Save the Date

We’ve got exciting news for 2015! Ismael “Bonfils” Kouyate is coming to Maine to teach song, dance, and dundun dance classes in both Kittery and Portland.

Save the dates:

  • Saturday, January 17 at The Dance Hall in Kittery, ME, capped off by an evening performance along with several other musicians and dancers from Guinea
  • Sunday, January 18 in Portland, ME

Bonfils comes from a family of artists in Guinea. He performed with Les Percussions de Guinea and Les Ballets Africains, one of Guinea’s national ballets. Between 2009 and 2012, he performed in the production of Fela!, both on Broadway and in the world tour. Bonfils maintains a regular teaching schedule in NYC and is sought after to teach at workshops around the country. In addition he performs with his band Ismael Kouyate: Waraba Band.

We are thrilled to be able to welcome Bonfils for his first time teaching in Maine!

Ismael Bonfils Kouyate

November and December

Every Thursday Dance Hall is alive with the rhythms of our weekly drum and dance classes. Join us any Thursday! It will brighten your day!

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

Dance class with Liz Fowler
6:30 to 8:00 pm
$12.00 per class or $80 for eight pre-paid classes

We’ll be dancing to the rhythm Djansa (Diansa, Yansa, Dansa) which originates from southern Mali for the next few weeks. It’s a first for dance class in Kittery!

There are a few upcoming changes to note:

  • November 6 and 13, Ult Mundane will fill in for Namory to teach drum class
  • November 13, Meaghan Dunn will fill in for Liz to teach dance class
  • No class on November 27 or December 25

The Dance Hall will be hosting the second Global Rhythms Workshop on Sunday, November 23. Join us for Taiko drumming with Elaine Fong. Register ahead through Brown Paper Tickets.

And stay tuned for more information soon about the third Global Rhythms Workshop in January. There will be drumming, dancing, and singing!

Be sure to check back here or on our Facebook page to confirm that class is on if the weather is questionable.

Namory Keita, drummer from Sangbarala, Guinea

Namory Keita

binta in guinea

Master classes with Ismael Bangoura and Sidiki Sylla

The Dance Hall, Kittery, ME is hosting a new series:  World Rhythms – Music and Dance from Around the World.  It will kick off on October 5 with classes taught by some of my favorite teachers, Ismael Bangoura and Sidiki Sylla, from Vermont’s Jeh Kulu Dance and Drum Theater.

Want to know what drum and dance classes with Ismael and Sidiki are like? Check out these videos from classes in Kittery October 2012 and April 2013.

Sunday, October 5
The Dance Hall
7 Walker Street
Kittery, ME

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

Dance class with Sidiki Sylla
1:30 to 3:00pm

Pre-pay for classes
$15 each through Brown Paper Tickets or by check at Thursday night’s classes at the Dance Hall

Pay at the door
$17 each

To pre-register or for more information, email
Liz Fowler
or The Dance Hall.

Ismael Bangoura hails from Conakry, Guinea and began studying music at the age of nine, primarily playing djembe and krin. He first studied with Master Musician Mohamed Camara and then with Ibrahima “Boca” Camara. He has been the musical director Jeh Kulu Dance and Drum Theater in Burlington, VT for more than fifteen years.

Sidiki Sylla also comes from Conakry, Guinea where he was in one of Guinea’s national dance and drum troupes, Ballet Djoliba. He toured the world with the Ballet and relocated to the US more than 15 years ago. He has been the master dancer, principal choreographer, and artistic director for Jeh Kulu since 1997.

Sidiki Sylla

Sidiki Sylla

Ismael Bangoura, drummer for Jeh Kulu

Ismael Bangoura

Fall events

Performance, free class, and workshops all coming up soon!

West Africa Day Fundraiser

On September 21, Namory and I as well as several members of our weekly drum and dance classes will be participating in Rain for the Sahel and Sahara’s West Africa Day at Red Hook Brewery in Portsmouth. We will be performing several rhythms and their accompanying dances which we’ve been working learning for weeks. We will also be teaching at least one dance. Three other groups will be performing as well: Randy Armstrong World Fusion Ensemble, Akwaaba Ensemble, and Federator No 1. We’re thrilled to be part of the day and hope you come and join in the dancing with us! Admission is just $18 for adults and $8 for children for five hours of music and dance!

Free Classes

On Thursday, September 25 drum class with Namory and dance class with me will be FREE!

Have you been thinking of trying a drum or dance class, but haven’t yet made it? Have you been to class, but not for months? Do you come to class every week that you can? No matter how you answered those questions, we hope you join us on September 25! And class is free!

Drum class with Namory 5:30 to 6:30 pm
Dance class with Liz 6:30 to 8:00 pm

Contact me,
Liz Fowler
or Namory Keita for questions. See you at the Dance Hall in Kittery!

Guest Workshops

Some of our favorite teache will be back to teach on Sunday, October 5th! Ismael Bangoura and Sidiki Sylla will be teaching at The Dance Hall and we’re thrilled to welcome them back! And they’ll be teaching the first workshops in a new monthly Global Rhythms series at the Dance Hall! (More about the series and these workshops coming soon!)

Drum class with Ismael
Noon to 1:30 pm

Dance class with Sidiki
1:45 to 3:15

Drum and dance with us on Thursday evenings

For two and a half hours every Thursday, The Dance Hall in Kittery is filled with the amazing sounds of West African drumming, led by Namory Keita. Namory teaches a rhythm from Guinea during his one hour drum class. You’ll learn various parts of the rhythm on both djembe and dundun. Namory’s joy is infectious, so you’ll be sure to smile and a laugh a lot, too!

Following that, Namory and many members of the drum class, accompany a West African dance class taught by Liz Fowler. Class begins with a warm-up, followed by some across the floor movement, and ends with a traditional dance from Guinea. As one regular at the class says “It’s the best exercise in town!”

Both the drum and dance class are open to students of all levels. We hope you join us!

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

Dance class with Liz Fowler
6:30 to 8:00
$12.00 or $80.00 for eight classes (to be used within 12 weeks)

Showcase performance at the Dance Hall

Namory leads the drummers at the Kittery Block Party

Classes cancelled February 13

Due to the expected storm, drum and dance classes will be cancelled Thursday, February 13. I look forward to drumming and dancing with you all on February 20!

Free dance class January 30

Happy New Year! After a few weeks off due to holidays and some winter weather, we’re back at the Dance Hall every Thursday for drum and dance classes. Yay! Note: if the weather is bad, be sure to check our Facebook page to find out if classes are still on.

Exciting news: On Thursday, January 30 we will be offering a free dance class. This is a great time to give it a try if you’ve been curious, but haven’t made it to class yet. But whether it’s your first class or hundred and first class — dance class is free on January 30th!

Ult Mundane is teaching drum class every Thursday and leading the rhythms for dance class while Namory Keita is traveling in Guinea. Dance class is accompanied by some amazing percussionists from throughout the area, including Ult, Eben Hearn, Steve Martin, Dale Vigent, and others.

Join us on the 30th for what is sure to be a high energy class! Following the warm-up we will learn many of the basic steps of a celebration dance from the Malinke people of Guinea called Kuku. If you have any questions about the free class or our ongoing classes, be sure to get in touch. Contact us: or (603) 969-5264

Drum class with Ult Mundane
5:30 to 6:30
$10 per class

Dance class with Liz Fowler
6:30 to 8:00
$12 per class or $80 for eight pre-paid classes
Free, free, free on January 30th!

liz dancing in cambridge