I believe when I write this, there will be a lot of people disagree with me. But although how much I try to understand and slightly learn Kizomba dance just bit, I still can’t digest it. So, there is still a big no for me 🙂
I know Kizomba dance lately has been a trend in almost any countries which has Salsa/Bachata scene for long time. And by default, it seems people just imply that whoever knows, or dances Salsa/Bachata must know how to dance Kizomba. That bothers me a lot.
I am a DJ, instructor, and owner of a big studio. Whenever there is a tourist coming to my city. After chatting for a while about dancing scenes around the world, I usually reach the point where he/she gives me the lessons about Kizomba:
- How big the communities are.
- It’s the trend, why I don’t promote more of it in our community.
- Why people love Kizomba dance, etc.
I appreciate their passions and their thoughts about it. Honestly, that is too much.
Because Salsa/Bachata are the only two dances I know, so what I write will be based on my knowledges and experiences of Salsa/Bachata and Kizomba. It is biased or not. I don’t know. Some may say so, some may agree with me. But it doesn’t matter much 🙂
Kizomba dance music is a big thump down
Well, let’s take Salsa as an example. Salsa songs are almost unique for every single song, not to mention that there are at least more than 5 styles of Salsa music. When listening to a Salsa song, even with a very soft romantica song, there are still up and down moments with some slowness, breaks, also some climaxes. That is just the flow of 1 song of a style that is usually used for teaching, warming up, beginner practicing, etc. For some hardcore songs or mambo, there are even more flavors and climaxes within the songs.
On the other side, this will be a super subjective and arguable thought from me. Almost all Kizomba dance music has nothing more than a very typical rhythm which are quite boring to listen for more than a few songs in a row. It has only up and down beat (which are the basis of Kizomba music) plus a few other rhythm / sounds. In addition, the paces of the songs are just going like that, regularly, until the end. It has no up and down moment, no climax, nothing but a very constant rhythm through the whole song!
- People will argue this: “Hey, there are also some stops, breaks here and there within the songs. You don’t like Kizomba, so you probably don’t care too much about finding good songs.”
Well, to be honest, I don’t do too much research about Kizomba music. But I have heard enough to reach this conclusion. Why?
Because don’t tell me Kizomba music which has been being played in most festivals is garbage. These should be 70% chances that DJs will play their best collections for the festivals to an extent (because that is what they are paid for!).
Also, even if there are some climaxes/up/down/breaks in the songs. They are just not as variable and colorful as in Salsa and Bachata music.
- Someone will say like: “Ok, but Bachata is the same.”
This, I agree to some degrees, however there will be another post about Bachata and Kizomba. The next point will continue my view in this post.
Kizomba dancing: the dance, the feeling, and the techniques
With Salsa, you can lead in couple. And when there is nice song, the two people can still do some styling, breaks, or they can feel and do something with the climaxes together, as long as they have enough space and the leading skill of the leaders is good enough to not hurt followers. You will have more choices to lead using two arms and two legs.
I haven’t mentioned about the turns from followers, right? Everybody agrees that leading Salsa is the most complicated yet enjoyable in couple dancing, because everytime you dance with a new leader, everytime will be a new experience (good or bad, depends). There likely doesn’t have the same leaders that do exactly the same things. Chances are small but, not likely to happen.
You will want to have look at Eddie Torres Jr. with his social dance 😀
Also, solo in Salsa is the same. Every single dancer has their own ways to feel and interpret the music. That also makes them look awesome from the view of outsiders. And the couples can have joys with their private time (don’t do the solo for too long, it’s not good though). There are endless ways to enjoy when dancing Salsa.
With Bachata dance, either Classic style or Dominican style or Sensual style, there are still enough spaces to utilize hands connection for couple patterns.
- With Dominican Bachata, people can sometimes do footworks to feel the music together.
- While with Sensual Bachata, dancers will be using the followers’ body section to do body movements (just don’t overdo and make it into Zouk).
- For all styles, there needs some understanding of:
- Your partners’ capabilities with hands connection.
