Camp Samatou

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Samatou 2020: 31st October – 3rd November

See 2019 photos

What did people say about Camp Samatou 2019?

“It’s all over too soon…
Thank you all for an incredible camp as always!
What a beautiful community we have”


“only 360 sleeps before next camp…..I am already excited about it!”


“Thank you so much for making each camp so rich with pure joy and pure power of good vibes, wholesome food, amazing teachers and heartfelt hugs. And thanks to all the lovely people who make it such a wonderfully fun and safe space to experience the limits of our physical, mental and emotional being.

I hold you both very dear and thank you for your energy, patience and commitment to me as your student and for helping me unleash my own personal joy and creativity.

You have given me a sense of home and I will forever love you and the rest of this amazingly talented, vibrant and warm community”


“FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART 💟I want to thank you Mitzi and Simon for this amazing Camp, and all the awesome teachers who enriched our minds and souls with new inspiration, thank you
Loved all the people I met, who LOVE the RHYTHM as I do! You guys rock. Let your hands dance and your soul smile”


“Kia ora te whānau!

What an amazing four days of rhythmic energy!!! Resting in the pure bliss of dance exhaustion I am so full of gratitude to Mitzi and Simon for the amazing work you’ve done to build this massive African Dance community in Melbourne so much that it can viably support such an excellent quality camp for all of Australaisa and the Pacific! I hope to see you both in Aotearoa more!”


“Thank you to Mitzi, Simon and all the gang for a terrific camp. You are amazing and I will be back again next year. Please bring classes to Geelong.”


“Thanks very much Mitzi McRae and the team for the fantastic and fun filled entertainment camp with an outstanding extraordinary dancers 💃 and absolutely amazing drummersÂ đŸ„Â I love it 💖

Delicious food and energetic community. Thanks for your support and hospitality 🙏 I really appreciate it.

An unforgettable unique experience 👏😊 Thanks again Mitzi â˜ș”


“thank you so much for such a special weekend. my heart is so full of happiness, inspiration, and gratitude. I think it’s even incredible you do a survey asking for feedback post the event! whilst it’s almost impossible to please everyone entirely, there was so much connection and joy shared in community and at the end of the day that’s way more important. endless love! x”


“A big thank you to Mitzi for providing such an awesome fun loving and inclusive space, to dance, drum and learn new skills and moves with great teachers. We just love this camp.”


“Thank you so much for Camp Samatou!!! You guys have created and continue to build on such an amazing community of teachers and students. I feel very lucky!!!”


“I’m so in awe of Mitzi’s energy level and organising skills: it was easy to communicate to her before the camp about logistical details. I loved meeting her various family members; they are so inclusive. I very much appreciated the healthy and nutritious food and of course the delicious deserts. The camp spot is beautiful and the class spaces are sufficient but the dorms are a bit basic and good night rest is difficult. Thanks so much for this fantastic opportunity to dance and try out various new African dance styles!”


“Fantastic event! I only wish I had of heard about it sooner… I think I may have gotten wind of it last year..vaguely ?? And totally would have attended EvERY year had I fully understand what was involved! So enriching for the spirit – Thankyou Looking forward to 2020!!!”


“I think you’ve done a fantastic job. What a great community of people. I really liked the lack of ego’s which can sometimes get in the way of fun and learning. I think everyone had a great time and the majority of people I talked to will be very keen to come back next year. We will definitely come back next year if we can.”


“From the bottom of my heart thank you Mitzi, Simon and all the Melbourne djembe family and community from all around the world for this spectacular and magical camp this year. I got swept off my feet by all of you, the teachers and the kindness all around those 4 days.”


Guest teachers 2019

Mouminatou Camara
Dancer, Guinea (New York)

Mouminatou Camara founded Seewe African Dance Company in September 2005. For a decade, she was the principal dancer for the world-renowned dance company, Les Ballet Africans. She also performed with Les Ballet Djoliba and the Army Ballet. An instructor and performer of West African Dance and Drum, Mouminatou  has performed and taught workshops extensively in the USA, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Martinique and the West African countries of Senegal, Mali and the Ivory Coast. Having spent her life in Guinea, Mouminatou has stated that she has been dancing since she was in her mother’s womb. Affectionately called “Moumi”, she brings firsthand knowledge of the history of each dance and imparts that knowledge with great clarity and passion to her students.

Mohamed Bangoura (“BangourakĂ©”)
Djembe Fola, Guinea

Mohamed Bangoura is described in Guinea as the man with “Hands of Fire” or “the Lion of Matam”

African man hugging his drumHe is regarded by many connoisseurs as one of the best amongst the Master Drummers of this world. His life totally dedicated to the music and his traditions, mesmerizing audiences with his out of this world skills, talent, power and virtuosity.

Bangouraké is a true master through initiation and ability.
Mohamed was born in Guinea, West Africa in a village called Bourramya-Koubya. Mohamed started to play at the age of 5 years old and has been surrounded by music throughout his life.

Bassidi Koné
Djembe Fola & Balafonist, Mali

Bassidi KonĂ© is of Bwa ethnicity from the Segou region in Mali. Born into a Griot family, Bassidi grew up beside his father’s instrument, the balafon (a traditional, wooden xylophone), instilling in him his forefathers’ traditional village songs and rhythms.

After moving to Bamako at thirteen, Bassidi extended his knowledge and skill, distinguishing himself through his innovative solo lead playing and technical virtuosity.

Bassidi now tours internationally and collaborates with many different ensembles. Read more about Bassidi. 

