“Temple of Kiz”, the new Urban Kiz Festival in the Mainz Pyramid has made an excellent start. Already more than 300 Kizomberos and Kizomberas from Germany, Switzerland, France and Luxembourg have visited the new festival and the feedback is positive, not only because of the unique location. Our review:

A focus on dancing

foto: Photoart Eichin

The social dance and the party are have priority at the new “Temple of Kiz” festival, not so much a wide variety of workshops. For this purpose, only international DJs were booked, including DJ Valet, DJ Lenhy or DJ Nice Life along with other well-known Deejays. But also newcomer Deejay PG, who appeared for the first time at a festival, came like a bombshell with his fresh mix. Organizer Stefanie Pietas likes to give promising newcomers the chance to play at her festival.

For those eager to learn, there was a mix of individual workshops and several-hour boot camps throughout the day, primarily in the intermediate and advanced levels. National teachers like Stone’s & Sabine, Lamsca Sagnia and international dance teachers like Aime & Trecy from Luxembourg or Hugo & Mariina were among the teachers in the pyramid. Those not attending workshops could let off steam at the social from 2 p.m. The evening party started at 10 p.m. under the modern pyramid dome and offered the guests the chance to dance to the finest Urban Kiz music until 7 a.m. in the morning.

Top modern location

foto: Photoart Eichin

We already reported about the location. Top modern equipment with great sound system and lighting technology and a sophisticated architecture. The “pyramid” is really something “special”, not just an ordinary room with some sound system and a few lighting effects installed. The air conditioning can also be very well controlled here. Already just the very high ceiling avoids too much heat. Already before entering, you find yourself in front of the mighty pyramid with a large free car park right in front of the front door. The panoramic lounge under an open roof invites to linger (if the weather is warm). It would have been great if music was played here to enjoy the first hours of social dance under the sky. But the lounge is also perfect for a cup of coffee and a chat.

The traffic connection to the pyramid is excellent. A motorway access is very close, there are hotels within walking distance and various shops for the most necessary supply. Since it is located in an industrial area, there is no curfew or complaints due to loud music.

Well-balanced and great mood

foto: Photoart Eichin

The well-balanced ratio of male and female dancers was also crucial for the great atmosphere. Already at ticket sales, the organizer had an eye on the ratio. Contrary to the original planning and due to many spontaneous interested dancers, there was also a box office. Nevertheless, there was no large excess of women, which is very difficult to plan with a box office. Thanks to the good work of the taxi teams such as Funomen, Kizomba Brigade Stuttgart, Casanova, Ghetto Kiz and the other groups, the ladies got their money’s worth. Our poll resulted in very positive feedback on the overall balance and work of the taxi dancers groups. Since “Temple of Kiz” does not belong to the big events, but to the medium-sized festivals – measured by number of participants – the atmosphere still had a slightly familial character.

Room for improvement

panorama lounge. foto: Photoart Eichin

There was not much to complain about this event and if at all than on a rather high level. Of course, nobody needed the “stink bomb” on Friday night. It was – contrary to some assumptions – definitely not a drain problem of the pyramid, but the work of a guest. Whether stupid prank or common sabotage act, it was unsuccessful, because real Kizomberos don’t let anything spoil their evening and they just danced on vigorously.

Some lamented that there was no possibility to dance in the panorama lounge. Here the roof can be opened completely and with great weather it would have been the perfect social dance floor. It was technically not possible to implement this spontaneously and was also meant to be a silent space. However, the organizers accept the feedback and therefore we can hope for an open air social next year.

Despite nearby shopping facilities, an in-house dining option or a food truck in the parking lot would have been desirable to replenish the occasional energy needs.

The prices for drinks were in a slightly upper price range. A 1-liter bottle of water, for example, costs € 6.00 hurt the finances of some guests, especially since also during the workshops no drinks were allowed to be brought.

