Is Kizomba just dry humping?

Discussion in 'Salser@s Anonymous' started by nowhiteshoes, Jun 15, 2013.

  1. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Yeah ... french kizomba is young, so they are still trying to find the right direction to develop it (including finding the music) ... my impression from Enah workshop was that there was too much point on the moves, and from other genres we know such approach doesn't really work (unless it's different on his local classes, as this was on the congress)
     
  2. Aurel

    Aurel Son Montuno

    Actually, I would never put Morenasso's kizomba in the urban-kiz camp. I think his dance vocabulary is taken much more from traditional angolan kizomba and above all semba. Put he puts his style to it, which I find just awful :confused:

    With kizomba styles it gets easily very complicated and there is a lot of grey area that is difficult to categorize as one or the other. My personal view is a following scale:
    1. traditional fundamentalists - the likes of Edson Monteiro and couple of other angolans who swear the they are the only read thing
    2. traditional kizomba - mostly danced by people from Africa and a bunch of mostly black kizomber@s in Europe. You will find many great instructors amongst these dancers.
    3. traditional european kizomba - danced by mostly white folks in Europe. This is still traditional kizomba but we, white people, just move differently and usually can not reproduce the movement that angolans do.
    4. modern kizomba - starts getting some fusion with other styles. It still is kizomba, focused on connection and dancing but the musicality is different than in traditional kizomba.
    5. french kizomba - this is modern kizomba done by the French. You can still see kizomba in it. You can still dance kizomba with someone who dances french kizomba. But the music is often more western, or they focus more on fancy amalgamations, lifts, etc.
    6. urban-kiz - patterns, steps, lifts, kicks, tango, bunch of things that should never happen on a kizomba floor. But can still be done in moderation so that you have a nice dance in case you are into this sort of stuff. However, they definitely do not have any music taste - they basically try to change kizomba/zouk into violin/piano-powered composition resembling traditional big symphonies.
    7. urban-kiz fundamentalists - the bull$%^&* danced by footballers (as in soccer for the handegg fans)
    As for instructors, I would put in the 2nd group the likes of Jamba or To'Costa. On the crossing of 2nd and 3rd group would be Joao&Giedre or Miguel&Susana. 3rd group on the scale is for me Alvaro&Mirabella. The 4th group are e.g. Afrolatin Connection or Albir. Number 5 are Isabelle&Felicien. The 6th group would be competent french dancers who still care for connection with their partner. The last group at the opposite side of the scale is Enah&every-single-one-of-his-partners, Moun&Karole/Marta.

    Of course, there are some couples/instructors that are difficult to put in a normal category, because they have their own style or dance some variation of kizomba (e.g. cabo-love). Those would be people like Tony Pirata & Sophie Fox, Kwenda Lima, Said. Morenasso&Anais has for me parts from 2 but is heavily modified.

    And of course, you will find some people, that like to say that they dance kizomba or kizomba-something-fusion, but basically can not do even a proper kizomba basic and resemble much more scenic dance - Kaem & Marine :vomit:
     
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  3. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Thanks - this was really a nice overview

    Checked some Kaem & Marine clips - looks like mixture of 60% bachata, 20% kizomba and 20% zouk (of course, everything modified to fit somehow). There is recently a big over usage of bodywave-like movements in my area as well (now, when people - part of them - finally a kind of learned how to do them, they try using them all the time)
     
  4. Groove On

    Groove On Sonero

    I'm still not a big fan of Kizomba, but I can comfortably recommend Isabelle and Felicien as Kizomba teachers. I initially pre-judged them as being of that age-group where there are a lot of "good-looking" fly-by-night teachers. But I took several of their workshops and was pleasantly surprised. I realized that almost all the demos you see them do are improvised (like this one), and the official choreographies are reserved for official promos and TV shows.

    Workshops were all about connection, basic moves and improvisation. And they actually taught musicality as part of their intermediate and advanced workshops! NO pattern workshops, except maybe to illustrate specific points. ** The workshops in French and English were equally good.
     
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  5. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Well, he did some rock and roll and tango in the past, Albir did hip hop, Kwenda did ballroom etc ... they are not just "street trained" dancers like some may think. Yes, I also liked his classes I attended about 3 years ago, more than AFC that did other 3 classes on the same event
     
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  6. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Some tips about musicality in kizomba here. Don't know is it up to perception of traditional kizomba dancers - I was only on one class that was about musicality (a kind of), by To Costa, which left many things unanswered. This is probably for something like "group 4" from Aurel's overview above

     
  7. Offbeat

    Offbeat ¡WEPA!

