Raquel danced throughout her childhood in Spain, learning ballet, flamenco, and other styles. But it wasn't until she came to Edinburgh to learn English in 1995 that she discovered and fell in love with African dance. She trained and performed extensively with a local group called Afridonia. Since then, following her passion, she has travelled to Uganda, Ghana, Gambia and Senegal to study and perform with some great artists. She shares these experiences through her teaching and through performance. She was honoured to perform for the King of Buganda (in Uganda) and another highlight performance was for the Queen at Westminster Abbey in collaboration with dancers from India, Ghana and Uganda.
Raquel’s classes are fun, energetic and vibrating. Some of her students have given the following comments:
This class is a perfect mood lifter
You are always left buzzing, smiling and feeling more alive!
I love that there is live music!
A piece of Africa springs to life!
Here is what Rachel has to say about her classes ...
What can dancers expect from your classes?
To experience the joy of discovering dance movements typical from West Africa. Learning to dance to the beautiful and exciting rhythms from there.
My students say:
A good fun physical workout that leaves us refreshed for the day
It’s very liberating, un-inhibiting and fun
You are always left buzzing, smiling and feeling more alive
The dance class really embraces the African warmth, embracing people of all abilities with a non-judgemental eye
What do you love about teaching West African Dance?
I love to share the joy I get from African Dance. I really enjoy creating choreography inspired by traditional African dances. It is very satisfying when I see my students connecting well with the music of the drums.
Is there a person or group who inspires the way you teach?
My inspiration comes from different African dance styles. I have learned from a variety of wonderful dance teachers in Ghana, Gambia, Senegal and Uganda. From them I have developed my own teaching style.
What sort of music do you use in class?
I always teach to live music provided by expert Djembe musicians who have also studied in West Africa. The rhythms we use are: Solo, Yamama, Sofa, Kpanlogo and others.