A hug. Now I know why I dance

“It’s been a long time…”. Yes. That’s what people told me tonight when they saw me entering the door.

Break

After all my motivating enthusiastic articles about how much I am in to kizomba, not needing any break, here I am! With the biggest break of my life. And not only the dance break. It was also somehow a life break. Not intentionally, not planned, not wanted, but I stopped dancing in summer, let’s just say for some real life circumstances.

Since the day I deleted all my dancing contacts and sent my FB account to the rubbish bin (sorry guys, I also had an article on that, how I was managing my social media. You won’t believe a word of what I’m saying in the end), I could feel it was the end. Of my kizomba story. I could feel even on a physical level like someone was cutting of my hand or my leg, with blood all around, and horrible pain, squeezing my teeth, trying not to stop breathing at all.

I thought I would never overcome that pain. It felt like my whole life was over.

Frankly speaking, the first few weeks tasted bitter, to say the least. But I had to move on…

And I did. Although kizomba stayed there deep in my heart. I was thinking about it, remembering everything I’d lived for the last 4 years. It looked crazy and unbelievable. Unforgettable memories of travelling the world, uncountable number of new people, and much more . You all know what I mean.

Change

But each time it was less and less… less kizomba in the car, in the shower, less contact with dancing friends, less or (I would rather say) zero festival plans. It was vanishing from my life. Each time I was getting better in terms of bearing my pain, getting used to my new life (the “normal” one I guess, like 99% of people on this planet). I was filling the empty gaps with other activities, thoughts and topics.

I overcome it.

I won.

I got rid of my drug.

I could do without it.

I never had believed I would be able to.

Nostalgia

Today I was feeling so down and tired, empty and totally out of energy, that I was about to shot myself if I wouldn’t come with a plan. And, accidentally I realized today it was Tuesday! That very day, when it all started 4 years ago. Moreover, today there was a small local party in that very place where it all started for me 4 years ago.

Suddenly I recharged myself like an iPhone, after a cup of espresso, updating my makeup and looking for my dancing shoes all around the house. I was going to dance!

It felt so strange to drive the way I did so many times in the past. I never drove the same itinerary ever again since then. Can’t even remember when I last went there. Ages. This bar is located in the part of the city where I never go for other things. Thus dancing is my only association with this area.

The place

I parked quickly, remembering my old tricks of getting good free spots. I walked in already in a nostalgic mood… Full house!! OMG! What are all those people doing so late on Tuesday evening!? Don’t they work tomorrow? (Applied to myself too)

I knew half of the crowd. To my surprise I was even lucky with the Dj. Booom… Stefanio Lima! What is he doing here on Tuesday night? Well, he is a… like all of them. I’m angry with him for our never-approved interview, but I still love him (appreciate him) for his music. TOP!

It took me a while to get used to the environment, standing a bit lost, feeling half “retired”/half “beginner”. I remembered my first steps in that very floor… and I got sentimentally sad, but happy at the same time.It was still there – this place – where I can always come. Come on the days like this: feeling down, frustrated, upset, bored, tired or stressed.

Hug

When I started dancing I clearly realized- I just needed a hug.

I wanted to be hugged so much, that it didn’t matter weather it was a man or a woman, young or old, black or white. I just wanted to feel that warmth, somebody’s arms around my waist and breath in my ear. You can feel how your body is recharging with this energy through the hug.

Now I know why I dance. I run away from my inner loneliness to hugs. They definitely won’t solve my problems, they won’t save me, but they help like honey at winter time.

Merry Christmas guys!

Here you can find different types of hugs: https://www.littlethings.com/hug-relationship-test

Big big HUG

Kizomba in Portugal. My 1st dancing experience

Kizomba in Portugal (my personal perception of a 1 time experience)

This was my first dancing trip to Lisbon to discover how kizomba in Portugal is. I have been to this beautiful country before, but I didn’t dance kizomba at that time, and, you know, you see it with different eyes then and put your accents on a different place.

I´ve been always told that I wouldn´t dance well here, because it´s almost all traditional, and, you know, I´m an Urban dancer. I imagined it wouldn´t be that great, but still wouldn’t miss a chance to dance if I ever come here. So, on Friday morning, few hours before taking my flight, I put all my duties aside and jumped into the Facebook jungle to search for any kizomba party taking place in is on this weekend. Obviously I found some. Later, on Saturday morning, at the Kaizen dance workshop with Kwenda Lima, I re-confirmed information and took some advise on which was the best place to go.

1st NIGHT

And the winner was the View Rooftop bar party! Sounded at least beautiful! And it was!! Although absolutely not what I had thought. It was happening in the evening time, finishing at 11 pm, which is the earliest kizomba party I´ve ever attended. To compare with, in Luxembourg evening parties finish at 1 am. But here in Portugal, it gets darker earlier. At 9 it’s already dark at summer time.

I was quite relaxed by the party time. After having cried out all my dirty stuff teas at Kwenda´s studio, having bathed in the Atlantic frozen ocean, and having drunk a couple of sangrias at +42 C (lucky with the weather, what can I say! Lol)), I was already in my ZEN mode…

THE MUSIC

I loved it. This is the kizomba I really like- Ghetto zouk. Songs that have some meaning, some story, some feeling… Of course, there was traditional as well, but not only. And the mix was nice. I was actually signing all the time, because I knew and loved all of them. Pretty old playlist, but let´s say “popular hits”. My portugués partners were signing with me jajaj. They thought I spoke portugués too lol.

THE DANCE

So much criticizing “Europe” (by Europe I mean mainly France and Benelux) for the sexualization of kizomba.. Hmmm.. I believed it was very decent in Portugal.