- The followers’ feeling.
- Good postures.
- Sensitive feeling when moving followers’ body.
Meanwhile, what Kizomba dancers need to do is utilizing the chest and arm connection almost the whole time. Therefore, most of the time, people lead followers with variety of patterns with legs, chests, arms in Kizomba. And that’s all.
There won’t be any space if the followers somewhat feel insecure. There is also no freedom when one of dancers in the couple wants to feel the music as he/she interprets. These points are what I drawn from what I witnessed.
In addition, the variety of patterns in Kizomba dance is extremely low. I saw more than a dozen time when the same moves are being used by different leaders in different festivals. And I mean it.
I watched so much that I can do on my own without taking any lessons whatsoever. But, of course I choose not to 🙂 because if I want to do well a kind of dance, I want to learn from scratch 😀
Now, back to the point. I saw so much the same moves that sometimes I thought they learned from the same instructors 😀 But of course not, because these people are from different countries! What funny is I saw instructors sometimes did the same things!
Kizomba dance: attitude is the worst
Girls’ intuition are super strong when they guess some fishy guys trying to take advantage of them. Or simply, there are some situations that it’s not suitable to dance closely. For example, maybe the leaders have strong smell or they are too sweaty.
- People will say: “Leaders use some deodorants or perfumes, or at least clean and dry your bodies before inviting and dancing with other people.”
Well, if this is the case, I guess not many of you sweat and somewhat produce strong smell while dancing 🙂
There are lots of times I saw the girls endure the whole song in the typical dance position of Kizomba dance while they don’t like the leaders or the situation that they are in.
- Some may say: “Then she can leave the guy immediately!”
Hold there, that will be discussed in another post. Life is not as easy as you thought 😀
- Dancing Kizomba will help guys to get laid with girls easily.
Personally, THAT bothers me a lot. Ok. Let’s make this clear. Salsa, Bachata also have people that have this mindset. However, the chances of guys that have this mind set is ridiculously high when they dance Kizomba. And that is not I imagine.
In my country, the Kizomba community is so small. However, every time there is a good Kizomba dancer visit, I heard these guys always try to hook up with any girls by dancing Kizomba with these girls. They were successful or not, I don’t know. But my ex-girlfriend experienced this in the past. Not once, but many times.
Friends from overseas, especially from countries that have massive Kizomba dance communities also confirmed this. Yet, the chances for them to be successful in those countries might be a lot less than from countries where have tiny Kizomba communities.
And those guys are so much trash at its peak.
There were a few times my female students asked me if it’s ok to take private lessons with these guys. That is normal. Even if they are just regular dancers (not qualify as Kizomba dance instructors), taking some new and fresh lessons of new types of dance is always good 😀
However, these guys are always go steps further by asking the girls come to their private places to learn after teaching them one or two lessons. At that time, I usually told my students that they should force those guys to rent a studio to do lessons for more professional approach, and they should put their caution on at anytime.
The main point is that the chances of guys who take advantage of Kizomba to sleep with girls is high. It is real and still happening.
Again, my post is not to strike Kizomba and convince anybody. These are personal ideas and views from what I see, feel, and experience. Therefore, I don’t like to touch Kizomba 😀 I know Kizomba is a trends now. People are crazy at it.
But not for me, and I believe that there are a lot of folks who have the same views as mine. In fact, I am glad that they really have the same views and thoughts, because we have been talking a lot about not liking Kizomba. None of them dance Kizomba. Even we all dance Salsa & Bachata for over 15 years.
