Jazzy Cubango – a DJ, a teacher and an events organizer

Jazzy Cubango is one of those people who doesn’t need to be presented. I offered him to talk without almost knowing him, and he politely agreed to find some time to answer questions for my blog followers. I’ve always admired his intriguing eyes, that have already conquered many dance-floors around the world. I would take him to the list of Top 10 seducers in kizomba. But what do we know about him, besides his outstanding appearance?

Jazzy is an organizer and co-organizer of three festivals: “Let Me Kizz You”, “Paris Kizomba Congress” and “Castle Limouzikiz”. He is a DJ and a kizomba teacher. I’ve danced with him a couple of times. I consider him a comfortable dancer. I went to some of his festivals some time. I’ve listened to some of his DJ-sets as well. I saw some of demos of his workshops and obviously I saw his face on every photo of Russian kizomba girls. But still I’m sure that neither me, nor you know much about this guy. So, shall we discover this charismatic and handsome man together?

THE INTERVIEW:

  • Let´s start by your name: why “Jazzy Cubango”? What does this nick name mean?

In my life I practiced several types of dances. I started when I was young with the Caribbean folk dances from where I was born. Then Hip Hop, Cuban salsa and the Dominican bachata and afterwards I came to Kizomba and Urban kiz.

My nickname “JAZZY” comes from my teenage years when I started dancing Hip Hop and I was also a saxophone player… My style was mixed with the Jazz Rock (based on footwork), and my friends called me “Jazzy”. Then naturally everybody started calling me like that till nowadays.

“Cubango” comes from Cuba and Angola, as the first dance school I created in 2012 was called “CubAngo Connexion”. Because these are the two dances that I taught the most and that marked a good part of my life.

  • Do you still play saxophone?

sax

Well, I haven’t played it for about 10 years and it´s always been in my parent’s apartment. But when they retired and moved to Martinique, they gave it back to me. And now it´s at my place.

  • When did you get to know kizomba? Who was/were your teacher(s)?

In 2009, at a festival of Kenzo Medi in France. It was a Salsa festival, but the first one where I got to know Kizomba. Then I travelled to Poland and Portugal to learn more about this dance. And I met for the first time Kwenda Lima, Afro Latin Connexion and many others. They were my first teachers and inspiration.

After that, in 2010 I created the first 100% Kizomba Festival in France with my then girlfriend Estelle – the Kizomba Swimming Festival. I brought Pitchu and Vanessa, Albir and Sara Lopez, Afrolatin Connection and other artists. For the first 3 years it was the only one pure kizomba festival in France. Afterwards everybody started doing it as well.

Four years later I launched “Paris Kizomba Congress” with Fred Maestro. We are partners with him till now.

  • You are a multi-task guy, playing several roles at the same time on the dancing scene. What brings you most personal satisfaction: dancing, teaching, mixing or organizing events?

Teaching is the thing that most makes me happy. But during all my life I’ve always been in music and organised things.

The common thing that I find in each of these activities is sharing happiness with people. When I organize events or teach dancing steps or play music, I share my happiness with others… It is the meaning of the bird “colibri” that I have tattooed on my neck.

jazzy tattoo

 

  • Do you have only 1 tattoo?

hybiscusNo, I have 2. The other one is on my back- it´s hibiscus flower. It represents Martinique (I´m from Martinique). They call Martinique – The Flower Island. And the main flower representing the island is Hibiscus. The tattoo is a mixture of Hibiscus with the musical note “sol”.

 

  • Do you have favorite destinations?

Yes, I have. I travel almost all over the world. But my favorite ones for dancing Kizomba are Russia, Croatia, Sweden and some others. Because I found their people have really good and positive energy.

I like Russia because the dancing level of girls is very good. Russian girls are very conscious about their femininity. They really live the dance! Others can be technically good, but they care more of the visual aspect. It´s more intense on the emotional level with Russian ladies.

  • Do you have a teaching partner now (for workshops)? Who is she?

I had one. Her name is Dana. We worked together for one year. She lives in Germany. It was a bit difficult to meet.  Now I have no partner.

  • Do you give regular classes in Paris on working days or only while travelling to festivals at weekends? Do you give private lessons as well? How much does one cost?

Three years ago, I stopped my regular classes in Paris, because I was travelling almost all the time. Now I focus myself on festivals abroad and on the organization of my events – “PKC” and a new concept “Let Me Kizz You”.

I give exclusively private classes and sometimes one-time workshops in France.

  • I always ask this question to “decision-makers” of Kizomba: if it was in your power to change something on the kizomba dance scene, what would it be?

If I had to change something? Hmmm… I would not change anything about kizomba or urban kiz. I find it perfect! That’s why it attracts so many people. The only thing that could be good is to change the attitude of some people, who are not passionate about the dance itself, but who are there just to take advantage of the scene. People with bad intentions, taking themselves for who they are not and judging others. But unfortunately, we cannot change the mindset of others.