In a nutshell

  • Unique location with air conditioning
  • Big social and long parties with well-known DJs
  • Good dancer ratio and great mood
  • Hotels within walking distance
  • Focus on social and party, smaller workshop program
  • Sanitary facilities always clean
  • Free large parking
  • No in-house food service, upscale drink prices

Conclusion

Top! If you like pure Urban Kiz music, then you will get your money’s worth in a unique location with top DJs and a small workshop program. The dancer ratio was pleasant despite box office and also the dancing level was remarkable. The organization and communication for the participants was very good and the atmosphere was consistently positive. A great accomplishment for the first edition and thus one of the most promising events in Germany. With this first edition’s reputation, there will be many more dancers in the pyramid next year, in the best case on presale, to achieve the same, if not better, ratio then. The multi-level location always offers potential for growth.

foto cover picture: Cornelius Pfannkuch

Sold out! For the fourth time in a row, the X-Mas Gala was one of the top festivals in Germany and beyond. Not without rattled nerves, because not everyone appreciates Sabine’s consistent organization. More than 600 guests attended and enjoyed high-quality workshops, socials and parties with the scene’s best DJs in a beautiful location in the heart of Kassel – the Orangerie. All highlights as well as news for 2018 can be found here.

Every year just before Christmas, the Créme-de-la-Créme of the Kizomba scene gathers in Kassel. Not Luxembourg, nor France and or Belgium. No, they all swarm to the city with a population of just under 195 000 with only one goal –  to be part of one of the most demanded festivals of the year. Guests from Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and other European countries found their way to the X-Mas Gala. Some guests from Russia who had traveled only for this festival took the longest trip of all.

Why does everyone want to go to Kassel?

foto: PhotoartEichin

It’s fairly simple. Look for a nice location, book high-quality artists and DJs, pay attention to a balance between male and female dancers and create a family atmosphere. Easier said than done. In reality, there is a year of hard work behind it, a lot of consistency, passion and high commitment during your free time. And not everyone appreciates the consistent attitude of Sabine, especially when it concerns themselves. In the last months before the start of the event, the organizer had to deal with all sorts of complaints and in some cases very unpleasant messages. For someone who likes to answer all messages, such a situation soon turns into a full-time job. Again and again, especially ladies tried to bargain for a pass and literally begged for exceptions, tried it via friends and acquaintances or became creative by ordering couple passes or male passes. Some men also tried to take advantage of the situation and literally offered themselves as a taxi dancer to get a free ticket. But it does not work that way. An event like this, especially in this quality has its price and can’t be financed if tickets are given away for free. Sabine persisted and prevailed, although it was nerve-rattling to keep the maximum woman surplus of 10%.

Due to illnesses, about 25 men, including a taxi team were not present and that was noticeable. Nevertheless, the balance was a blessing and not to compare with most other festivals. No lady had to wait long for a dance and the nearly 50 taxi dancers have taken their job seriously.

2017 Highlights

Teresa Jimenez. foto: Photoart Eichin

In addition to well-known line-up like Tchint & Janina, Doumb and DJs like Saï Saï, Stefanio Lima and other top acts, DJ Madiss from Rotterdam and DJ Narc6 from Gießen celebrated their Kassel debut. The guests were enthusiastic and certainly you can welcome both again in 2018. Another highlight was the lady-styling Bootcamp by Theresa Jimenez from Sweden. There the ladies could learn a lot of body movement and, isolated in the beach bar Kassel, they could fully focus on themselves.
The mood was once again very familial, although the spatial capacity limit was reached. At times the dance floor was too full. This has already been noted by the organizer and the number of tickets for 2018 will be reduced by 70 tickets to allow for more legroom.

2018: the fight for tickets already began

Sabine will make some general changes in 2018 while staying true to her consistency when it comes to ticket sales. From the beginning there are only limited single passes and it’s recommended to purchase couple passes. A few days after the last gala, the tickets for 2018 were offered online. In January, more than 50% of the tickets had already been sold and for the first time Sabine had to suspend the ladies’ passes already one month after opening the ticket sales. The ladies understood, who wants to be there has to secure her ticket early. Now it’s time to wait again, waiting for some male passes to be sold so that more ladies’ tickets can be released.

2018 News

This shows the great popularity of the X-Mas Gala and why a visit is always worthwhile. Laurent Yishú will be there as an artist in 2018, an argument in his own right! He is one of the best teachers of the scene and will give a 4-hour boot camp, which has to be booked separately. In view of the fact that he would like to travel less for teaching in the future, the boot camp will surely be sold out soon. Adeline Sueodis offers a 3-hour Lady-styling class. Both have always been part of the X-Mas Gala from the beginning and even though they are officially no longer a dance couple, both are very happy to be there again.

The number of DJs will be increased from 13 to 14 and for the first time Tatjana Orlova from Russia will make her Kassel debut as Djane. Good news for those who don’t like to change locations: all parties, including the pre-party, will take place in the Orangerie again in 2018.

