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For the second time, the “Black Forest Kizomba Days” took place in a new and larger location in Horb am Neckar. Just over 200 guests from Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Munich, Freiburg, Switzerland and France visited the small and limited event in the northern Black Forest. In particular, the new location and the good balance made the event something unique.

A report by Maria Nieleck

Former barracks becomes a dance floor

After the Horb monastery was already bursting at the seams in the first edition of 2018, the organizers decided to move to a new venue. On a former barracks site, a new and modern event location was created in 2017 – Quartier77 with integrated catering. Rarely do you experience such a complete and consistent service. Both the hotel only 400 meters from the venue, which invites for a walk at a 16-degree outdoor temperature in February, as well as the straightforward, free parking on the huge square in front of the front door was a great pleasure, even before the event has started. With beaming faces, the guests were welcomed, the registration was really good organized, so no long waiting times arose – what a great start!

The integrated restaurant offered over the weekend a great food selection for all tastes. Certain meals were served throughout the whole night. Not only price and performance, but also the extremely well-organized service and fast delivery convinced.

Balanced line up

Workshop VerSus

A colorful mixed line-up offered over 1.5 days a total of 17 workshops and 2 parties. As international dance teachers “VerSus” from Rome as well as Black Cherry & Manu from Paris were invited. The Italian dance teacher couple was well received by the audience, who were already there for the second time. Otherwise, the organizers rely on well-known local and national dance teachers and deejays. “We have excellent teachers and deejays in Germany. We’re happy to support them.”  Besides VerSus, George & Iva from Pack’n’dance, Gregor & Vika, Murmel Plus & Silvi, Dani & Ahmet (AfroMoves) gave workshops in all dance styles: Kizomba Classic, Urban Kiz, Kizomba Fusion, Tarraxinha, Semba and others. The audience was also very mixed, from beginners to very advanced dancers everything was represented. Not only the cream-de-la-cream meets here, but also not so experienced dancers can fully develop here. Therefore the feedback of the guests is not surprising: “unique”, “sensational” and above all “familiar” the organizers of the event got to hear again and again. “Nobody is anonymous here. Here we get to know each other and the mood is very personal,” says a guest.

Excellent mood

Nearly all guests want to come back, already over 40% of the tickets for February 2020 are sold, with an 86% percent repeat rate.

Gregor & Vika – Heiratsantrag

In particular, the good balance between men and women was a decisive factor for the good mood in Horb. Here was not only made advertising with good balance, but actually realized outstanding. Although the organizers value taxi dancers, but only in moderation, two female taxi dancers were also booked for the men. “There are enough gentlemen who do not feel confident enough to ask for a good dancer or are very reserved. We would like to solve this with female taxi dancers, who give these gentlemen a great dance experience.”

A very special highlight of the first evening was the proposal of Gregor to his Vika during the artist’s performance. If that’s not the biggest compliment for an event organizer! But the familiar cohesion and the cooperation of the club members was felt over the entire event, which also invited this time to the cake buffet on Saturday evening. What a wonderful surprise it is when suddenly at midnight a large cake buffet at your disposal is in front of you?!

Spontaneous outdoor workshops

Another highlight was the weather. In contrast to last year, when all Horb threatened to sink in the snow, the guests were rewarded this year with 16 degrees and beautiful sunshine. George recognized the opportunity and spontaneously moved his two workshops outside. So important men styling tips were learned in the open air and in summer clothing.

George’s Workshop open air

Resume

The second “Black Forest Kizomba Days” exceeded their first performance by far. A very successful event that has become an insider tip. A uniquely good balance, a familiar and personal atmosphere and an absolutely top-quality location form the basis for this top event. The carefully selected line-up as well as add-ons such as the free cake buffet or the free drink on the gala evening complete the package.

From 14.-16. February 2020, the 3rd edition takes place and extends until Sunday evening. Boot camps and a long social on Sunday will be offered. Also in attendance are VerSus from Italy, who have established themselves as a solid line up with their Italian charm. New are JP & Stephy and Vie & Sir J. from Paris. Also new is DJ Lionnax from Paris and DJ Malick from Bordeaux, making it the first international DJs at the event.