  • I´m sure that many ladies constantly ask for your attention. How do you refuse some? Do you feel uncomfortable to say “no” to a dance? In what cases do you refuse a dance?

I feel very uncomfortable to say “no”. Even if it’s only for one dance I try to say “yes”. But the thing is, people cannot imagine how many times a teacher is asked for a dance. It’s impossible to dance with everyone. And now I’m also a DJ. Thus, I have even less time to dance at festivals. It’s more difficult.

Teaching and mixing takes twice as much energy and time… So usually I reply something like “not now” or “later”, if at that moment I’m busy or tired.

Anyway, I always keep one hour during the night to dance with everybody and some time for myself.

  • Where and how do you see yourself in 5 years?

Maybe I will still be organizing festivals in France or in other countries. Maybe I will be still working as a DJ. I really don’t know. I’ve been in kizomba for 8 years now. It changes a lot in a good way as well as in a bad way, but I stay always addicted. So, let’s see what happens next. I’ll be in the music that’s for sure.

  • What advice would you give people who have just came to this kiz-world, according to all your experience?

Dancing can be a passion for some people and entertainment for others. A fun can become a passion. If you come to the kiz-world, keep in mind that this is not true life … Do the separation between the positive and negative things, keep only the positive for yourself and live your kizomba as you feel.

  • What can you tell the world about David Giboyau?

Nothing special. It’s just my real name, in normal life. The name on my papers

  • Could we learn something about your real life, like what do you do apart from kizomba?

Ah, you already know my real name. I work in the French National Train Company, managing train stations in Paris. I’ve been doing it part-time now for 5 years, to free up more time for dancing and travelling.

I always do both: real life activities and the music.

  • Many people, who are so much into the dancing scene, just leave their normal everyday jobs and dedicate themselves completely to music. Why do you still keep your job?

I could leave it, but I always think about the future, about what could happen. You never know if one day I had an accident, then at least I would always have a normal job. Besides, I have a lot of benefits here. I have free transport in France and all neighbouring countries, like Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, etc., anywhere where I can depart from Paris by train. It’s very comfortable in terms of money savings)

  • I´m sure half of female kizomba population would like to know at least if Jazzy Cubango has a girlfriend. Do you?))

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Jazzy Cubango Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/cubango.jazzy/

https://www.facebook.com/jazzycubango.new

https://www.facebook.com/JazzyCubango.kizomba/

Dance friends: my kizomba co-pilot

Normally we come to kizomba world alone. But as the time passes by, we make acquaintances and dance friends and in the end we meet that one person who becomes our best kizz-friend. The one who shares all our nights out, trips, meals and secrets. We generally don’t trust anyone in kizomba, but we still open up to a minimum and stick to those ones, our Kizomba “bros”, “pots”, whatever you call them.

With my bestie it was a quick match. And this post is dedicated to her, because she is worth it.

We met at some kizomba party in Amsterdam over a couple of years ago. We had a brief conversation, and next week I was at her place picking her up for some kiz-event. I was upset and told her in 5 minutes all my life, full of tears and snot. We hugged, we had a drink and since then we were already dance friends. Today it’s her Birthday. And I publish this post to thank her for being always there for me. I thank her for supporting me in my downs, for never betraying my trust and for trusting me back. You will ask me: what does it have to do with the kizomba?

A lot. Imagine if you had no one to gossip about those bitches or those star-guys, if you had no one to open a bottle of (xxx) with and talk in bed long after a party is over? And to share petrol and accommodation costs?? (LOL). In fact, I’m used to my dance friend so much, and I’m happy she’s my companion for all my kizomba journeys, that recently I almost never accept co-sharing with anyone else. To me she’s my back in this kizomba turbulence. I’m lucky I got to know her one day.

Sometimes when I’m about to send it all to hell, she keeps me afloat. I feel safe and I keep on going  (meaning “keep on dancing“)… It’s important to have a good friend. But it’s even more important and, I would say, priceless to have one in Kizomba! Our friends from  the real world can hardly understand our passion for kizomba dance. This is a particular scene. Overflowing with emotions, we may speak different languages with people from outside it. They maybe obviously best friends ever, but they are not able to feel what makes our hearts beat so crazily.

I feel like I must present her to you anyway, as, most importantly, she is the one who gives me a hand with almost all my blog contents, the one to help me to edit most of my articles (not this one lol) checking my English and the one to advise if I should ever publish some of my crazy stuff at all.

Take care about your dance friends! And the real ones as well!! In my case she IS my real friend, not only on the dance-floor.

Mila

Now you know who my co-pilot is)

DANCE FOR IT – a movie about three kizomba dancing couples

  I would like to support the amazing project DANCE FOR IT, which is a movie about our favorite kizomba dancers´ lives, by publishing below my interview with its founder, Anna. I loved the trailer and contacted her to tell me in details what it is about and asking her how I could help to make it happen.

 

What is this project about?

“Dance for it” is a human story about 6 dancers – Albir and Carola, Ricardo and Paula, Paulo and Lanna. Each of them dances for different reason and has a very inspiring personal story. It’s about real life, love, sharing heritage with the world, fighting for dreams, making difficult choices, taking the challenge of being real. These are human stories that will resonate with all of us.