The first dancer I take is a well-built and well-smelling black man. He pulls me in with a terrible force and I can feel his “thing” horizontally lying on my belly!!! I´m not shocked, but still… I remark. We move in a very sensual way (just the way I like) – two waving bodies in unison, making soft curves. In 5 minutes I´m asked in portugués “Where is your hotel?” (I don´t speak it, but I understand!). I say “No”. Next question “Where is your apartment?”. I say “No” again, and he´s curious where I stay then!?? I say “NO SEX!!!!” This I guess in all languages sound the same))) The guy is sincerely surprised by my answer. And me, I am finally convinced that the sexualization doesn’t depend on the country, on the type of music or anything else. It’s all across the world atlas, music genres, ages, etc…

 

2nd NIGHT

“B-Leza” – one of the top places for dancing kizomba in Portugal. I was recommended it. And besides there was a party on Saturday evening everyone was going to. The guys from the View Roof party too. Besides it was 10 minutes walk from my hotel. All matches. I was looking forward to discover it, to get more experiences, emotions and as much information as possible for my blog.

First impression

When I entered I got really confused.The atmosphere was different from the parties I’m used to. I don’t even know how to describe it with words. But it was not the matter of not knowing anyone. Sometimes I went to parties in Spain, for example, where I knew nobody neither. But here it was a different feeling. Uncomfortable. All men were watching me… I felt myself like a peace of meat. I started to look around and realized that there were almost no white ladies. Very few, and they all were under 45-50 years old. That made me feel weird. Moreover, they were not classy. Neither men nor women.

The place

The place and the atmosphere reminded me the 80-x, something like my first social dance parties in a small park of the village where my grand-mother lived, and I wouldn’t lie if I say that I even got a bit scared.

There was was no air-conditioner… +43 С.

I tried to dance as much as possible, but the music was rather strange. I don’t even know what kind of genre some of the sets were… I’ve never heard anything similar in my life, and I didn’t know how to dance to it. Nevertheless, at times of the traditional and a bit of Ghetto zouk I couldn’t dance well. I didn’t like any. And it’s not because I’m a bad traditional dancer, no. It’s because the partners were rather bad.

I can recognize that I almost have no skills in Traditional, but I know when guys dance it well. That was not the case. I think most of them never had one workshop in their life. I was disappointed… in the overall situation.

Until I saw one guy dancing. He was that urban french style. I was watching him dance and thinking “What are you doing here?”. Definitely, he didn’t learn to dance kizomba in Portugal. He was from Paris, as I discovered 15 minutes later dancing with him.

He saved my night.

 

CONCLUSION

Maybe it’s because i’m not used to dance kizomba in Portugal, maybe it depends on each party, or a day, or a Deejay. I don’t know, but the general impression is that it’s a bit “old-fashioned”, and a kind of… boring. I still prefer dancing in France and Benelux.

Kizomba Local Parties or Dancing Where You Live

I won’t be the only one to say that dancing kizomba in the country I live in is not so much fun. At least in Europe. There’s a tendency not to dance with people from your own country. Our local guys hardly ever invite us for a regular dance, let alone Kizomba. Yes, of course they do dance, but mostly with girls who don’t travel that much around the world for international festivals and Kizomba parties. Let’s say, with “not spoiled”-by-high-level-dancers girls. Here they can manifest themselves in full glory, like lions – the kings of beasts.

I actually don’t find a good explanation to that, but according to my observation and the general statistics you never dance as well and as good in your own country (city) as somewhere else. In my case, comparing with other places in Europe, we have a good level. I should be lucky! LOL. But, to tell the truth, I dance well here only when we have guests from outside (I mean, when we invite some taxi dancers from abroad). Otherwise it just makes no sense to go out. I would be able to stay all night with shisha to somehow entertain myself to not fall asleep.

I’ve heard the same story many times from my friends from Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris. Yes, Paris is the same. Although it’s so big, powerful and diverse, men in Paris don’t like dancing with Parisian girls. They prefer foreigners. So, if you ever think moving to Paris hoping that you will endlessly dance there, please don’t!!! You won’t. You will become “local” and they will get bored and lose their interest inviting you all the time. Less people you know – more dancers and enjoyment you have! Go as far as possible, and not often. Control the frequency. This is the secret of ensuring yourself a non-stop Kizomba party.

In my country not-dancing is not the only issue. They also don’t greet you! I mean what I say: they don’t say “Hello”. Only if they bump into you, step into your feet, then they have no choice. Otherwise most of the times they ignore you. Even if one day you were learning to dance together, in the same class, standing in the same line, making our first basic steps.

In the end, you don’t care.

The last local Kizomba party, I went to, was a lost of time for me. Among other things, like no air-conditioning at +30 C, because of the attitude. The attitude of its organizers: cold, indifferent, selfish and arrogant. I think an organizer must treat people who come to his party the same way he invites guests to his house. Everybody! Not only those he has personal preferences to. And obviously he must be there, dancing and making sure everyone is dancing & having good time, instead of sitting in the VIP zone or dressing room, drinking champagne with his bros. Be there! Out!! Invite people who made their way and spent their money to dance Kizomba. Treat them equally with respect and gratitude.

I would have never written this post if it was a one-time case (it happens, a bad night). But it’s been like that for a long time. And I am fully supported by my girlfriends, who feel the same way I do and who absolutely agree with me.

If you are my follower, you know that I try to be always positive and write only about nice things. But sometimes I think it’s also important to share with you my frustration, to be completely honest. This will not change the situation in my country or anywhere else, and especially will not improve the local Kizomba dancers’ attitude towards me jajaja.  But it’s all about expressing myself and telling you things, that many of you know but don’t say it out loud. That’s what makes difference in my blog: purely honest independent content.

KIZZAFRO impressions 5th Edition by european DJs and artists

Saïdou Saï Saï Mangane:

Good atmosphere, friendly, well received, KIZZAFRO festival is different from a lot of others because of their theme and their Russian culture. Good team, good line up. It was awesome!

 

Jazzy Cubango:

Yeaaaa…wooop woop The festival was so Nice. As you know, I love Russia. And the KIZZAFRO Festival is one of my favorites, because the welcome is always warm, it feels like home and especially the energy that we get and that we give is huge. I loved the last day (Sunday) the Russian Party where the festival-goers, the organizers and the artists could share a fine moment of Russian culture and delirium before starting the evening and the release of the final ball before finishing the Festival.

