The dances


Kizomba is an African style of music and dance, its name derived from kizombada, meaning ‘party’ in the Angolan dialect Kimbundu. Kizomba derives from the Angolan semba, and is inspired by other African styles as well as Caribbean zouk. Kizomba now refers to several genres, including Angolan kizomba, Cape Verdean coladeira, ghetto zouk and tarraxinha. Urban kiz denotes the more linear style popularise­d in France. Kizomba is a dance intended for a family setting, but can be as sensual as desired. It is a close partner dance characteri­sed by smooth movements, with no real basic steps. It’s all about the connection.

‘If she’s smiling, she’s happy,’ says dance teacher Braulio Faria. ‘I dance because it is God’s calling. And it’s a gift… When we’re depressed, going through bad times with Covid, the isolation is real. But you can’t be isolated if you are dancing with someone, being held, sharing some steps and smiling.’

Bachata originated in the 1960s in Julian Quiceno’s home country, the Dominican Republic. Julian teaches far more than steps: he enlightens students on musicality, flow (movement) and history. The music was developed on guitar with lyrics featuring love stories. Today it is danced around the globe, and has evolved into a variety of styles.

Argentine tango is mainly attributed to the slaves and immigrants who arrived in Argentina from Africa, Spain, Italy, Britain, Poland and Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. According to tejastango.com, they borrowed from one another, evolving what became known as tango from their loss and longing for what they’d left behind. The word ‘tango’ may be African in origin, meaning ‘reserved ground’, or it possibly came from Portuguese (and from the Latin tangere, to touch). Either way, ‘It acquired the standard meaning of the place where African slaves and free blacks gathered to dance by the time Argentina banned slavery in 1853.’

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