    I still find music and therefore musicality in Kizomba to be monotonous at best. Yes you can express the music doing different moves from other styles of dances, but would your follower be able to follow? I was recently talking about Kizomba to a very good Tango follower in LA. She had tried Kizomba. Her comment was the Kizomba leaders had very little knowledge of technique (since there is certain commonality between how you lead in Kizomba and Tango).

    That is the problem with fusing the styles and teaching it. Each style has its fundamental technique. When you import certain aspects of that style into dances like Kizomba or Bachata, 99% of the time instructors fail to impart the basic technique of the original dance form which makes that fusion element possible. I will go on a limb and assume 90% of the time the instructors themselves may not know the basic technique.

    I seen before my own eyes the evolution of the first generation of bachata instructors on the international circuit. Hardly anyone of them had much dance background to speak of.
     
  8. Aurel

    Aurel Son Montuno

    Kizomba (talking about the traditional one) is not focused on moves and its musicality is therefore completely different than that of salsa, bachata or even tango. It is true that it does not have many different steps or moves so it can appear to be boring and monotonous.

    The key to musicality in kizomba is to understand that the dance does not have a fixed count structure which lets you play with slow/fast steps at every count (you do not have to start on1 or something like that). I can take every single step sequence I do in kizomba and slow it down or speed it up at any point, stop it, rewind it back, etc.

    Second thing about kizomba's musicality and actually the dance form itself is that kizomba dancing is not about steps, of which there simply aren't that many to begin with. Kizomba dancing is about the way you move the body and how you can express the music through the way you place your foot on the floor, the way you propagate tension through your spine, how hard or soft you make the weight transfer, if you finish the movement by a slight bounce or not, go up or down, etc. I dance cuban salsa, linear salsa and some bachata and in none of these dances I have such control about the way my dance partner transfers weight. When I salsa, I move my body (frame) and do stuff with my hands and expect the follower to do her stepping on her own. Sure I lead open breaks, I lead whether the follow is supposed to make full weight transfer or not but I can not really influence the exact way she transfers her weight. In kizomba I had many dances where we would not move from the place for the duration of the whole song. We would just dance by stepping in place and the movement of body (NO BODYWAVES!).

    OK, I don't dance tango and maybe I should not really comment on that, but the "she had tried kizomba" implies, that she does not dance kizomba. As such of course she was disappointed. Kizomba and tango are different dances and her tango experience does not really help. The leading and expected followers reaction are different from tango. I have been dancing kizomba on average 4-8 hours a week for the last 3 years and I still have so much to learn. Quite frankly, most kizomba followers I regularly dance with, even if they are experienced dancers in other dances, are in their first year of kizomba dancing rather bad and have problems even with the most simplest of dances as soon as I stop leading the more common moves and start leading with more musicality.

    That said, sure, kizomba in terms of dance technique and proper instruction does not hold water on tango or salsa. The dance is young, does not have structure and most of its rules can be broken and as such is difficult to formalise. Also it's very difficult to teach body movement if it can't be seen (and kizomba should be kept small, just between the dance partners). And not to sound racist but black people teaching movement to white people usually ends with puzzled looks on both sides. And because the dance LOOKS easy and comes with the label of "sensual" (i.e. money maker) dance everybody thinks they can dance it. This of course attracts wannabe teachers that are even much much worse than those who teach salsa in Boise :D, main thing it looks "sexy".
     
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  9. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    It's usual mistake when people come from different genre and expect the same basic technique as they were taught there, and just a different set of moves, hold or styling (BR people coming to salsa are well known for that :) ). So in most cases they are disappointed. That said - many times not without the reason, because most social dancers are quite far from the level we see on the clips posted here (whether salsa or kizomba), where we have maybe 200-300 best social dancers in the world in total on those clips. And also, when a newbie comes to a venue, it's not likely he/she will avoid some kind of beginner's hell - he/she mostly won't get a chance to dance with the best partner in the venue. And also, we don't know how good the newbie actually was in his/her genre (in this case tango). Not all tango dancers are good. And most of them that are good probably won't even think about trying anything else than other style of tango

    Every genre has quite different approach to dance, different teaching, different many other things, so we can't make judgement about it without learning it well first

