KWENDA LIMA

This is going to be the longest article I’ve ever written and probably you’ve ever read. This is also the craziest thing I’ve ever done for my blog in 2018. And the most beautiful one.

In the last months I met a lot of new people from different countries, I made new friends, I shared lovely & interesting moments with them. It’s just that time, I guess, when my social life was booming!!! And I took my chances. I absorbed information like a sponge, taking the most of it.

In the middle of this communication blossom I discovered Kwenda Lima. I was told that he is one of the very first kizomba teachers in Europe. I would call him the “God-father”. At once I opened his webpage, and I realized that he is a MUST part of my blog-encyclopedy. He is the missing master-peace for my historical research about the kizomba roots in Europe.

You’d be laughing to hear that, but I believe it’s important to make this information available for the most curious dancers, who want to know how kizomba arrived to Europe. If you ask anyone about the eldest teachers they know, you’d hear names like Albir Rojas, Tony Pirata, Pitchu, etc… But these teachers also had their teachers. And Kwenda Lima is one of them. He is actually the teacher of Albir.

A couple of months before my trip to meet Kwenda Lima I sent him a long email. I explained who I was and why I wanted to see him. I got a reply from his assistant the very same day inviting me to Lisbon to see his dancing school and to have our interview in person. In a few days a booked my flight and in a few weeks I was already on my way to Portugal, thinking hard about what I wanted to ask him, writing down some notes in order not to forget anything important during the interview.

The day before I was asked to assist to Kwenda Lima’s Kaizen Dance workshop, taking place in his Kaizen Dance studio at 6 am in the morning to meet the sunrise! I’ve never had a dancing workshop that early hours, to say the least!!)). That sounded so special!! I was excited and I didn’t even mind to wake up at 5 in the morning. I knew I would love it.

The place was enormous, very spacious. High ceilings, lots of windows opened to the sky, the smell of essence and calm relaxing music. It was still dark when we started. Everyone was lying on the floor in silence… In the beginning it looked like yoga class. Kwenda invited me to join them and I took a place as close to him as possible to be able to watch him…

After 2 hours of a very unusual dance (his own creature) we sat on the floor surrounding him for a talk. He pulled a card from the deck and explained its meaning to us as a Message Of The Day. People were asking questions, he was replying, like a priest in a church after the mesa. I fell asleep right there with the first sun rays, listening to their conversation mixed with an incredibly beautiful music tape…

THE INTERVIEW

I would like to start by the slogan on your web “Dance kizomba with awareness“. I would like you to translate the meaning of this expression into simple words.

Kwenda Lima: “With awareness” means that when you do something aware of it, you respect it. You do it simple. You don’t make it look something inaccessible. When you are aware of doing something, you do it in a very careful way, not to hurt people, but to help them to improve themselves. It doesn’t have to be kizomba, it could be anything. But that’s why I said “kizomba with awareness”. We get into these situations in any dance because it’s a famous dance, it’s an opportunity, which is fair. So you jump into it, but in terms of your personal things, your ego, etc. you don’t think of what this instrument is doing to you or what people bring into this instrument. This is awareness.

You are from Cabe Verde. All those dances like Mora, Funana, Batuque, Coladeira, Tabanca and more.., can you dance all of them?

Kwenda Lima: Yes

Why do you particularly of all these dances teach kizomba?

Kwenda Lima: I teach kizomba because I wanted to reach the world with a different message.

What is the message?

Kwenda Lima: I could teach, for example, Morna, Batuque, but with those dances it’s difficult to open the door into a new culture. Kizomba is much easier. It was much easier to infiltrate, to be in someone else, to open someone else’ s house and to present the product. Those ones are very specific. They are not what every culture would accept. Kizomba is what people somehow need, because it’s closer. It’s like a hug. Of course, you have the sensual part, like people say. But the most important is that you are close to that person. That’s what people need in this present life. They need to understand their own emotions, to be close to other people, to be touched. That’s why kizomba is much easier as a tool to reach public.

