West African Dance
Beginning West African Dance Series
This high energy dance class is a great way to get your body moving. It is designed for students new to dance, particularly West African dance, but can accommodate all levels of experience. With live drumming from master musician Oumar Keita of Guinea, and friends, you can’t help but smile. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the rich culture of Guinea, West Africa, through dance, drumming, singing and stories.
Instructors: Heidi Waegele Keita and Oumar Keita.
2/11-3/18, Sundays 10:30-12pm
$15 drop in / $80 6 week series
Heidi Waegele Keita
Heidi has studied many forms of dance throughout her life and has taught for over 15 years. In college, she fell in love with African dancing in her native California. She began studying Congolese dancing in 2002 and shortly after, dance from Guinea. Heidi traveled with Manimou Camara to Guinea in the winter of 2016/17 to study dance for 6 weeks. She received private instruction with master teachers from the national ballets of Guinea. During that time, she met her husband Oumar Keita. Later in 2016, Heidi returned to Guinea, studied a little more with Ballet Saamato.
A native of Guinea, West Africa, Oumar Keita is known for his extensive knowledge of music and history. Oumar showed an interest in traditional music and began singing at an early age. He continues to sing and write traditional music but can also rap in Malinke, Susu and French. Oumar Keita plays traditional instruments like the bolon, gnoni and N’gongoma, which accompany his singing.
Since 2009 he has been a musician in the nationally recognized Ballet Saamato of Conakry, Guinea. Primarily a dundun player, Oumar is also a dancer and djembe player. For the past 2 years, he played with Wofa percussion in Conakry.
Ballet Saamato gave Oumar the opportunity to share his country’s rich cultural tradition of music and dance with children. He has traveled to small villages in Guinea and has worked with orphanages such as SOS in Conakry, integrating art into their lives.