Kizomba Technique thread

Discussion in 'Salser@s Anonymous' started by Kading, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    I'm not quite sure that I understood what you mean about opening the girl in saida. In b/room, by "opening" we usually assume "opening to promenade position", which means turning the girl from closed position (where our backs are about parallel) slightly clockwise, so we can both do a forward step into the same direction. Sometimes also used in kizomba (for instance see Iwo & Shani example from previous page, position 2:47, although not very good example). In ballroom, we turn feet most, hips less, while upper body isn't opened much. Due to the "sensual" character of kizomba, same principle should apply (so Iwo is mostly holding the girl too far and too open)

    But, when doing outside partner steps (like saida), there is no need to open the girl. As I can see, most kizomberos are holding the girl slightly more to the right side most of the time, so the bodiess are not exactly parallel but are in slight V shape (say 10-20 degrees), it is also used in arg. tango and to some (but really small) extent also in ballroom by some couples, you can see this in all examples posted in this thread, and it should be enough to to saida comfortably without opening the girl more. However, you have to rotate your AND her body (about the same amount) in relation to the direction of your movement to assume CBMP during outside partner step (3rd step in saida). No need to do anything with the hand for this to work. However, if you have girl more to the right side most of the time, you will have to use your hand to move her to the left when doing steps outside partner on her left side which are used in other moves (for instance position 2:07 in Iwo & Shani clip)

    As about "twisting the feet" when doing tarraxinha (for instance example by Romarik Nzomvita), for me it comes naturally, caused by side hip movement if I try doing it how they do it (an not how they explain it) - weight transfer from foot to foot is quick, hips go sideways and pull the knee of the leg without weight inwards, so the heel (released from the floor) somehow naturally turns inwards. So it's not intentional twisting of the feet, it just happens (so I hope I'm doing this right, which is still unconfirmed ATM as others in the venue don't do it this way but mostly like in Sara kizomba party clip; probably the "correct" way is somewhere in between)
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014
  2. Kading

    Kading Rhythm Deputy

    I meant that you twist her 90 degrees clockwise and than you walk either to your left or to your right (which makes her walk backward or forward). I tried finding some examples but I couldn't lol, but its a fairly common move.

    Yeah that's what I thought. I have troubles finding out how your knee is suppose to go inwards? If I let my hips go side ways my feet don't automatically start turning the way their feets turn. I tried turning in my knee but it feels awkward still. Do you have any more explanation about this movement?
  3. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Understood. I thought you were talking about opening the girl in saida, but you were talking about separate problem. Yes, these moves when you have to turn the girl, so she does some steps around/across/etc you are quite common in kizomba (although usually you don't really need to turn her to the position where her body is turned 90 degrees to yours). Of course you have to use your arm. Local guy I was attending kizomba classes with insisted that left arm should never be used for leading (so he suggested to put it on the chest to force yourself to use only the right arm). On the other side, Nelson Campos said we can use also the left arm to help the turn in some moves. Example for that is the common move at position 1:38 of this video

    This turn was actually tricky for me. It's important to find the right moment to turn the girl (when she transfers the weight to her right foot). I usually have the left arm in similar position like Felicien (not on the chest), I leave some tone in that arm here - not to actually push the girl to turn her, but that she can use it as a support her turn (some girls do this really nicely). Another thing that helps here is actually her hip movement - her hips do a kind of round movement here when she is transferring the weight to the right foot, just before the turn (similar to "8" in cuban motion), helping her turn. Of course, much of this is up to the girl - how nice she is able to turn herself

    As about twisting the feet in tarraxinha or before starting dancing (like at position around 0.23 of this video), maybe you can think about it like you do a tap with other foot towards the foot with weight. Just that you leave the toes on the ground so they don't move and the foot twists because only the heel does a kind of tap. Also, sometimes (though not always) hips slightly rotate in the same direction as the foot/leg, so there are several interconnected things. Important here is that you really transfer the full weight with some pressing into the floor, so this happen automatically and not as a kind of styling (although of course part of this twisting is intentional). I suppose this was already partially in my muscle memory - as I said, I found some similarities with how we did some jive and samba steps in b/room and we were taught to keep the knees and ankles together (especially for the ladies it was not nice to have the legs wide open - ballroom is much about just trying "looking nice")
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
  4. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    The outside partner movements, are very typical of those in T/A and Intern. style dance ( even Son to some degree ). The danger, if not understood,is attempting to create L and R outside movements,without the correct use of CBM and CBMP,which may lead to results, with contorted body shaping.

