He is one of the old stagers in Germany when it comes to Kizomba. Music and dance are in his blood from childhood on and it was always part of his life. In 2010 he founded Germany’s first dance school offering exclusively Kizomba and ran quite a risk doing it since Kizomba was still quite unknown at that time. He gained acceptance, but it was a tough fight until today, as you can read hereafter…

His path to dancing

Tony Gomes und AlenaThe native Angolan danced already from childhood on as his mother – as opposed to his father – loved dancing passionately. He encountered the dance Salsa and learned the first steps through locally based Cuban soldiers who were supporting Angola at the time. Already at the age of 12 he danced Semba and Passada on a concert and impressed the local mayor with his talent. A stimulation for Tony to focus on dancing.

He learned especially Zouk which then incorporated Cap Verdean elements. This is how Kizomba slowly developed, which was danced to Zouk music though. The Kizomba at that time was played live. There were no electronic mixes at the time just like there were no mobile phones. Nevertheless, everybody knew when and where there was going to be a concert. Tony was working as a DJ already in Angola – the payment? A bottle of liqueur!

Kizomba in Germany

Kizomba appeared in Germany already in 1996. Tony already danced a lot during that time, Samba or even Lambada-shows amongst others and he was already well-known in dance schools at that time.

Tony was mainly as DJ in Stuttgart, in the so-called “Schützenhaus”, the “Jaba Daba Du” and other locations and put on Salsa music but always and on principle also Kizomba music, even if it was only 2-3 songs.  Even if in a room full of 800 party guests the dancefloor was immediately empty as soon as Kizomba was playing, Tony still insisted on his freedom and on presenting a piece of his home culture and music, although the people asked him not to play Kizomba. They liked the music but nobody knew how to dance to it. Tony had to deal with a lot of setbacks. By today he could fill a big book only with the complaints in diverse online forums about him playing Kizomba music.  Still, Tony staid persistent and kept on playing Kizomba music on his parties.

Germany’s first Kizomba school

Tony wanted to teach, he didn’t want to teach Salsa though. In October 1996 Tony dared his first try. He also taught Tae-Kwon-Do in Nürtingen (close to Stuttgart in Southern Germany) and he offered first courses in his „Afro-Southamerican dance school“. However the people were reserved when it came to Kizomba. “The dance was too close for them. This kind of proximity was not desired.” The interest grew with time and all of a sudden, the Kizomba boom started in Portugal. The Africa Dançar festivals started in 2007 and Tony joined them 2008 and 2009.

With his first dance partner Alena he pursued the goal to teach Kizomba in Germany. He wanted to build up a real teaching structure and to teach it comprehensively. He met Petchu in a club and asked him for help. Petchu supported him to create a course concept and how to teach Kizomba properly. In 2010 he founded „AfroMoves“ and together with Alena he built it piece by piece up. Alena was a very important part of AfroMoves because of her great organising ability and contributed a lot in creating AfroMoves. After five years she had to leave the school 2013 for health reasons. At this time, Justy was already Tony’s student and he began to teach her to become Alena’s successor. Privately they are a couple and they have a little son.

The AfroMoves Team grew over the years and consists of around 10 people by now. “I’m very proud of the team and thankful to be able work together with these great people”. He admits that he himself is not the specialist in organizing things. His profession and passion is the dance itself. That’s why he is very thankful that his team supports him in these things.  

AfroMoves‘ offers

Alongside the regular courses that go from beginner classes to the Master Club, Afromoves also consistently offers special workshops. To offer a possibility to dance and practice, they offer their so-called “KizZonntag” every Sunday in the bar “myemy” at Ufa-Palast in Stuttgart. There you can dance in a cozy party atmosphere and finish your week in an atmospheric set-up.

Every fourth Saturday of the month their big Kizomba-Party “Noit de Kizomba” takes place, usually also at “myemy”. This event series is one of the firmly established and bigger Kizomba-Parties in the greater area of Stuttgart with its changing guest DJs and free “Just-One” Workshops at the beginning.

Only recently, the so-called “The Gomes-Party” takes place every second Saturday of the month. By turns, Tony himself and his son Joany – who is likewise a professional dance teacher – pride themselves as DJs and ensure to offer diversified Kizomba music in Esslingen (close to Stuttgart, in the dance school SabroSalsa).

Furthermore, organized dance travels to Portugal in cooperation with viaDanza dance travels are part of AfroMoves’ repertoire. They take place twice a year in May and October and are comprised of special workshops combined with a holiday feeling.

The yearly AfroMoves Kizomba Festival mid-March ist he event highlight oft he dance school and will take place already for the 7th time in March 2018.

Discussion about traditional vs. Urban Kiz

Tony who is described as “traditional” Kizomba dance by most people explains to us that there is essentially no such thing as “traditional” Kizomba but that almost everything can be seen as fusion. Absolutely “traditional” is rather the solo dance, the couple dance on the contrary is fundamentally to be seen as a modern dance.  There were always developments in dances, especially in Kizomba and they should be accepted. “It was necessary to invent more steps in order to be able to present something interesting on stage. Many figures and steps exist only since the development as started. Kizomba is not a trend, it is culture.“  Of course  we shouldn’t forget the origins and the traditional beginnings, but we should also tolerate the developments.     

Tipps for all dancers

Don’t go for the figures and combinations right away. Develop a feeling for the music firstn

Value the basics – they are the foundation

Dance with different dance partners in order to become flexible in your dance

Try to dance to the music and develop your musicality

Women need to learn to let go

Women need to focus on following their partner, to feel what is being led

 

Tony Gomes is dancer with heart and soul. We thank him for the pleasant interview and the insight into his starting time as Kizomba teacher.

Ehemalige Tanzpartnerin Eva Fischer & Tony Gomes

An interview from Silke Wiedenhöft

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