However, who cares? As long as you love it, dance Kizomba and make more effort to get rid of these bad individuals 🙂
Also, this post: 6 misconceptions about Kizomba provided quite a lot of useful information for new Kizomba dancers. You can have a check. Yet, for me, it needs more than a post to change my points of view :3
I read this text about kizomba! I was born in Mozambique, which is on the African continent near Angola, which is also another African country, and these two countries are former colonies of Portugal. Mozambique has nothing to do with Kizomba but has British culture despite having been a Portuguese colony. I mentioned Mozambique just to say that all Africans, me being one of them with Portuguese origins, know Kizomba history that today they call traditional kizomba! I am giving this geographic information so that you can know where Kizomba comes from, because there are many people who do not even know where these two countries are, they do not know anything about world history! Now returning to kizomba which is an original Angolan music of the 50s based on the Zouk of the Antilles which in turn is original from the caraibas. In the 1980s Angolans modified the style which was a fusion of other styles of music such as; Merengue, Semba, Zouk … and all this with the Angolans gave the name of KIMBUNDO that means: PARTY. The dance was very rhythmic similar to salsa. In the 80s Angolan people changed the rhythm of music and dance and changed the name, called KIZOMBA. The pace became slower and more focused on the parties of the rich military that belonged to the dictator party, since at that time in Angola the rich were practically all military, so there could be no music from the street poor with very cheerful rhythms and there was KIZOMBA more vocationada for romanticism. Today the kizomba dance with that intention, the sensuality, the romanticism …. But the style of the 50’s, 60’s began to return in 2010 under the name of SEMBA and with a new fusion that appreciated in the urban districts of Paris to which they gave name of URBAN KIZ. UBAN KIZZ and KIZOMBA there is also a huge war between the aficionados of these two styles. To conclude, I want to say that I prefer Dancing Salsa and I was a dancer of breakdance, funk, hip-hop, street jazz and today I’m 49 years old and I’m much happier at SALSA parties because it goes with my way I am very cheerful, crazy, extroverted … but I also dance kizomba but it can not be for 1 hour then I prefer the AFRO-LATINAS parties where there are mixed styles that we do here in Portugal, despite the festivities of kizomba have more followers. Traditional Kizomba I like, especially if I’m with the woman I love, I’m romantic but romanticism does not occupy most of my life!
Let me tell you something, if you want to enjoy real kizomba and Semba you have to go to Angola. You need to experience older people that know kizomba and semba from the 80s. Semba is the mother of Brazilian Samba, Cuban son, salsa, tango and kizomba, etc. All original from Angola. Semba is not boring at all is as much ritmic as salsa, tango or semba. What these couple above are dancing is not even called kizomba, it’s a variation of “Tarrachinha” originally a dance from Benguela a province of Angola. That is not kizomba. The real kizomba dance watch Euclides da Lomba “Nosso lindo caso de amor” that is kizomba. If you watch Carlos Burity “Mucajany” that is Semba.
Yes, I think you are so negative about kizomba but everybody does not have to like it as we do. I can write a similar article about salsa but I don’t because there is no need for this. I am not interested in salsa and I don’t know about it as much as you do. I don’t even have the interest to search about it, at least not for now. I know how to dance salsa at a basic level but I don’t prefer to dance it and I don’t go to latin parties. This is my preference and that is yours.
It is so obvios that you don’t know much about the history of kizomba (as a music genre and as a dance) and the real kizomba (I don’t call it “traditional kizomba” because this is just kizomba, there is no need to add an adjactive. The others need to find another name to what they have invented like “urbankiz”, “kizomba fusion”, etc.). You probably don’t know much about semba and the Angolan culture where they both were born. Moreover you literally say that you are not interested learning or searching more about them. Then it is OK. Go on with whatever you feel passion for! For you, it is salsa, and this is great! For me, it is kizomba and semba, and this is great too 🙂 I wish you more success in your salsa classes and projects!
This is so biased!!! I can’t even believe you wrote this. This is a personal opinion for someone who can’t learn it. Of course you don’t like it. PLEASE DON’T BE DISCOURAGED IT’S AN AMAZING BEAUTIFUL DANCE.
I know one thing. If your not willing to do research and learn about it, then you can’t really speak on it. Don’t spread your uninformed opinion. It doesn’t look good..🙂
I’m not going to use this opportunity to go on some long rant or pick out all the areas of your argument where you are wrong or where you have only experienced a small biased subset. It’s your job as a dance professional to go out and do proper research.