There will be two very special episodes. We want to follow Paulo and Lanna to their homeland, Angola, and meet their families. We will see them all together dancing, singing, laughing – it’s absolutely precious. I believe that to see it is important not only to understand better the personalities of Paulo and Lanna, but also to feel deeper Kizomba dance and its roots.

The other storyline is following Albir to Panama. He left for Madrid to study dancing when he was young. His family is in Panama and they are his heart. Everything we need to understand about Albir is there.

I believe that telling human stories is one of the best jobs in the world and I want to make a documentary which will inspire, empower, bring joy and hope.

What does DANCE FOR IT stand for?

In English language there is an expression “Go for it” which I understand as “be brave and pursue you dreams”. For the characters of my film dancing is the way to pursue their dreams, so I changed “go” to “dance”. For me it’s the perfect name.

How the idea was born?

In 2014 I started dancing Kizomba and went to my first Kizomba festival – it was DMAES in Porto, organized by Afrolatin Connection. That summer before this trip I graduated from the university (I studied documentary filmmaking) and quit my job which I didn’t love anymore. I felt pretty lost and didn’t really know what to do with my life. I was hoping that vacation in beautiful Portugal will help me find a new passion – and it happened. The idea for this film was the gift from the universe))

At the main party artists were performing and I saw for the first time how these 3 couples were dancing. I was fascinated how beautiful and inspiring they were. I still remember how Paulo and Lanna shared such a huge happiness during their show; Ricardo and Paula were looking at each other with so much love; and Albir and Carola hugged each other after the show and it felt like all the kindness of the world was in that hug. It’s a bit difficult to explain – that’s what I felt that night and feel till nowadays. They inspire me, they make me feel better – and I’m sure not only me. I want to share these beautiful feelings with everybody in my film “DANCE FOR IT”.

Why did you choose particularly these dancers?

I really didn’t choose anybody. It was love at the first sight – you never can explain why you fall in love with a particular person, you just feel it.

 

When does the Crowdfunding start?

It starts on May 22 (TODAY!) and will be live till the beginning of July. Although I’m asking everyone who wants to support this project to do it these days – the first 5 days of the campaign are crucially important! During this time you receive support from your family and friends (and I consider Kizomba community as a big dancing family) and later, when the DANCE FOR IT campaign gets viral and gets first success, people from the outside join and that’s how I can reach my funding goal.

 

How can we collaborate to it?

There are two best options: to donate and to share the campaign in your social media. If you have an idea of how we can cooperate in other ways, please contact me and I’ll be happy to discuss it.

LINK TO THE PROJECT:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dance-for-it-documentary/x/12446539#/

 

Link to the trailerAlbir

https://youtu.be/-RVnd8TQVPc

 

Is it time to take a break from kizomba?

Yesterday I got a question in my PM from one of my followers: “I´m very unhappy about some certain things in Kizomba going on, with all the money spent on it and all the tiredness. It was worth it in the beginning, but now I feel just so sad because of people´s behaviors. Going to festivals should make me happy, not make me sad like this. What do you suggest me to do? Should I take a break from kizomba?”

My first reaction was a smile on my face, as I have found myself in the same situation for the last several months as well. I was all the time telling everyone “I´m going to take a break from kizomba”, but still booking my next trip. Like fighting myself to stop it, but not having enough willpower to make it happen.  I rationally realize that any kind of addition must be controlled. I tried to dozen it, telling my family and friends that from now on I will attend only 1 festival every 3 months (obviously not considering local 1-night parties). But till now I have never kept my promise.

After reading yesterday´s email I was thinking what to reply to this person… and to myself.  I finally answered a few nice words, like “go with the flow” (which not that bad answer neither), but the question stuck in my head and unconsciously I was still looking for better explanations.

Today at work I’ve been listening to kizomba music with my headphones all day long… I suddenly realized that I was doing the same thing as over three years ago, when I just made my first steps – listening to kizomba all the time and everywhere.  I never got tired of this music. People were wondering how it is possible to listen to it 24-hours 7 days a week. My car, my bathroom, my iPhone & Soundcloud playlists, my get-together with friends… all around the way.

I still love it today. I’m not ready to quit. I can’t force myself. Maybe one day it will come… my burn out. But it will happen naturally. Not now. Not today. Let’s be honest to ourselves. Let’s listen to ourselves and follow our hearts, not our heads.

Everything finishes one day. I realize that this is just a period in my life. A beautiful period. I know it will end. That’s why now I enjoy it at maximum, I breathe deeply and relish it.  I’m trying to look for positive thing in it. What most helps me to continue in this dancing world is actually DANCING! It’s closing my eyes, trying to feel unknown energies, accept them, catching the same wave.