    Bottom line.. this type of work really needs the guidance by a competant teacher, as the written word may create even larger problems .

    And... The illusion that, the lady moves to her left ( or right ) to create space, is incorrect. This divergence of mans direction, is simply due to how the lead creates the space, with the use of correct technique.
    vit likes this.
  5. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Yeah, that's the problem with this dance. If we want to have relatively authentic form of the dance, we need african people teaching it (under assumption that this is really authentic african dance - which isn't really true). They simply move differently and it's hard for the white people to copy that. However, if we want teaching of this dance to be effective, we need a --dance teacher--. Problem is - hard to find a person which is both of that. Usually it's none of that - dance looks relatively simple, so lots of wannabees are trying teaching it, that are neither good dancers neither good teachers, causing things that are not that hard to be really hard for the students ...

    Attending some arg. tango lessons would probably be of help to get some technique that isn't taught at kizomba classes - at least in my venue girls with some tango background have much less problems

    Of course, on the forum, we can have some discussion about it, but as you said, it's actually not of much help - there is too much room for misunderstanding.
  6. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    That would be my suggestion , also..
  7. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Found another interesting video about kizomba in Angola (and there are links to some other kizombanation videos on that youtube page)
    Interesting comment from french kizomba teacher (position 16:55) : we discovered how people in Angola really dance, it's completely different, regarding posture, technique ... they have more straight posture than we do ...
    It wasn't revealed who was Felipa. My guess would be the girl dancing at position 9:40 ...

  8. Kading

    Kading Rhythm Deputy

    Interesting video. I don't really agree with the comment to be honest. More straight posture than we do? Most people in my area might even be too straight.Funny I saw a teacher who lives not too far from me in this video. Gonna pay him a visit and see how he teaches hehe.

    I have another question regarding turning the lady 180 degrees when for example doing a men saida or laida saida.
    For example if we do a men saida, you can twist yourself 180 degrees (and taking the girl with you). I'm really doubting at what count you can do this. Let's say you start your left leg on the 1. At what counts can you than turn yourself and turn the lady 180 degrees? More specificaly, should her left or right leg be forward when you want to twist her. (while walking the same direction, so you will be walking backwards after the twist of 180 degrees if you did a men saida). I tried imaging the footwork of the lady and while I do the lady's footwork it seems to me that you can twist her on every count, and it doesn't matter which leg is in front. But I mess up a lot during actual dancing so this seems to not be the case lol.

    I have an example of this at 2:21:

    I have a hard difficulty imagining when I can turn her hehe. Any advice to this? He seems to do it when her left leg is forward (already prepping her a bit on the 2) and than twisting between the 2 and 3.
    Let's say I'd wanna twist her between the 3 and the 4. When I shadowdance the girl myself it seems to just work fine, what's your opinion on this?

    I really disagree that discussion this on the internet does not add value. I've learned so much from this forums that it's not even funny. Especially in salsa I outdance people who've been dancing 4-5 years purely because of the discussions of this forums.
  9. Aurel

    Aurel Sonero

    From my dancing I found out, that most turns work, if I can push off from the leg, that is outside of the turn. I basically never turn on a leg, that is strictly under my center of gravity. Instead, I usually start the turn when I step with the leg slightly outside and than push off of it while turning myself.

    On the video, you can see it a little bit in turns Felicien does in 1:42-1:49 with the last one (in 1:48) being a little bit tricky, but he actually transfers his weight on the toes of his left leg and pushes off of it turning his right foot (which is under his center of gravity).