I will say this. Kizomba is a dance not a person. If someone uses Semba or it’s derivatives as a means to deal with women inappropriately. That’s an issue with the person, not the dance.🙂🙃
True. Low level music and dance for people who have low physical shape, difficulties in learning dance or just come for the excuse to hook up.
If you want to be perceived as a dancer and you say kizomba is your style 😂😂.
Now you can be both ugly and bad dancer to get stupid girls.
By god who is the author? sorry I couldn’t read next after reading this [Kizomba dance music is a big thump down -Well, let’s take Salsa as an example. Salsa songs are almost unique for every single song, not to mention that there are at least more than 5 styles of Salsa music].. you just killed I have no more words
interesting. In my country latin dance is go down. Especially salsa bachata and kizomba because i know all of my girl friends says the 98 porcentaje of the man who are dance this kind of music have many problems.
1- They want dance only for sex. The latin teachers is the same. I know many latin teachers dance who are married and the wife dont knows nothing about the husband have sex many times with the students.
Many students are surprise because the teachers in secret wants to make sex in the bed when they finished the classes. All the teachers is the same. You dont have this in another dance teachers like hip hop or disco dance teachers. So i think many latin dancers have a cheap sex with anybody like protitutes or something similar. Of course i practice salsa for two years but i and my friend we know what kind of dance is meaning latin dance in the world. Is like a cheap dance for cheap man and cheap girls. Not everybody but its 98 porcentaje the same sexy cheap dance in the countris who im going in this year.
Most men enjoy sex regardless of their hobbies or interests or work. Straight men, gay men, young men, old men. Single men. Taken men. Sex is just another form of expression like dance.
Women are brainwashed to believe that sex is dirty or “bad”. This is because women take the most risk (pregnancy, STD, assault) in sex. If two people like or love each other then sex shouldn’t be something shameful. Just have open communication between men and women about intimacy.
Thank you for your article and for sharing your thoughts on this.
I stumbled upon your article by chance and I couldn’t stop reading until I’ve reached the end of it! It is always refreshing to read divergent opinions about a current trend and I personally think that your points are valid. I’d just like to add a bit more to this and share my own vision on the dance.
Before I start, I want to state that I am by no mean a dance expert. I would even consider that I’m below average since I’ve started my dance journey quite recently. My first dance was actually Kizomba, then I tried Bachata and Salsa since Kizomba is not that popular in the country I currently live in, and I actually wanted to have more dancing opportunities. Eventually, I dropped Bachata and Salsa lessons entirely because of a limited budget and less interest for these two dances overall.
So please, take my opinion with a grain of salt. I know I can be wrong and that my vision is not everybody’s vision, and certainly not an expert one. But, just like you, I let my guts speak and share my feelings. My opinion might probably change in the future as I get more accustomed to different dance techniques. But this is where I am today.
I love Kizomba. Traditional, Modern/Urban/French,… All of them. All of the different styles. I find the dance beautiful to watch and the connection when dancing amazing. It’s probably because I’m not well trained, but I didn’t feel the same with Bachata and Salsa. I prefer the aesthetics of Kizomba better. It might be “limited” in comparison to the other dance if we solely compare the number of moves possible (but I’ll come back to this later), I can’t help it. I just prefer watching people dancing Kizomba than watching Bachata or Salsa dance. From a pure spectator point of view. Maybe my mind got fed up with all of these dance movies where I saw people spinning all the way around and executing patterns that we all know thanks to mass media. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Bachata and Salsa are truly beautiful dances, but not as refreshing and “unique” as Kizomba for me. Once again, I’m talking with my own experience here. I know some people will completely disagree with me, depending on their mileage, and that’s OK! That’s just how I feel about it.
So, just to discuss your points one-by-one:
1. Kizomba dance music is a big thump down.
I completely agree. And I like it.
True, we have some slight variation in a song, sometimes it’s calming down, sometimes the beat gets faster,… but nothing close in comparison to variation in Salsa and Bachata music.