If you do not have a ticket yet, you should keep your eyes open as a woman and buy as soon as tickets are released again. And the gentlemen will hopefully not wait too long to buy tickets, as some ladies still want to attend this event after all. One thing can already be said quite sure: also in 2018, this event will be sold out again.

Follow the link to the facebook event and for tickets.

More and more Kizomba festivals arise round Europe and the whole world. We are curious and interested in your opinion.

Please help us to understand, which features are really important for you and which sort of festivals you prefer.

Only 6 questions – not more than 3 minutes of your time. Thanks for your support.

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

“Kizombada” – a title of various Kizomba partys, which is used more and more. “KizombADA” in Wuppertal is a recommendable party series with a great passion for detail. The party owes its name to the Turkish regular location “Ada” which stands for “island”. Mario Wolff’s goal is to create a “Kizomba Island” for all Kizomba lovers, not just one more party. He has achieved this goal, relying not only on the creative name of his events. But what makes his event so special?

Quality not quantity

Mario knows his guests and greets and says goodbye to everyone personally unless he’s at the turntables himself. During the event, he keeps asking his guests how they feel and gets their feedback. He wants his guests to feel comfortable, have fun, dance and enjoy Kizomba. Especially his regular guests appreciate this.

For the workshops, he emphasizes quality and variety. A group size of a maximum of 50 participants per workshop is the limit. If groups are too big, it is no fun for the participants, Mario says. Everyone should be able to ask their questions.

 A focus on service

T-shirt service

 

A special feature is the towel and T-shirt service. Fresh towels and shirts with the KizombADA logo are available for free and freshly washed. Mario offers this service for free at every party. In addition, fresh fruit is available for the participants during the workshop time. A small extra are the sweets at the party, which are also for free.

The balanced ratio between male and female dancers was remarkable, not only during the workshops, but also at the party itself. It is important to him that everyone has the chance to dance. He doesn’t book taxi dancers though. The community is really nice, the people are very open and also newcomers are welcome.

Mario wants to offer variety when it comes to teachers and their classes. He wants to offer something for every taste and students should have the opportunity to get to know different styles. Thus, in addition to classic Kizomba he offered also various Urban Kiz workshops, Tarraxinha and Body movement.

Via the camera to Kizomba

Mario found his way to Kizomba through photography. He began shooting photos at various dance events, first at competition dancing, then at Salsa events and finally at Kizomba. Kizomba was still rare in the region at the time. He wondered why people attended Kizomba workshops when they had then the chance to dance it only to 2-3 Kizomba songs at parties. He took the initiative himself and began to organize Kizomba parties and started deejaying, first in Düsseldorf, later in Wuppertal.

Perfect location and top sound

DJ Radikal & DJ Angelkizz – DJs of KizombADA

The cooperation with the restaurant Ada is going well and it will stay their party location in the future. The parquet floor is ideal for dancing and with an area of 300m² it offers enough space for these events. The restaurant offers two rooms and allows flexible organization of events. The sound system is also of the highest quality and ideal for dance events. Dancing events take place 7 days a week, from Tango to Salsa. “Mario is one of the best organizers. We can rely on each other one hundred percent,” says the restaurant owner.

Positive Feedback from the guests

The guests’ feedback was almost exclusively positive. They came from the immediate region as well as from other surrounding cities like Colone, Dusseldorf, Dortmund or Essen.

"We come here frequently. The atmosphere here is very friendly, the people here just want to dance together and nobody is excluded"

"The organizer is very polite and very personal. He spoke a lot with the participants and thanked them for their participation"

"Due to the small group size and the detailed explanations of the teachers, it was possible to apply directly at the party what I had learned."

"Really fair ticket price"

Of course, workshops and styles are also a matter of taste. Thus, some participants liked some of the workshops better than others, or some workshops were more critically judged. The overall feedback shows though that the organizer did a very good job.

The Saturday party was unfortunately not as well attended as expected. This was mainly due to other events that were taking place at the same time.

A longer break between workshops and party would have been preferred by many participants. Only one hour was scheduled (workshops until 21:00, party starting at 22:00). A little on the tight side for those who wanted to enjoy a relaxed dinner. As a result, the party started a little later.