    Those quick contra-tempo turns (our instructors call them cha-cha-cha because you make 3 small steps on 2 beats) are a little bit different, because the steps are very small for men, you basically turn on spot and have both feet under you.
  10. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    As about Kizombanation, I also briefly checked videos from other venues. Unfortunately, most of them are without english subtitles, but anyway, it was quite interesting for me. What I learned from them is that every part of the world has own, slightly different way how to dance kizomba (influenced by other social dances in the venue, general lifestyle and of course by the teachers in the venue) and even that all black people don't move the same way. So it's actually hard to talk about what is right and what is wrong here. So comments you didn't agree with probably stand for particular venue/situation that can be quite different elsewhere / in your venue

    Also, I hope that discussions here are useful for someone, at least to give some hints for further experimenting on trial & error basis, in absence of more effective way / a good teacher

    Tried the move you mentioned on the party this weekend. As visible from the video, he starts turning her when starting moving his RF doing the 2nd step, so when her LF arrives to final position of the 2nd step, it's already turned about 1/4 (= about perpendicular to the direction of moving). It's important to start all these actions early enough - spine of the girl has some elasticity, so turning her upper body reflects to her feet with some delay (that is again different for each lady) - unlike in ballroom standard, where connection point of the bodies is lower and bodies are much more toned, so it's rarely an issue

    On 3rd step, she does something slightly similar to spiral turn in ballroom (2nd half of it), but it's her styling - in my case girls just made very short step with RF near the LF during 3rd step, it doesn't change much and there are other possibilities how to do it

    What's important here is that the next step is with partner outside on the left side, so you have to move the contact point with partner to your left side and probably to leave some more space between the bodies. So leader and follower actually don't turn together around some common axis between them (like for instance in basic lady saida), but it looks more like both turn around own axis, finishing in that position. It's similar with move at 1:38 as well

    Of course, you can also do the turn between 3rd and 4th step, so it will be more smooth/slow, that would be probably more up to the sensual character of the dance, or combine both ways, depending on the music etc. We must have in mind that what we see on the classes / congresses (including those by Felicien) is actually a development of the dance that was relatively simple at the beginning, so the same happens as in salsa - everybody is trying offering something new/different on the classes, reusing moves from semba, tango, ballroom etc. So again, like in salsa, most classes are a kind of partnerwork, people learn a number of moves but not much about how to actually dance it and the dance derails from the roots
  11. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    A short video demoing differences between "proper" kizomba and tarraxinha

    But as I can see, at least in local kizomba venue and around, these efforts of kizomba teachers and other "kizomba purists" are not of any help - people are bored doing those very simple steps only, as there are no standardized moves except man and lady saida (which is actually the same as open box which is danced as the very first excersise in ballroom, tango etc), many ladies are not able to follow more complicated steps (imported from semba or tango) or leaders are not able to lead them well, so doing tarraxinha instead is expected
    Aurel likes this.
  12. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    For some reason I liked this clip. Relatively simple dancing, no tarraxinha parts, but nice hip movement demonstrated by the girl.
    Doesn't look like african style demonstrated in previous clip though

    Hopefully there is a visible difference between this kind of hip movement and "cuban movement" used in salsa, bachata etc - hips more relaxed and upper part of the core moving less

    Groove On likes this.
  13. Aurel

    Aurel Sonero

    I think the whole problem with "kizomba purists" comes from their black&white view of what is allowed to be kizomba and their tendency to ridicule everything that is not in accordance with their view of how the dance should look like.

    On one hand I understand that they are disgusted by seeing all the wannabe "kizomba dancers amd teachers" who think that kizomba is about grinding and the girl forcing her bunda movement to be "sexy". On the other hand, it creates only bigger barrier between people when these kizomba purists make ridiculous exaggerations as they try to show the difference between their clean traditional kizomba and that "bad dirty dry-humping". Funny thing, most of these completely unconstructive and useless arguments are made by teachers from the core locations, i.e. Angola.

    Upon its arrival in Europe, the dance has changed a lot and really is different from the old traditional dance of Angolans. However, i think it is quite understandable and the original form of the dance would never take up in Europe simply because of the language and music culture barrier. I do not think that the problem is in the limited number of steps/figures in the traditional kizomba, since the dance is mostly about the feeling and dance connection between partners. I think that the issue is rooted more in the traditional angolan music itself. I have been to many parties with angolan DJs who played lots of traditional kizomba and it mostly seemed like a one big blob, one single very long song without any variation. I would get quickly bored not because of the few steps I could make, but because there was nothing in the music that I could play with - no rhythm or pace changes, no full-stops, etc. I believe, that the key to dancing to traditional Angolan kizomba music is the understanding of the lyrics; otherwise you can only dance to the beat and melody, which, honestly, does not have much variety.

