The truth is, I don’t hate Kizmoba. I met a few of the originators of the dance from Africa (so I know they’re “authentic”) and we talked about it…albeit in a mishmash of Spanish/Portuguese/English, but they made themselves clear. Apparently they’re all about connection. All about connection?? Sweet! I can hop on board with that!
These gentlemen were explicit that they didn’t invent Kizomba. They said that they just grew up with it, and have brought it over from Africa. They were super humble about their dance, and seemed a little bemused by all the fuss.
When I saw these guys dancing they were doing nothing complicated and really groovin’. Like…focusing on the connection…you know?
But a lot of the newer Kizomba peeps? With all the fancy moves? It makes me a little crazy when you talk to me like your dance is “the only one,” and the “be all end all,” just because it has something that looks like ochos, disassociation, and crosses.* Often times you talk a good game about connection, but your dance seems to have become an exercise in how to wow the crowd or show off a new move.
I’m sure if you seen Kizomba you could imagine it as every old school tango. There are probably strong historical connections between the two. The African influence upon tango is HUGE, but is (surprise surprise) not really talked about that much. It isn’t a huge stretch for my imagination to think that kizomba today, and tango’s roots at the turn of the century, would have looked very similar.
Kizomba is also rapidly changing. I’ve seen demos that look suspiciously like milonga and others that are drifting to the Tango Nuevo zone. I’ve seen people add in salsa and bachata-like grinds, spins, and hips. It will be exciting to watch what happens in the future. Will Kizomba people start coming to Tango? Will Tango people go to Kizomba? Will the two sides begin a dance war, then be locked in a gymnasium and finally realize that we have a lot in common, beginning a new dawn of dance?
Here are some other dances that look like they might have something in common as well:
American Balboa — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQXKEMkGIPw
Mexican Quebradita — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18o3YzwZkCE
For more info the on the African-Tango connection check out:
*Do people feel like that about Argentine Tango dancers? Probably. But Argentine Tango really IS that awesome.