I am currently sitting in my living room in Sydney, Australia, where the sun has turned up the heat big time. It’s a 40 degree sweltering summer’s day, and I have locked the fan in place, aiming it directly at my back so as I can write this. Because, as complete Kizomba addiction would have it, I’ve just been having a great old time practicing my basics. And despite the ungodly heat, I am once again totally wrapped up in the beautiful apparent simplicity, and subtle intricacies of Kizomba.
Each person comes to their first Kizomba class from a different path and with a different angle. Maybe you have never danced a step in your life, you saw Kizomba once, and it kind of looked like walking, so you thought you would give it a go. Maybe you were a bachata head, but one of your friends convinced you to give this kiz thing a try. Maybe you just grew up dancing Kiz in your lounge room and never took a class (lucky you). Or maybe you are a semi professional or professional dancer who got hooked on the rhythm and soon realised Kizomba is not as easy as it looks.
Regardless of who you are, I am sure you have had a couple of the following experiences:
1. Going to a beginners class and realising that slow basic is actually really hard.
2. Dancing Kizomba for a relatively long time, and feeling the need to constantly go back and refresh and retrain your basics.
3. Having a mind blowing dance with someone, and then realising you only did one or maybe two steps for the entire song.
This is one of the unique beauties of Kizomba. It is not designed to be watched. Of course the outside observer can see there is something special going on. But what is actually happening between a dancing pair is a feeling totally unique to that specific combination of people. Each person’s style and story is totally unique to them, and then when they share a dance with a partner the two of them create a totally new Kizomba connection. You might really click with the person’s style, you might drift of into that wonderful meditative state, you might create a new move you didn’t even know you knew, or you might not really vibe with the person’s dance and politely move along at the next song. Who knows? But the amazing thing is that all of this can happen within the basics!
You do not need to have 10 fancy turn patterns and some crazy foot slides up your sleeve to have an amazing Kizomba dance. And no doubt this is why Kiz appeals to so many people across the globe. When we really break it down, the basics of Kizomba are just some of the basic things we need and do in life.
We all need and do the following:
- Hugs! Who doesn’t like hugs? Some research has even shown that we need between 4-12 hugs a day to release enough dopamine to relax and soothe us.
- Walking. All able bodied people walk at some point daily. Why not do it with someone else, to amazing music, whilst hugging?
- Music. The world would be a bleak and empty place without music. Within Kizomba there is an enormous umbrella of sub styles and genres to suit everyone’s groove.
- Connection. Humans are social and affectionate creatures. We are curious and we need connection in our lives to feel understood and inspired.
So within the basic essence and steps of Kizomba we have so many important ingredients for a vibrant life.
On a technical level there is so much to be said for going back to your beginners classes and really developing your basics; Your stepping, your frame, your connection, your fundamental steps and your musicality, and of course, learn Semba! Even if you think you have been in this game for a while, it can never hurt to be the student again. Luckily we each have the choice to never stop learning. The smoother and more comfortable your basics are, the smoother and more comfortable your dance will be for both lead and follow.
The true beauty of Kizomba probably can’t be explained on paper, it needs to be felt within the dance. And luckily for all of us kizombeiros it can be felt within just one or two steps. Take the challenge and go back to your basics, work on your fundamentals, and enjoy the simplicity of the Kizomba connection.
Happy dancing from scorching Sydney!
Photography ~David Bonnell~