But others are also couple dances, right? You also touch each other…

Kwenda Lima:  Some of them are couple ones. Batuque, for example, not. Funana yes, it is! But there’s a moment when there’s not. Coladeira is different: you have contact, but it’s not really a couple dance. Tabanka is not a couple one. Landun is what you dance in a wedding. But the way they dance is different. Funana, for example, is a ¨happy¨ dance, very energetic.

Like salsa?

Kwenda Lima:  It’s faster. It’s really strong and It has nothing to do with salsa. But it’s different the way a couple works. Morna, yes, it’s closer to kizomba in the way of holding, the way of being there, but it’s not something that you could teach, because it’s very boring to teach. All of this you have to take into account: what is going to be fun and knowledge at the same time? You cannot just drop things like that. Morna you can teach for about 10-15 minutes, or when you teach kizomba, you can give some Morna in-between (what I used to do before), but it’s not the dance to reach culture, because it’ very boring for people.

There we answered the question why kizomba conquered so quickly European hearts.

It attracts people because of the closeness, but it doesn’t attract others because of the same closeness. Some people avoid it because for them it’s too close and others love it because of the teasy part, the play between man and woman.

Do people miss closeness in their real life?

Kwenda Lima:  Yes. Somehow people are looking for THAT person, for THAT relationship, to be understood, to be respected. But of course there’s a group of people who are not looking for this kind of things. They just want to enjoy. The music is beautiful even if they don’t understand it. Although you don’t understand the lyrics, but there’s the energy in kizomba and a very strong sexual part, that can unconsciously attract you, and you don’t know why.

Good. Now let’s get to the point: who brought kizomba to Europe. When did you get to know about it?

Kwenda Lima:  Always. I started dancing when I was about 10 yo. Now I’m 40. It’s hard to tell you who brought kizomba to Europe.

If you don’t know, who knows then? 🙂

Kwenda Lima:  I will explain you why. My point of view: any palop, any African immigrant, especially capeverdians, angolans, mozambique, guinea bissau, when moving to Europe, of corse they bring with them their music and dance.

So, the first immigrants to Europe brought kizomba.

Why? And How? – Because when you come to a new country – you bring your culture with you. They were listening their music at home, inviting their colleagues from work and new European friends, who asked immigrants what was this music and how to dance to it. In Lisbon there have been kizomba discotheques for many many years, but they were for a more closed African population. There were some few portugués, but not that much. In Holland there’s a huge community of Capeverdians, in France and in Luxembourg as well. Everywhere, where you had a community of capeverdians, angolans and mozambique, kizomba was there! ¨Pasada¨ at that time. we called it “Pasada”. The word “kizomba” is very new.

My generation was growing calling this dance “pasada”.

Really? You mean Kizomba and Pasada is the same dance?

Kwenda Lima:  Yes. But before people would say “pasada”. Then, there is another side, that you can’t see. It’s the commercial part. If we talk about the commercial part, I can tell you who brought kizomba to Europe.

Who?

Kwenda Lima:  It’s very important to understand this difference. Kizomba has always been there (in Europe), but someone started to teach it, which is different. When we start teaching kizomba, which happened here, in Portugal, then here you would have Ze Barbosa. He started to teach pasada. Then Petchu started to teach too, but at that time he wasn’t into kizomba, he was in African traditional dances. And even before Ze Barbosa there had been other two guys, who used to teach in B-Leza, which is an old dance place.

Oh, I was recommended to go there tonight!

Kwenda Lima:  No, but this is the new one. Before there was another very well known B-Leza, but in a different place. They started teaching there, but they were not known. Then I started teaching with Ze Barbosa and Avelino.

Did you learn from them?

No, no… we learned by dancing, because it’s the part of our culture. We learned when we were kids by watching. And then we started to create our own way of interpreting kizomba. But no one learned from anyone. I mean, those 5 people: me, Avelino Chantre, Ze Barbosa, Petchu and Tomas Keita. And after came Elliu, Santus and Banderas.

I don’t know any of those names!!

Kwenda Lima:  Those people started here, in Portugal. And then Petchu started AfloLatin Connection. They learned from Petchu. Those ones are portugués and they learned from Petchu. And then I went to London to study and I started teaching kizomba there.