    On the other hand, modern kizomba is danced mostly to ghetto zouk, tarraxinha or various kizomba remixes of RnB and other genres. The music is more sensual and requires a different style of kizomba - the dance. It is still sang in portuguese or cape verdean creole and thus not understood by the majority of Europeans, but the music and its melody is in my opinion much more understandable and easier to play with.

    I think, that the "kizomba purists" should focus on understanding the differences between Angolans and Europeans and instead of being offensive or outwards hostile, try to show and teach the real point, form and technique of kizomba connection that makes the dance as amazing as it is. This would help uproot the bad view and practice of kizomba as dry-humping. However, this would also require more technique and understanding of the dance from the teachers themselves, which is sadly usually lacking and limited to merely "see and try to repeat".
    Platypus, vit and Groove On like this.
  14. Groove On

    Groove On Sonero

    I'm not a big Kizomba fan, but this is the type of Kizomba I like to see. To me it looks like sexy natural body movement. I've taken classes with Nelson Campos (UK) and Kwenda Lima (Portugal), they teach the basics similar to this style. They are both Africans, so talking with them about different Kizomba styles was interesting. My main takeaway was that Africans incorporate dance in a totally different way from the Western world, they just look at it differently. To a degree you can see this "other" way of using dance in the "old" Afro-Cuban ways, so that was an interesting connection to make. Worth talking to them about other African dances, Semba, Kuduro etc.

    This next example video is a promotional performance, so there's a bit of flair, but I think it's similar in style. I like Isabelle's natural body movement in the video, so much sexier to me than the exaggerated hip movements I see sometimes on the dance floor.

    Last edited: Dec 29, 2014
  15. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    I also attended some Nelson Campos classes when he visited my venue about a year ago. I don't think that local kizomberos especially liked him, but I liked his way of teaching. He has at least some formal dance education, is a member of one of british dance teacher associations, danced and taught some salsa before etc and is a nice person. Felicien's classes were also ok, he danced rock and roll and tango previously. Kwenda Lima danced some ballroom etc before. On the other side, I wasn't very impressed with Petchu (which is highly regarded among kizomberos) nor with one another guy from Angola for the reasons mentioned by Auriel

    Isabelle has quite exaggerated hip movement. However, some exaggerated movements look nice and some not very nice, that's the difference
  16. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    And what's wrong with that ? :) Less is more, or not?

    In most dances I rather dance limited steps with more feeling and dance connection. It is more enjoyable.

    I too don't think all the music that makes up Kizomba has too much variety. Not talking about traditional Angolan style but also the music influenced by cape verdean traditions and zouk. Within successive pieces of music, there is not much contrast. Hence I can't dance Kizomba for more than half an hour.

    I don't know what you mean by modern Kizomba, but I beg to disagree. You can very well dance the traditional Kizomba (of limited steps with feelings and connections) to any of these sub-genres of music that is thrown into a mix at Kizomba party.

    I am not sure if you are saying music is dumbed down or Europeans are dumb :)

    I am not a purist and not even an avid Kizomba dancer. But I agree with the view of purists. I don't know there is anything called as European 'Kizomba'. A collective of different styles of Kizomba taught by different instructors, that don't have much in common, can't be labeled as European Kizomba. If something is dry humping it can't really be a dance. If that is what gets people into dancing, it is not really dancing! It is just dry humping. Unfortunately such nonsensical things give a bad name to a dance. Therefore I think the purists got it right. They are not oppose to improvisation (most wouldn't be). If instead of focusing on basic movement, you straight jump to something that is not even part of the original movement, and introduce totally foreign elements into it, then you are changing the very characteristic of the dance form. In that case it should rightfully not be called by its original name.
  17. Aurel

    Aurel Sonero

    I did not say it's wrong, quite the opposite. Vit wrote: "... people are bored doing those very simple steps only ..." and I was merely saying that I do not think that this is the real reason why people put lots of tarraxinha into kizomba.

