28 Jan

Many referred to Africa as the dark continent, and that very likely had to do, with those in the Western world knowing very little “back then” about the people, their culture, their traditions and about the land and its varied, fascinating and intoxicating animal and plant life.

Then surfaces the dance called Semba out of Angola on the Western coast of Southern Africa, not known to Westerners and out of Semba, KIZOMBA, a seemingly very sensual and sexy dance viewed as taboo by many. So taboo that many refuse to learn or dance it, except maybe with their significant others. Don’t refer to it as African Tango if you don’t want to raise the ire of some. While the infusion to and inspiration of Argentine Tango to Kizomba is real, it has a life all its own. So let’s dispel some of the mystique and make it less taboo, more appealing even.

Let’s look firstly, at why is it now becoming so popular throughout the world. One reason is the music – Kizomba music is infectious and springs from Semba music, but infused with and influenced by Caribbean Zouk. Hybrids, fusions always great things, make. Just put a Kizomba “beat” to any popular song and it’s sure to be a hit on the dance floor.

Secondly it’s relatively easy to learn. The basic steps and the saidas are not difficult. The timing is also key, as it helps you to use the music to maximize the rhythm and enjoyment of the music. This is also quite easy to learn – you have the slow motion, the stop motion according to the nuances of the music and the syncopations, all tools in your kit to use as at your pleasure, and that of your partner. Once you master the frame, you’re then well on your way to being able to master the rest, eventually. After only one class of about one hour long, you will be able to dance Kizomba basics quite well enough to enjoy Kizomba dancing at a social, while you continue to hone your skills at your favorite dance class.

In more recent times, “relatives” have been coming out of the woodwork, Urban Kiz (with its displacements and foot tricks), Tarraxinha (some refer to as dance foreplay with your significant other) and the like, so there is something to satisfy everyone’s fancy, in among the Kizomba “purists”. So choose one or choose to learn all styles – the more you learn, the more fun it is. Fun reduces stress, makes us happy (at least while we’re on the dance floor) and even makes us healthier as we move around, and up and down the dance floor.

One myth that causes some to stay on the sidelines is that you must connect at the hips. That may be true of tarraxinha, but not Kizomba (yes there is a difference, speak to any Angolan and he’ll tell you). Kizomba is all about the frame, the hold and making that connection with the upper body and keeping the weight slightly forward. With such a connection it is just about impossible to make a connection with your partner’s groin or pelvis, unless you collapse your frame. Then you’re into the realm of tarraxinha with your significant other or a willing participant, someone you’re very “comfortable” with. I’ll be perfectly frank here – some guys learn the family of Kiz dances merely to be able to “rub up” on the lady and make unwanted advances, but this is not the fault of the dance, but of the one with ulterior motives. Ladies if the manner in which the man is dancing makes you uncomfortable, let him know, and if he persists end the dance. But to stay away from Kizomba citing this reason would be a shame, because it is a really enjoyable and fun dance.

So join a dance class, and learn the various dances, including Kizomba. Guys, you are generally in short supply in dance classes, so come along and learn – it’s fun, you will have no shortage of willing dance partners and you will become a confident dancer, one who leads well and takes care of your partner on the dance floor. Ladies we don’t need to tell you twice … for many of you dance is your passion, so continue to feed it. See y’all on the dancefloor

Carol Boisierre

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