Dionne Kamara | Afro-Jamaican Kumina Dance
My name is Dionne. I am a dancer and dance teacher who lives in NYC. Though I didn’t always live here. I was born and lived in Jamaica and as a little girl there, I danced a lot. Every evening after dinner, my great-grandmother, whom we called Simo, would sing, dance and play music from our Jamaican traditions. All of the children in the family would jump up to dance and sing along with her. My family had a great time each night as we danced and sang together. After emigrating to New York with my family, I made it clear to my mother that I wanted to continue dancing like I did when I was in Jamaica. Fortunately, the public school I attended when my family moved to Queens had a dance teacher. Her name was Ms. Witherspoon and she was the ﬁrst dance teacher I ever had, other than my great-grandmother. I fondly remember being excited when it was Wednesday, which was the day that Ms. Witherspoon came to teach us. During dance class, we were taught special turns, leaps and fancy dance moves. We listened to the rhythm of the music and wiggled with joy. At the end of each class, I always felt happy. I loved moving my body in many new and interesting ways.
I dreamt of becoming a professional dancer. And I did!
Since becoming a professional dancer and dance teacher, I’ve had the joy of performing in many theaters for people here in the United States and all over the world. I’ve taught in Germany, Senegal, Australia, and Brazil, though what I love most is teaching here in New York where I live. In the dance classes I instruct, we will explore how our bodies can stretch, jump, leap, turn and create cool new shapes. We dance with partners and perform for one another in groups. Sometimes, we will dance with instruments, scarves, hoops, stretchy streamers, and other interesting props. Tp dance is to express yourself, it is to be free.
What students and teachers say about Dionne: