Youssouf Koumbassa returns to New England

World renowned dancer and teacher, Youssouf Koumbassa, is coming back to New England! On October 26 he will be teaching a special class on our ongoing Thursday night slot on along with Namory Keita.

Drum class with Namory Keita
5:30 to 6:30

Dance class with Youssouf Koumbassa
6:45 to 8:15

$15.00 ahead per class or $18.00 at the door

Youssouf is one of the world’s most sought after teachers of West African dance. He was a principal dancer with Ballet Djoliba, one of Guinea’s national companies, before relocating to the US more than 25 years. He leads workshops and conferences all over the world from Japan to Israel to California – and Maine.

Namory has traveled to many places to share his culture including Germany, Poland, France, Canada, and Portugal. Since moving to New England in 2010, he has continued touring to teach and perform at conferences around the world. Currently Namory performs and teaches weekly drumming classes throughout New England. He is a patient teacher for all skill levels and brings a thorough understanding of the whole drum ensemble and West African musical experience to his students.

Youssouf and Namory will be teaching in Portland on Tuesday, October 24th and in Camden on Friday, October 27th.

Youssouf Koumbassa and Namory Keita

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Drum and Dance in August

Namory Keita is traveling and will be teaching in California for a few weeks. Drum and Dance classes are still on at the Dance Hall.

Thursday, August 17
Drum class with Ult Mundane
5:30 to 6:30

Dance class with Meaghan Dunn
6:45 to 8:15

Thursday, August 24
Drum class with Ult Mundane
5:30 to 6:30

Dance class with Liz Fowler
6:45 to 8:15

Thursday, August 31
Drum class with John Felice
5:30 to 6:30

Dance class with Liz Fowler
6:45 to 8:15

Namory will be back Thursday, September 7

Join in class any week! Drop-ins are always welcome!

No class on July 13

There won’t be drum or dance classes in Kittery on July 13. Namory Keita will be performing in Portland with the New Moon Ensemble. Tickets are available for the performance at Mayo Street Arts through Brown Paper Tickets

A Celebration of Allen Williams’ Life will be held at the Dance Hall on Saturday, July 29 from 1pm to 6pm.

Allen was a drummer with our drum and dance classes and performances for several years and shared his passion and talents in many groups throughout the Seacoast and more. He died earlier this summer from complications due to a double lung transplant.

The schedule for the day is:
1pm Drum Jam
2pm Opening Ceremony; open mic: sharing memories of Allen.
4:30pm Musical Performances
5:30pm Closing Ceremony
5:45 Drum jam
6:30 Clean up

Please bring:
– Snack food and (non-alcoholic) drinks to share.
– Object for Allen’s Memento Altar (you will leave with your object)

Please join us if you’re able.

Spring 2017

It’s technically still winter, but spring really is around the corner. We hope to drum and dance with you soon!

There are no classes on Thursday, March 9, because Namory and Liz are spending the week with third graders from Kittery’s Mitchell School. We’ll be back at the Dance Hall Thursday, March 16!

Speaking of the Dance Hall… it was one of the chosen organizations for March sales at The Fabulous Find! Each month, the Fabulous Find donates to local non-profits – they’ve just now surpassed $1 million! Please donate your gently used items and shop to the Fabulous Find this month and support the Dance Hall and Seacoast Mental Health!

Get your tickets now for One Billion Rising at the Music Hall on Sunday, April 2! We will be performing along with more than 75 dancers and musicians from the seacoast. The evening will benefit Haven NH as they work “To prevent sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking and to support and empower women, men, youth and families to heal from abuse and rebuild their lives.” Here’s a little taste of what we’ll be performing that evening.

Support Namory’s dream: the Hamana Arts Center

namory-hamana-artsNamory Keita is just back from Guinea where he broke ground on the school he dreams to start, the Hamana Arts Center. He needs your help. Here is his letter requesting support:

My name is Namory Keita, and I am a master drummer from the village of Sangbarala, in the Hamana region of Guinea, West Africa. What I really want to tell you about is my dream, the Hamana Arts Center.

The Hamana Arts Center will be a school where master teachers and students from around the world come together to exchange, teach, perform, and study the traditional arts of the Hamana region. This region has fostered some of the greatest drummers in the world including my uncle, Famadou Konate as well as Nounmody Keita, Nansady Keita, and Solo Keita to name just a few.

For this art form to remain culturally vibrant and intact, its artists must earn a living. They need housing, a place to teach, study and perform and a center to pull this together is essential. We are proud to have broken ground this year! The purchasing of the property, surveying completed, design finished, and the foundation of the structure begun – we are on our way, but need your help for the next steps.

Our initial funding goal is $5000, though the project will require much more financial support than that. I’ll be traveling back and forth to oversee the project which will likely span the next 3-5 years.

The Hamana Arts Center is located on the outskirts of Conakry on a beautiful hillside. The design includes guest rooms for artists and students, a main all, kitchen, dining room and of course a studio floor for drumming and dancing along with a beautiful view of the forest.

Together we can do this! Your generosity is much appreciated. Thank you! ~Namory

Hamana Arts Center Project Go Fund Me page

Winter 2017 Classes

Namory Keita is just back from Guinea and will be teaching drum class at The Dance Hall starting Thursday, February 16. Ult Mundane has done an amazing job of teaching drum class and leading accompaniment for dance class, but it will be great to have Namory here again!

