At the 4th Kizomba Gala in Kassel, Vie and Sir J took the time to share their story, philosophy and view on the Kizomba world with us. Learn more in our article.

How Vie, Sir J and Kizomba got together

Vie started her dance career like so many in the Salsa world. For 10 years she taught Salsa in her own dance school in Brussels. When she separated from her partner 5 years ago, she closed the school and moved to Paris. She discovered Kizomba and taught it with another partner for a year, until she met Jimmy alias Sir J and fell in love with him. As a result, they moved in together and started giving Kizomba classes together. On weekdays, they teach in a dance school in a suburb of Paris, on weekends they teach at festivals. However, they limit their festival jobs to a monthly commitment, as both still pursue their main jobs. Vie works as a management assistant, Jimmy works in the IT industry.

Jimmy is originally from Martinique, where he spent his childhood. Zouk and Caribbean sounds have always been in his blood. “Kizomba,” he says, “is a mixture of Semba and Zouk.” Most people from his home country remain true to their Zouk. Jimmy however was open to learning something new and developed his enthusiasm for Kizomba, in which he recognized parts of his culture and music from his home country.

Jimmy always loved music. First, he started the Web Radio Station FWI Radio for Zouk, Caribbean and Dancehall music, which he managed from 2009 to 2012. He collaborated with 20 local DJs, who became well-known through his channel and thus he helped singers and DJs to start their international careers. Among them are KALASH, E SY KENNENGA, VJ LOU and DJ HALAN.

In 2011, he discovered Kizomba and learned from Mike Evans. “Kizomba is not just a dance for me. It’s my passion,” he says. “What I liked about Jimmy right away was that he incorporated his Caribbean style without losing the origin of Kizomba,” says Vie.

Vie & Sir J. foto: (c)A.Wittstruck

What distinguishes their style and what they want to convey

Their lessons are very in-depth, that’s important to them. They want the students to understand exactly how to lead properly and what the ladies should feel. It is especially important to them that their students find their own style. The dance should never be a copy of another person. “Sometimes you can tell who people learned from just by watching the dancers on the dance floor. That is not the point of dancing”. Their motto:

  1. Listen to the music
  2. Clear leading and following
  3. Develop your own style

“We love Kizomba and Kizomba Fusion. We do not teach Urban Kiz, but Classic Kizomba with our own touch.” Both attach great importance to musicality and less importance to many steps, routines or shows to impress others. “Kizomba is about the partner, the feeling, and not about many complicated moves. That’s what we try to convey in our workshops.” Nevertheless, they know that creativity in teaching is important, as many dancers always expect new steps and routines in the classes. At the same time, they do not want to lose their authenticity. “That’s not easy”, says Sir J. “We need to keep our balance in that. The music is changing and we also want to dance to everything and adapt to a certain degree. The DJs shape the scene with their music.” At the same time, he emphasizes the importance to master the basics. Kizomba is not about a choreography. It’s about proper leading. The leaders need to be able to lead not only in class but also on the dance floor.

The challenge of the rapid development of different styles

The dance and the music have developed rapidly in the recent years. Many new styles of music are appearing, which influence the dance itself. With all that complexity, Vie and Sir J consider it important that that dancers know the differences and adapt their dance style to the style of music. Unfortunately, many teachers today do not convey the differences, which can be confusing for beginners.
In their eyes, there is enough space for all styles and developments. The only danger is that the development is progressing too quickly and at the same time there is not enough education about the dance, which is a risk to lose the essence of Kizomba. “We try to explain as many basics as possible to our students in our workshops, e.g. smooth movements, dancing to the music or dancing small steps.”

Their prognosis of the scene

Vie and Sir J see the development somewhat critically. “At the moment, many people only see the opportunity to make money. Salsa has seen a similar development until the events saw less and less attendance due to an oversupply of events. Now many people understand the importance of cooperation. It will be similar in the Kizomba scene. Now there is a lot of competition and fights, everyone is trying to get a piece of the cake. The bubble will burst eventually and then only a few will continue and they will have to cooperate with each other. “

Tips for the Kizomba scene

  • Don’t forget the origins of the dance
  • Have a positive attitude, there is enough room for creativity, everyone can contribute with their style
  • Stay yourselves, you do not have to pull off a show
  • Teachers: be honest with the students

Vie and Sir J: a very likeable, down to earth couple with their hearts in the right place and a love for the origins of the dance that is seen less and less.

Vie and Sir J around the world:

  • Salsa Symposium Paris – 26.-29. October 2018
  • Xmas Gala Kassel – 13.-17. December 2018
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