Experience Guinea Style African Dance in Tahoe

TRUCKEE, Calif. – Discover culture through dance as Guinea style African dance and drum classes are scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 21 and Sunday, Oct. 22, hosted by Inner Rhythm dance studio:.

On Saturday, Oct. 21, from 5-8 p.m. at Veterans Hall (10214 High Street, Truckee, Calif. 96161), the drumming session will run from 5-6 p.m., followed by the dance class from 6:15-7:45 p.m.

On Sunday, Oct. 22, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Fairway Community Center (330 Fairway Drive, Tahoe City, Calif. 96145), the drumming session will be held from 10-11 a.m., followed by the dance class from 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Prices: Drum class – $20 / Dance class – $40 / Combo – $50. Secure your tickets at

Inner Rhythms is a dance studio in Truckee that offers a variety of classes for both children and adults. The instructors have journeyed across the world, dancing and training at some of the finest institutions globally. Staff members aren’t just performing artists; they’re mentors with a profound commitment to sparking inspiration in every student. 

Heather Tjalma, who started attending classes last fall, introduced a flow dance cardio class recently to Inner Rhythms that combines Afro beats, hip-hop, and traditional African choreography. The class has evolved to include more traditional African dance moves and live drummers, inspiring the upcoming classes. 

Tjalma has also partnered with Sarah Fay at Inner Rhythms and Chris Savage, owner of Greenscapes Landscaping, to bring traditional African drum and dance classes to the Truckee Tahoe area. Classes are characterized by high energy and a welcoming atmosphere, and participants are encouraged to do what feels best for their bodies.

“Good energy creates better energy. And that’s what dance does. It brings people together. I want to let anybody who says, ‘I have two left feet, or I can’t dance’ know that these African drum and dance communities are open to all levels and ages,” Tjalma said. 

Tjalma instructs hip-hop classes for both adults and children, but she finds her true passion in teaching adults. Her enthusiasm stems from her own experience of discovering dance later in life. She firmly believes that it’s never too late to pick up new skills. 

The upcoming event will feature teacher Nuria Armenta from Mexico, who specializes in Guinea ballet style, along with talented drummers, Ben Isaacs and Juan Bermejo.

“When I watch Nuria dance, it’s like she has fire under her feet. She can move so fast yet so elegantly at the same time. I love watching her as much as I truly enjoy learning from her,” Tjalma said. 

Armenta holds degrees in Performing Arts, Anthropology, and Social Anthropology. Her work spans movement, photography, video, installation, and written essays, showcased globally. Trained at the Conservatory of Dance of Morelos, she combines her expertise in social sciences, visual arts, and choreography to explore space’s role in shaping human relations.

Since 2016, Armenta has immersed herself in West African Dance, learning from prominent teachers like Mouminatou Camara. In 2022, she furthered her Drum&Dance studies in Guinea with notable mentors. Currently, Armenta is developing a project that blends West African Dance with Mexican tradition, Contemporary Dance, Flamenco, and Zapateado.

Armenta’s class format includes warm-up exercises, choreography, and a distinctive practice of barefoot dancing in rows, all accompanied by rhythmic drumming. “The drummer knows exactly what the dancer’s going to do, and the dancer knows exactly what the drummer’s going to do. There’s this conversation between the drum and the dancer’s body,” Tjalma said.

Provided / Erika Argaez / Nuria Armenta

 After the dance session concludes and the drummers deliver their final beats, it is customary for the dancers to assemble in a line and express their gratitude to the drummers. This can take the form of a simple thank you, accompanied by direct eye contact, or even a tangible token of appreciation. 

“When you feel the beat of the drums through the floor, I really picture throwing a stone into the water and the reverberation that ripples out and out and out. That’s what I feel like they’re doing with their drum beats,” Tjalma said.

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