Sarah Lee Parker Mansare
Sarah Lee graduated with honors and a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Wellness (Exercise Science, Public Health, Youth Studies and Nutrition) from the University of Minnesota. She has been a member of the University of Minnesota Repertory and Hamanah Don Dance Companies, managed the Fitness Program at the West Seattle YMCA, and is currently a Personal Trainer and Life Coach working with people one on one to heal, expand and transform their physical, mental and emotional capacities.
When Sarah Lee first discovered West African Dance in1993, she was hooked immediately, and spent the next decade studying with dozens of well-known instructors from various parts of West Africa. In 2004, Sarah Lee’s passion for this art form took her to Senegal and then Guinea West Africa on a dance intensive with her primary instructor: Master Dancer Youssouf Koumbassa.
She has since returned to Guinea eleven more times for multiple months at a time to dance and learn from some of the best West African dancers and instructors in the world. Each year she delves into intensive personalized study in various parts of Guinea with artists such as Alseny Bangoura, Mamadama Camara, Aly Mara and Sorel Conte, all of whom are Principal Dancers with West Africa's finest performance company Les Ballets Africains.
From October 2011 to June 2012 Sarah Lee Parker was blessed with her ninth opportunity to live and study dance in Guinea, West Africa. While there, her insatiable passion and hunger to learn from these incredible artists took her to the far reaches of Haute (high) Guinea, to the center of the capital city, Conakry, and many places in between.
Sarah Lee spent these intensive 8 months studying with old traditional masters and young contemporary performers alike. Through one-on-one private classes, and by rehearsing as a member of the high level performance company Wassa So, Sarah Lee grew tremendously as a dancer. This incredible immersion experience has deepened her intimate knowledge of the dance steps, the music, and the culture and people from which they came.
Sarah Lee has fallen completely in love with the people, the culture and the music and dance of Guinea West Africa. She is now living in Seattle, powerfully committed to sharing her love and knowledge of this amazing culture, building a bridge between these two very different cultures. She teaches weekly classes in the community, as well in the dance department at the University of Washington.
A true healer in the best sense of the word, her infectious enthusiasm, playfulness and generosity of spirit, make her the perfect ambassador for the West African traditions that she shares from her heart.