Rhythms of West Africa
AN EARLY riser, daily power walker and volunteer at the Lifeline Opportunity Shop, Maitoumbi is a vibrant 60 plus woman with boundless energy.
Dynamic is an adjective that doesn't come close to describing this lady who runs a local Afro Cardio Moves & Groove class and lives by the motto, "Life is a beautiful rhythm.”
Maitoumbi has a diverse background in dance. She is a classically trained dancer, a zumba instructor and AUSdance member and was teaching Afro dance, Afro Jazz and West African Dance for 25 years before making her move from Sydney to Coffs in 2016.
"I had a lot of friends here, I love the climate and the multicultural feeling of Coffs, so it was the perfect fit,” Maitoumbi said.
"I love teaching dance. It is so powerful, it's an all-round work-out. I want to be an inspiration not only to young people but to people over 50, because dance makes you so happy.”
Maitoumbi's introduction to West African dance was part of a healing process after an accident.
"I left Australia to travel in a sailing boat, a sloop, and was in the Ile de La Réunion an island south of Madagascar. I had a dangerous fall down a cliff and suffered a back injury.
"I had a choice to undergo a spinal operation in France or the way of the Shaman healer. I chose the Shaman.”
Maitoumbi credits the Shaman's process, which included using the power of the mind, natural potions and the sound therapy of West African rhythms, for pulling her through.
"I believe rhythmical dance can be a 'spiritual medicine' for healing the body, mind and spirit on many levels,” Maitoumbi said.
"Dance is so powerful. The rhythms of West African drumming sounds and music used in my classes, combined with expansive movements and exuberant choreography allow your physical body to feel absolute freedom. Students feel happy after such a workout, it's the endorphins. They tell me they feel '10inches taller'. We're a mixed, happy group - a pot pourri some from Africa and some Aussies.
"My focus is to show people their body is there vehicle and the heart is the engine. So often we ignore our heart, the emotional, spiritual and physical, but it is the engine of our body - the world is in our heart and Afro Cardio dance can bring so much more to you than fitness.”
Afro Cardio classes Mondays 5.30pm, Guide Hall, Harbour Dr. Cost $12. Details 0413 663 315