The more people I know, the more the kizomba scene becomes all about socializing, the more time I spend on conversations, drinking at pre-parties (which imperceptibly pass into parties, as they finish at 2-3 in the morning) rather that on the dance-floor. Yes, I enjoy hanging out with my “veterans”, gossiping, laughing and playing fool. But, I still miss the dance-floor a lot. And at 11:30 pm I start asking my friends: “Are we finally going out of this hotel room or what?  I want to dance!!!”  And they all reply: “Calm down! There’s nothing to do on the dance-floor yet. Relax and enjoy the moment”.

And I stay. But my thoughts fly away to that big dark room, full of slowly moving people. I get nervous and think to myself: “Next time I go to a festival alone, and, like a beginner, I´ll come to parties as early as possible in order not to miss any minute of it! Even if I must dance with beginners, I don´t care. At least I will listen to this magical music and savor the atmosphere”. In the end, that’s why I keep on going. And while I never have enough of dancing, I’ll be there. So, my dear followers, after all mentioned above, for sure I say, it’s not my time to take a break from kizomba, “See you on the dance floor!” =)

 

 

 

Born dancer – BODY KIZ LANGUAGE

   Let me introduce you to a born dancer, a man who´s been on the stage for over 12 years, who had made his long dancing way to kizomba through different styles and experiences. Harvey BKL (David by his real name)!  Music is in his blood. It´s his devotion and philosophy.

  I met him last year on the dance floor. I asked myself why becoming a teacher in Paris with such an incredible rivalry. Would he ever find enough students to open a course? What is so special about him that people come to learn from him?

  • What is your story?

I have been practicing the art of dance since 2006. I started with Hip-Hop were I met the international teacher Ledoux Danza, who was teaching hip hop yet, but who was not dancing kizomba back in the days. Then I was involved in my first project: Illusion Optique show.
We were a troupe of street performers. We brought a lot in the streets environment in Paris and Europe with new entertainments technics. After that I decided to learn academic dances like ballet, jazz and modern (Alvin Hailey jazz and Graham method). I passed the admission to the Académie Internationale de la Dance in Paris. I took class there every day from 8.30 am to 5 pm for 3 years, that helped me a lot to develop my dancing skills.

With Illusion Optique we decided to travel to conquer the streets if foreign countries (USA, Italy, Germany, Spain, England, Sweden, Belgium), where we had a great success. We created a company specialized in entertainment and we presented shows everywhere we went.

One day I decided to stop our project, because we didn´t share the same point of view and we couldn’t agree on which direction to take…. We were losing our artistic authenticity, that had been our strength, for the sake of money. I was teaching a lot as well at that moment.

  • When and why did you get into Urban Kiz?

I got into urban in 2015 because I found the same freedom that I had had in hip hop. The freedom of creation. Soon I wanted to improve in kizomba dance.

  • Who were your teachers?

I took classes with Enah and Curtis. I also met Anais Millon by talking her class first, and afterwards I took part in her company project. I was her show-partner for 8 months. I learned a lot from her as she trained me a lot. And i had the opportunity to assist her during at workshops during this period (Work hard play hard). Our collaboration finished in January 2017. Then I created my own concept “Body Kiz Language”.

  • What is it about?

Basically, I really believe that dancing is a way of communicating. Through body movements (no matter which style) we can tell a lot and we can create emotions, sensuality, seduction. I dedicated a lot of time to it in in my dancing. I’am a hardworker because i’m convinced that no matter the talent you have it will not replace the job you do to improve. Everything I have I built myself and I’m proud of it! I’m not the best, but I can make people improve and give them advice how to dance better due to my dancing experience.

Ultimately this concept is about mixing styles… I express myself in the dance with different influences i got form my artistic background and I want to explore it in a new way in urban kiz, pushing a little bit more the boundaries to see what happens. For me the dance is always evolving… we are all part of it. I understand that people might think differently than me, but I think that it’s the choice you make to be a part of this evolution…

I’m new to teaching in kizomba and I’m happy that at the end of all my workshops my students have smiles on their faces and overall motivation to improve!

  • And now I see you teaching and performing with a new nice lady. Can you tell me a bit about your partnership and professional plans for the nearest future?

28378082_1592360110871469_8767355662596462181_nYes, its Nina Ysnel! We started working together in December 2017 to perform for an event against orphan diseases. It was a very nice experience. She is a very talented and complete artist doing painting and creating clothes and objects. We started working together in December 2017 and she’s also my girlfriend. Its always touchy to mix those two environments…. but its possible and for the moment we are doing very well! She has ballet dancing background and was one of the first to bring some fusion in the lady styling with moved like “ronds de jambes” and “fendus” picked from ballet dancing vocabulary. She’s also very experienced in the kizomba scene due to her previous partnerships…

So, we are working on mixing her universe with mine and our differents projects are on they way. Its coming soon 😉

  • I know you love kizomba. But is there anything you would change in the kizomba world if you could?

There are few talented and inspiring dancers i’ve seen that don’t get the visibility that they deserve…. I just think its sad.

Business is business, yes. but just let’s not forget that art is art too.

