It’s rhythmic, it’s romantic, it’s danced to the music you would hear on the radio and – best of all – it’s easy to learn.
It’s Kizomba. And it has arrived in the North Okanagan-Shuswap courtesy of City Dance, which is offering lessons in the latest partner dance trend for the first time in the region.
Kizomba is an African-influenced dance first developed in Angola in the 1970s, with a traditional style. But the rhythms have now spread around the world, with a noticeable Kizomba beat appearing in many of the current Top-40 songs by singers like Ed Sheeran, Sia and Katy Perry.
City Dance co-owner and instructor Jens Goerner says he was eager to bring this dance style to the region because it is so accessible to beginners.
“That is always the challenge in dance. If we teach a waltz or a cha cha cha, it’s not so easy to find waltz music if you turn on the radio, so why would people actually do a waltz unless they have a special reason. So, to get started, I think it’s a great dance because that’s the music you hear all the time. That’s what you will hear if you go out dancing.”
Instructor Ingalise Abbott says this dance style is quickly becoming a favourite.
“It’s an easy dance to learn, there’s all these basic movements so you can pick it up quickly. And you can really feel the energy in the music. That’s what I like, the modern music really makes you want to move.”
Indeed, if you have ever been up swaying on the floor at a high-school dance, you can learn the basic steps of Kizomba.
Yet, once a dancer becomes more familiar with the rhythms and the partner-to-partner connection, more possibilities are open. The dance has been described as an African-tango, as it is similar in the close lead-and-follow element between partners. Kizomba music ranges from romantic slow to a quicker, more driving beat.
While there is a more African-inspired version, urban Kizomba has evolved into a unique dance that can be done at events or in the club.
City Dance instructors will be focusing on this urban style, suitable for social dancing, in their beginner lessons. Then if partners choose to continue, City Dance instructors can teach up to the show dance level, with more intimate and intricate moves.
Goerner recently returned from a Kizomba workshop in Vancouver and has been dancing Kizomba since 2012, learning from some of the world champions in this dance style.
In Salmon Arm, a six-session set of beginner Kizomba lessons will be offered Saturday nights at 7:15 p.m. at the Shuswap Dance Center. As well, City Dance offers a host of other lessons including beginner country, Latin, ballroom and jive dances on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
In Vernon, City Dance will be hosting a free Kizomba workshop on Friday, March 31 from 8 to 9:30 p.m. at the City Dance Studio at 4411-29th St. followed by an open dance party following the class at $5 per person. Beginner Kizomba classes at City Dance in Vernon will begin April 7 at 8 p.m. Call 250-307-4955 to register for the free workshop.
“Come out, try and see if you like it,” says Goerner.
For more information, check out the website at www.citydanceok.com.