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African Drum & Dance in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City has a growing community of African dance and drum students, enthusiasts, teachers, and performers. We welcome you to join us (yes, even total beginners who want to try something new but don't want to embarrass themselves)! This page lists local classes, events, and information on SLC-based African drum and dance performing groups. To add a class or event, please contact us.

African Drum Classes & Events

These are the current options for those interested in African drumming in Salt Lake City: To get on an email list for local classes and events, please use our contact form to sign up.

Beginning African Drumming
Ongoing 6 week courses - Thursdays 6:30-8:00pm. Instructor: Andy Jones. For class schedule and to sign up contact Lifelong Learning at the University of Utah. Drum rental included in enrollment fee.

Mixed-level Djembe Class
Ongoing Monday lunch-hour class (1-2pm), Djembe Direct offices, taught by Andy Jones. This is a small group class with only 8 spaces available. Please contact us for availability and to get on our notification email list. $15 scheduled drop in.

Private Djembe Lessons
Available most weekdays 9-5pm by appointment only. $35/hr. Taught at Djembe Direct offices by Andy Jones. Here are directions on how to find us.

Monthly Community Drum Circle
Last Saturday of the month, all year long. Dancing Cranes Imports in Sugarhouse, held indoors. 6:30-8pm. Entry by donation of any amount to Africa Heartwood Project at the door. Open to everyone - family friendly - no alcohol. Bring your own drum (up to 15 drums + shakers available for use courtesy of Dancing Cranes). No amplified instruments please. Facilitated by Andy Jones or other local African drum teachers.

Accompany African Dance Class
Every Saturday morning there is live West African drumming accompaniment for African dance class. This is not a drum circle or a lesson. To participate as a drummer you would need to have an intermediate level of djembe technique, be able to learn specific rhythm parts on djembe or dunun quickly, and be willing to play a single, repeating part for 45 to 90 minutes. Bell and shaker parts are also welcome, so long as they fit the music, and can be changed if needed. Quinn Reesor is the lead drummer for most classes, and has charge of rhythm selection and part assignments. Dance classes are part of RDT's Community Classes and are held every week at Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center (138 W. Broadway (300 S.) - Downtown SLC.

Performing Opportunities
If you can play and improvise West African djembe and dunun at an advanced level, can sing in multi-part harmony and keep time on an instrument simultaneously, or can perform West African dance at an advanced level, please contact us to inquire about being included in paid and volunteer performance opportunities in Utah.

Liberty Park Drum Circle
Sunday afternoons, Summertime. Liberty Park (700 E. 1300 S., SLC, UT). This is a non-facilitated drum circle with a wide variety of instruments and skill levels represented. Often not a suitable environment for children.

Quinn Reesor sometimes teaches beginning to advanced West African djembe and dunun classes based strictly on traditional rhythms and techniques. Kaz Speirs teaches private Congolese (ngoma) drum classes from time to time. Deja Mitchell teaches African drum and dance in Ogden. Please contact us for current class information.


African Dance Classes & Events

West African Mixed Level Dance Class
Instructor: Rosy Banchero. Classes held every week at Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center (138 W. Broadway (300 S.) - Downtown SLC.

  • Saturday, 10:30-12:00. $10 drop in, or $9 w/ punch card. This is a multi-level class with live djembe and dunun drumming. View RDT's webpage for more information.

Guest Artist Classes in Salt Lake City
From time to time local African drum and dance teachers or RDT will organize classes taught by visiting guest artists. It is always a great experience to learn drum and dance from accomplished African teachers, and we encourage all to take advantage of these classes when they are available. We will post information here when guest artists have scheduled classes in SLC.


Salt Lake African Drum & Dance Ensemble

Comprised of long-time members of the SLC drum and dance community, this performing group offers live African music, drum, and dance performances for any type of event. From laid back background music to wedding parties to high-energy African drum and dance stage productions, this Ensemble is flexible to work with in designing the right addition for your event. Along with Djembe Direct, The Salt Lake African Drum & Dance Ensemble has played a major role in promoting Africa Heartwood Project in SLC, including donating performances to raise funds at the World Music Benefit Concerts .

Dance Director: Rosy Banchero. Musical Director, Andy Jones.
Drummers: James Loomis, Dave Herrmann, Pierre Dufresne, Michelle Loomis, Andy Jones
Singers: Jeni Indresano, Dave Herrmann, Kayla Jones, Pierre Dufresne, Andy Jones
Dancers: Rosy Banchero, Michelle Loomis, Pam Hansen, Aime Curry, Kayla Jones
Guest Artists: Quinn Reesor, Leraine Horstmanshoff, Kaz Speirs, David Darais, Morgan Decker, Tyler Braun, Deja Mitchell

Rates depend upon location of venue, duration of performance, production level, how many drummers and/or dancers are required, and total time committment for performers (including travel time to venue and rehearsals for any unique show content required). Most performances include a financial contribution to Africa Heartwood Project. For inquiries and to book a performance, please contact us.


African Drum & Dance Camps, Workshops, and Retreats in the U.S.

Camp Mabina
A week long retreat in Santa Fe offering dance and drum classes taught by masters from Guinea, Mali, Congo, Zimbabwe, Ghana, and the USA. Held at Synergia Ranch in May or June every year. One of the highest quality and most diverse camps in the world.

Bantu Camp & Tumbuka
One of the longest running African drum and dance camps, Bantu & Tumbuka Camps bring together a host of teachers representing many African countries. Sponsored by Chris Berry and Pangea Foundation. To be held annually in late summer in Santa Fe, NM.

Camp Fareta
Camp Fareta is a weeklong residential workshop hosted by Youssouf Koumbassa, a master dancer, choreographer, and teacher from Guinea, West Africa, and featuring many other master dancers and drummers from Guinea, Mali, and Senegal. It is an immersion in West African drum and dance, held at a beautiful setting in the southern Sierras of California in early July.

Kalani's Drum Camp
Drum Camp is presented by Kalani Music and provides quality drumming and dance instruction in west African and Afro-Cuban styles. Classes include: West African Drumming and Dance; Afro-Cuban Drumming (Congas and Bata); Brazilian Drumming and song; Evening drum circles and group music making. Oriented toward music educators, therapists, and drum circle facilitators.

Camp Merveilles
Sponsored by Fara Tolno and Kissidugu in Boulder, CO, this camp offers a more intimate setting for instruction by West African master drummers and dancers. Held in late summer in Boulder.

African Drum & Dance Retreat at Moab (Utah Local)
Hosted by Deja and Dazey Mitchell, this camp offers beginning drummers and mixed-level dancers the opportunity to inexpensively experience the rhythms and movements of Mali, West Africa, in an intimate natural setting. All classes taught by Deja. Held in late spring near Moab, UT.

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