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KIZOMBA – YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO KIZOMBA DANCING & MUSIC!

People Dancing Kizomba Near the Ocean

Kizomba Dancing in Rovinj, Croatia!

Welcome To Your Ultimate Guide to Kizomba Dancing & Music! This is a resource for information about Kizomba.  In it, I will cover the history, music, dance basic steps, and also the most popular styles of Kizomba in countries around the world.  

Kizomba is a popular genre of music and dance originating in Angola circa 1984. It means party in Kimbundu, a Bantu language spoken by the Ambundu or Mbundu of Angola.

Kizomba music was developed by musicians who were influenced by semba music and also by zouk music such as from the band Kassav, a French Caribbean band formed in Guadeloupe in 1979, in addition to others from the Caribbean French Antilles.

The Kizomba dance roots come from Semba. Kizomba was traditionally danced in a circular pattern whereas Urban Kiz is danced in a straight line. Kizomba Fusion has more flexible rules and includes moves and techniques from other dance styles such as Salsa, Bachata, Tango, and also Hip Hop.

Music Genre Kizomba

Eduardo Paim is internationally recognized as the “father/creator of Kizomba music”. Back in 1979 he along with his band SOS were responsible for a significant role in the development of the music style. Kizomba music emerged as a fusion of Semba, Angolan Merengue, and other Angolan music styles. 

Kizomba music continues to evolve. Today the most popular YouTube video for Kizomba Dancing (Kizomba Fusion) is Lento by Daniel Santacruz. This video featuring Kizomba Dancers Sarah Lopez and Marc Brewer has over 175 million views. 

Additionally some of the most popular Kizomba artists are Mika Mendes, Nelson Freitas, Anselmo Ralph, Jennifer Dias, Johnny Ramos, Loony Johnson, Matias Damásio, C4 Pedro, Djodje, Daniel Santacruz, Denis Graça as well as Soraia Ramos.

Many kizomba songs are sung in Portuguese, however, more songs are being released in French, English, and Spanish.  This is mainly due to the growing popularity of Kizomba Music and Kizomba Dancing, especially in Europe, The United States of America, and also Asia.

Dance Genre Kizomba

The Kizomba Dance (also known as Traditional Kizomba) comes from Semba which has been danced in Angola since the 1950s. It is a couples dance, in which there is a strong connection to the ground.  This is also sometimes referred to as earth-centered, as in many other African-style dances.

In Kizomba the leader will guide the follower using his body and right arm. The couple will also express themselves through footwork and body movements in order to demonstrate a high level of musicality.  Here is a good example of a Traditional Kizomba Dance by Black Cherry & Oncle Kani.

Besides Traditional Kizomba, there are several other newer Kizomba Dance Styles that also fall under the Kizomba Umbrella. Here are the main ones!

Kizomba Fusion

Kizomba Fusion takes the basics from Kizomba to include the connection, weight transfer from foot to foot and adds in other moves from other dance styles, hence the name Kizomba Fusion. It allows dancers to have a lot of freedom and also use moves from Salsa, Bachata, Tango, and Hip Hop. 

The popularity of Kizomba Fusion dance videos on YouTube has resulted in a huge increase for Kizomba Fusion Artists &  Dance Festivals around the world including in Asia. 

Additionally, Kizomba Fusion dance videos on Youtube currently have the highest number of views and outnumber traditional Kizomba dance videos by millions of views.  Moreover many of the most popular Kizomba singers are writing songs specifically for this style of dance as it has a very high commercial value.  The below video is a good example of Kizomba Fusion by Isabelle & Felicien.

Urban Kiz

Urban Kiz is another couples dance that came from Kizomba. It was created in Paris, France somewhere between 2012 and 2014 by Enah, Moun & Curtis. This new style originally had several different names, such as Kizomba 2.0, French Style Kizomba and New Style Kizomba until it was finally named Urban Kiz.

This new dance style was heavily influenced by Ghettozouk and R&B remixes. It is very popular in Europe and is growing in both the United States of America and also Asia.  On Youtube, Urban Kiz Dance videos are second only to Kizomba Fusion dance videos with view counts in the millions. 