 

Stefanio Lima:

I have a newcomer in my favorites list of festivals, KIZZAFRO in beautiful Moscow. As I could taste the good atmosphere in the night parties every day, the high quality dances and great music. A good caring organisation with a crew that is ready to solve any problem and make sure you have anything you need. A lovely audience that come to enjoy the music!! Definitely a festival holy should attend next year!! ❤

 

Gwany VVK:

KIZZAFRO is an amazing festival! Good organisation. Festival special Tarraxo, everybody loves tarraxo !!!  Don’t change anything !!! LOL

 

Kizzy:

I enjoyed KIZZAFRO festival. it was the first time for me and this festival exceeded all my expectations. it was very well organized … the whole team was kind to us and anticipated our needs (water, food available, interpreter for the courses). i was very touched by lenvi to learn from students … and my great pride was to be able to explain the history of our style, our partnership with Gwany. I loved the Russian part, because I had never been invited to discover the culture of the country in a festival …. it was great, so I left very excited KizzAfro festival … and of course I’d like to come back to share my teaching and live a wonderful time of sharing

 

Joe NiceLife:

I strongly recommend KIZZAFRO to any kizomba dance addict because this 5th edition is just a blast. The vibe, the organization were so high…For me it was my first edition and it was just a blast.. to say the least. Please remember wherever you come from, KizzAfro is unique and will remain unique…Highly recommended to anyone who loves kiz…

 

Lucien Noten:

KIZZAFRO. You should write this festival in capitals. My third KizzAfro. The best ever of all my festivals till now. Ambiance, music and lots of genuine people. The organizer did a lot to make this anniversary memorable. And it was. Amazing is not the right word. Magical perhaps. I need time to write a proper review. But these are my preliminary words.

 

Hicham Lokito Elbanbino Movemintos:

I really loved the way this festival was organised from day 1 till the end !! Every single person was having fun i couldn’t stop dancing !! I even compted my partners !!😅😅😂😂 100 girl I danced with in 4 days 🤣🤣
The team of kizz afro made everyone like a VIP artist or not !!
I really recommend this festival to everyone who wanna enjoy en a proper way .

 

Kevin Vidjai:

KIZZAFRO 2018 was amazing! For me it’s one of my favorite festivals because of the magical atmosphere, the warm and passionate people and the beautiful location, Cosmos hotel! I will definitely be back next year!

 

 

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?))

——————————————————————————————–

Jazzy Cubango Facebook page:

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

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

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

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:

IMG_0532IMG_0531

 

Mike Evens & Skizomba in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc

The concept

Just back from a very special trip to Chamonix- Mont-Blanc – a resort area near the junction of France, Switzerland and Italy – organized by Mike Evens. It’s difficult to call it a “festival” or any other. I would say it´s a mixture of sports, kizomba, playing games, socializing and having fun – SKIZOMBA!!!

A very particular concept of Ski practice + Kizomba dance had its first edition 7 years ago. I have never heard of it before. But looking for unusual experiences I paid attention to it and decided to make it one of my priority trips 2018. When I got everything solved and confirmed I felt those butterflys in my stomach!

Mike Evens

Knowing Mike Evens as one of the key players on the kizomba scene, as the organizer of one of the most popular kizomba festivals – I’M YOUR DJ – and having already visited some of his festivals, I knew it could not turn bad, to say the least.

Mike Evens team is one of the best team-organizers in the dancing world. That must have been win-win trip anyway. Although I haven’t skied for almost 10 years, that didn’t stop me from going there. 

The road trip took a bit over 6 hours. No snowfalls or stories. It was very easy to find the place. Everyone could communicate through a TEAM group in What’sApp with their suggestions, looking for each other, making plans or any other aspects related to the organization of the event. It was comfortable, quick and very useful. I got updated at once on every change, so I could react accordingly.

The atmosphere

In a familiar atmosphere, I got lost in the time. I lived a small life among the Alps in a little place that was my house for a while. Too many days for too few people (about 60) made us feel a real community, and I would rather say one family members.  It is the smallest “festival” I have ever gone in my life!

That was a real relax time, laughing, making new friends, enjoying the wonderful nature panorame of Mont Blanc and bathing in the snow… At first, I wanted to interview Mike Evens for my blog, but the more time passed by, watching him in action, the more I realized I had nothing to ask him. I saw everything I needed written on his face: whatever he does in kizomba as an organizer or a teacher, he really enjoys doing it. He loves dancing!!! Therefore, first of all, to me Mike Evens is a dancer. Full of energy he is always there being present in complete access for the guests. But it’s not just him, it’s all his friends and team being the same way crazily energizing the public. If you once go to his event, you will follow him forever.

Pure emotion

Please, note, I’m not writing these compliments to Mike Evens as a promotion for his new edition of Skizomba or any other of his kizomba festivals. This opinion is my pure emotion and impression on what I experienced in the last days. I’d say more: he injured his shoulder on the ski slope, and the same night afterwards I saw him taxi-dancing nonstop with the bandaged hand!! I saw him jumping, starting the audience and singing and I was astonished! No words but thanking Mike Evens, Kal and Estelle for the great job!

If you ever decide to go to Skizomba, keep in your mind, this is not a simply dancing festival; this is your Holidays time to disconnect from the rest of the world. I would also advice you to visit the small village of Chaminix, to have a meal there outside watching the mountains at the background…

Now I’m back home, but still in my mind in that small village in the mountains having hot wine and chilling with people that share the same passion with me.

 

Kizomba Gala Kassel & Friends

Kassel Gala and FriendsChristmas time is a good reason to look back, come into conclusions and make new plans based on our experiences from the past. On the kizomba dance scene I thought that after three intensive years nothing could surprise me anymore. But I was mistaken. I have visited all kind of events, which made me become very picky about my choices. In the last months I´ve been looking for something different, special, for new emotions and challenges. Kizomba Gala Kassel & Friends is one of those cases that worth my attention. It´s that festival I want to come back, the one that already makes part of my Agenda 2018!