Truth is, I love the rhythm. I love and enjoy the fact that the beat is “just” (it’s not just that but to make it simpler) big thump down that triggers the move, with little or no variation. With the repetition and “heavy” beat, you can almost enter in a “trance” phase, like some people have when they listen to repetitive music (techno for example, and no, not all of them are on drugs :D). It’s just the signature, and while I understand that most people prefer to have music with various phase and patterns (I do like it too), others also like the repetitive, “easy”, gentle, push that the heavy beat of Kizomba gives you to support your step and your connection with the partner.
The other cool thing is that with all of the variation of Kizomba that exists, you can actually dance it on different musical genre: Kizomba music itself, but also Ghetto zouk (we have a lot of this in commercial music these days), raggaeton, etc… Whether you like this musical genre or not is another story. But if you do, I think that Kizomba is perfect dance choice
Kizomba might sound “boring” to you. I respect your opinion. But sometimes, you just like a type of music, whether or not it has big musical variation in it or not. Same on the other way, some people will tell you “I hate latin music”, and put all the Salsa music and variation that comes with it in a big trash bag. So I don’t really think that the musical “diversity” plays the only big role here. It’s more whether or not you like that type of music. I just love how Kizomba sounds (once again, for me it’s more “refreshing” than Salsa and Bachata music. They are more diverse, but I have less emotional connection to it).
2. Kizomba dancing: the dance, the feeling, and the techniques
I cannot speak much about the technique because I’m really low here, so I can’t argue with you. But your point makes sense so, I agree with you on the technical aspect.
Feeling perspective, I enjoy dancing Kizomba the most. I just love the connection I have with the partner, be it with my girlfriend or other woman. It’s not even thinking about anything “sexual” for that matter, like most people actually think about the dance, but just the feeling of “hugging” someone and being hug. Then dancing on that big stomp while hugging, closing your eyes and just feel you and your partner. That’s a magic moment I’ve never felt that strong in Salsa and Bachata.
True, I have more exposure to Kizomba. So one can say that my level in Salsa and Bachata is actually too low for me too feel anything special, that I might need more technique to have the dance revealed to me.
While I can agree with that, the good thing with Kizomba is that I got it “revealed” to me after my second lesson and practice. Maybe because there is less technique involved, but that’s actually a big plus for me.
I don’t need to think *** too *** much about the steps, the pattern, and what I’m gonna do next,etc… It just comes naturally to me in Kizomba. So I quickly enjoyed it. And adopted it. Close your eyes, be respectful, understand your partner confidence zone, and just let your body go with the basic steps and leg/chest variation. Does it might look boring to you ? Maybe. Does it feel good to me and my partner ? No, it feels awesome. And once you get more skilled and confident, you can try more exotic chest and leg movement, with some pattern borrowed from tango (if you do urban, etc…) I feel that possibilities are actually endless. But you don’t need to have a decent level to start enjoying it. Even beginner like me enjoyed it from the very basics.
3. Kizomba dance: attitude is the worst
That’s the only point that I might actually come to disagree with you. On previous points I understood your opinion and actually shared it on several aspect. But with this one, I think that this is not fair to restrict your interest in the dance just because some bad apple (not all. Not even the majority from my own experience) are in the basket.
The first point, on hygiene, is a no-brainer. Sure, we all want to have good hygiene. Some people do, some people don’t (not only guys have bad smells or sweat). But it’s not Kizomba specific. Granted, we are almost always on a close position in Kizomba. But does it mean that we shouldn’t do any close position on any dance just because this issue exist ? So no bachata close position ? I know it’s situational. So if someone smell, you can just move away from close position on other dance, while you technically cannot do that easily on Kizomba. While this is a downside, I personally feel that this is a fair price to pay in comparison to what the dance can bring to me. Bad hygiene is noticeable on any dances and we all suffer 3 to 4 min, regardless of what we’re dancing. Then we just blacklist the offender and move on. The suffering might be higher during Kizomba, but the fact that this suffering exist is not Kizomba-specific.