Our conclusion:

  • An event organized with love by the organizer and his friends, with a very welcoming community
  • Great dance floor and enough space
  • High quality sound
  • Good and mostly regional selection of teachers and DJs
  • Free towel and T-shirt service as well as fruits and sweets
  • Fair price (10 € party entrance incl. 3 € drink voucher)

The workshops were sold out before the event. The Saturday evening party could have needed one or two more spontaneous visitors, especially at a bigger event like this one. We hope for the Kizomba scene that the organizers will agree on dates in the future and thus create a win-win situation for everyone. This is above all an appeal to those who are planning an event in other areas where local and longer-established organizers are already active.

A longer break between workshops and party would have taken away the time pressure at dinner and the evening would have started more relaxed. Nevertheless, whoever complains about this is complaining about first world problems.

KizombADA events in Wuppertal under the direction of Mario Wolff are highly recommended. There are hardly any events that are organized and carried out with so much love for detail and heart and soul and where the guests are so much in the center of attention.

We are always happy to support Mario and his team and look forward to seeing you again.

Mario organizes Kizomba Parties every first Friday of the month. The next big KizombADA KizzWeekend takes place on April 5-7, 2019.

You can find more information here: https://www.facebook.com/kizombadawuppertal

Asangi Kizomba Festival celebrated its premiere in Augsburg from October 27th – 29th 2017. A festival for lovers of classical Kizomba which offered classes by qualified Angolan Kizomba teachers who gave various workshops over two days. You will find out in our review what makes the charm of this event and what improvement potentials we still see.

Artists & DJs

The Asangi Kizomba Festival in Augsburg was small but nice. Asangi stands for “variety” and that’s exactly what Joao Dontana offered with his varied program of Afro dances. The invited artists were mainly of Angolan origin, among them e.g. Cazuza Kinvula, Josy Semkizz, Mauro De One and Tony Gomes. They gave the participants predominantly an understanding of classic Kizomba, Semba, traditional African dances but also Fusion. Especially Cazuza and his sheer endless energy provided for exuberant mood with his Rebita (group circle dance), Afro-Tribal and Afro-House. The mix was well received by the guests and we also enjoyed that at this festival offered an alternative to the usual habit of teaching endless figures.
On the turntables, DJ Paps, DJ Ecozinho and Deejay Nino played the right music, both during the daytime after the workshops as well as at the party at night and until the early morning hours. The African flair was underlined by self-cooked African food and the sale of African clothes.

A small festival with African flair

The manageable size with about 40 participants made for a very pleasant, family atmosphere. Over two days, four to five varied workshops were offered per day, creating a good mood amongst the participants. There were always opportunities to dance and practice in a relaxed atmosphere between and after the workshops, which was appreciated by the guests. The male-female ratio was better balanced then at many other festivals and the artists helped each other out in the classes, so the ladies did not have to wait too long during the classes.

 

 

Room for improvement

Not only the mood, also the time management was quite relaxed. There were quite a few very spontaneous changes in the program and both artists and guests even found themselves in front of closed doors at times. The guests seemed to be quite relaxed about that – probably the relaxed atmosphere had rubbed off a bit. All organizers know that something unforeseen can happen anytime and it is good also for the guests not to be too annoyed about it. Nonetheless, we would recommend to the organization to pay more attention to its schedule and punctuality next year. Unnecessary waiting times make no sense and is usually not appreciated. Also, the lack of clarity about what happens next is usually not so pleasant, at least for the German mind.

The second mood killer was the location change in the middle of the night. The party started in the workshop location where the music, the dance floor and the atmosphere were good. The organizer also put on a short spontaneous musical life act with Cazuza on the Dikanza (Reco-Reco, an Angolan rhythm instrument) and Tony on the percussions. After that, unfortunately, the location had to be changed, which tore the evening apart a bit. The guests had to drive to the second party location in the city center of Augsburg, which unfortunately had neither a good dance floor nor a pleasant ambience. Once there, it took a while but the good mood recovered fortunately. The guests danced until the early morning hours and they certainly got their money’s worth.

Conclusion

PRO:

  • Small but nice Kizomba Festival
  • Good, familiar atmosphere amongst participants and artists
  • The focus on Angola and classic Kizomba
  • Quality of artists and DJs, particularly suitable for people who want to learn in a more cozy environment

 

Suggestions for improvement:

  • Although it is good to relax every now and then and to not always have a look at the watch… we recommend more focus on the organization and a well-planned and accordingly executed program
  • No change of location during the party and a location with a proper dance floor and a nice atmosphere

We like the idea and the philosophy of this festival and we see good potential. This event can be even better next year and still has room for more guests who want to learn and dance classic Kizomba, Semba, Tarraxinha, Fusion and traditional Afro dances. We are happy to join again.