So, it was your first teaching experience in London?

Kwenda Lima:  No, it was here, in Lisbon. But then I went outside and I started to teach it in UK. And for the first festival, which is ¨Africa Dancar¨ in Portugal, I brought my students from London. So, 90% of the festival was from London.

Really?

Kwenda Lima:  The teachers in Portugal started to realize that kizomba went outside. And there were some Polish people, too. It was enough from that very moment to spread the dance. It was already in Poland and UK. Poland started to consume a lot of kizomba, inviting teachers there. The same happened in Spain.

You mean Albir?

Kwenda Lima:  Albir was not in the kizomba at that time. Another guy invited us to teach there. Albir was a student then. Afterwards he decided to come to Portugal to have lessons with me. So I taught him. And now we are in this situation when most of the people know him better than the ones who actually created it, which is nice. Although it started in Spain not with him, but with another guy, who later left Spain. He moved to USA.

You mentioned Poland, UK and Spain. But how did it happen that the capital of Urban kiz is France?

Kwenda Lima:  Festivals went to Paris. The French took the idea of the festival and they started to organize their festivals in Paris, like the Swimming Festival.

The Jazzy’s one?

Kwenda Lima:  No, Jazzy was one of the elements, but it was Stell. Jazzy was a friend of her helping there. So, Swimming was very famous. A lot of French people started to come to learn kizomba. But there was a difference: some people could not accept kizomba because of its closeness, sensuality, etc.. That pushed them to create their own style of being more apart and making new moves (some moves that I don’t know where they come from), because some of them could not make the kizomba steps. So they made a fusion. That became the French Style. With this French Style it jumps to Urban Kiz. Because they were teaching kizomba, but it was not kizomba.

Urban Kiz is not Kizomba. It’s totally different from kizomba. It’s another dance!

You think so?

Kwenda Lima:  Of course!! It has nothing to do with the kizomba. Because if you compare these two things they don’t come with the same basics. You cannot compare salsa and merengue and say “it’s the same dance”. They don’t have the same basics, so you can’t say it’s the same dance.

What is the main difference?

Kwenda Lima:  The main difference is the basics. They can dance under the same music, but even the music is changing… Urban Kiz is like a plant, which to survive needs to be feed from another plant. But afterwards it separates from that plant. This is Urban Kiz.

Why is Urban Kiz so negatively perceived by the Traditional dancers? Why are they so against this change (or better say evolution)? I believe that they both have the right for existence.

Kwenda Lima:  Of course they do! But they have a fear to loose something. The traditional dancers fear to loose the chance to travel, to earn money, to make their business, etc… This is what makes the fight!

The commercial part, you mean?

Kwenda Lima:  Sure! It’s not about the cultural part. Because if you understand the cultural part, you will accept it. You cannot force a person, or I cannot force you to feel kizomba the way I feel it. I can not force you to have the history that you did not have. I went through some things, you went through other different things. Kizomba came to Europe, but the way we embrace kizomba is different. The situations are different, the population is different, the way you interpret life is different, so of course people would need to adapt it to their way. And there the Urban Kiz was born. We said “Ok, I like it, I like all around it, but I don’t quite feel it. I need to put some things from my culture into it.” It’s normal, so it has changed.

Do you dance Urban Kiz?

Kwenda Lima:  I don’t dance Urban Kiz, because it doesn’t make sense for me. I don’t even learn those steps, because I don’t need it. If they play music, I can, I follow the rhythm. For me it’s not something that my body needs, because, if you noticed, the Urban Kiz (of course there are people like everywhere that dance beautifully), but it’s a kind of separation dance at the same time. Women have their moments and men have their moments to do some moves on their own, and most of the times they don’t connect… because their bodies are like robots, somehow. My body doesn’t need this way of dancing, but I still respect it. Because my body needs to exist. I exist. I don’t need to prove it. But in the Urban Kiz way there is an energy to prove.

To prove what?