One major difference between Kizomba & Urban Kiz dancers is that they usually keep a little more distance between them.  They normally won’t have the same chest-to-chest connection as is common with Kizomba. Additionally, Urban Kiz is danced on straight lines whereas Kizomba is danced in a circular manner. The below video with Jojo & Victoria is a good example of Urban Kiz.

Why should I learn it?

Kizomba is a dance of connection. It can help improve your social life by meeting new friends.  It can also help you reduce stress, develop muscles, lose weight, tone your body, improve your circulation, improve your posture, improve your balance and coordination.

What are the basic dance steps of Kizomba?

Here are the basic steps for dancing Kizomba. Remember regardless of the style of Kizomba that you dance, the most important thing is the connection! Additionally, the below video by the Messina Dance Company will show you the connection and the basic steps.

Kizomba Basic 1

The first dance step that everyone learns in Kizomba is the Kizomba Basic 1. This involves transferring the weight from one foot to the other. Normally the guy starts on his left foot and the lady starts on her right foot. This is done on either the 4 count, 2 count, or on tempo.

Kizomba Basic 2

The second dance step is Kizomba Basic 2 also known as the sidestep. This kizomba step is pretty easy for most beginner dancers. It involves leading from side to side via the body connection.

Kizomba Basic 3

The third dance step is Kizomba Basic 3 which involves walking forward and backward in a sequence of three steps.  Moreover, the last step involves putting the feet together in a closed position.

Which Kizomba Dance Style is the most popular in different areas around the world.

The Kizomba Embassy team looked at non-scientific data to determine which styles of kizomba were currently popular in different areas of the world.  This included local Kizomba Facebook Groups, Kizomba Festival Themes, Kizomba Festival Instructors styles, Kizomba Festival Workshops as well as the most popular weekly Kizomba style socials. 

We also received feedback directly from many of our Kizomba Embassy Ambassadors and members around the world, who have first-hand knowledge of the kizomba dance scene in these areas. 

Kizomba Africa

Traditional Kizomba is the dominant style in its birth country of Angola as well as other countries throughout Africa. The main ones are the PALOP countries, which include Angola, Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, and also São Tomé e Príncipe.

Many top artists here like Angola’s 2018 Kizomba and Semba champion Ary & Maura dance traditional Kizomba and also Semba.

Kizomba Portugal

Portugal is the most popular country for traditional Kizomba outside of Africa.  It is a powerhouse for Traditional Kizomba with many of the top instructors and artists based here. These instructors include Master Pechu, Paula & Ricardo as well as Paulo & Lanna

However, Kizomba Fusion and also Urban Kiz are growing in popularity in Portugal. The Kizomba Dancer with the most followers currently on social media is Ben Pedrosa who dances with Ana Guerreiro. He is based in Faro, Portugal, and is trained in many different styles of dance.  He along with Ana are known for their fantastic Kizomba Fusion workshops at festivals worldwide.

Kizomba Spain

Spain is another powerhouse for dancing all styles of Kizomba.  Many of the top Kizomba Fusion and Urban Kiz dancers live here. These include Albir Rojas, Sara Lopez, Marine & Mika, Jack & Sara and also Guiu and Borboleta

Urban Kiz and Kizomba Fusion Festivals & events are frequent here such as the Kizomba Spain World Congress, Malaga Temptation Festival, Barcelona Temptation Festival, and many more. Being in such close proximity to Portugal you will also have many Traditional Kizomba Dancers teaching at events in Spain. A popular Kizomba Festival for Traditional Kizomba dancers in Spain is the Kizomba Open Festival held yearly in Madrid.

Kizomba France

France is the birthplace of Urban Kiz.  It is also a powerhouse for both Urban Kiz and Kizomba Fusion.  Many of the world’s top Urban Kiz and Kizomba Fusion dancers are from France. This is evident in the lineups at Kizomba Festivals around the world.  

Additionally, many Urban Kiz and Kizomba Fusion dancers travel to France to train with these top artists and also attend local parties and festivals. Traditional Kizomba also has a strong following in France. Regardless of which style of Kizomba you like to dance, you will find it here. Here is a current article on some of the Best places to Dance Kizomba in Paris.    

