JP & Stephy – the emerging Kizombastars. Their schedule is full, organizers must request more than one year in advance if they want to book them as teachers. What they have to say about Kizomba and their view of the scene can be found in our interview.

An interview by Silvia Stevens

 

What is Kizomba all about for you?

For us, Kizomba is all about connection. Connection is really important when you dance Kizomba and we think it is because of that connection, why all the people love Kizomba.

What do you consider most important when teaching Kizomba?

For us it’s strange that people often dance very technical. It is most important to master the basics. When you master the basics, you can play with it, do a lot of variations and really appreciate Kizomba. So, what we focus on are basics. Of course, you also need to master the musicality but it’s impossible to play with music, if you don’t master the basics. Only then the dance is comfortable for your partner. To be precise about basics: when you dance traditionell Kizomba, the basics are Ginga, Saidas, the basic steps and connection. In Urban Kiz, you don’t need Ginga, but basic movements and connection as well.

You created a fusion of Tango and Kizomba. Which dance did you learn first?

We learned first Kizomba, then Tango. In our fusion of the two dances we focus on Kizomba and add just a few elements of Tango. The objective is not to dance Tango and Kizomba at the same time, but to dance Kizomba with a different flavor, with some elements of Tango.

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You won competitions. Tell us about it!

Yes, we enjoy participating in competitions. We participated at the Urban Kiz competition in Lyon and in 2017 the Olympiades of Kizomba. We already participated in 2016 and we lost, but in 2017 we won two categories, the Urban Kiz category and the Sensual category. 2018 we participated again at the Olympiades of Kizomba and we won the sensual category and reached second place in the Urban Kiz category.

JP & Stephy Kizomba dancer. foto: JP & Stephy

Is it important for you to win competitions? Do you do it to be more famous?

Yes, we think it’s very important to win competitions. But more for our own development. If you compete you need to improve because of the pressure. Because we did it three times we always tried to do something different than in the previous year. Also, of course if you want to teach in the whole world you need to be well-known and the participation in competitions helps.

You dance a very special style of Kizomba and a lot of people love it. What or who inspired you?

For us, it’s important to be inspired by other teachers in the Kizomba scene. That’s why we are still taking classes, even if we are international teachers. If we like a teacher’s style, we want to learn it and we attend their classes. And we took a lot of Tango classes that allows us to make that fusion. And also in Tango, it was important for us to master the basics to find a good way to create that fusion between Urban Kiz and Tango.

You travel a lot! How can you arrange that with your private life?

We don’t have a ‘normal’ job, we live of Kizomba. It means a lot to us. For us it’s a gift and we are really happy to do what we do. And because of all the love people give us, we just try to improve all the time. At the end of the year we have two weeks’ vacation without Kizomba. Sometimes it’s important to relax and to do something else. Also, during the week it’s important to do something else. Kizomba is great but you need to have a normal life even if you are a teacher.

What makes a good Kizomba dancer in your opinion?

A good Kizomba dancer emphasizes the connection first. We don’t need complex movements. A good connection will be enough. Unfortunately, connection starts disappearing in the Kizomba Scene. Even if you dance Urban Kiz, really try to connect to your partner first, start with simple movements and then, if you feel that your partner can do more, you can start doing more movements. But connection needs to be there first.

What do you think about the development of Kizomba?

It’s important to respect what has been done first. For sure, the dance is evolving a lot and that’s normal because the music is developing as well. But you need to respect what has been done before, respect the teachers who were teaching before you and try to learn it. We don’t understand people who dance only Urban Kiz. We know it’s a bit difficult to learn Kizomba when you start with Urban, but just try to learn it and you will see the scene differently. It’s important to know and dance everything and not to be in separated worlds. Now it’s like two separated scenes, the traditional one and the Urban Kiz scene and they don’t see each other anymore. Before it was possible to do events in one location with all styles. Now you need always two rooms for two styles because people just don’t know how to dance both. It’s a pity.

What do you think, what do we need more in the Kizomba scene? What do we miss?

We need to change the way of teaching in the scene. We understand that people expect always new movements and steps in the workshops, but it’s not very useful for them to see a lot of new things if they can’t apply it correctly. What we need is to focus more on basic movements and variation. If we do this, people will enjoy dancing Kizomba a lot more because they will know how to dance Kizomba correctly.

Thank you JP&Stephy for this interview and we hope to see you soon again here in Germany!

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