Tara Murphy

15 Grove Street, Greenfield, MA 01301, 508-274-8626, External link opens in new tab or windowinfo@ammaya.org



  • Yale University, B.A. Cum Laude, Theater Studies and Religious Studies
  • Study Intensive with National Dance Company of Ghana, University of Ghana, West Africa
  • Study Intensive in Bamako, Mali, West Africa
  • Over 25 years of study with professional African dancers from Les Ballets Africains, Ballet Djoliba, Troupe du District Bamako, National Ballet of Senegal; Jean Appolon Expressions.




Adjunct Professor of African Dance

Smith College, Springfield College, Cape Cod Community College, 2009—Present

  • Teach African dance to college students of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Focus on basic African dance vocabulary, style, skills, steps, and expression. Teach traditional dances from Mali and Guinea, West Africa, with live African drumming accompaniment.
  • Teach units on the African diaspora: African American, Afro-Haitian, Afro-Puerto Rican and Afro-Brazilian dance, culture and history.
  • Teach African and African diaspora cultural studies: Guide the reading of African literature, class discussion, reflection and research papers, and direct final exam performances.
  • Teach African drumming, focusing on basic hand techniques, traditional rhythms and ensemble playing from Mali and Guinea, West Africa. Work with professional drummers in the class to present African and African diaspora drumming knowledge and skills for students.
  • Adjunct Professor Appreciation Award at Cape Cod Community College, 2015.

Founder, Director, Choreographer and Principal Dancer

Ammaya Dance & Drum and Cape Cod African Dance & Drum, 2004—Present

  • Direct ensembles in interactive and educational performances of traditional West African and diaspora dance and drumming throughout New England: In person and on Zoom.
  • Create choreography and work with ensemble dancers on choreography, technique and performance. Work with both professional and non-professional performers.
  • Facilitate ensemble drummers in playing traditional African and diaspora rhythms, and in creating new pieces. Work with drummers to accompany dancers in classes and performances.
  • Work with master African drummers and dancers; integrating their cultural knowledge and skill into ensemble work.

Educational Performer & Outreach Instructor: In Person and on Zoom

Ammaya Dance & Drum, Community Music School of Springfield,
Common Fences, Anikaya Dance Theater,

  • Present high-energy educational assemblies to large, diverse groups of students from preschool to college. Assemblies involve ensemble dance and drumming performance, lecture, singing, demonstrations and interactive student participation in dance and drumming.
  • Teach African and African diaspora dance and drumming workshops in schools and preschools.
  • Created a series of dance, drumming and song videos for children’s educational purposes.
  • Residency at Jacob’s Pillow for development and workshops in Afro-contemporary dance.


African Dance and Drum Instructor: In Person and on Zoom

Stoneleigh Burnham School, Artspace, Ascendance Studio, 2002—Present

  • Teach African and African diaspora dance and drumming to diverse groups of adults, teenagers and children at many venues throughout the New England area.

Creative Dance and Drum Instructor: In Person and on Zoom

Sunshine Village, Viability, Pathlight, Plus Company, PRIDE, etc., 2009—Present

  • Teach African-inspired therapeutic dance and drumming for people with disabilities, as well as seniors.
  • Classes involve rhythmic, African-inspired movement, creative expression, group dancing, ensemble drumming and singing.