    I don't dance arg. tango either, but I did some basic classes and danced basic things with several local follower instructors, so I roughly got an idea about it. Weight transfer is also very important there (as is in other dances in closed hold, like ballroom standard). Difference however is that you don't let it propagate through the body like in kizomba or salsa. Although tango also has some black roots and similar hold, leading etc, it is from different time, when body movement stuff wasn't praised like it is today. The same for ballroom standard and, to some extent, probably even for Son as taught by Yoel (hence misunderstanding between him and SF members). Things change since - considerably

    I also danced kizomba with several followers that danced some tango previously at social level. With one, it worked relatively well (I mean, she followed what I was leading, although it didn't really feel like kizomba which I wasn't expecting anyway, but like a kind of tango). Other actually had much more problems with their balance / weight transfer than I expected, having in mind that tango instructors usually pay much attention to that, as it is very important in tango as well (as in ballroom standard etc) as you can't really dance in a close hold if you don't trust your balance or/and if you are constantly throwing your partner out of balance

    Aurel, do you have any comments about that musicality video ?
     
  10. Aurel

    Aurel Son Montuno

    The video is quite nice. Understandably the dancing itself is not that great given that it is a quick and dirty of showcase of some ideas and not necessarily dance technique and Rachel is wearing heals which does not contribute to her moving as a lead :D The content is however rather good and basically everything she says makes sense and is being used in day-to-day kizomba social dancing. She does not cover everything and she does not even touch on the more subtle parts of musicality in leading kizomba - the play with weight transfers and movement. She focuses on the more visible parts - the various ways of combining steps.

    As for the group I would put in on the above mentioned scale into the traditional kizomba camp. Of course, she does not move like an angolan guy :D but other than that everything she talks about is commonly used in traditional kizomba. Maybe just the speedups are not that common in traditional kizomba because the music does not really call for them, as she said, it fits more the electronic sound of ghetto zouk.

    Maybe to put the whole kizomba musicality into perspective of salsa dancers: I dance kizomba for quite some time but I use basically no more than 10 steps/patterns (including all the variatons of basic step) + 5-6 tarraxinha things. That is all I need. The richness is coming from me playing with tempo/mood/shaping of my partners body/weight transfers/stops/different ways of leading (leading with arms, chest, belly, thighs, feet)/etc. And I regularly dance kizomba on parties for 4-6 hours straight with only a couple of breaks, often dancing with the same partner for 15-20 minutes in a row (in here it is customary to dance several songs with the same partner).

    Just think about all the times somebody on SF said that the best dances they had were very simple with lots of musicality, basic and CBL/DQN. Or every follow who swears that they prefer perfectly done CBL as opposed to some pattern heavy dancing. Well, when dancing kizomba, every dance should be just like that - musical with lots and lots of basic and the most simplest of steps.
     
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  11. Aurel

    Aurel Son Montuno

    haha :D I attended To'Costa's musicality workshop on Toma-Toma 2015 and it was more of a history lesson than about musicality. I also found many statements and sentiments that are not really usable for kizomba dancing in non-lusophone countries.

    E.g. he was talking about dancing with a single partner only for the duration of one song. Which is quite funny considering that the way the good kizomba DJs play music is that they switch between songs every 2-3 minutes. That would be really short dances. Not to mention that this sentiment is coming from the fact that dancing kizomba in clubs in lusophone countries is the same as dancing salsa in nightclubs full of latinos. They take dancing kizomba in a club (which is different from dancing kizomba on family garden parties in angola) as a way of flirting and accepting a dance means that you are interested ... same as regular discotheque in western countries. However, dancing kizomba in Europe/USA is viewed as social dancing where dancing takes prime - i.e. going to congresses to learn in workshops and dance for the sake of dancing.

    He also talked about dancing only to songs he likes which again makes sense if you are dancing with a partner only 1 song. In Europe people commonly dance 3+ songs in a row (it's not uncommon to go even to extreme lengths as 30+ minutes) ... I really can not tell my partner 2 minutes into the dance when the song suddenly switches to something I don't like that I don't want to dance anymore because it's not my groove. They would think I don't like dancing with them or that I'm simply rude.
     