Drum class with Namory Keita
Thursdays
5:30 to 6:30 pm
$15.00 per class

Dance class with Liz Fowler
Thursdays
6:45 pm to 8:15 pm
$15.00 drop in fee per class or $96.00 if you pre-pay for 8 classes Please use within 12 weeks.

Class begins with a warm-up, a combination of stretching and aerobic movement. This is followed by a high-energy class where you will learn a dance from Guinea, including some of the customs around it.

~Wear comfortable clothing. Dance is traditionally done in bare-feet, though you’re welcome to wear clean soled dance shoes.~

All levels welcome to both drum and dance classes!!

Be sure to bring water to drink.

To check for weather dependent cancellations, follow on Facebook or call (603)969-5264.

For more information: seacoastdanceanddrum@gmail.com

Youssouf Koumbassa returns to Kittery

Join us at The Dance Hall, Sunday September 25 at noon for two special classes!

Youssouf Koumbassa, world renowned dancer and teacher, returns to New England for several workshops at the end of September! Namory Keita, who teaches at the Dance Hall and accompanies the weekly class, will lead the accompaniment for Youssouf’s classes and then teach a class of his own!

Dance with Youssouf
12:00 to 1:30 pm
$15 if you pay ahead or $18 at the door

Drum with Namory
1:30 to 3:00 pm
$15 if you pay ahead or $18 at the door

Save money: pay ahead through Brown Paper Tickets or by dropping a check off at Thursday night’s dance class and save money.
Youssouf Koumbassa is one of the world’s most sought after teachers of West African dance. He was a principal dancer with Ballet Djoliba, one of the national companies in Guinea, before relocating to the US more than 25 years ago.

He is a simultaneously graceful and powerful dancer, with an incredible gift for teaching. He leads workshops and conferences all over the world from Japan to Israel to California – and Maine.

Namory Keita was born in 1982 in the village of Sangbarala, Guinea. He began drumming at a young age and was the lead drummer in his village before he relocated to the US.

Namory has travelled to many places to share his culture including Germany, Poland, France, Canada, and Portugal. Since coming to America in 2010, he has played with Famoudou Konate, Mamady Keita, Bolokada Conde, Mousa Traore and many more.

Currently Namory performs and teaches weekly drumming classes throughout New England. He is a patient teacher for all skill levels and brings a thorough understanding of the whole drum ensemble and West African musical experience to his students.

Classes with Youssouf in Camden – September 21, Portland – September 24, and Kittery – September 25.

For more information:

Camden class
Denyserobinson@gmail.com

Portland class
embodytherhythmportland@gmail.com
https://embodytherhythm.com

Kittery class (September 25)
Seacoastdanceanddrum@gmail.com
603-969-5264

We’re celebrating the beautiful music and dance from Guinea at the Dance Hall next weekend, May 21! Beyond the afternoon workshops – between noon and 5pm – we’re looking forward to the evening performance. It will be opened by students from both Kittery and Portland classes and then followed up with at least six Guinean master artists sharing their talents!

Abou Sylla has been teaching and performing balafon throughout the US for more than twenty years. He comes from a musical family in Guinea and was in one of the country’s national ballets, Ballets Africains for many years before he moved to the US.
He’s now located in the Monadnock region of NH, but is often invited to perform at festivals all over the country.

Ismael Bangoura has been drumming for most of his life. He began as a young boy in Guinea and then played for years with his mentor and friend, Ibrahima “Boca” Camara. For nearly twenty years, he’s been a member of Jeh Kulu Dance and Drum Theater, teaching, performing, and producing an annual festival. He taught the first workshop at the Dance Hall in April of 2011 and we’re always thrilled to welcome him back!

Namory Keita has been teaching a weekly drum class and accompanying dance class at the Dance Hall every Thursday for the past four years. He grew up in the village of Sangbarala in Guinea and was mentored by his uncle, the world renowned Famoudou Konate. Besides teaching in Kittery and his current hometown of Portland, ME, he also teaches in Cambridge, MA and is frequently invited to perform and teach throughout North America.

Sayon Camara comes from the village of Kouya Sidia in the Sankaran region of Guinea. He began playing the djembe when he was a young boy and his hands haven’t stopped drumming since. He lives in Vermont and teaches classes and performs regularly throughout New England. Sayon’s skillful – and joyful – drumming is infectious.

Seny Daffe was born in Conakry, the capital of Guinea. He’s a multi-instrumentalist who plays djembe, dunduns, balafon, gongoma, bolon, krin, and more. He relocated to Vermont in 2006 and has been sharing his music and dance throughout New England since.

Sidiki Sylla was born and raised in Conakry, Guinea and joined Ballet Djoliba in 1984. He toured the world with both Ballet Djoliba and Ballets Africains before relocating to Burlington, VT in 1997. He’s the artistic director of Jeh Kulu and teaches weekly classes in the area. His dance classes in Kittery have been some of the most joy filled we’ve ever seen.

Namory Keita, djembefola from Guinea
Namory Keita

Dance class with sidiki

Sayon Camara

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