Feb 22, 2023
Black History Month: Travels with Kiné
We sat down with Dance Church teacher Kiné Camara to talk more about her recent travels dancing through France and Senegal
This week for Black History Month, we sat down to talk with Seattle-based Dance Church teacher and dance artist Kiné Camara. Kiné has been traveling through France and Senegal where she was taking dance classes, diving into new forms of training and learning more about herself. Read the full interview below, and catch a class with Kiné when she returns here.
What are 3 things you are currently obsessed with?
Hand held bidets, fresh baguettes, and discovering new Amapiano tracks.
When did you start dancing?
I was born into a family of dancers, so dance has always been a part of my life! My father taught dance and was the artistic director of a performance group which my mother was a part of as well, so you can kind of say, it was in the family business!
📸 With family in Dakar
What does community mean to you?
I’m the kind of person that loves to be in the middle of a gathering of robust people: loved ones, friends, family and all the chaos that ensues. Growing up, my family in Senegal always had this vibrant, multi-generational energy with kids running around, aunties preparing food and talking, young men making tea and roasting each other - and I liked being in the center of it all. In my dance upbringing, it was really the same. Since my father was an educator and artistic director, we were always around large groups of dancers and artists, and their families, and my dad was a master at infusing the love of African arts with true relationships. So for me, people who dance together must have this family feeling, and without it, I definitely feel something is missing.
What are things you do outside of Dance Church?
I’m an educator at heart and spend a lot of time teaching classes or in class as a student myself! At the beginning of 2023, I launched Afro Dance Seattle which is a hub for all things Afro dance education. I’ve been teaching weekly Afro classes, and it’s been a part of my goals to attract more educators and diversify the programming to include other types of events. The timing worked well since I was traveling and set up 3 months of guest teachers in my absence! We are hosting some local Afro dancers, and others from out of town (Paris, Atlanta, and Portland!).
📸 Class with Andy in Paris
What inspires you?
Ahhhhh so many things but I’ll pick three that are top of mind right now. 1) Seeing joy in other people really inspires me a lot, might sound cheesy but it’s totally true. That organic moment of freedom and ecstasy that we can experience through different avenues, but especially dance, is amazing, and I want to bring more of that into the world. 2) Connection is also a big inspiration for me, in the sense that I want to form real, life-impacting relationships with people, even if we only meet one day. Can we relate authentically as neighbors, as humans? To be free of barriers in connection with others is so beautiful and refreshing. 3) Last, but definitely not least, the dopeness of other black and brown creators. Living in Seattle, it’s easy to feel disconnected from black and African culture and on more of a “solo” journey. In the past few years, I’ve been able to reorient my life around other melanated creators, and having this representation in my life has been huge!!
What artist or person has influenced you the most?
Definitely my dad. He was such an honest artist, it’s all he knew and that influenced me way more than I thought.
📸 Adventures in Senegal
Favorite class or workshop you’ve taken?
So hard as there have been many! But so far, my favorite was either with Homebros in London at Base Studios, or a collab class between Oulouy and Deewin at Studio MRG in Paris. Both classes had really amazing energy and heart.
📸 Class with Homebros in London
Any new music you’ve found that you love?
So much new music, and the next Dance Church class will feature lots of my favorite new tunes. Living rent free in my mind right now are: Jozi Night by GemValleyMusiQ, ZoTata by Pcee, and People by Libianca.
What have you learned from being in France and Senegal?
- I love my life in Seattle and am super grateful for it.
- Having access to food choice is a huge privilege.
- It's okay to be where you are at in your progress with (fill in the blank). Not only okay, it’s divine and perfect. Our main job is to accept it, be present and willing to enjoy the journey/process.
📸 The baguette obsession
How has dance been present in this trip?
Before I left the US, I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to have focused training while traveling, but got a word of wisdom that entirely changed my focus to joy. Focus on enjoying dance as often as possible and training will follow from there. Much easier said than done, but it’s helped me enjoy the moments I can dance and be at peace with the moments where my body is asking for more rest.
What are new things you’ve learned about dance?
Currently I’m obsessed with texture and musicality, creating contrast and surprise within flow. I think also just getting around other dancers I really respect helps remind me of my strengths and also exposes my gaps. So taking all those lessons humbly and ultimately growing to trust my expression more and more at this (and every) stage of development.
What are you looking forward to sharing with the Seattle dance community and beyond?
In its simplest form, I always want to inspire people to live more freely. Dance is an avenue to guide people into that: to learn how to better enjoy and appreciate oneself, to delight in the people around us, to feel connected with the present moment. It all comes down to this.
Yes, I’m headed to Johannesburg next, and I hope to share more authentically about South African culture, the intention behind movements and music, and increase the love for African dance. I also want to create some fomo around visiting the continent! Hopefully, we will take some group trips in the next year or two.
📸 Airport life
What feelings do you think people feel when they dance with you?
From what I hear, joy, love, openness. I hope to inspire playful and connecting energy.
What are your dance dreams?
For myself, I hope to expand my freedom of expression. To move in my body the way I feel in my soul. As an educator, I want to see people fall in love with Afro dance as a lifestyle, and to make lifelong friendships in the process. If I ever leave Seattle, I hope to leave behind a dance community that continues on without me.
Find out more about Kiné and her class offerings outside of Dance Church here!