KizombADA Wuppertal stands for Kizomba parties true to the motto “Kizomba @ all Style” with workshops of all styles and changing Dj’s at the parties on Friday and Saturday.

The organizers take good care that the overall package has a great value:

  • 300sqm of parquet dance floor
  • a newly installed sound system and acoustics tuned for Kizomba
  • good value drinks and fair entrance fees (box office 7,00 € plus 3,00 € minimum consumption per person / per party)
  • a restaurant in the lower area with delicious dishes and a reasonably priced menu (vegetarian options available)

The Friday evening special? A Meet & Greet Photo Shoot with Dj Radikal!

KizzMag is happy to participate and – with the entire KizombADA team – looking forward to seeing YOU!

More information: Here

Afromoves, Germany’s first Kizomba school, has been organizing a Kizomba Festival in the greater Stuttgart area for the past seven years. In addition to their extensive Kizomba program and the usual high-quality artists and DJs, they offer now also a Salsa and Bachata dance floor.

Like every year, Kizomberas and Kizomberos can count on high quality. Laurent Yishú, Ronie Saleh, Vie & Sir J. and Juneline as well as other top artists will offer a total of 30 workshops for all levels and styles + beginner bootcamp. The popular Beginner Bootcamp is also back on the program and offers newcomers the ultimate entry into the Kizomba world. The Bootcamp is suitable for both absolute beginners and dancers with some knowledge. After completing the Bootcamp, the participants are already able to enjoy some dance on the parties and later on they can build on these skills. The Bootcamp costs 70 € and includes entrance to the parties.

A large social room is available from the afternoon and invites to relaxed dances. Selected taxi dancers provide balance and dance pleasure. Also, female taxi dancers are invited this year for the male dancers. Perfect if someone is still insecure to ask the ladies for a dance.

New this year is a Bachata dancefloor for those who are looking for a bit of variety now and then. A “Silent” Social Room is also new this year – we can be curious. There will also be a “Jack & Jill” dance competition. A contest with random dance partners that combines spontaneous, creative and musical dancing, without choreography and prior agreements. A real social dance contest. Not the most complex step combinations are scored, but the “interaction” of the dance couple with the music. Of course, there are also great prizes to win for the winners.

DJ Stefanio Lima from Rotterdam, DJ Narc6, who made a vertical start in 2017 and DJ Dameri, among others, provide the best mix of Kizomba traditional, Urban Kiz, Tarraxinha and Semba. DJ Paluxe, known from Mulini Beach in Rovinj, is invited for the first time this year.
Tickets are available via the website or via the Facebook event link. KizzMag will be there for the second time in a row and will report again.

Tato, this is the first Kizomba Festival in Ecuador, and you (BK Baila Kizomba) and William Matos (Estilo Latino) initiated it. How did it all start?

William and I met one day at Mambo Cafe, a well known Salsateca here in Quito, and Kizomba came up as a topic. Both William and I teach Kizomba to students. We decided to form a joint group to perform shows. For us artists the economic aspect of things is always relevant, so when the idea of a Kizomba festival arose we had doubts if it had a chance to at least even out at zero cost. We risked it and gave ourselves four months to set everything up – organize the locations and get enough good teachers to fill a schedule of three days with classes, workshops and parties. The pool party was a late item on our list. We really wanted to offer a relaxing last day in a somewhat European style in a special, chilled location.

When all that was settled the last task was to find a meaningful name for the festival. We agreed on Kiz’Me because it’s about Kizomba and about us, the dancers. We want the dance and the feeling it provides to evolve in our country. In Ecuador and its neighboring countries there aren’t many teachers yet to push it. In our efforts we also reached out to neighboring countries like Colombia and Venezuela.

How did you learn about Kizomba, and what’s your motivation to help it become more popular in South America?

I met Albir Rojas in Panama, and I got very interested in his style. I also admire his way to help students to acquire skills and become confident in themselves. When Albir had gone to live in Spain and teach Kizomba I decided to learn this exciting, still little known dance from him there, so I went to Spain for two and a half years.

I enjoyed Kizomba and fell in love with this dance. In Kizomba I feel a deeper connection to my partner than in any other dance I know. My goal is to bring the dance here so people understand that there’s more than Salsa and Bachata, that we can do more than hit 1-2-3  5-6-7, that we can do our own figures at our own speed and rhythm, obviously respecting the basics of Kizomba.

