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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

 

“Travelling is the longing for life.” (Kurt Tucholsky)

When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way. – (Wayne Dyer)

 

There are countless quotes about traveling and dancing. The common theme in many of them is the reference to the life – desire, searching and expression.

In the first week of October 2017, ViaDanza Tanzreisen led a group of dance enthusiastic Kizomberas and Kizomberos to Lisbon and to a new way of learning and practicing Kizomba. On the culinary side, consistent with the roots of Kizomba, African and Cape Verdean food was offered aside the regional Portuguese specialties. The provided weekly ticket for public transport facilitated exploration trips through the city, whether self-organized or with the group.

 

(c)A.Wittstruck

Facts and Figures

  • 18 participants
  • 6 days (effective)
  • 2 different dance levels (advanced and intermediate)
  • 14 hours of lessons during the days (in total)
  • spacious, bright rooms at Jazzy’s Dance Studio on the Tejo’s north shore
  • a centrally located hotel surrounded by numerous restaurants and tourist attractions
  • various clubs and nightlife options

In terms of quality, the journey is difficult to put in numbers and words. Tony’s and Eva’s teaching style is didactically of high quality and they emphasize feeling and expression in their courses. Anyone looking for an endless list of steps and routines for mechanical processing would probably be happier elsewhere. Instead, they give regular feedback to every participant, which helps them to develop a better feeling for the music and allows for a more intensive connection with the partner. One female participant happily reported that her partner danced much smoother and gentle after this week.

Especially the men appreciated the relaxed atmosphere and the small group size. This set-up for a full week helped them to adapt to their dance partners, to learn and practice in a relaxed atmosphere which in turn lead to a great learning experience.

The art of balance

(c)A.Wittstruck

Next to the bright side – the organizers, teachers and Lisbon (with daily over 30° C and blue sky in October) had really worked hard for the success of this trip – there were also critical voices.

For example, the balancing act between rigidly dividing the group into dance levels and ensuring a balanced female – male ratio is difficult. After a warmup at the beginning of the week, Tony allowed the participants to choose their dance level themselves. This freedom for the participants also had its price though. Several women switched to the Advanced level while more men preferred to stay in the Intermediate level. In the foreign city, it was impossible to find more guest dancers for the courses at in our understanding advanced level standards. Couples, who had already traveled there together and did not want to change additionally impeded the ratio.

The bottom line was that despite the attendance of three guest dancers there were still two men missing in the advanced course. The waiting time for the females was usually short though thanks to the flexibility of most of the participants and the courses were nevertheless a very nice experience.

With regard to the travel management, there will probably always be different opinions in group travels. Some participants would have preferred even more program points outside the courses, others were already at their limit with the offered activities or even decided to not join some of them. Their desire to rest or to discover the city individually was greater. Despite different ambitions, the happy medium was found.

Personal conclusion

(c)A.Wittstruck

I personally write this article as a man who went on a journey two ways. New in the world of dancing, I experience a still quite unknown activity with the exploratory spirit of a beginner. The biggest challenge here is the balance between pleasure and ambition. The week in Portugal was an excellent experience in this regard. The dance journey has allowed me to live, without the often-felt unrest or the anonymity at international festivals, the feeling that I like about Kizomba: a harmonious flow with the dance partner, a wordless communication that goes under the surface. The possibility to truly get to know and come to appreciate your dance partners and the mutual playing with the melody and rhythm.

Other participant’s statements:

 

"Lisbon? Great city! I will come back."

"I have experienced for the first time a teaching style like Tony’s. Everyone says you have to listen to the beat, but Tony has emphasized the "in between", the interpretation of the music, and how to vary the same steps and routines."

"I would have preferred for some men to have more dance school experience."

"It was very helpful how Tony and Eva fostered the feedback between the participants."

"It would have been nice to go out more with the whole group in the evenings."

"The location of the hotel was good for excursions, but the way to class once a day could have been shorter, especially when having to go to class in the morning after going out.”

"Eva has taken appropriate time for us women and explained the female part well. Kizomba Fusion she has got across very well. When it comes to Semba, I can’t learn much anymore. "

"More dancing and more city is impossible in one week!"

Travel recommendation – Video (by Gingerfilm Latin)

 

A travel report by Klaus Baumgartner

 

Further information about ViaDanza dance travels can be found here:

http://www.viadanza.de/tanzreisen/

 

  • In 2018 there are 2 more Kizomba dance trips to Lisbon:

June:  11.06.2018 – 17.06.2018

http://www.viadanza.de/tanzreisen/online-buchen/reiseinfo/trip/kizomba-1/

 

  • October: 10.2018 – 07.10.2018

http://www.viadanza.de/tanzreisen/online-buchen/reiseinfo/trip/kizomba-2/

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.