of all life.  Learn about Marita.

Each year we host master artists from West Africa and the diaspora as guest teachers at
Embody the Rhythm.

What to expect in Dance Class:

Notice: Due to Covid 19 indoor spaces are limited for proper distancing.
Masks are optional at this time.

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

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

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Inspiration~ Doundounba in Conakry, Guinea

The environment of these classes is welcoming to students of all levels. Students are invited to adjust/take alterations as needed to suit their body, while striving to understand the integrity of the traditional movement.

Marita teaches a different dance monthly in each class, starting new dances at the beginning of the month or series. Students are lead through short sequences or choreography and invited to enjoy the enlivening rhythms of Guinea.

Live drumming in the traditional rhythms is provided by a fantastic crew of professional drummers for all-levels community classes; beautiful Guinean recordings are utilized for the beginner series.

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. Explore the heart and hip opening movements of Guinean traditional dance, today!

dance class 3
All-Levels Dance Class with Live Drumming
Inspiration~ Nongo, Guinea

How to prepare:

We generally dance barefoot, but dance shoes are fine too, if preferred. Please wear comfortable clothing that allows you ease of movement, and the ability to work up a sweat, and
bring water to stay hydrated. 

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Portland New Church, 302 Stevens Ave., Portland, ME 04103 | (207) 200-4834