Kwenda Lima:  Your existence. Energetically yes. If you notice, for example, (it’s a very delicate subject to talk), like in any dance, you can have couples that dance very connected, they follow the rhythm, the rhythm is beautiful and they are identified with this rhythm, which is tin-tin-tin-bum-bum… This music doesn’t make sense for me.

I prefer to eat food, that my body really needs, deserves and feels.

With the music it’s the same. If I dance to this “tin-tin-bum-pff-dun-dun-dunn”, my body gets this information, and it changes something in me. It completely changes my feelings. It’s totally different, if you put, for example, a melody… well written. Because that music they (Urban Kiz Djs) use, it’s not really music. A Dj makes this music, but there is no… juice. Nobody from the Urban Kiz scene can tell me that they play this song in the morning and they can relax. You cannot relax to this music. But some kizomba you can play in the morning and listen to it and enjoy it. But you can’t do it with Urban Kiz.

Why? Instead you can do it during the night. Because you body during the night is weaker. It would accept anything… It’s a game that I don’t agree to play:) It doesn’t make sense for me. It doesn’t make me evolve. The Urban Kiz music makes me go down.

If the Urban people would sit down, understand that the dance is different, they made the basics very structured to become Urban Kiz Dance, they could talk to the musicians to write the structure of the music to make it a bit softer and more beautiful, wow, that would be amazing!! But this kind of music, that being played now, that the Djs are playing and the people are following, for me this is not an evolution. And in the Traditional Kizomba as well.

I’m not taking anyone’s side.

There is music in kizomba that I don’t like. Maybe you don’t understand the lyrics, but sometimes it’s so aggressive. The energy is so aggressive to women. And I don’t dance this. But it’s not about the Urban or Traditional, it’s about the dance itself. It’s about the respect of people, about what you are doing to your body. What you are eating! People eat in Macdonald’s evert day. it’s OK. If you don’t have food, you eat there. But every day?? It makes something to your body. In the end you will have something. Maybe in 10 years you will have something.. Once in some time it’s OK, nothing bad with that, but every day? With the music it’s the same.

Well, some people don’t have much choice.

Kwenda Lima:  Even down there, if the Djs are conscious, if the are not afraid to educate people, because they don’t know! They think the music is correct. They don’t know! Of course people will eat what Djs give them.

What I’m trying to do is to make people think…. Don’t accept whatever!

You do it to your body! Just think about that! Is that the music that you would listen alone, when you are very stable emotionally in your life?

To me it’s a meditation. It was very difficult for me to learn dancing, because I had to learn to trust someone. I’m used to take initiative, so the most difficult part for me in the kizomba was just doing nothing, being relaxed and letting a partner guide me. It took me a long time to manage to live the moment. So, it’s the kizomba, even though Urban, that helps me to relax!!

Kwenda Lima:  You said something very important now, which is “allow someone to lead you, to guide you”. Not because this person is going to force you with his lead.

Because sometimes, we, the men, think “it’s me who leads…” No, it’s the woman who allows you to lead her!

But in Urban Kiz you are not creating this link. There is a moment when a woman is independent. Even the way men lead you is not natural and organic for your body.

Why?? Now you dance Kaizen. There are a lot of very strange movements in there.

Kwenda Lima:  Yea, but those movements, for example, (he stood up and demonstrated me a couple of them), are organic movements. What is not organic is when you walk like this! (And he moved in a very ¨dutch¨ robot way, like Micheal Jackson). This is not organic! You don’t move on the streets like this. If you move like a machine, you take your body and tell it: “Now we are going to move like this!!”. This is what I’m talking about. If you bring it to your body as a memory, you put yourself in prison, you are not free. I don’t like this.

Jajaja, actually that’s what I’m doing all the time. Even at work at my desk I repeat these movements on a molecular level, because my body is so used to them now.

Kwenda Lima:  This is OK, but listen, the most difficult thing is to tell someone is what he’s doing is not organic. It’s very hard for us to accept that what we have learned is not organic. Of course, it depends on the teacher. I know teachers in France that teach Urban and I know that they teach very well!

Who are they?