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  12. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Thanks Aurel

    Here is another clip I find interesting, some basic stuff about posture by Eddy Vents



    Thing I generally don't like and is also present here is ladies right elbow well behind her back. This is undesirable in ballroom posture for instance (where it also happens frequently), but it's what I see in most clips so it looks like everybody in kizomba gets used to it
     
  13. Aurel

    Aurel Son Montuno

    oh, the elbow, that's a tricky one :wacky:

    there is one short tip video about that from Joao&Giedre, but they do not really say much


    Basically the problem with the elbow is that we dance kizomba usually quite close and it is not so easy to fit the left (for lead) somewhere. The second problem is that people tend to use the hand (left for lead) for leading/following to much. And some people indeed prefer the raised elbow as a style statement - I see that often with black dancers, who for some reason often tend to dance without really thinking of the people dancing around them. Now this is a somehow blank statement and I don't want to offend someone, but for some reason when I see or get punched by a high elbow from a white guy, it is usually because they don't know what they are doing and are quick to apologise. But it happened to me way to many times that a tall (I'm 1.7m so that would include almost everybody :D) black lead simply does not care and dances with his elbow at the height of my head and if he happens to hit me, he does not seem to acknowledge it. Maybe it is a cultural thing, maybe I was just unlucky, or maybe their clubs are just more crowded and they simply get used to it.

    Funny thing is that the elbow and arm position is so inconsistent with all the instructors out there. Everybody uses something different. You will see people who hold the palms almost by the head, you will see people with that "no-elbow" arm position. And there are people who seem to almost always dance with the hand resting on their pecks :D or heart.

    Personally I prefer the hug position for everything slower. If the music is faster or simply more dynamic I tend to vary my arm position between having arm quite high at the level of my head but pointing with the elbow down, or somewhere around my shoulder. And since I love to keep it as compact as possible I often try to hold my forearm vertical while keeping the elbow tight at my side with shoulder blade contracted and get my partner to touch our forearms. That allows me to have my hand close to my body and since I'm not that tall having palm slightly above my shoulder is not too high for most of the ladies I dance with. I basically never dance with my left hand as open as they presented in the video around the 5-minute mark. I feel it just takes too much space and gives you a sort of lever so that people tend to lend into the arm to much and lead with it. I also don't like having my palm so open and in horizontal orientation as at 4:20.

    However I often have problem with too much tension so in order to prevent leaning into the lady and forcing her elbow behind her back I often use a thumb hold (different than the one presented in the video) where I keep the arm position with the forearm perpendicular to the floor, but the elbow slightly raised somewhere around 45° from my ribcage and instead of giving the lady the palm I present the thumb, without the forearms touching (so that if lady would press with her forearm, she would be pressing into my biceps). This way even if I accidentally press I can not apply that much force.

    EDIT:
    actually, when I just realised that when I used the hold with the slightly raised elbow (but still point to the floor) my forearm is not really vertical. It looks vertical from the sideview but if you look from front/behind the forearm is tilted towards my shoulder so that my palm is almost over my shoulder.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
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  14. Offbeat

    Offbeat ¡WEPA!

    I subscribe to less is more school. Therefore I was definitely not talking about moves. I am happy with few moves. I don't think most kizomba dancers (i.e. followers) are. Given that it is a young dance, a lot of followers seem to expect more than a few moves. My comment about musicality was not about the moves but about the music's rhythm itself. The steps and moves is not what makes Kizomba monotonous for me.

    You made an assumption about what I was saying :) An incorrect one at that. I agree with all of above and that is also my interpretation of Kizomba dancing. What I am saying is that above interpretation is in minority or seems to be. This is based on watching and dancing Kizomba along the west coast as well as NYC. I have also watched visiting social Kizomba dancers from Europe dance it. Their emphasis seems to be more on themoves.

    Kizomba is not the only dance. With other dances you can express musicality the similar way too including Bachata.

    But that is fundamental to Tango. When you dance multiple styles, it helps one mature at a dancer and figure out differences and commonality between difference dance style. E.g. coming from Tango and Salsa to West Coast Swing, allowed me to pick up its nuances much quicker compared to a beginner with no social dance background. I could observe other good WCS social dancers and figure out, how to bridge the basic steps/moves taught in beginners classes to how the dance is actually danced socially.

    I have always stated that Kizomba most closely resembles Tango in its lead/follow dynamics and call it Tango's simpler/poorer form.

    I probably didn't convey it properly. When I said she tried Kizomba, I meant she took proper lessons and is active on Kizomba social scene of her place.

    Different - yes. Similar - yes. There is enough similarity between the two. It may be accident. But the basics of Kizomba like weight transfers, dancing in place with weight transfers, saida, etc are directly recognizable to anyone who has danced Tango. The body position and stepping techniques are also very similar. I said similar, not same.