Kassel2018

I first noticed it on Facebook months ago for its interesting line up full of my favourite artists & DJs and followed it since then. Later on, I read an incredibly honest post of Sabine, its organizer, regarding some ticket sales issues, that seemed to me so unusual for its openness, simplicity and heartiness.    I´ve never seen an organizer talking loud like that. I really appreciated her approach even without knowing her in person.

Now, after having this festival under my skin, I know why it´s been so successful over the years. This is all about Sabine´s personality! You can say that the most important thing making it so good is the balance between man and women or a beautiful location, but although all mentioned above is true and more, Sabine herself is the key to the success here!!

Sabine I don’t know her well, but I don’t need to. I could feel her incredible energy and passionate attitude throughout the phone cable the first time we spoke. I had an immediate connection and a confidence, that my intuition was right. The more we spoke, the more I wanted to write about her festival. I got all the necessary tools in advance and a warm welcome afterwards. Every little detail was considered. At first, I thought it was due to the fact that Germans are famous for being well organized. But when I got there and interviewed guests and artists, I realized this is not about Germany at all, it´s all about Sabine!

I could make this post endless, but I´ll count only the most interesting points, which make this even different from others, and that in turn should cause you a great desire to visit its Fifth Edition in 2018.

Primarily I want to draw your attention to the format of Gala Kassel. This is a CLOSED event. What does this mean? No sales at the door. Once on-line sales are finished, there´s no way to access it. Literary NO WAY. This condition already gives it a kind of exclusivity. Taking into account that the size is very small comparing to festivals like PKC or KZL, only around 500 people per year (meticulously taken care of), this suggests that you have to be quick if you want to feel yourself a part of this selective group.

Sabine thinks in 4D dimension perspective: she can put herself in shoes of artists, taxi-dancers, guests and DJs. She is all in one. That´s why she knows our needs so well and builds her festival plan and strategy based on her own broad experience as a teacher, dancer, organizer and more. As an example, I would highlight an interesting fact about the Kassel timetables: the social room starts at 4 pm, which is quite late comparing to other festivals. But it happens for a reason. “I respect the teachers who work at my festival. I make people come later to the social to make them attend workshops. This way teachers have their classes full” – Sabine says. And she has a point. Recently the tendency is to go straight to social and learn directly from good-level dancers, avoiding workshops even at the beginning level. I admit that social practice is very important for improvement, but I wouldn’t advice beginners and intermediate students skip workshops. So, I agree with Sabine and support her decision to do so.

One more thing to add to the same basket is the time of breakfasts- starting 11 am! Thus, this festival is not only for dancing, but a place for socializing as well. Giving it high importance the schedule is adjusted to our typical Kizomba rhythm, that all of you know very well. So why not making it an official part of the program?)  Fair enough.

What to expect upon your arrival, besides some staff at the entrance putting you bracelets? A cheerful barmen Dominique, bartenderwho would for sure remember what you drink not only for the next night party, but also for the next year!! He becomes your friend once you get there. Believe me, to meet the same person in a year, who know what you like, makes you feel at home! These kind of things, small details, create the whole atmosphere, which is priceless.

And all this action takes place in a stunning 300 yo Orangery building * (see history comment below) that was once used to protect delicate plants during winter and now home to the Orangery restaurant, with great international cuisine, including a wonderful terrace overlooking the lawns and woods of the Auepark.

orangerie

On the dance floor you will see a big Christmas Tree, something that you won’t have at any other kizomba festival, because it´s the closest event to the most magical days of the year! So, like when I was small, dancing around this tree gives a cosy and romantic feeling :))

One more thing I cannot leave aside, is the famous issue regarding the balance between men and women, that provoked such polemics in Facebook. Yes, the balance is strictly controlled by the organizer. Because she knows how it feels paying an amount of money for a trip and almost not being able to dance at all in the whole weekend. Girls are aware of this recently common problem. We are more than men, in general much more. This point is one of the main things we pay attention to when choosing our next festival. “Will I be able to dance if I go there?”  It costs Sabine blood, but yes, I can assure you 100% – you will dance in Kassel!

One question I asked her during her busy festival hours:

-How would you describe your event in 3 adjectives?

My words for Gala are: cozy, familiar, energy charged ❤ – she replied.

madiss for GalaTo finish my post, I will publish the opinion of a high reference and well-known DJ in the kizomba world, DJ MADISS, spontaneously interviewed while socializing during the dancing hours)

-How are you living your first experience in Kassel?

It’s been years since I´m working as a Kizomba DJ, exactly since 2009. Before I was a DJ for afro music. I was lucky enough to mix at huge number of big festivals over the past 8 years. Today I’m in Germany, at Kassel Kizomba, organized by Sabine, and I´m living a very positive experience, positive in terms of organization. It was difficult to connect and to make my presence possible at this festival, but now that I’m here I can say that I´m proud that I believed in her. I didn’t know Sabine as an organizer. Today I discovered her from this side, and I think she deserves a lot of respect for her work. It is very well done!

Yesterday I arrived at Germany and I had a chance to meet Sabine in person during the first Welcome meeting organized for artists. Before the dinner she transmitted her vision and what she was expecting from the festival. It’s when I saw that she works not only to have her festival well organized, but also to do something good for kizomba in general. The gesture of the introduction meeting really flattered me. 

Today I am very lucky to be respected and heard by the kizomba public. This is not easy. I feel that I am being recognised in the kizomba dance scene and together with other recognised artists we must work to improve and grow the environment we are in.  So, I really appreciated that. I saw that Sabine was someone who was worth the attention. I was lucky to open the party. What I could already feel from the dance floor is that people were happy to be there. When I was mixing I played a piece where I blocked the words, and then I played a different music style, more aggressive one. Everyone started shouting. I felt very positive energy!! For the moment, I can say I´m lucky to have so many people around me and people with good energy. For me it was a beautiful experience. So, I´m glad to be here, because it´s worth it!