Kwenda Lima:  For example, Carola from Madrid. And also Curtis from Paris. They are someone who know what they are doing and why they are doing that. Curtis knows.

So, he dances with awareness?

Kwenda Lima:  I don’t say that. In kizomba not every teacher dances with awareness. What I mean by awareness is “not dancing for yourself and not dancing to teach steps, but to transmit something that could contribute to the evolution of this society”. This is awareness. And not every teacher is dancing with this purpose. They teach for traveling on festivals, to create more steps, to fight Urban Kiz and Traditional Kizomba and to have girls, to have men, to be on top (to become famous), etc… This is not awareness. What I’m saying about awareness is that someone can use that tool to improve people and to take them somewhere in their lives.

Curtis is very aware of his steps, why he is doing these steps, he is aware of his technic, but about the world, the people, the society, etc.. not every teacher is aware.

All of these is for you to understand that I see things in Traditional Kizomba on which I don’t agree neither, and I see thing in Urban Kiz too, but I am not against them. I think all of them are needed. If people like Urban Kiz it’s because they need that energy. If they like Salsa it’s because they need that energy. What I’m trying to tell people is that those energies are different. The food that you eat is different. It will have an effect on your body. Either you become more sensual, or more rooted, or more boring, or independent… There is an effect.

How do you build up your workshop? Unfortunately I coudn’t see it.  Where do you put your accents? What is the most important thing you try to transmit to people?

Kwenda Lima:  It depends on a group. You can have, for example, classical music in my class, you can have mantra, you can have hip-hop or break dance in my class.

To dance kizomba?

Kwenda Lima:  Yes, to show people that they can dance kizomba to any type of music. It’s only in your mind. And for me this is the important message to make people not to accept things like this. That’s what makes you enjoy. Because if I accept kizomba like that it will make me fight. It will make me say “this is wrong. this is right¨. That’s the truth. It will make me separate from others.

I want people to accept the possibility that they can play with kizomba!

Wait! You don’t do it with salsa! You can’t play hip-hop and dance salsa to it! Ho can you do it with kizomba?

Kwenda Lima:  Are you sure you cannot do it?

Jajaja I don’t know!!!

Kwenda Lima:  Try to dance salsa to hip-hop. It works!

Really?

Kwenda Lima:  Of course! If you want I can put hip-hop and I dance salsa with you! It all depends on the way you embrace the music and the dance.  You meet them together.

(Unfortunately, I cannot publish the complete interview right now, as I´ve lost my voice recorder and cannot find it anywhere for days!! But I hope  it is interesting enough to be my New Year´s present for 2019!!  I WISH YOU ALL TO LIVE WITH AWARENESS! TO CHOOSE RIGHT TEACHERS, BECAUSE THEY ARE SOMETIME NOT ONLY DANCE TEACHERS, BUT LIFE TEACHERS TOO! BE AWAY OF WHAT YOU EAT, WHAT YOU DANCE , WHAT MUSIC YOU LISTEN, WHAT PEOPLE YOU SPEND YOUR TIME ON!!!)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lady Styling concept in kizomba by Inna Jadore

   Once upon a time in a beautiful city of Munich there was a girl called Inna. I met her for a little talk in the evening to tell me about her Lady Styling teaching. Inna has lived in Munich for almost half of her life, but originally, she is from Bulgaria. I will never forget the first time I saw her dancing. It was at Kizomba Luxembourg Festival 2nd Edition. It was one of the first festivals in my life, at the morning workshop with Donald Wilson. He didn’t have an official partner at that time, and he took Inna from the crowd of students for his Demo at the end of the workshop.

    I was watching her move and wondering how perfect her body was and how well she was following. She had been dancing Kizomba for a year by then, but clearly, she impressed me with her dancing skills.

   Later, I discovered that she started dancing when she was 6 and practiced different dance styles like ballet, modern dance, Bulgarian folk dances, hip hop, salsa (all styles), bachata and a bit of tango.

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   The weather was hot, we stayed at one of the main Munich attractions area on a fancy terrace tasting local beers. I started from the middle:

  • Are you planning to continue with your Lady Styling or looking for a partner?