Lam Lakiz
Dancer, Congo Brazzaville

Lam is a highly sought after teacher of many of the traditional styles of Congolese Dance.
He has more than 25 years of 
cumulative experience in Soukous, Rumba, Ndombolo, Congolese Tribal Dance, Zouk, Kizomba, and Semba, amongst others. He was previously engaged as lead choreographer and dancer for the African
bands Vox Congo & Afro Bongo Dance.
Originally from the Congo – Brazzaville, Lam has been passionate about dance and music from the time he learned to walk. The diversity of his styling was influenced by growing up in two countries, initially Congo (the home he returns to), with a subsequent move to Mozambique. 
Lam currently runs Matanga Fitness dance studio in Melbourne.
Kwame Tosuma
Dancer, Ghana
Having performed throughout Ghana, Mali, Benin and South Africa and now living in Australia, Kwame is emerging as one of Australia’s most talented in the traditional and afro-contemporary dance forms. Like many of Ghana’s top dancers, Kwame began practising his art on the street. Finding a passion for dance he was picked up and rigorously trained by the renowned Joe Mensah, and later joined the Namo Ale Cultural Troupe, where he learned the intricacies of traditional Ghanaian dance.
Jean-Marc Agbogba
Dancer, Ivory Coast

Jean-Marc Agbogba is a highly accomplished dancer, musician and choreographer from Ivory Coast, West Africa. He has toured the world as part of the MOTHER AFRICA CIRCUS and came to Australia in 2010. Jean-Marc now resides in Adelaide where he has set up a new dance company by the name of “Sun of Africa Dance Group.”

Marc is renowned for his masked dancing, a very colourful and exciting, high-energy dance, using beautiful, authentic, Ivory Coast masks. These pieces are typically accompanied by a drum ensemble and sometimes African flute.



Campaspe Downs Country Resort
Located on the outskirts of the Macedon Ranges, close to Kyneton and an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the site is set amid 160 acres of natural bushland.

1302 Kyneton-Trentham Rd, Kyneton VIC


Rooms sleep 4-8 with ensuite bathrooms. A sheet and mattress is provided. You will need to bring all other bedding, unless you would like to hire from the venue for $20.

You are also welcome to pitch a tent on a grassy area under the trees!


Each day will packed full of workshops – you’re welcome to attend whichever you like

  • African dance All dance classes will be accompanied by a full drumming ensemble in the large hall. All of our artists are highly experienced teachers who are patient and friendly. They are there for you!
  • Djembe classes Please bring your own djembe along to the class. If you are hiring one, this will be allocated when you arrive (see Mitzi or Simon). There is also some opportunity to play dundun in these classes but the focus will be on learning djembe accompaniments, technique and solo phrases.
  • Dundun classes will teach sangban, kenkeni and dundunba parts for traditional West African rhythms.
  • Dundun dance This is combining simple dance moves with playing dunduns (stick drums)
  • Song Miriam Lieberman (Sydney) has a rich history of teaching and performing African and African-inspired music
  • Soukous/Ndombolo Lam will be teaching this popular style of dance from the Congo. The word Soukous means ‘to shake’ and the dance movements are sexy and fun.
  • Afrobeat dance Afrobeat music blends West African musical styles with jazz, soul, funk and electronic music. It’s all about having fun!
  • Kora (21-string West African harp) Small group classes with Roderick McLeod. Bookings essential as we only have 6 instruments available for use.
  • Brazil meets West Africa Facilitator Michael Boase will explore how Samba can be reinterpreted with West African instruments, Djembe and Duns, to create an exciting new sound.
  • Lindy Hop is a partnered dance improvised to jazz music.  It was created in the 1930s in Harlem, New York and has origins deeply rooted in African dance. Rhythmic, energetic and full of joy!
  • American tribal-style bellydance combines folkloric steps from Eqypt and other North African countries. The workshop will include some fun variations and formations so you can immediately start improvising and having fun with it. If you play zills, bring em!

More to come!

For all drum classes you’ll need to bring your own djembe or hire one for $10 per day. For dundun and dundun dance classes, drums are provided on a first-in, first-served basis. If you have your own set of duns, please bring them!

Drummers are welcome to drum for dance classes.


Delicious hot meals will be provided with a vegetarian/gluten-free option available. Sweets courtesy of Mitzi’s mum. Prepare for a feast!

Tea, coffee and fruit will be available during the day.

All participants will need to bring their own breakfast foods and Saturday lunch. 


Every evening we will have entertainment in the main hall, program as yet to be confirmed.

Expect: Wassawumba drum & dance ensemble, performances by our guest artists, Lindy hop show, talent night and party with DJ Lam Lakiz.


Bedding (sleeping bag and pillow) unless hiring
Breakfast food, & lunch for Saturday
Drinks for evening party
Dance pants!

Kyneton is 10min drive from the camp site.


If you have a child between the ages of 4-12, they might like to come along to camp too! On the Saturday and Sunday we offer a fun program of activities during class hours so that parents can join in classes while children are also having a great time.

This program will provide care and a range of activities including art & craft, games, dance, drum and singing workshops during class hours. Children will need to be picked up for lunch and when workshops are finished for the day.

On the Monday and Tuesday, kids are welcome to play in the lounge area adjacent to the main hall (where most classes occur). There will be art/craft materials, games and books for entertainment but kids will NOT be actively supervised on these days.


Claire will be available for remedial massage and myotherapy on site for all sore dancers & drummers!

You can pre-book to secure your spot or just book in at camp! She will be available Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

60 minutes $90 with private health rebate receipts available for you to claim with your health fund.

Claire runs her own business in Melbourne and can be contacted on 0478 535 412 or

Cecilia Barberis is a Remedial massage therapist who has over 9 years of experience in the field. She will be offering massage therapy all day on Tuesday to dancers, musicians, spectators & kids.
Cecilia runs her own home-based practice in West Reservoir, specialising in pregnancy & birth.
Contact her directly for appointments at 0448497170 or