Apart from sharing your passion with others – do you also have the opportunity in mind that emerges from being among the first to teach Kizomba around here?

Economical success is actually possible. 100% of my work life is dedicated to dancing. So obviously I’m not seeing it as a mere hobby. What moves me the most, though, is when I think about the people who will follow. I’d like to leave a legacy and know that the people I influence will carry the dance forward in the future.

How is Kizomba perceived by dancers in Latin America?

It is mainly perceived as something very sensual. Some people also say it’s sexual, but those are completely different things. There’s sexual and there’s sensual. People, especially people from the coast, enjoy the sensuality. Also, there’s some confusion, e.g. when some people describe Kizomba as a mixture between Bachata and Tango. I tell them that that’s not the case. It has its own base, its own rhythm, percussion, and pace. It’s not a mixture. It has its own origin in Africa.

Latinos see Kizomba as something very refreshing for the body, something lightening. People say “Wow, I feel so connected to my partner, so understood.” I think that in one or two years Kizomba will be heard a lot in Latin America. There are already great projects to promote it in Colombia and Argentina, and right now it’s being taken to Peru and Venezuela. We’re in contact, and I received really good feedback for supporting the genre here.

I experienced the festival as very personal, owing to your organization and the direct and friendly contact beforehand. Can you maybe give us some facts and numbers?

Including myself we were four teachers.

Tato Mendez (BK Baila Kizomba), Sol Perez (Kizomba y Barra), Johnny Uday (Salserios, Quenca) and William Mato (Venezuela). The “Allan Dee Dance Squad” will join us for the next festival.

33 participants signed up for the workshops. At the evening parties we counted 70-80 participants and around 20 people from staff and show dancers. The 100 persons filled the Mambo Cafe quite nicely.

Our main goal was to make Kizomba more known, not to make money. So the full pass for three days was priced $24, which just so covered our costs.

And everybody seemed to really enjoy themselves…

 

Absolutely! People where happy, touched. We received requests to please continue with the festival next year. The positive energy the teachers and staff radiated, the great experiences people were making, making new friendships, all of this was great and it gave the people a taste of the Kizomba culture.

I noted a difference between some Kizomba festivals in Europe and this. European Kizomba festivals are very focussed on Kizomba, often exclusive. You decided to mix Kizomba, Salsa and Bachata at the evening parties. What was the reason for your decision?

A while ago Quito was all about Salsa. Bachata didn’t find much resonance. All of a sudden it became a hype, and Bachata and Salsa ended up on a par. There’s a good chance that Kizomba will make it there, maybe even surpass Bachata’s popularity, but we can’t know.

For the festival we didn’t want to be exclusive, because we have a lot of Salseros and Bachata dancers who are still beginners at Kizomba. We’re all open towards each other.

Do you have plans for a next festival? Are there things you’d do differently?

Yes, there’ll be a next time, and it’s gonna happen beginning of August. What we will do differently? I’m thinking of spicing it up with a trip to the beach.

Until then we’ll have a Kizomba party here in November – themed “ángeles y demonios”.

Tato, it was a pleasure meeting you. Thank you for the interview.

Thank you and the people at kizzmag.com!

An interview by Klaus

More infos about Tato Mendez

FIKi Festival:  Finland’s International Kizomba Festival

Apologies to those Germans that thought it was something else 😛

A small, cozy, special festival with a strong focus of quality over quantity.
16+ international Artists for some quality teachings on Kizomba, Semba, Tarraxinha, Kizomba Fusion, Urban Kiz, Kuduro & AfroHouse:  Miguel & Susana, Paulo & Lana, Ronie, Maria & Arnold, Fabio Krayze & more will be there to share their passion and knowledge.

Don’t expect a crazy amount of 1 hour workshops with a crazy amount of people though! All workshops last 1.5 hours and are focused on getting your dancing to another level and for your to retain more of those cool techniques and moves.

Special – Finnish Sauna

And for those wanting to really experience the Finnish culture…. you have the possibility to join the Sunday Special event…. Sauna!

Those who have never been to Finland should take advantage of this opportunity. On Monday there will be an official After Party at “AfroLatin Nights” in Helsinki, the longest-running AfroLatin Party on two dance floors.

You can find out more info about the festival here

KizzMag will join and report.