It’s both actually. I’m not only looking for a partner, but my main goal is to continue developing myself and teaching techniques, like body technics and musicality, which are essential for the kizomba dance and which I teach not only for ladies but for men as well. I have at my workshops men and women. The thing is that organizers prefer to call the class “Lady Style”, because it’s well known, and therefore well accepted title.

Lady Style is just one aspect of everything. I prefer to teach body technics, musicality, body isolation, which is relevant for men and women at the same time, and the techniques about the way a couple interacts with each other, how they communicate to each other. I think this is the key for dancing together and interpreting the music again together.

Of course, having a partner it would be an enrichment. At the same time, I would like to further develop myself as a leader as well… And I believe that not only men can teach a couple dance (kizomba, urban kiz or tarraxa etc). This is what we can do very well, the women, too.

  • What is “Lady Styling”? I personally don’t understand this concept, because I believe that every person has its own style, so when somebody tells me how to move my body, it’s kind of useless, might not be applicable to the way I am. So, how could Lady Styling influence on me? Why would I need it?

To me your question has to do with two different topics. For the definition of a dance style means – what kind of a dance style or genre we are talking about. About kizomba, salsa and urban kiz, So for me there is lady styling for the different dance styles. . When you go to a workshop you should check what kind of Lady Style it is. It could be everything.

It can be just an inspiration, giving you an idea how the style can look like and how you can develop yours based on the genre and certain dance elements, but there’s no certain lady style as a dance style. It should be just an inspiration or motivation to create your own style, showing your body, leading and following technics.

So, the lady style class is not only about moving your body on your own, but how to implement a movement while dancing with a partner. And there’s another very important thing, that your partner gives you some space for interpreting music with him together, but not using you only as a marionette.

  • But you can’t ask a man before the dance: “Will you give me some space for interpretation?”

You can give him an idea that you want to express yourself. Because it’s about adjustment of both parties to each other. A couple dance is when you get to know each other in the dance and you find the harmony between you both. Only then a couple dance can be fun and look beautiful. So, the question is: can a leader listen to the partner while leading? Because communication in the couple is sending and receiving or finding the balance.

  • I thought that kizomba is the type of dance where women cannot take initiative or improvise. To my understanding, I must be a plasticine, letting a man do with me whatever he wants. The only thing I do is follow.

I cannot completely agree with you. It’s clear that in kizomba you have less possibilities than in other types of dance to interpret on your own, it’s true. But in kizomba you also have your body movement GINGA while following which you can use without being led to implement it. So, you can add your own flair in that space. It’s not just a style but how ladies and men move across the styles.

  • A body WHAT??? (I was ashamed for not knowing what it was after almost 4 years in kizomba)

Ginga! You really don’t know what it is? Oh my God! It’s a key element of the kizomba dance! Normally it’s the lady styling movement in the kizomba, but men can also move like that. It’s the bunda movement.

In other styles, like urban kiz and tarraxa you have more possibilities to put your personal interpretation of the music, where possible, if your partner gives you this possibility. It´s not only about following. It´s about expressing you both in the couple dance.

  • Do you know why I actually called you?  I saw you in the rating of Top 5 most popular female kizomba dancers 2016 according to The Kizomba Channel, scored for their skills, interview/professionalism and popularity on The Kizomba Channel.

A personal statement about me: Popularity is not the most important thing for me. For me the most important thing is that I can share my knowledge with my students and I see, that they are more motivated, more excited about the dance, that they are enabled to enjoy the dance after my workshops. It´s not that about the quantity, but about the quality at workshops, that counts for me.

  • I bet that any teacher now in front of me would reply something similar, as they are all very nice statements that everybody uses. All festival organizers repeat ” We prefer quality to quantity”.  

How many people on average would attend your workshop? 

I don´t have regular workshops. I´m organizing the second lady styling boot camp in Munich now. And I start teaching in Munich after some years of dancing internationally and teaching abroad. Most of the time I teach at festivals. And at festivals it´s between 25 and 100 people per workshop. But I see, that the less people I have, the deeper and the better we go through the stuff.