Early Bird tickets were online one week later and almost sold out. After the excellent reputation of the 2nd edition, one can assume that the 3rd edition will be in great demand

Gallery

Pictures by Alex Reis – Netlax Photography

I met VersuS at the Black Forest Kizomba Days in Horb. The likeable Italian Kizomba dancers are known from several videos circulating on the net. One of the most well-known one is “Kizomba With a Statue”, in which Valentina dances as a statue with Stefano Marzioni.

Learn more about them in our interview! From Eva Fischer.

VersuS – the people behind the name

VersuS, these are Stefano Marzioni, Valentina and Sonia. The music and dance talent already began to dance in early childhood, at that time with a preference for Michael Jackson. During his dance career, he added Hip Hop, Reggaeton, Cuban Salsa, Salsa L.A. style and Bachata to his Michael Jackson style. In Italy he was especially known as an acrobatic salsa dancer.

Stefano dances with two dance partners, Valentina and Sonia. Valentina professionally dances Ballet, Modern and Contemporary, Latin-Jazz and Reggaeton. At the Black Forest Festival he was accompanied by his dance and significant other Sonia, who previously danced mostly Latin American dances. The three work together very harmoniously. Most of the time one of the two ladies accompanies him to festivals. They even plan a show for the three of them. The premiere will be performed at the Star Touch Festival in Corsica in June.

Both dancers study academic degrees: Sonia in Philosophy, Latin and Greek. She completed her studies in April and teaches at the high school. Valentina studies dentistry.

What is “Evo-Kiz”?

Stefano saw Kizomba for the first time in 2011 at a salsa festival. The dance immediately inspired him. At the same time, it triggered his creativity and he wondered how he could make his contribution to this dance. He learned classical Kizomba but wanted to bring in his own style. He started composing Kizomba music himself and added European sounds from R&B and Hip Hop. In his dance style he also incorporates various dances such as Hip Hop and the musicality from Contemporary. He called his own style “Evo-Kiz”, which can be compared to Urban-Kiz.
In 2016 he demonstrated his creativity. Together with his dance partner Valentina, he presented a show that was a mix of Michael Jackson and Kizomba moves at the Feeling Festival in Madrid. At that time, many critical voices were raised. Today, of course, different styles are mixed with Kizomba, especially in shows.

VersuS philosophy

Versus from Italy. Photo: Photoart Eichin

Stefano and Sonia desire openness and tolerance for new things. They themselves had learned Kizomba with many rules. Already today, there are many new things to discover and the new Kizomba style needs new rules. They plead for openness for the developments and the new influences. We should complain less and instead of trying to define what “real Kizomba” is and what not, we should dance more.

At the same time, they emphasize the importance of the basic steps, the essence of the dance. Despite all developments and all the novelties, the basics have to be danced properly, otherwise the dance would be completely lost.

VersuS around the world

Stefano is a multi-talented musician and dancer. He composes music for himself and other artists, teaches every day in Rome and weekends at festivals, is a choreographer, produces videos and has a YouTube channel with 16 million followers.

His goal: to dance around the world. He does not seem to be far from this goal. This year he is already fully booked and travels through Europe, Asia, Russia and America. You can find out where you can see VersuS on the VersuS facebook page under “Events”.

The first “Black Forest Kizomba Days” took place mid-February in the small town Horb am Neckar. “Small but mighty” took on a new meaning here. Approximately 150 Kizomberos/as from Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Munich, Freiburg, Switzerland, Bremen and also France participated in this small and well-balanced event. You will learn in our article why the debut was a complete success.

Unique location

7 dance teachers, 6 DJs and some taxi dancers (to balance out the ratio between male and female dancers) were invited to Horb for a total of 15 days and offered a total of 15 workshops and 2 parties in a fantastic ambience. In particular, the location – an old monastery – which is now an event location with catering, can really be described as unique. A unique atmosphere was created in the theater hall with its old vaulted masonry and the top sound system and lighting.

