Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling...I have just found myself sucked into the facebook vortex taking a short break from my work, only to find that the vortex pulled me into an oh so familiar stream of comments about people who deciding they no longer want to take dance class because the level is not challenging enough for them.
I understand. Perhaps you have already done your beginners courses, and your intermediate courses and now you are searching for something else to sink your teeth into, only to find nothing to chew on ?
However, the secret is, there is ALWAYS something more to chew on. Even with a lifetime of dance experience I feel confident I could go to any beginners class of Kizomba or any other dance and learn something new. Not necessarily a new step, or technique, however I could always improve my own dance. One of the most compelling things about dance is that it is an art form, there is always room to perfect a technique, and there is infinite room to create. Whether you choose to take this journey of constant discovery depends entirely on your point of view.
If you are someone who has entered the world of Afro Latin dance as an Adult I will tell you now that your perception of beginner/ intermediate/ advanced dancing has been conditioned and formulated by latin dance schools, who are at their core businesses. They need to have a structure for people to follow, the point of Latin Dance Schools is to teach people to dance, socialise, enjoy, and learn a new culture, it is not about creating elite level dancers. The terms beginner/ intermediate and advanced are so subjective they may as well be made up words.
The social dance world, and the Kizomba world is completely deregulated. There are no exams, there are few formal training certifications across the world, and this is usually for teacher training not for elite dance training. Regardless, none of these things are compulsory. Anyone can say they are a teacher, and anyone can claim advanced dancer status. I am not suggesting this is a bad thing, I am just calling a spade a spade. The modalities of teaching Kizomba, Urban Kiz, and Kiz fusion usually only scratch the surface of what it means to dance, so it is very hard for the average Joe to advance past what I would call a beginner level.
I will share with you my perception of levels. I have been dancing for 22 years, for 6 years professionally and I have had full time certified dance training. Every muscle and fibre in my body has been moulded and trained through dance. I have danced Kizomba for 3 years, I have taught Kizomba for 2 years and in that time invested hours, thousands of dollars, overseas trips, teachers training certification and more dedication than you can imagine. I would consider myself an intermediate Kizomba dancer. Why ? Because I have seen Advanced Kizomba / urban Kiz dancers, I can count them on two hands. They have truly mastered the dynamic of the movement, body control, lead and follow, artistic expression, lines, musicality, space for play, reactivity, sensitivity, fluidity, fusional influence. And they train, A lot. Not only in a studio, but in a gym or a Yoga studio. They dedicate almost 100% of their life to this, becoming a true advanced dancer. I can also bet all of my money that any of those truly advanced dancers would happily attend a beginners course, and learn something.
When I read these comments, and notice the numbers dropping in classes, and people coming to socials after one or maybe even 0 classes, I do understand. The aim of the game is to have FUN, learn something new and express. And this is why I love this dance more than anything, and am actually very grateful that Kizomba is not structured in the same way as Ballet, or Jazz or commercial dance. However, to those students who feel lost, or fed up, or like they are not learning anything, put yourselves back in the driver's seat. Unless your name is Adeline or Susana there is plenty to learn. Work with your own body, become conscious of the way it moves, how it feels when it is in flow, film yourself and work on the aesthetic of your dance, try some styling, find a teacher you do like and book in some private classes, find online classes. There are a million and one ways to learn. Please do not be disheartened by these supposed roadblocks. Find that spice for learning again and go back to class.
~ Genevieve Rogan December 2018 ~
FB: Genevieve rogan dancer/teacher/writer