  • How do you make the difference with other lady styling teachers?

I cannot talk for everyone, but I can talk for myself. I always have open level workshops. The most important thing is that everyone attending my workshops understands the basics of kizomba dance, knows its elements and can differentiate the music and the genres. So that at festivals they know what they are supposed to dance to a certain type of music. This is how I start my workshops.

I think everyone has a different perception, a vision of the dance, and it’s hard to find someone having the same vision. But it’s about sharing things and communicating them to people, and inspiring people. This is for me the most important thing.

  • How do people normally become an official teaching couple? You just have a good connection on the dance floor and say like “Oh, let’s teach together!?” 

There is no scheme for that, but I’m pretty sure that the connection that you have at a certain moment is not enough to be a teaching couple. There are so many more aspects, like having the pedagogical understanding and skills, having experience in communicating with students, inspiring them… Most importantly they must have the same vision for everything. Therefore, I think that the two need to get to know each other first.

  • In your opinion how a good teaching couple is supposed to be?

There are many aspects of being a good teaching couple and there are many essential things I mentioned already, but repeating myself, both should be able to communicate to each other properly and communicate to their students in a proper, effective way, transmitting not only their skills, but their vision and inspiration as one!

   Leaving this conversation in the same place where I started it, I’m finishing my post thanking Inna for finding time to show me a piece of Munich and sharing with me her thoughts on Lady Styling and couple dance.  I will continue watching her dance, but now, having the chance to get to know her better, I will look at her differently…

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)

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/

 

 

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.

 

Polina Kostromitina – official I´M YOUR DJ kizomba photographer

There had always been many photographs in Polina Kostromitina´s house. It was full of developing machines and photo equipment, because her father was very keen on the photography. At the same time, Polina was attending an Art School, which helped a lot to create a further vocation.  Polina thanks her parents: her dad who instilled in her a love for photos, and her mom who developed her good artistic taste.

The start

Her first photo camera appeared in 2009. It was a New Year’s gift Nikon 450 D. There she started shooting. She did not go to any courses and was not shooting very often at that time, but already then, she was particularly interested in people, their portraits and bodies.

How did you start shooting dancing events?

  • In 2012, I started dancing Salsa and Bachata in Chelyabinsk, the capital of the Southern Urals, where I am from. Over time, I understood that dance is not that interesting as the atmosphere itself! I began to shoot at local dance parties in my city. In 2014, kizomba came into my life. Then I went to my first kizomba festival in Saratov (Russia), where I took some pictures that many people appreciated. After that, I got invitations to other cities. In 2017, I moved to Moscow and already there I turned this hobby into my main job.

What is your theme in kizomba dance?

  • Sensuality, emotions, intimacy, touching, looks, intertwined with music. You see how people dissolve into each other in music. You realize that they are gone into space and they are already not here. When I see such a couple on a dance floor, I can do pictures of them endlessly.

There is a myth that photographers shoot at parties only their own acquaintances and friends?

  • This is true. I did that earlier, but now I try to shoot absolutely everyone. Although, I always have my favorites that will definitely be in my album)))

Do you dance often kizomba yourself?

  • When doing photos, one or two dances for the party. I like more shooting the dance itself and listening to music.

What are your favorite parts of body?

Polina.hands

  • Hands and eyes

Why are your famous for shooting asses then?))

  • Most of dancing girls have a very nice bunda! However, many photographers do not convey so completely the beauty of this part of the body. But, again, my thing is the hands and eyes, touches and looks. And bundas…, it’s because I manage to show them in the very best way). It is a pity, that European men do not wear clothes, which emphasizes their bundas, otherwise my photos would have more men’s´ bodies.

What is the most important thing in an album?

  • The most important thing is the atmosphere! In my photos, there is always a history: something that captures the look. I see beauty in people and I can convey it. I can find something beautiful in everyone. I love to show beauty, although not everyone sees it in himself or herself. I am for sincerity and for true emotions. So, I try to take a photo before I will be noticed with the camera and people start posing.

