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

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.