 

*ORANGERIE: Built under Landgrave Charles between 1703 and 1711. Since then, it forms the northern corner of the Karlsaue park. Today it is used as an astronomy and physical cabinet. The ground of the Orangerie was an old garden, in which Landgrave William IV built a small summer house. His successor, Landgrave Moritz redesigned the garden in the 17th century. The baroque castle of today was designed and built by the architect Johann Conrad Giesler in 1702, who worked on the court of the landgrave. The main building is 139.40 meters long. The marble bath (Marmorbad) was designed by Pierre-Étienne Monnot and is shown as a separate museum today.In World War II, the Orangerie was damaged and later repaired to host the federal garden show 1955. After the show the building was restored and transformed into the astronomy and physical cabinet with planetarium, in 1996 a astronomical garden was added.During the documenta 12, the space in front of the Orangerie was used for the exhibition, which included a temporary 9,500 square meter hall named Auepavillon. (Source: wikipedia).   
Web: https://orangerie-kassel.de/

 

Facebook event:

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

https://www.facebook.com/Kizomba-Gala-Kassel-1305845642824715/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kizomba in Russia -I´M YOUR DJ Moscow edition

For sure, many of you were thinking of visiting Russia at least once in a lifetime and most of you were asking yourselves how kizomba in Russia is. However, Inspite of curiosity to explore new places and cultures your life routine hasn´t let this dream come true yet! This year you have a great opportunity to make it happen thanks to the first edition of I´M YOUR DJ in MOSCOW city.

Obviously you´ve been asking yourself a lot of questions about kizomba dance in Russia. In order to help you to decide whether it worse going or not, first of all, I have spoken to Svetlana, the organizer of I’M YOUR DJ- Moscow directly from Russia:

–         How it all started? How the idea of the festival was born?

When I took a decision to stay in Paris as much as my visa allows me, I realized I did not want to dance in Russia anymore, because the level of kizomba dancers and DJs is low, not taking into account those who often dance or mix in Europe.

Many dancers wanted to know why I stopped going to local kizomba parties in Moscow.  How could I transmit all those emotions I have in France, to people, who (some of them) have even never travelled abroad in their lives due to whatever reasons? They do not know another kizomba atmosphere, how it feels to dance with the best dancers and to the best music.

Then I had a genius idea: why not to transfer that entire atmosphere to Russia, particularly to Moscow so that people themselves could experience it all on their own, but not based on someone´s stories!

I decided to introduce to them a new concept, which is a non-stop kizomba festival. Therefore, I went to talk to Mike (e.g. Mike Evens), who already had such a festival in France!

When exactly a year ago in Paris our conversation took place, we did not have to persuade each other to do I’M YOUR DJ in Moscow! Hence, to organize the IMDJ-Moscow Edition it was a mutual and quick decision! Mike wanted to go out with his brand outside France, and I wanted to make my dream come true – to show Russian dancers, who do not have a foreign passport, what it’s like to dance to great music with quality dancers! Thus, we started together preparing for this festival!

–         How is the preparation going?

In kizomba in Russia everything is different! Since I am Russian and often live in Moscow, I am more involved with organizational issues of here, when Mike Evens and Alex in Paris. Sometimes it can be difficult to solve something quickly and accurately, because the European mindset is very different from the Russian people! The way of thinking and concepts are different, but the goal for all of us is the same – to get the best result!

–         Is it difficult to get a Russian visa?

Many Europeans are afraid of visa problems. And in vain! In order to get a Russian visa, you need to collect no more documents than we Russians do for a Schengen visa! Believe me, there is nothing terrible in this! You can always ask for help the I’M YOUR DJ team or any travel agency to learn how to hand over all the documents, if you have no time to collect and file them yourself. It can take you to make a visa only up to two days! Therefore, we very much hope that there will also come to Russia a large number of excellent dancers, not just taxis, who will perform their duties on the dance floor for 24 hours a day!!!

–         What is the current situation in kizomba in Russia?

In Russia, there are a lot of girls who perfectly dance kizomba, especially those who travel regularly to different European festivals. Nevertheless, Russian men rarely travel abroad. They prefer to stay at their level without improving it, believing it´s quite enough, which is very sad. Even for them European taxi-girls are invited now for the first time to Russia! I really hope that after I’M YOUR DJ, the Russian guys will have the incentive to progress!

–         What place does kizomba dance take in your life? 

Until I started living in Paris for months, kizomba was an integral part of my life. I have visited more than 40 festivals in 2 years in different countries! Now I am back in my real life, and kizomba became more like not even a hobby, but my job.

I completely plunged into kizomba as a job, because I decided to organize not only large-scale festivals, but also with another organizer in Russia to do every first Saturday of every month a mini event! My goal now is to improve the quality of kizomba in Russia.

I take it easy, not as a drug addict, who I was before! :)) Visiting every day in Paris good parties, I began to be overwhelmed with it. Therefore, now I can easily do without dancing, when I return to Moscow. I have a lot of work with the festival, and thus kizomba, as a dance, took a backseat! The festival is on the first place.

–         What is for you the compensation of all the effort and time spent on this festival?

My dream is, as I already mentioned above, to bring a Parisian atmosphere to Moscow and show Russian people who do not sing it from Russia what it is like to dance in Europe to the best music with high-quality dancers! This is what motivates me and makes me happy! My compensation is my personal emotional satisfaction!!!

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   Aaaaand… afterwords I asked some of my earopean friends – kizomba teachers, DJs and taxi dancers – who are going to Russia for this 1st edition, what their expectations are and how they imagine this trip. Let´s see what they say:

 

Harvey Bkl:

I do not have any specials expectations. I mean, I know I’M YOUR DJ (the concept)

The fact that it is in Russia is of course exciting. New country I have never been to, so it is quite like holydays. I know that the organization will be ok!