Kizomba USA

The predominant Kizomba style here largely depends on which area of the USA you are in.  If you are on the East Coast, mainly in the cities of New York, Washington, DC, and Miami, then you will find many Traditional Kizomba Festivals and socials. For example, the SAWA Kizomba Dance Festival is normally held twice a year in Washington, DC and it is a 100% Traditional Kizomba Festival.

Further down south in Miami, the yearly Miami Beach Kizomba Festival is also a traditional Kizomba Dance Festival. However, this year at the 2022 Miami Beach Kizomba Festival, the organizers have just announced that they will now be adding an Urban Kiz room to the Festival.  Additionally, most New York City Kizomba festivals and social events have been Traditional Kizomba focused. 

Urban Kiz is growing quickly from its stronghold in Austin, Texas. Charles Ogar is known as the most influential pioneer of Urban Kiz in North America.  He is responsible for teaching Urban Kiz at events around the United States every weekend.  He is also responsible for two flagship Urban Kiz events each year.  Number one is the Neokiz Kizomba Festival held in Austin and number two is the Neokiz Cruise. Currently, he is on a tour of Central and South America teaching Urban Kiz workshops.

Urban Kiz is also very popular on the West Coast of the United States in many cities such as Los Angeles & San Francisco.  Many of the current Dance Festival Organizers have added this style and also Kizomba Fusion to their Salsa, Bachata & Kizomba Festivals also known as SBK Festivals.  A good example of this is the Los Angeles Bachata Festival which also includes Salsa and Kizomba dance rooms. 

Kizomba China

In China, the most popular style of Kizomba by far is Urban Kiz. The four cities with the most active and also frequent Kizomba groups, social parties, and events are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou. 

Traditional Kizomba also has a good following due to Kizomba Instructors such as Kevin Masgrau and Michael Nice.  Kevin along with his partner Qu Qu is responsible for the Genesis China Kizomba Event, which brings together dancers from all styles of kizomba in the same event. Michael along with his partner Ivy also teaches multiple styles of dance including Kiz Tango. Michael is an American professional dancer from Los Angeles and has been teaching in China since 2012.  He is responsible for helping to develop many of the current local kizomba teachers in China. 

Lastly, the China Kizomba Congress held yearly in Shanghai also normally features a diverse lineup of Urban Kiz, Kizomba Fusion, and also traditional Kizomba artists, many of which are from France.  

Japan

In Tokyo, Japan both Urban Kiz and Kizomba Fusion Festivals and socials are the most popular forms of Kizomba.  Many of the top Urban Kiz & Kizomba Fusion dancers such as Sarah Lopez, Isabelle & Felicien, Jojo, Guiu & Borboletta have also taught and performed at Kizomba Festivals in Tokyo. 

One of the top Kizomba dancers in Japan is Ami Nagano.  When she is in Japan, she often holds advanced UrbanKiz, Taraxxo, and also ladies styling workshops.  These workshops are very popular with Japanese ladies and are normally sold out in advance. 

She also works with one of the top Kizomba Djs in Japan known as DJ Smith.  DJ Smith is also a Kizomba dancer whose favorite style is Tarraxo. She is also a frequent guest DJ at Kizomba Festivals in Asia such as the yearly Japan Kizomba Festival and other Festivals across the United States of America.

Additionally, many Japanese dancers travel to Paris, France each year to dance at Kizomba Fusion and Urban Kiz at festivals such as the Eiffel Tower Kizomba Festival as well as the Paris Etoile Kizomba Festival.  You will also find visiting Japanese dancers attending the popular weekly Let’s Play Kizomba socials and Saida socials in Paris, France.

South Korea

In Seoul, South Korea Urban Kiz, Kizomba Fusion as well as Tarraxa, or Tarraxo are very popular. In fact, Toco Yoo, a popular Urban Kiz dancer based out of Seoul, South Korea won the 2019 Seoul Kizomba Competition, Freestyle Couples Category.  He along with his dance partner Dylane also won the 2020 Global Tarraxo Festival in Montreal, Canada.