For the rest, people enjoy this world the way they want to, I’am noone to judge… 😉

 

  • If you had to move to teach in a different place, what country would you chose? Where do you like to dance most?? Do you have favourite destinations?

 

I would be happy to teach everywhere… the priceless value of this passion is to meet amazing people and share with them something priceless! I Like to dance foreign because the mentality is different than here and I find people more open and more friendly and respectful. This might upset some people but its my opinion.

No favorite destination!

 

  • What is your dancing dream?

My dream is to constantly improve and share this passion by dancing and teaching to many people as possible with my partner. I would like also to learn new dances and explore Always and always.

  • Where can people find you in Paris?

We are on some projects for the moments, so we are available only at weekends for teaching. Nevertheless,e will soon launch a weekly classes in Maison Alfort. We will communicate accordingly.

For the parties and festivals where we will be teaching people  can learn from our Facebook page .

 

 

FB page link “Harvey & Nina”:  https://www.facebook.com/harveyninakizomba/

FB page link “Body Kiz Language”:  https://www.facebook.com/BodyKizLanguage/

 

 

LoveHate in the kizomba world

Recently I´m so concentrated on the interviews, running after people who sometimes seem to be interested in the beginning, but in the end they ignore me like if I was asking them to have sex with me. I write my thoughts less and less. Especially it turns to be dangerous to open up myself in this small kizomba world, as most of you know who I am, and you talk behind my back, you criticize me, you gossip, etc… Moreover, you are asking yourself “why is she doing this?” Nobody pays me for my writing, true. It takes me my time and my energy, and it´s just a small part of my whole world, full of other hobbies, my family and my real work.

THE WHY

You know what? It’s my nature to express myself. I need to share my thoughts; I need to put them on paper. I have been writing since childhood. I started with small stories for literature Olympiads at school, and then continued with poems until I got a couple of poem books and finally put them all online. I started my first blog 12 years ago, when I moved to Madrid. I was writing about my life in Spain. Afterwards, I changed country again, and merged my blogs to make it a big European journey.

HOW I STARTED

When I got into kizomba world, this dance was the only thing I had in my head. I couldn´t write about anything else but dancing. So, I opened my Kizomba Blog to continue my natural thing… to keep on doing what I loved doing and what  I have been doing for years. It was not an attempt to approach famous kizomba DJs or artists. The blog is not my only way to get to know people.

Imagine, I have some articles in drafts, that have never been published, because I was scared to share my  thoughts, to be judged, to be ignored, laughed at. And now I think “What the hell? I will say what i think. There will always be people who will find themselves identified with me, who find it interesting, useful or at least curious”. And here I am. With my pain.

THE SCALE

The deeper I get into kizomba world, the wider is the range of my feelings. Let´s say, on a scale from 1 to 10, when I started, I was always at 4 to 7. I was at “4” when I didn´t dance much, or missed a nice party. However, that was not the end of the world. All those kizomba people meant nothing to me. They couldn´t upset me as much. When I was at “7”, I probably discovered a new track, which I was listening all the time in my house, my car, my office etc., or when I had that super connection-dance.

NOW

Now things are different. I know how it works. I know some people very well, or even too well. I have attitudes. Now I can really get very high or get very hurt, I can be at “0” when I´m betrayed or heartbroken, or be at “10” when I have great time with my kizomba family who became my real friends. Now all my emotions are strengthened by a hundredfold, because I fly high and it hurts badly. And, although I know all the scenarios I can´t help myself to stay cool, to avoid attachments and disappointments. I find this world amazing and frustrating at the same time. I love and hate the same people, the same events, and the same music. Right, that very music I enjoyed listening in my car while dreaming last month, that now brings me some bad memories…This is so crazy.

You know, what still surprises me the most and amazes me sometimes, is that the same people can be inadequately behaving with you. I guess depending on circumstances. Hhmm.. Or on their mood?… Like you spoke to them, had drinks with them, danced with them many times before, and then suddenly, at some next festival, they pass by without even saying “Hello”.  You just stay there and wonder, “Are they all right? Is it a kind of joke? Is it a play?” To me these are totally disrespectful, inhuman behaviors, and I’m still guessing “Have these “Stars” grown too fast?”

A FAVOUR

Please, people, even if you are famous dancers, teachers or Djs, whatever – STAY HUMAN, STAY KIND, STAY RESPECTFUL towards others. Don’t believe you are the Kings who rule the world. This is just a small kizomba world inside the Real WORLD, where sometimes you are nobody. So, please, have one dance when you are asked for a dance, reply to a message when you receive one, even if it’s a quick “I’m busy, will answer later” or a stupid emogji smile. Say “Hello” to someone you already greeted before. You can be the most talented person in the world but with a shitty personality you are worth nothing. You are worth nothing and your careers will go down.

