Meet Our Community Class Teaching Artists

Marita Kennedy-Castro is a dancer, choreographer, embodied movement guide, and intercultural bridge-builder born in the Wabanaki Confederacy territory we’ve learned to call Maine. Marita shares from over 20 years of study under master West African drum and dance artists, and received the blessing to teach from master artist and cultural ambassador, Youssouf Koumbassa. Marita is passionate about building community, contributing to cultural preservation, and illuminating avenues to healing through movement as medicine. She is the founder of Embody the Rhythm and the co-director and choreographer with the New Moon Ensemble. You can follow her on IG @embodytherhythm and learn more at: www.EmbodyTheRhythm.com
Photo credit: Elle Darcy
 Kristin Sutton had performed and taught dance in the Portland area for over 25 years. She was a member of Rhythm and Sole Tap Company as well as Rhythm Factor, a Hip-Hop company based at Casco Bay Movers Dance Studio. Kristin founded Avant Dance in 2011 and started G-Tric Dance Crew, a hip-hop company that performed all over the state. Kristin is also the creator of the annual Thriller Throwdown, a zombie-inspired flash mob that takes place in Portland every October. Kristin is trained in tap, jazz, hip-hop, and ballroom.

Community Programs Director, Elizabeth Lau has been eagerly involved with Portland Youth Dance as a Board Member, Director of Dynamix, and Choreographer since 2007.  She was originally drawn to PYD for its unique focus on the artistic process versus the competition and its deeply rooted mission to serve those in need. She brings a great deal of experience to the Outreach Program through her previous work teaching at-risk children and teens at inner-city schools in Washington, D.C., and Virginia, including the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, the Campagna Program through A Dream in Color Dance, and various workshops with George Washington University’s performing arts group BLAZEN.  While attending GWU, where she received a degree in marketing and dance, she developed a love for hip-hop dance while taking classes with Culture Shock DC and at The Joy of Motion Dance Center.  Elizabeth currently teaches hip-hop, jazz, tap, and modern at Casco Bay Movers in Portland, Maine. She’s proud to have worked with Slim Peace and be a part of Maine Girls, a documentary about immigrant and US born teens that come together to find a common ground through dance, food, and a healthy lifestyle.   Her personal mission is to contribute to the community by sharing her passion for dance with all those who desire to express themselves through the art form.