I just hope that the venue and the places where the kizomba parties will take place will be beautiful. Because I think it’s part of the adventure: people go to dance kizomba in Russia, I think in their minds it is linked to something different that they seen before in other festival. They want to live a special experience. In association with the concept of IMDJ, which is non-stop dancing festival, I think that the expectations are high.

I imagine this very well, I love to travel and discover new things and new environments.

Nico Viet-Marron:

I hope and I expect from this trip to exchange, share with a different culture, history, and a different mentality, but with a common passion, the Kizomba dance! I was invited to come to this festival. I accepted with pleasure, to meet new people, to discover, to visit a country, an atypical city.

Lucien Noten:

  • Do you like dancing kizomba in Russia?

Yes. Very good level of the followers. Great atmosphere and nice people.

  • Is it somehow different from European parties and festivals?

It is different. In Russia, they really love to dance and respect the dancers.

  • What are your expectations?

I don’t expect anything different then the other parties. Just more dancing.

  • Is it difficult to get a Russian visa?

It’s not simple to get the visa. But if you got all the papers, you are usually not denied.

  • Some advice to your colleagues who will go there for the 1st time?

Do not abuse the Russian courtesy.

Jesse Bruno:

I am going to Moscow because I am curious to see this country, as I love travelling.
Moreover, I´m sure that I’M YOUR DJ is a sure bet. It has been a year since I work as a taxi dancer for them.

The festival falls on my Birthday (October 16). There is nothing better than this to have a memorable birthday!)

This is the first time I travel to Russia. It´s easy and fast to a visa; it takes about 10 days.

Yoann Soares:

This is my first time in kizomba outside France and first time to dance kizomba in Russia. I expect a lot of novelty for this festival especially on the level of women, their way of creating music and their way to move. I have always dreamed of going to Russia, so it is the perfect opportunity. I also hope to discover new kinds of vodka because I like this drink very much.

My journey will be summarized in 3 crucial points: kizomba, vodka and the mentality of the Russians. Finally, for the visa it is easy, a structure called “Action visa we help from A-Z”, so no problem on this side.

Ryan Blanken (DJ Ryze):

My expectations as a DJ are to be able to challenge myself, since I am on a line-up with so many other great DJs. Therefore, I really want to do my best, and hopefully will be able to be invited again. And as a dancer, I just want to enjoy myself.

I imagine it to be an amazing festival, because for me Mike Evens (and his group) are one of the top organizers in the Kizomba scene.

It is my first time dancing kizomba in Russia. It was not very difficult for me to get my visa. Of course, I did not know how to apply for one, but they had people helping me do so.

Rovinj SSD & CSSF. My review

Well, dreams come true… I’d looked forward to get to Rovinj SSD & CSSF, and finally I did! And I don’t know what to say… I have really mixed feelings right now, because SSD is absolutely NOT what I have imagined it would be.  But before I explain, let’s make an allowance for my personal state of mind & soul at the moment I got there. I had quite a difficult time just before the festival, and I needed to be “out of service”.  I wasn’t actually ready for a big crowd of crazy kizz-acquaintances, endless kizomba parties, etc., because Rovinj is all about SOCIALIZING, more than anything else (so seemed to me at least).  And, don’t get me wrong, I was very happy to meet my friends and make new ones, but it’s just that I was a bit more reserved and tired than usual.

First impression

The first 24-hours – my impression – why is it so small????  I had imagined 5000 people all around the island, dancing in every corner, huge party locations, madness in the air.. But it was modest enough.  At day time everyone was on the Paradise Beach till 7 pm,  afterwards moving to Mulini Beach till 22 pm. At night everybody was at the Old Factory.  The beaches are smaller than any kizomba dance floor.  If there’s a Pool party –everyone is there.   Which is not bad either, but not the scale of the dance event I had imagined. Actually that was a good thing, creating a cosier atmosphere.  Maybe because it was just the 1st weekend, with mostly the urban kiz audience, which I was looking for.  Maybe all the madness and scale was at salsa scene.. I don’t know. But as far as it concerns the urban kiz scene, to me, it seemed not bigger than other kizomba festivals.

My thoughts on the Rovinj SSD & CSSF

  • Croatia is a beautiful country, BUT I don’t like its beaches!(( I will never trade them for my Spanish ones with the soft sand and smooth entrance in the water. The nature in the North of Croatia (all the Pula region) is somehow similar to Russia, let’s say “to other eastern countries”, which makes it less attractive to me personally.

There are so many stones and rocks inside the water that you cannot bathe without special shoes. Nobody warns you about it! When I just arrived, I was sweating like hell.  The first thing I did was jump in the water and as a result hurt 3 toes on each of my foot! The cuts were at least 1 cm deep. Obviously it there was blood everywhere but nothing to disinfect & close the wounds. The next morning I couldn’t even walk from pain, not to mention dancing!  So, my first advice – put on special shoes to bathe in the sea.

  • Too many girls for not too many high level male dancers. And too many Eastern girls among them. So:
  1. If you are a guy (any level) –GO THERE!
  2. A girl (beginner) – YOU CAN ALSO GO
  3. An intermediate/advance level girl, “spoiled” by Parisian kizomba dancers & an often guest at “Park Futbol”) – DON’T GO THERE!  You might be waiting for hours to get a good dance (on the urban dance floor).   There are not many high level dancers, and they are sooo busy, sooo tired, sweating and actually don’t care about you with all those eastern “fresh meat” ladies.

I was wondering if it’s as bad as dancing in Russia. I was told that in Moscow there are 10 girls per guy. In Rovinj SSD & CSSF I’ve heard slightly better statistic, only 4 girls per guy. Jajaja

  • The SSD guys are very straightforward. Never in my life I got so many invitations to pre-parties and after-parties at the same time, also for Tet-a-Tet ones. So, if you are looking for sex, Rovinj SSD & CSSF is an easy place to get it. If not – no problem, you just say “no”. They probably won’t even be sad or feel offended about your refusal, as there are many other women who would say “yes”.