You know why Jojo (#letsplaykizomba) became the most popular dance teacher in the kizomba world recentely?  I haven’t interviewed him yet (coming soon!!!!), but I’ll tell why he has in my opinion: he never refused me for a dance! I guess he does not like dancing with me. I don’t keep my balance right, and I make mistakes with him. However, as a hero, he dances his two dances if I ask. I appreciate it so much, and I admire him for his politeness. That’s why you will read my interview with him very soon J

Luxembourg International Kizomba Festival

When I first time attended Luxembourg International Kizomba Festival it was its 2nd Edition in 2015. From the 4th one I started working at it as a volunteer. The 5th Edition is the 4th one I took part in and the 2nd one I was working at. And of all festivals obviously it’s my … it’s just mine. Other festivals can be good, and very good, and even great. But this one is in my heart forever. The one I stay faithful to. The only one I ever promoted, although nobody ever asked me to. And the one I am delighted to write about finally in my blog!

FACTS AND FIGURES

Kizomba Luxembourg Festival is a public event, approximate size nowadays reaches about 2.000-2-500 people.

The chronographs year by year:

1st Edition – 500 ppl

2nd Edition – 800 ppl

3rd Edition – 1500 ppl

4th Edition – 2300 ppl

In terms of size, KZL is one of two TOP biggest festivals of 100% kizomba in the world all along with “Feeling” (Madrid).

Initial idea – Aimé Beurt (https://www.facebook.com/aime.beurt) in March 2012.

 

OFFICIAL ORGANIZERS OF

KIZOMBA LUXEMBOURG FESTIVAL

IN FACES:

IMG_0538

THE INTERVIEW

PS: The organizers were interviewed separately, even on different days and months. They didn´t know the questions in advance and didn´t hear the answers of each other. There was no influence on the way they think nor the way they interact.

The beginning…

Dj X-TRA  At the beginning it was difficult to get credit, to make people pay attention to our event. We have an excellent team spirit! We did great promotion campaign, each member of the team traveling every weekend all around the world.

Dj PINGUSSO    About 1,5 years before the 1st Edition Aimé was giving workshops in CHE club, I was a DJ there. One day Aimé came to me and said: “I have an idea… let’s do a KZL festival”. I was a local DJ for that party, but I wasn’t too much into kizomba dance  yet. He spoke also with X-tra. He got his OK, and Melissa´s one as well. Then all together we went to one festival to see how it is. We enjoyed the vibe very much!

The first team was: me, Aimé, Rodney, X-tra, Melissa. Rachel was also with us.  We built everything for the 1st edition, we started to promote. We went to a lot of festivals, always wearing our Luxembourg International Kizomba Festival t-shirts, and roll-ups. The 1st edition took place the same date as “Africa Dancar”. Many people were saying that we wouldn’t be able to compete with them, but our festival was full. We had almost 800 people. We had a good vibe. Many people didn’t even know if Luxembourg was a country or not))) It was amazing.

RODNEY    Before Aimé came up to me with the idea, we had already been at two festivals, one in Portugal and one in Rovinj, Croatia. After Rovinj we were sure we must do it together. Aimé was my friend. So, for me it was just to help a friend of mine. I completely trusted him. So, I reacted very positively, and he could take the most of my social skills to gather people. I didn´t know how to do it exactly, because I wasn´t into kizomba yet. I couldn´t even dance it at that time. So, I started organizing a kizomba festival before I learned to dance kizomba itself.

 

The way you work?

Dj X-TRA The line-up hasn´t changed much over these years. We pick the best of the best, being always updated on the latest know-how of the Kizz-world. we are born perfectionists! We take our time to study the market, gathering information from other festivals.

AIMÉ   The most important is that every person in our team has his special “skill”, helping and giving ideas. We are a real team! We don´t have one boss. When an idea is important we convince each member of the team with arguments. That´s the way we work.

RODNEY   It takes approx..1 year to prepare everything. The 1st thing we usually focus on is to start checking a new line up -DJs and artists as well. And then we start to think about the people who´s gonna come to keep good gender balance between men and women. Afterwards we check main locations for the festivals. We did it for the 1st edition, and since then it´s normally the same place – the LuxExpo Box, so now it´s just about negotiating the price. We aim to get the lowest possible prices, so we could make it cheaper to everyone who comes to the festival. It´s a very important point we pay attention to. Then we clear up the rest of details, like car parting, promo tours, etc.. We decide where we are going to make the official pre-party, where the workshops would take place, and so on.

 

Who does what?

Dj X-TRA My role in the organization is being responsible for all sound systems, managing sponsors, and the administration part, like replying to mails, managing people’s information, etc

Dj PINGUSSO    Sometimes we share tasks, we exchange tasks.

AIMÉ   Each one has its tasks, but if someone needs help then we can help or substitute each other.

RODNEY  My responsibility is the artists management: to put them in the line-up and to take care of them during the festival. Including contracts with artists & DJs.

 

What’s your favorite part of the organizational process?

Dj  X-TRA   Our meetings before the festival. We always laugh a lot, even more than we talk. We are always in good mood! We have a lot of fun=) It takes time from other life activities to meet often and to put our ideas in practice. But I like it.

