30 days in Guinea, West Africa to learn all I can about the healing aspects of dancing and music, as a part of every day existence.
“If you can walk you can dance. If you can talk you can sing.”
~Proverb from Zimbabwe
We don’t need to be professional dancers or musicians in order to experience an increase in health resulting from creating or embodying rhythm and music. Whether this is an individual healing – of our physical body, our minds, our spirit – or a collective means of releasing energy, grieving or celebrating, the effect is profound. I believe that all people, regardless of experience, age or physicality, can benefit from the therapeutic and cathartic aspects of dance and music.
A testament to this is the presence of music and dance in many traditional and indigenous cultures, who continue to survive and celebrate life through immense struggle and oppression. Their survival and vibrancy seem to me to have direct correlation with strong traditions of dance and music that are woven within the fabric of their culture.
I imagine there are deep intrinsic healing benefits from the regular sharing of music and movement within community, and this calls to me to explore more deeply.
Discovering Healing Through Rhythm & Dance~ Immersion in Guinea, West Africa
My project is to travel to Nongo, a small village outside the capital city of Conakry in Guinea, where I will study traditional Guinean dance and drumming under master teacher, Youssouf Koumbassa.
Through taking 3 classes daily and immersing myself in the day-to-day life of the community, I’ll seek to learn all I can about the healing and health benefits of experiencing music and dance as part of everyday existence. I am studying the language of Susu in preparation, which is spoken in this area of Guinea, in addition to French. Working with interpreters, I will interview community members, asking them to share what dance and music mean to them. I am curious if they can imagine a life without it, or if they can imagine only dancing or playing a musical instrument when alone, like so many in my culture do.
I intend that my experiences and studies in Guinea will continue to infuse and expand upon my offerings as a dancer, teacher and performer in the months and years to come. This journey represents the beginning of what I hope to be my lifelong work, bringing together my passion for dance with my desire to contribute to the health and healing of the world around me.
This will be my first time in Africa, and the fulfillment of a decade-long dream to study West African dance in its birthplace. Upon returning to my home in Portland, Maine I will share my experiences and learning through the classes I teach, through presentations for my community, and in future collaborations and performances.
You can learn more about me by checking out my bio (which is located to the right, listed under the explanations of the gifts of gratitude I am offering in return for your support), or by viewing my new website, Embody the Rhythm.
I am deeply committed to and passionate about this endeavor, and about respecting and honoring the culture I will be immersed in. I will be following ethical research guidelines, and my project, including a detailed plan for the interviews I conduct, has been approved by the Internal Review Board at Goddard College, where I am a full-time student.
In order to see this all the way through I am seeking a collective hoist to cover the final details. I hope you will consider supporting me.
Thank you so much!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
seconds to go
Pledge $1 or moreYou selected
My deepest gratitude for your support, and your name listed as a contributor on my website.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $15 or moreYou selected
4 backers Limited (46 left of 50)
My deepest gratitude for your support, your name listed as a contributor on my website, and for those nearby~ A special dance workshop created just for the supporters helping to collectively hoist me up, and over the ocean. For those afar~ I will send you a color photo as a post card of a particular moment or location in Guinea that inspires movement. (I will print and send these when I return)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $30 or moreYou selected
21 backers Limited (29 left of 50)
My deepest gratitude for your support, your name listed as a contributor on my website, and for those nearby~ Party! You'll be invited to a party where I will present a photo/video slide show & a personal dance/drum performance of material and experiences I've absorbed while in Guinea. Additionally, you will be invited to attend a special dance workshop for contributors. For those afar~ I will send you a digital copy of my written account of experiences/learnings while in Guinea, with photos & links to visual recordings from the trip as well as at least one tasty traditional recipe from the country.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
My deepest gratitude for your support, your name listed as a contributor on my website, and I will create for you a personalized piece of woven paper art which weaves an image taken in Guinea with an image of your choice that you feel represents you. In this way you will have a visual representation of having been woven into my trip through your incredible generosity of support. (I'll be in touch for your photo to weave with mine when I return from Guinea.) In addition you will receive the same gifts of gratitude offered to my contributors at the $15 and $30 level.Estimated delivery:
- (27 days)