Support of national artists & DJs

 

Versus from Italy. Photo: Photoart Eichin

As international dance couple “Versus” from Italy was invited and were very well received by the participants. For the rest, the organizers put relied on well-known local artists and DJs. “We have excellent teachers and DJs in Germany and we want to support them.” The concept was a success. Besides Versus, also George & Liza, Tony Gomes, Sunny & Victoria and Lamsca Sagnia gave workshops in various styles and all levels. The audience was very mixed. From beginners to very advanced dancers, all levels were represented, providing everyone with a feel-good atmosphere. Not only the crème de la crème meets here, also less experienced dancers can fully develop here. Therefore, the feedback of the guests is not surprising: the event organizers heard over and over comments like “unique”, “sensational” and above all “familial”.

“Small and mighty” is the trend

Almost all guests want to come back and enjoy this familial atmosphere behind old monastery walls. “Nobody is anonymous here. You get to know each other and the atmosphere is very personal,” says a guest. With this small, but for this dance organization nevertheless big event, they hit a nerve. The trend goes from large and mass events to “small and mighty”.

Some potential for improvement

At the premiere, there were also some areas for improvement. Thus the provided lunch snack was clearly insufficient. The majority of the guests would have preferred a proper meal. The organization has already put this on the “to-do list” for next year. “Next year, we’re going to plan a proper meal for lunch. This time we underestimated it.” Also, the catering could not keep up with the crowd of guests and could have been a bit more relaxed.

The workshop room on the second floor turned out to be unsuitable since the floor was not leveled tilted to one side. This made the dancing and balancing challenging. In favor of the beautiful location and the consistently positive event, however, the guests overlooked this shortcoming.

 

Top balance and familial atmosphere

 

Photo: Photoart Eichin

Especially the well-balanced male-female ratio was a crucial reason for the good mood in Horb. The organizers attached importance to this right from the beginning during the ticket sales. The 80 Full-passes were completely sold out and with 10 taxi dancers there was a great balance also on the parties. The organizers value taxi dancers, but only to some degree. Furthermore, there are always 1-2 female taxi dancers booked for the men. “There are enough gentlemen who do not feel confident enough to ask a good dancer for a dance. We like to solve this with female taxi dancers, who give these gentlemen a great dance experience “.

Also, the familiar atmosphere and the cooperation of the club members was felt throughout the event. Everyone helped and some ladies organized a cake buffet for Saturday night 2 days before. Thus, the guests could enjoy a sweet midnight snack, which recharged quite some energy levels.

On Saturday, a snow chaos that was unparalleled this winter became quite an obstacle for many dancers. Some guests had difficulties getting to the event and some spontaneous party guests decided to not join the party due to the weather. It was a shame for the guests and the organizers, but the Saturday night Gala Party was great and a lucky guest won an AfroMoves full-pass during the tombola.

Conclusion

Overall, the first “Black Forest Kizomba Days” was a very successful event and could become an insider tip for anyone looking for a good balance and a personal atmosphere. Those who are looking for a big event with dozens of taxi dancers are wrong here. It’s a small and highly restricted event that emphasizes quality and a feel-good ambience.

Upcoming event

From February 15th – 17th 2019, the 2nd edition will take place in a new location, to ensure a little more leg room during the workshops. First photos promise an equally beautiful location with a large free parking right outside the front door.

Among others, “Versus”, George (Pack’n’dance), Daniela & Ahmet from AfroMoves, Lamsca Sagnia from Frankfurt and many more will follow in 2019. DJ Narc6 will be new in 2019 as same as Oncle Kani & Black Cherry from Paris. DJ Remcy and DJ Angelkizz as well as DJ Harryz Kizz are back again.

First tickets for early bird prices are already online. After the excellent reputation of the 1st edition, it can be assumed that the 2nd Edition will be sold out again.

A report of Eva Fischer