Famous Kizomba Fusion and Urban Kiz dancers such as Albir Rojas, Steffy & Val’R, Enah Lebon as well as Isabelle & Felicien have taught and performed at Korean Kizomba Festivals. However traditional Kizomba also has a following and traditional Kizomba dancers such as Oncle Kani & BlackCherry have also performed in Seoul, South Korea.

Thailand

In Bangkok, Thailand you will find a very good mix of Traditional Kizomba, Urban Kiz, and Kizomba Fusion.  An example of this can be seen from the variety of international instructors who taught at previous Bangkok Kizomba Dance Festivals. 

Malaysia

In Malaysia, we see a strong traditional Kizomba dance scene.  This includes a local Kizomba & Semba Facebook group with over 2,400 members. 

Additionally, the traditional Kizomba dancers here actively participate in Ginga Flashmobs such as the 2022 Ginga Flashmob. Kizomba Fusion and Urban Kiz however are growing in popularity.  

Mexico

In Mexico there is a strong Urban Kiz movement that can be seen in the Facebook group Urban Kiz Mexico. Kizomba Fusion is also very popular. At the last Mexico Kizomba Festival in 2019, the instructor’s styles were mainly Kizomba Fusion & Urban Kiz.  These Kizomba dance instructors included Yami & Martha, Ronie Saleh, Steffy & Var’R, and also Laurent Yishu.

Argentina

In the capital city of Buenos Aires, Argentina there is a growing Kizomba Fusion dance scene.  Many of the local Latin night clubs such as La Salsera have Urban Kiz and also Kizomba Fusion classes weekly.  Additionally, a local Kizomba Fusion group called Fusionkizlab has a very active social scene with both weekly events and also Festivals. 

Italy

Italy has a very strong dance scene.  All three styles of Kizomba, Urban Kiz, and Kizomba Fusion are popular here.  This can be seen by the numerous dance festivals and Facebook groups featuring each dance style.

Where can I take Kizomba dance classes

Firstly it’s important to determine what style of Kizomba you would like to learn. Start by watching some Kizomba Dance videos online to see who are your favorite Kizomba Dance teachers and what style they dance.

Once you have this figured out the next step would be to see if you have any kizomba teachers or groups in your area. If you live in an area without any Kizomba dance instructors, then learn the basic steps from youtube videos.  Afterwards see where the next closest Kizomba festival is going to be. You can see many of the popular kizomba festivals on the Kizomba Embassy Festival Calendar.

By traveling to a weekend Kizomba festival, you will be able to get expert-level training from several Kizomba Dance experts such as the ones listed here as Kizomba Embassy Ambassadors. These intense nonstop Kizomba Weekend festivals will also give you the opportunity to social dance with many other Kizomba dancers and to improve your dance level.

Lastly, remember that Dance is an Art form. An Art form is intuitive, imprecise, and also subjective. It can also be a skill developed through practice and imagination. “Science” on the other hand means something that is objective. 

If you enjoyed this article, then please share it with your friends and colleagues! Feel free to leave a comment below! Also, don’t forget to join the Kizomba Embassy Facebook Group and email list to keep up to date on future Kizomba news!

Brian Moran CEO Kizomba Embassy

Brian Moran
CEO of Kizomba Embassy

Brian Moran is a Salsa, Bachata & Kizomba dancer from New York City. He has been fortunate to live and work abroad in Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean for over 13 years.

While living overseas, he has attended hundreds of international dance festivals and events and has taken classes with some of the top professional Salsa, Bachata, and Kizomba Instructors worldwide.

About US

The Kizomba Embassy is based out of the Washington, DC Metro Area with Team Members and also Kizomba Instructors all over the globe!  Indeed we are passionate about Kizomba!

We are also dedicated to growing the kizomba community by highlighting all styles of professional kizomba dance instructors, artists, festivals, news, and also events around the world! This includes Kizomba, Semba, Urban Kiz, and also Kizomba Fusion. We are also a multilingual website.

In order to see the latest Kizomba Festivals around the world, check out the Kizomba Embassy Events Calendar here!  If you are a Kizomba Organizer then add your Kizomba Festival here!

You can also join the Kizomba Embassy Facebook Group here! Furthermore, follow us on Instagram here! Likewise, catch up on our latest blog posts here! Also, check out our new sister site Bachata Embassy!

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