Dj PINGUSSO  My favourite moment is the end of the festival, when everyone is happy and making comments, and after months of work, I feel like it was worth it!

AIMÉ   My job during the festival is the coordination. At the same time this is the part that I like most. And of course, sometimes I must replace someone, or do something I don’t expect to do. It’s not always easy. For example, last year I had to clean the toilets during the festival, but it´s something I like to do! I am also the contact person with our providers, like the hotel, the LuxExpo, the transport company. I make deals with them, sign contracts, etc..

RODNEY  I enjoy myself when I see people happy. I talk to artists, DJs, dancers, everybody. I am only satisfied when everybody is. Sometimes I go up to the stage and observe…

 

How do you deal with lessons learned?

Dj  X-TRA   there are 3 types of mistakes:

  1. When you detect it, you can check it, analyse and change it at once. (We are strong at it)
  2. We can’t change it now but won´t repeat it next year.
  3. The one that puts you down forever (thanks God, hasn’t happened yet)

Dj PINGUSSO    1st thing is to keep what is good, and the 2nd is to work on weak points. Like the big difference between men and women, the major problem of the kizomba scene nowadays.  Like for the 5th edition we will have only ONE UNIQUE PASS, because the control is more precise, so we´ll have a better vision on the balance. But we still separate between men and women.

AIMÉ   Each year we try not to make the same mistakes as last year, that´s our goal. Last year there was a problem with shuttles. We fixed it. Also, there was a problem with the gender balance, so we are trying to fix it in 2018. That´s the way we work.

 

What´s the key of KZL success?

Dj  X-TRA   We love what we do! Luxembourg International Kizomba Festival is our baby. We are a family, also in private life. A great part of our success are people from Luxembourg themselves, everybody who comes to support us, all the kizomba Luxembourg community. They appreciate the festival, they spread good feedback about KZL everywhere they go, they are very proactive, and they help us to promote our festival. They working as volunteers at the event, and they are proud of us like real patriots!

RODNEY   First, we always stick to quality. Recently kizomba dance became very popular, spreading very quickly around the world. It’s easy to make money on it. Even if you just put music on a laptop and rent whatever room with a shitty dancefloor, you know that people will come anyway, because they want to dance. But at KZL we work in good faith.

Second, we are a family. Kizomba Luxembourg is not only Rodney, Aimé, Pingusso and X-tra, it´s the country, Luxembourg country! For us everybody who lives in Luxembourg is a part of the organization. Everyone who helps us is the organizer! Not volunteer, but the organizer. We take care of them, and we want to let know people around the world that Luxembourg is like this!  We work with our hearts. We organize the event to create a good atmosphere and let people enjoy it. Sometimes other organizers say the same things in public, but they don´t mean it indeed. But we are proud for our authenticity. If everyone would really mean what the say it would be amazing. But we are doing it in the right way, and we must continue like this, although it´s not easy.

Dj PINGUSSO   We do this for the people, we work a lot on details, we have a really good team behind us, everyone who works with us.

AIMÉ   One of the reasons why our festival is so successful it´s because we are not thinking about the money. We don’t try to save on the preparation to our event. We focus on the audience, trying to think like those who come to our festival, to put us on their place. We ask ourselves “if we were them what would we like and how would we like it to be?”  So, the right focus on people’s satisfaction is the key, not our profit.

 

Anyway, do you make good profit on it?

RODNEY   If I made good money on it, I wouldn’t continue any more. I would take the money and go away jajaja. Seriously, in Luxembourg it’s difficult. Although we grew a lot in 5 years, almost 5 times in number of people, but the prices for everything here grow with us too every year. You can’t imagine! So, it’s like a machine, we can’t stop it any more, but obviously because we love it, not for economical reasons.

 

Plans for further growth?

Dj  X-TRA  Physically it’s difficult to make it bigger in Luxembourg. This is a VERY small country, there are not many big comfortable locations to choose from. So, now I think we remain the way it is.

Dj PINGUSSO   Nooo, I guess we are good.

AIMÉ  To be honest, I don´t know if it’s a good idea to grow more than we are now. If the festival was techno, for example, or dance festival on TV in USA, Luxembourg could be like that. But in kizomba we have a problem that we could lose our atmosphere. I don’t know if we want to grow. That is really a big question. And I don´t have an answer to that.

RODNEY  The thing is that last year we had too many women, we apologize for that. So, this year our main purpose was to keep the right balance (and they managed!!!) to make people happy. The disadvantage is that in Luxembourg everything is very expensive. The festival costs a lot. We pray God and we try our best not to lose money. We cross fingers for that. As an example, last year we didn´t make any profit, even though we had a lot of people. Growing to make more money makes no sense because it doesn´t depend on the quantity of people.

If you compare the line-up between the first edition and now you will see that the balance was better before the division into Urban Kiz and Kizomba. We heard complaints in the past that KZL was only an Urban festival, and we added more traditional kizomba teachers in the line-up to make all dancers happy. Our aim was to become one, to show that we are also a Kizomba festival, not only Urban Kiz. Finally, we could make it. Now, those who like traditional kizomba also come to Luxembourg International Kizomba Festival.  That´s the idea for growth: not in number, but in the kinds of public. Moreover, this year we have an RnB room to bring people who like RnB as well.