PS:

Maybe they become so straightforward particularly with me, when they ask me about my nationality. There’s a lot of talking among men about Russian girls. You know what I mean: they love sex & alcohol, and they are easy to get, sometimes even offering themselves.  –  

I don’t know so many Russian girls in the kizomba dance world. But those few that I DO know, are not like that! They are sensitive, they have feelings, and if they agree for sex, they truly believe to develop some relationship out of it, they expect that to be continued.. not just a one-night stand. These are the girls I know. So, I’ve decided not to tell anyone any more where I come from. I don’t like to be taken for a slut or whatever – “easy-girl” you call this. I’m not offended, but I hate generalising… 

 

  • This is also a perfect place to lose weight. There are many up- and down- streets, which gives a bigger load on the legs. Many rent bikes to move around, which is also a good exercise, additionally to swimming, dancing and maybe , for some, sex. All those mentioned above, mixed together would make you lose at least 2-3 kilos or more in a few days, depending on how much you walk, dance or f* J))))

 

  • A good idea would be to take this trip to Rovijn as a holiday, not just for festival. Book time off work and take it easy, find time to just lay on the beach, read a book, visit around and get together with your friends. And…. Dancing will compliment the picture! Anyway it’s difficult to dance a lot, because you can’t stop sweating!!! )

 

  • If you are a Latin dancer (salsa&bachata), Rovinj SSD & CSSF will be your paradise, I guess. If I seriously come back to salsa dancing one day I will definitely plan my trip to Rovinj again. But at the moment I’m not very convinced about next year. I have to set my priorities well, but I don’t exclude SSD, although I didn’t absolutely fall in love with it.

Finishing…

Sorry if this review sounds a bit critical, again, must have something to do with everything else going on in my life at the moment. But I keep some nice memories of the Roving SSD & CSSF, and I met some good people, I made new friends, I got a little tan, an amazing dance on the beach (one), in the water (two), and on the dance floor (3 more))))

Have a Happy Summer!!!

O’Kiz Festival in Croatia – my first Kizomba beach experience

O’Kiz Festival

Since I first saw on Facebook videos from kizomba boat trips in Rovinj I started dreaming of one. It looked so exciting and so thrilling!! This year I was determined to dance kizomba on the beach, considering it my top priority. The easiest way was to join my best kizz-friend for an O’KIZ Festival in Croatia, which is a relatively small event (comparing to Miami or Rovinj) on the Hvar Island near Split, organized by Ozy Shyne and his team.

It lasted for 5 days, but I only managed to make it for a weekend. I was told that small festivals are much better than big ones, because you have an opportunity to really get to know people, having this home feeling,  like living a short life in a new family. I had been to Croatia before, and I loved the country. So I knew in advance that it least I would like the location for sure.

Complicated but amazing

Although all about my trip turned out to become really complicated (wrong name on my flight ticket, critical days at work to leave for holidays, my horrible aerophobia, no tickets left for ferries to catch up my buses on time, etc..), I felt like doing it anyway! Finally I spent more time on the road getting there and back, than actually dancing on the beach, also it cost me more money that any other big festival, because of the bad and late organization from my side, and I was there just for 1 day and a half. But this 1,5 days were AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!  I would repeat all of my journey to be there again, to have this incredibly positive and beautiful experience! (yes, a tip to myself for the next time is to plan it well in advance!).

The music was so good, the dancers were such a high level, the location needs no comments at all, the weather obviously as well. JUST EVERYTHING WAS SO PERFECT!!!

The evening program

After a lovely dinner with my friend in the little port of Hvar we enjoyed an evening walk around the Island. It was magical with all those lights on, the sunset and little uncountable boats watching us from the sea. Soooo romantic!)  I was already happy, even before dancing)).  In a couple of hours, when we got back to port to take a taxi-boat to an even smaller Island, where the kizomba party took place, I got a bit scared, because I cannot swim.  And when I saw this little boat to get in and sail in the night sea I thought I would die! I definitely needed a drink to relax!

When we arrived I forgot about my difficult day, about the whole world and everything else… I got into nirvana and my personal ZEN, lying at night on a sunbed, watching the black sky full of August starts falling down, the marvelous panoramic view to Hvar Island, savoring my cocktail and listening to Dj SaiSai kizomba mix in the background……  Wooow!!!!!!!!!! In that very moment I knew that it was worth coming!

A couple of things beforehand

There were a couple of things that had worried me a lot beforehand (maybe stupid ones, jajaja), like

  • It was difficult to imagine myself dancing in a swimming suite with a guy, too intimate thing, I thought)))

or

  • I was afraid to be thrown into the water during the dancing boat trip, as I cannot swim I would just die there)))

or

  • I could be seasick on the water as sailing would take many hours. Especially if I got drunk, and it could finish ugly)))

But, well, all these questions to myself were solved positively!)

The Boat trip

And what about the Boat Trip itself? (let’s say “the purpose of my visit”) –  I HAD FUN! Continuous feeling of happiness, incredible sunset, bathing in the open sea among small islands, dancing on the roof and absorbing crazy positive energy from everyone around was such a drive shot! I didn’t notice how six hours passed by… flying.. The only inconvenience was to dance kizomba for me. With the movement of the boat it was difficult to keep right balance. On the other hand it was a quite a challenge!  I think I even wasn’t enjoying myself that much when I was 18, night-parting in Saint-Petersburg on water (also amazing, by the way!).

PS:  Oh shit! saying this I’m betraying my hometown)). Conclusion> totally recommended! If you go to this festival, don’t miss the boat!

I know, that it’s only the first Kizomba Sea Festival in my life and I have nothing to compare it with, but for me it will always be the most special one, like the First Love. The emotions I got from it were intensive and I’ll keep this warm feeling for myself forever!