    That is my experience too. Followers (since I only lead) have some limited and fix idea about how the dance is supposed to be dance. This is very common less experienced (less than 2 to three years) followers in all dance styles. They get too wedded to what they have been taught and what they see others doing.

    Thanks for making that point. It is a correct one. I subscribe to more traditional form of the dance than what I read is European version with more flash and borrowing of moves from other dances like Tango or Zouk or Bachata.

    From the history of Kizomba and how it got to international circuit, can be thought of akin to a folk dance that got suddenly discovered to become popular far outside its original place. Since it doesn't have a structure, it is open to different interpretations and ripe for evolution though import of other styles into its base form. Given that it is young and unstructured, the technique almost needs to be reverse engineered to teach it to the people not familiar with it.

    I don't disagree. That would be one of the common element in any dance when danced in closed hold/embrace.

    Why is that?

    Just to summarize my comment about boredom related to lack of richness of the rhythm in the Kizomba music. Not to expressing the musicality in its dancing. Given that it is a young dance that has evolved out of its traditional form, it has lacks the rigors of breaking down its movement and rationale for its technique. In its locale environment there was no need for it. Like any local dance form, people picked it up as part of culture. However when any dance is taken out of its local and cultural context and taught to others (foreigners), it is a completely different ball game. Someone has to take time to study its form, break it down into what works and doesn't work. Them impart that knowledge to the students. It gets further challenging when you attempt to fuse it with steps. moves and styles from other dances. Now you are imposing additional challenges of importing the technique from those other dance forms and adapting it. When not done properly you end up with a lot of people who are stepping and moving but not dancing.
     
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  15. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Thanks

    I didn't watch that video previously, but I'm generally aware of this variety of hold. In my area, left arm of the man on the chest dominated 2-3 years ago. Part of the reason was that one or two instructors used it as teaching method, to prevent the guys leading too much with it. In my opinion, it can help to some degree, but it also has some downsides, because that side of both bodies becomes a kind of passive - similar like leaving left hand of the leader and right hand of the follower to lean down the body or dancing without hold on that side. This partially changed recently, together with more "move based" approach in the local kizomba scene overall, so various holds are used now, all mentioned in above two videos, in some cases even some kind of "oil pumping arms" is used (like in cuban salsa), just that those "pumps" are mostly malfunctioning badly here ... Many times it looks a bit too violent and ineffective overall and also felt for me that way when danced with some followers, students of latest urban kiz wannabe instructor here

    But my point was on the right elbow of the follower by most good kizomba dancers (outside my venue I mean) - even in your video Joao is talking about that, and then we see her elbow 15 cm behind the plane of her back (at position 4:50-5.00). But I just accepted it as one of the specifics of the dance, I just try not to push arm of the follower back. I checked some arg. tango videos, in many of them couple is in similar hold, just much less "problems" with that elbow
     
  16. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Seems to be the case in my are as well, especially recently. Most of the local followers don't get the way of movement nor are aware of that problem - it feels very different than it should. So most people are trying to compensate the quality with quantity - with more moves, which is good to keep instructors in business but not that good for dancing. Not much different than in salsa or other social dancing genres

    As about the music, it's of course far from quality of salsa music. Some kinds are more acceptable to me, some less (I especially dislike aggressive and stupid electronic music). But monotonous rhythm by itself isn't something it is a problem for me or - it actually helps to get some sort of overall synchronization with the follower (in a sense less is more) - in case her dancing feels like kizomba (which in most cases unfortunately doesn't)

    As about kizomba being young ... from available info, it is dying in Angola, so it looks like it isn't young anymore. International version however is young, so it is changing in several very different directions and the future of it is quite unpredictable
     
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  17. Offbeat

    Offbeat ¡WEPA!

    In addition to above, what is exacerbating above trend is different instructors trying to fuse the moves out of zouk and other dance forms into Kizomba. Most followers and leaders (especially in the Kizomba) scene who are not that mature dance-wise, get attracted by all the flash they see and try to learn.
     
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  18. Aurel

    Aurel Son Montuno

  19. nowhiteshoes

    nowhiteshoes Pattern Police

    The scene I am in at the moment has a lot more Kizomba at the parties so looks like I will be turning to the dark side :wacky:
     
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  20. Aurel

    Aurel Son Montuno

    I hope it's proper kizomba/semba/tarraxinha and not that atrocious french kizomba/urban kizz :troll:
     
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