 

Team rules?

Dj  X-TRA   If one says “no”, it´s NO. Obviously if it´s well justified. There must be a good reason for that. One more rule: we must love each other :))) We can ague sometimes, but we are always able to solve our problems. Because we talk straight and then turn the page.

 

Team meetings

Dj PINGUSSO   they are most of the time productive. Sometimes when you have 4 people to decide 1 think it can be a mess. The frequency depends on the season. At the beginning more, during promo phase less, 1-2 months before the festival we meet every week to prepare the last details.

Rodney, you are the only one who lives in Paris. Is it difficult to be in touch with and available at once for the rest of the team? Are you able to assist all the meetings?

RODNEY    Yes, of course! I live in Paris, but I move all the time. I´m in several different places at the same time, like Luxembourg and Germany, due to my job. That´s also why I am one of the organizers- So I basically can come to Luxembourg every weekend. I´ve never lived there, but I spend there a lot of time.

 

You know that many people don’t know who are the KZL organizers?

AIMÉ   Yes, I know, and it´s good. I don’t like to be in front of people, to show off, it´s my personality. I like to be at the backstage. I hate presentations. I do it only if nobody wants to do it in my team. I am a shy person.

RODNEY  I don’t like to be in public neither and to have my face on posts and promotion videos. I would prefer to stay in shadow. Until recently almost nobody knew I was also an organizer of Luxembourg International Kizomba Festival. But now I am starting to be identified and respectively I’m being more and more invited to parties and festivals.

 

How is KZL if you can give it only a few words? 

Dj X-TRA   getting better, creativity, family

RODNEY   family, enjoyment, friendship and happiness

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ATTENTION

TWO THINGS THAT MADE THIS EDITION DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS AND ALSO FROM OTHER KIZOMBA FESTIVALS!!!

FOR THE FIRST TIME Luxembourg International Kizomba Festival PRESENTED:

The Unique Pass

X-TRA    Each time they are more and more dancers with experience, so they just come to enjoy, to dance not to learn. We have one of the best social rooms in Europe (Blog: agree!!). The UNIQUE pass is also to reduce the price so that people who like to dance don’t feel that they pay too much for the festival.

NO taxi-dancers

Dj PINGUSSO   Why?  – because there are a lot of contradiction, after a long discussion we decided not to have them. On the 1st edition we didn’t have taxi dancers, and I don’t remember that problem with the balance. For me it’s not an issue, we are going to work on it, so it will not be an issue. (Blog:  and it wasn´t at all! It was great and a big success!!)

AIMÉ   Maybe this year there is a bit less people at Luxembourg International Kizomba Festival due to the changes mentioned above, but I don’t mind having less people as long as they enjoy the festival and really like it! I prefer it like this rather than people come and complain. We don’t work for money, it’s not interesting.

 

ATTENTIONWhat is the idea behind this decision?

As you all know, the 5th Edition was very special. For the first time the organizers haven´t contracted any taxi-dancers. And they have their reasons for that. In addition to the comments above, about a month ago on the official KZL page in Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/157426514923880/ ) you could also see a video where they explained in 3 languages the “why” (https://www.facebook.com/kizombaluxembourg/ posted 01.03.2018 ).

But behind that decision there is a very interesting idea, that has been processed in the last weeks!

It’s simple. It is no news that recently every man wants to be a taxi-dancer, although sometimes they don’t even know how to dance properly, as they’ve been dancing just for 3 to 4 months. Looking for free trips, free accommodation and food they decide to join a taxi-team, but to be honest they are not experienced enough.

So, how to choose a good taxi dancer from this huge crowd?

The organizers of Luxembourg International Kizomba Festival decided to set up a Taxi Dancer Association, which includes an agreement between two parties – the organizers of different festivals and taxi-teams, together creating special rules to be a part of an official List of Taxi-Dancers.

The list would be published for use of both parties. The first steps include talking to as many organizers as possible to see what they think about this idea. After that to speak to teams if they are OK to do it, and then together write an official list of rules. Those who are IN have to accept these rules. Those who are not interested can do whatever they want.

Some of the organizers, like Narcisse *Universal Kiz*. Yannik *Futurokiz*, etc., have been already approached, as well as some of the taxi-teams. They liked the idea!

I wonder if the decision not to take taxi dancers this year is just temporal until the Association of taxis will be founded. Let´s see what happens next year!!

Luxembourg proves to be the pioneer and the revolutionary in the kizomba world.  They make changes!

Now it´s time to rest and recover after a long 5-days-and-nights Luxembourg International Kizomba Festival event, which is already inviting you to its 6th Edition in 2019! Check it at https://www.facebook.com/events/2143288782378729/  and book your pass in advance to make sure you don´t miss it!

 

Official KZL T-shirts all over 5 years:

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