But the second point is actually problematic too:
“The main point is that the chances of guys who take advantage of Kizomba to sleep with girls is high. It is real and still happening”.
It is happening. Not just Kizomba. It’s happening for a lot of other dances. I think it’s not fair to discredit Kizomba because we all have stories of people who did that with that girl, etc, etc… We don’t have stats, it’s your experience against mine, and while I too have stories on Kizomba, I also have some on Bachata, with teachers or expert dancers trying to take advantage of girl. While the problem exist, it’s really bad to bring the blame to a particular dance and say: “I don’t want to learn Kizomba because there is a high chance that the male will try to sleep with a girl”. It’s a serious accusation and it’s really harmful.
It’s not true, you just have your own experience (and your friend experience and your friend’s friend, and his dog, etc…) but I have same example with other dances too, Bachata (and salsa) included. We are the dancing community. We are responsible for our actions, and pointing the finger to another group is just harming the whole dancing scene, especially the Latin one.
We shouldn’t put this issue to silence, we should definitely fight against it, because yes, you’re right, it exists, and it is disgusting. But the “it’s mostly a Kizomba problem” is not true. And it’s hurting me as a respectful dancer. And it’s hurting me to see that others are considering our community like this. (by the way, a lot of so-called Kizomba dancers are also Bachata / Salsa dancers… So some stupid guys are in both communities)
To quote you:
“Again, my post is not to strike Kizomba and convince anybody. These are personal ideas and views from what I see, feel, and experience. Therefore, I don’t like to touch Kizomba 😀 I know Kizomba is a trends now. People are crazy at it.”
I know it is personal opinion and I respect it. But while I completely understand points 1 and 2, I really feel that point 3 actually diverge from the dancing aspect and focus more on the Kizomba dancing community, which is, as you mention, really dependent of where you live and your experience.
The problem with this is that you are in a position of influence, being a teacher yourself. You have student that listen to you and trust you. And I don’t think it’s good to tell people that are asking you “why you do not teach Kizomba”, that you’re not doing it because there is a “high chance” to meet disgusting people there. I think it’s our role, and particularly a teacher’s role, to tell people how to behave when dancing. How to be respectful, with yourself and your partner. People listen to you. Make people change in a good way by showing them good dance behavior than trying to prevent them from learning a new thing by telling them that guys are just girl hunters in a particular community.
To be honest, if I had started with Bachata (that was my initial plan) and if my teacher had told me that he won’t teach me kizomba or has no interest in Kizomba because the community is bad, I would have never started Kizomba for sure. And it would have been a huge loss for me.
We’re so lucky to have so much diversity in Latin dance. I’m actually planning to learn Bachata and Salsa seriously again, because if I love Kizomba, I know I shouldn’t restrict myself on things. This is how my horizon got wider. This is why I started learning to dance in the first place.
And now, Kizomba is part of my life. I didn’t know it was a trend, until people start to mention it (once again, really few people dance it in my country, so I can’t say I eventually chose that dance because of the trend ;D). I saw sexual harassment in Salsa, in Bachata and in Kizomba. I saw Youtube videos about it, for all dances. I don’t want to make you change your opinion on things, because it’s mostly a personal feeling thing, and I agree with you on some. But let’s not blame an entire group for disgusting behavior that happens everywhere. We’re all suffering from this at the end.
It’s a real war out there almost like religion,politics kung fu and pizza.but a pizza will always be called pizza no matter where it comes from , enjoyed the history lesson in the comments. Dance makes us all feel good kinda like ice cream everyone has there preference. I hope the metaphor analogy dosent bother you . I’m a dancer, I love music , learning, and connection , I know some may not like my style even been laughed at for doing something that is not proper for that type of dance. Yet I dance with joy and passion no matter what it is and if the music and my partner allow it will incorporate a fusion of dance while still being respectful of my dance partner and setting/ whatever genre it may be. #hiphopurbansalsabachatazouk