Special BIG THANKS to Ozy Shyne! Without knowing me at all, he’s been always so kind to reply to all my messages, answer all my questions, trying to help to make my dancing  trip as smooth and as pleasant as possible. And also Special Thanks to Lucien Noten to help me make my dream come true!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first Kizomba Festival in my life

The first Kizomba Festival in my life

My first kizomba festival wasn’t actually a Festival. It was a Congress. After 4 months of regular group lessons once a week I had an opportunity to make a further step – attend a festival. I had absolutely no idea of what exactly was waiting for me out there. I just saw an ad, called my teacher and said: “Do you have a place in your car? I’m coming with you!”  No information, no gossip around, I had no kizomba-friends yet at that time.  I even didn’t have a pair of dancing shoes yet!!

 

GET STARTED

After a 6 hour trip I wasn’t even tired from all the excitement I was feeling. It felt like the time passed by in a minute, chatting  about music and dancing with my newly-made friends, all the way listening to kizomba!!! (*Paradise)  I remember I was checking the workshops program and trying to make up my mind about organizing my dancing schedule, and I was seriously planning to visit salsa  & bachata rooms, because that’s what I had done before, that’s what I was sure I liked the most. That day, in that car I announced to everyone: “Salsa is Number One in my life”. I realized how wrong I was three days later, on my way back…

 

MUSIC EVERYWHERE

I had never been to Switzerland before,  nor after)))  because in the whole weekend I haven’t seen it and I don’t even remember if the weather was good or bad. I had my accommodation in the Hotel where the kizomba dance congress took place, so I didn’t have to go out outside at all. And why would I?? If everything I needed was right there – THE MUSIC! I’ve never heard so much non-stop music, it was coming through my ears, my mouth, my heart, it was exploding my head. It must have been very good music to be listening to it for 72 hours straight lol. So, imagine, how much one should like kizomba to be able to take it for days with no rest or interruption!

I found myself in a different world, full of absolutely different people, sharing the same passion. I haven’t seen so much positive energy from a crowd  of people, gathered in one big place in a long time! It was like living a dream… you open your eyes and the first thing you hear is the sound of your favorite music… you go for lunch,  you look at people on the dancefloor, and again and again listening to this music…  anywhere you go! No escape even in my hotel room, the sound was drilling my walls all the time. And that was just fucking amazing!!! The only word to describe it – EUPHORIA….

 

IMPORTANT – WORKSHOPS!

Apart from my constantly good mood, positive emotions and joy, I’ve really learned a lot when attending workshops, and I think that was the point at which I progressed (in my opinion of course, some say I’m still a beginner)). But I could feel the difference. I even remember very well all information I took in that weekend, I remember my first teachers, their words and their demos, when I discovered “slow motion”, “acceleration”, “saida”, etc..

I loved Laurent explaining about musicality. He was such an interesting narrator. He gave very clear examples. I was totally hypnotized by the way he danced with Adeline, so special..  And the funny mix of languages of Albir made me laugh a lot! His French, which was actually Spanish or whatever, give his workshops a special unique color, his own elegant footprint.

 

NO MEAL NO SLEEP

I won’t even begin to say how tired I was, not to mention my destroyed feet and toes, I’ve lost a couple of kilos in 3 days, ’cause frankly speaking I had no time to eat – I used every minute of my life to dance, I wanted to be in all rooms at the same time, to catch every detail, to dance with every different dancer from whom I could learn something new. I could sleep back at home, and I wasn’t going to miss a moment of that wonderful world I found myself in!

Advice:

  • bring with you comfortable shoes, at least 2 (for ladies 2 different heel heights), and something like ballerina full sole shoes or even snickers. You could wear them at day time for workshops and let your feet rest.
  • don’t forget toe patches, as many as possible, especially if you have new dancing shoes.
  • if you had no time or forgot to buy dancing shoes before the festival, or if you don’t know where to buy them, all kizomba festivals usually have a stand, where you could do that.
  • make sure you have water in your room, enough water!!!, and make sure you don’t forget to drink it!  If you travel by car it makes it easier…

 

SALSA vs KIZOMBA

Salsa turned to be a bad idea, because after trying to switch a couple of times between kizomba and salsa, I realized I wouldn’t do any of them well. I wasn’t a good salsa dancer, therefore starting two things from basics at the same time would be a total failure. It’s like learning two different languages from zero at the same time. It’s easy to mix them up in your head. I’ve worked as a language teacher and I always recommended getting some level in one, and only then starting to learn a new one. So I’ve stopped and decided to give all of me to kizomba dance, until I could feel more confident. Besides, the energies of these two dances are so different that it made no sense for me to try them both at the same time.

 

DRESS CODE

I was sharing a room with a girl who had brought a huge suitcase full of clothes. Mine was small ’cause actually I had no idea what to bright with me. I had no idea about the Dress Code issue either!(( For a girl like me it was really the lack of valuable information. I had to wear same jeans all the time, and I envied my roommate so much!(   So, guys, if you are going to your first festival, be well informed about dress code for each night and make sure you have your costumes ready, as it’s a lot of fun to follow!

Some dancers say that they never follow a dress-code, but in fact what they do is exclude themselves from this big family party-feeling which is in the air, when the rest of us play by the same rules. Let yourself step into the role of a “doctor”, “sportsman”, “glamour Gatsby gangster” or an “African beauty”. Even if it’s just for an awesome photo – it’s worth it!

 

PERFORMANCE

A few words about the Concert on Saturday night. To my surprise, this event wasn’t just about a group of people getting together in order to simply dance and do whatever they want. It was a very well organized group of people. I could feel a huge deal of hard work and a lot of preparation went into the organization. Even the artists didn’t rest, working all the time, first giving workshops, later in the evening rehearsing their piece of  art-work for the later performance. And, when all that was finished, they were still there for us on the dance floor dancing with simple people like me, tired or not!)) The show was great! I appreciated the fact that they had taken care of costumes, and made it interesting.

If it’s your first festival, I would strongly advise you not to miss the Show! You’ll always have time to chill and drink in you room. This cannot be compared to any pre-party in the world.

Generally take part in everything you can, so you will have your first kizomba festival experience under your skin!