West African dance is celebratory in its expression.
Dance has always played a very important role in the lives of West Africans. Throughout history, West Africans performed dances to celebrate a birth, harvest or death. Communities relied on dance to ward off evil spirits, to ask the gods for prosperity, or to resolve conflict. Dance continues to serve those functions. For example, villagers perform the Malinke rhythm Kassa during farming and harvesting work. The singing, dancing and clapping entertains and motivates the hard-working farmers.
A native of San Francisco, Maria Young, grew up in a multicultural community with exposure to various art forms and expressions of life. As a young adult she was captivated by the energy and expressive beauty of polyrhythmic drumming and dance from Guinea, West Africa. Maria’s passion for this art form lead her to pursue its study and instruction for the following 20+ years. She has been fortunate to study and work with master teachers from this region. That has deepened her understanding of technique and her progression as an instructor.
Maria’s intention is to bring healing through sharing this art form with as many as she can reach. Her teaching approach is to create a supportive and comfortable atmosphere. It is both body conscious and soul-freeing, leading students through a yogic style warm-up, a clear break-down of movements and a joyous learning experience of traditional dances. Through her classes, students will expand their minds, bodies and experience a new passion.
Please bring a water bottle and wear comfortable clothing.