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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Mini Guinea Fest in Kittery

On May 21, our friends Ismael Bangoura, Sidiki Sylla, and Seny Daffe from Jeh Kulu Dance and Drum Theater will be teaching class and performing at the Dance Hall!

12:00 to 1:30 pm
Drum class with Ismael Bangoura

1:45 to 3:15 pm
Dundun dance class with Seny Daffe

3:30 to 5:00 pm
Dance class with Sidiki Sylla

No experience necessary for any of the classes.
$15.00 per class in advance or $17.00 at the door

7:00 ~ West African Drum and Dance Performance with Guinean artists, Namory Keita, Ismael Bangoura, Seny Daffe, Sidiki Sylla, Sayon Camara, and more! Portland’s local New Moon Tribe, led by Marita Kennedy-Castro and Seacoast West African Dance & Drum led by Liz Fowler and Namory Keita will open up the show. ($12 advance/$15 at door)

Register for class or buy tickets for the performance.

ismael seny sidiki

Weekly classes for 2016

After a couple of weeks away, drum and dance classes will begin again, Thursday, January 7 at the The Dance Hall, Kittery.

Drum class with Ult Mundane

(Namory Keita is traveling and for the next two months, Ult will be teaching)

Thursdays
5:30-6:30 pm
$10.00 per class

Dance class with Liz Fowler
Thursdays
6:30-8:00 pm
$12.00 per class or eight classes for $80.00
(please use within twelve weeks)

Join us for West African dance class accompanied by some fantastic drummers.

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 traditional dance from Guinea, including some of the customs around it. Some weeks we may even sing a little.

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

For more information: seacoastdanceanddrum@gmail.com

All levels welcome to both drum and dance classes!!

Be sure to bring water to drink.

During inclement weather, check here or our Facebook page to make certain there is class.

Weekly West African Drum and Dance Classes

Fall 2015 Classes at The Dance Hall, Kittery

Drum class with Namory Keita

Namory is a skilled and patient teacher for all levels and brings a thorough understanding of the whole drum ensemble and West African musical experience to his students.
Thursdays
5:30 to 6:30 pm
$10.00 per class

Dance class with Liz Fowler

Join us for West African dance class accompanied by some fantastic drummers.

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 traditional dance from Guinea, including some of the customs around it. Some weeks we may even sing a little.

~Wear comfortable clothing. Dance is traditionally done in bare-feet, though you’re welcome to wear dance shoes.~
Thursdays
6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
$12.00 drop in fee per class or $80.00 if you pre-pay for 8 classes (Please use within 12 weeks)
For more information: seacoastdanceanddrum@gmail.com

All levels welcome to both drum and dance classes!!

Be sure to bring water to drink.

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Dundun Dance Classes in July

Exciting news: There will be three weeks of Dundun Dance classes Tuesdays in July at The Dance Hall taught by Liz Fowler.

Join us Tuesday, July 7, 14, and 21 for a fantastic way to exercise your body and your brain! During the three weeks you’ll learn one (or two) Guinea style dundun dances.

5:30 to 6:30 pm
$12 each class or $30 if you pre-pay for all three classes.

Please bring your own dundun and sticks if you’re able. Anyone who doesn’t have a drum must sign up ahead to ensure there will be a drum available.

If you’re not sure what dundun dancing is, check out this video of one of my teachers, Abdoulaye Sylla, leading a workshop in Seattle.

For more information, email Liz:
seacoastdanceanddrum@gmail.com

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Weekly Classes and Upcoming Performances

West African Drum and Dance classes are continuing every Thursday at the Dance Hall throughout the summer.

Join us any Thursday!

Drum with Namory Keita
5:30 to 6:30 pm
$10.00

Dance with Liz Fowler (Namory and many folks from the drum class stay to accompany)
6:30 to 8:00 pm
$12.00 or $80.00 for eight pre-paid classes (please use within twelve weeks)

Both classes are open to all levels! You’re always welcome!
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Upcoming Performances

Sunday, June 14
We will be in Portland, ME at the Old Port Festival 4:00 pm.

Dancer and teacher from Portland, Marita Kennedy-Castro will perform along with Namory, Liz, and members of the Kittery drum and dance classes.

Saturday, June 20
We’ll be back at the Kittery Block Party again this year!

We’re on at 11:30 am and 3:15 pm. Come check out what our weekly classes have been up to and join in the dancing!
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Youssouf Koumbassa returns to New England

In just over a month, Youssouf Koumbassa, world renowned dancer and teacher, will return to lead workshops in Kittery and Portland, ME as well as Cambridge, MA! Namory Keita will lead the drumming accompaniment for classes in all three locations and will teach a drum class in Kittery.

Friday, May 15
The Dance Complex
536 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

6:00 to 7:30 pm
$16.00

Saturday, May 16
Woodford’s Club
Portland, ME
Youssouf will be teaching as part of the Mini Guinea Fest, a celebration Namory Keita’s relocation to Portland and 10 years of West African dance in their community. Share the joy and come to the Mini Guinea Fest!

4:00 to 5:30 pm
$15.00 in advance or $18.00 at the door

Sunday, May 17
The Dance Hall
7 Walker Street
Kittery, ME

Drum class with Namory Keita
noon to 1:30 pm
$15.00 in advance or $18.00 at the door

Dance class with Youssouf Koumbassa
1:45 to 3:15 pm
$15.00 in advance or $18.00 at the door

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 the lead drummer (djembefola) in his village of Sangbarala, Guinea before moving to the United States in 2010. He has taught workshops all over the world and has recently settled in to Portland, ME, maintaining his teaching schedule in Kittery and Cambridge, MA, as well as in Portland. Namory is a talented and patient teacher. You can expect to sharpen your skills and smile a lot – along with Namory – when you take a class with him.

Youssouf Koumbassa demonstrates a move

Thursday, March 12

Thursday evening, March 12, there will be no West African drum or dance classes, because Namory and Liz will be at a performance with students at the Mitchell School in Kittery Point.

We are part-way through a week long residency with third graders at the Horace Mitchell School. What fun for all of us! In addition to drumming and dancing, the kids have been learning about Guinea – including a little geography, history, and some Malenke words.

We’ve been teaching the students both the drum and dance parts to rhythms called Kuku and Balakulandjan.

We will be back at the Dance Hall on March 19 and will see you then!

Namory Keita with students in Kittery

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