    I guess this depends on the DJs and the way they play. If their goal is to make seamless transitions between songs every 2 minutes, then there can't really by any big change. However, I personally have often problems finding anything in traditional angolan kizomba music that I could react to in my dancing (as in musicallity), but have much easier time in more commercial modern kizomba music with various stops, slow downs, etc.

    Here we probably have a different concept of modern kizomba so I will try to clarify. For me, traditional kizomba looks like this:

    By modern kizomba I understand the style danced by Albir & Sara/Carola, Isabelle & Felicien or e.g. Afrolatin Connection:

    It is not necessarily about different steps. The difference for me lies in the body-movement, the way you make steps, lead, posture, etc.

    Of course, there are also other kizomba dancers, who dance something I would consider to be also a modern kizomba, but that is much more different and imports many steps and figures from other dances (A/Tango). That would be e.g. Enah & Carolina/Isabelle or Moun & Karole.

    Neither - the music is not dumbed down, nor are the Europeans dumb :) But the music kinda leaves the original african tradition behind and is more similar in style and musicality to music that is played in Europe, thus Europeans are more used to it. Same thing as with Latinos and salsa - they hear the music differently because they have been listening to it from their early youth and it is embedded in their culture.

    Purists got it right when they say that much of what is danced and thought in Europe is not kizomba. Lots of what you will see in the club and social dancing is not dancing but merely grinding and I'm not advocating such dry humping. However, such "kizomba" is usually danced and thought by wannabe "instructors" who are there just to make a quick buck and got on the roller coaster of "sexy ass weaving" - just browse the videos on FB page 'WTF This is NOT kizomba' ( A really ridiculous example being VersuS ( Of course (and thankfully), these are not the instructors you will find on serious conferences like Lisbon's LIKE Festival, Budapest's KIZZME festival or Paris Kizomba Festival.

    What purists got wrong is their outwards hostility and their mockery against such bad "kizomba instructors". Instead of ridiculing, they should focus on explaining in order to draw people in.
    vit likes this.
  18. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    I actually liked dancing on VersuS clip - tons better than anything I've seen in my venue, with only exception coming close was a couple dancing in a bar a few weeks ago, something kizomba and tarraxinha alike - but she was current amateur ballroom world champion in 10 dances, dancing with a guy unknown to me (wasn't her partner nor husband, that were also in the bar, but obviously also a ballroom guy) ... unfortunately I left my phone in the car, otherwise I could post the record on the WTFthisIsNotKizomba site and observe the comments :D
  19. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    I guess I agree with everything you wrote.

    I need to watch those videos you posted more carefully. Yes the body movement does look different but their dancing at first glance doesn't appear to me to deviate from traditional Kizomba dancing I know of. And I know little. But I can't tell what is different in the body movement - is it a personal style, personal improvisation or something more. Hard for me to distinguish after watching the youtube videos in your thread. I haven't watched the FB video links.

    Hostility and mockery is not a right approach. The purist I took a workshop from last month had simply this to say that - 'this is how I think traditional Kizomba is danced. I like to support efforts of local instructors to spread this dance form so everyone can enjoy it" Then he said a line or two about things passing off as Kizomba dancing and some people doing it because they don't know any better and some instructors teaching it without understanding the roots of the dance and how it evolved. He left it at that by saying he was trying to impart his knowledge about roots of the music and the dance. He did a good job of it. I liked it. There was no mockery and no hostility. Mind you he was a trained modern dancer who had four years of formal dance education.

    I have observed that people who have a deep knowledge and passionate love for something they do, whether it is an art form or a scientific subject, usually don't waste their time in being hostile or mocking others.
  20. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    The fact is - every dance genre imports from other genres. Kizomba is relatively new invention anyway, which started a few decades ago by adopting their traditional dances to a different music. Once it went international, further transformation can't be avoided - in positive and negative sense, whether kizomba purists want it or not

    The same happened with salsa. Without its introduction in the States and mixing with american dance genres, there would probably be no xbody salsa, but only cuban salsa, or if we go further along the "root line". we have son, traditional afro cuban dances, and if we go even further, we are actually back in Africa again, dancing some kind of predecessor of kizomba.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015

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