In addition, I´d like to say that in parallel with the dance shooting, I lead a studio photo shooting. In addition, more often I photograph famous people with a small amount of clothes on them, especially because some simply have incredibly beautiful bodies, and in clothes, no one can see them.

Who would want a NU-session? People normally cannot publish this kind of photos. Alternatively, those who would, what is this crave to show yourself off?

  • I believe that nude photo shooting helps people to see themselves differently, in a new way, to gain self-confidence, to love oneself, to discover the source of sexuality. This is work on their complexes; this is the moment of full acceptance of oneself.

Is there any difference between Russian and European festivals?

  • Yes, there is, in the atmosphere and the people. Everyone knows that in Russia, girls are very beautiful and in Europe, there are many handsome men. However, there are many similarities as well, like high level of dance floor and of the music, as at big festivals in Russia mix the same Djs.

What are your plans for the nearest future?

  • I want to develop myself further as a photographer. I want to go to kizomba festivals in Europe. This is a slightly different view and a different atmosphere. I need new faces.

Polina.siluet

Polina.shoes

Polina.ruki.spina

Polina.Margunn

Polina.happyface

Polina.hands.PKC1

Polina.golova

Polina.feeling

Polina.faces1

Polina.faces

Polina.emotions1

Polina.emotions

Polina.details

Polina.bodies

Polina.bantik

Polina.back.beaty

Polina.ass.PKC1

Polina.ass.PKC

Polina.ass.hands.PKC

Polina.ahand

Poli.a.grud

Contact POLINA

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/KostromitinaPolina

https://www.facebook.com/KostromitinaPhoto/

Instagram: kostromitinaphoto

Vkontakte:https://vk.com/kostromitinaphoto

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!!!

——————————————————————————————————————————————————–

   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.

Dj Saï Saï – The walking legend – about himself and the Kizomba

Dj Saï Saï Interview – ENGLISH VERSION: 

Version française en bas ⇓

If you know what is “kizomba” than for sure you know who is Dj Saï Saï, as this person is one of the pioneers in the Kizomba dance world. Those who would like to know how it all started should ask him. He was there! Now I was lucky to hear some of these stories, and proud and happy to share them with you!)

I remembered his music before I remembered his face and his name. He has always been an often guest in Luxembourg at our local parties and obviously our festivals. When I started dancing DJ Sai Sai was the first European DJ I met, as I wasn´t going on dancing trips yet. Since I talked to him for the first time, I could always distinguish his irresistible smile and positive vibes. Hope that explains a little bit why he is the first kizomba DJ in my blog.

Dj Saï Saï or Saïdou was born in Senegal 34 years ago. When he was 6 months old, he moved (better say “was moved”) to France. From the conversation, I understood he considers himself a French man. Bla bla bla… The official part is over. Surely, you all can find this information somewhere in social red, but let´s start

the interview:

  • When you don´t work, what do you do in your real life?

When I don´t work I sleep… go for sport, compose music, playstation with my friends.. – sitting comfortably in front of me, smiling, with a drink in one hand and a Voice Recorder in another one. He had promised to speak slowly so that I could understand his French. 

  • Playstation?

FIFA

  • What´s your favorite team?

PSG (Paris St.Germain).    My ordinary life:  I spend 90% of time on my own. I can spend 4 days locked up at home without any problem. This is what I do when I don´t work. Voila! 

  • When you are on your own, do you listen to music?

All the time

  • What kind of music does Dj Saï Saï listen to? Kizomba?

Kizomba or French variety. French music like Goldman, Celine Dion, Johnny Hallyday. I don´t listen to RAP, because I don´t like it. I listen a little bit to American music, Reggy and Soal,  I adore Zouk…  But I don´t listen to RAP. I don´t like RAP.  I like French music.  Upon my inspiration.

  • On Facebook you have two accounts as Dj Saï Saï. Is there any difference between them?

There´s no difference. It´s because on Facebook there are 5000 contacts per account and once you hit this ceiling you cannot receive more requests. So I had to create a new one in order to be able to accept everyone.

  • And you are that Good Guy to accept everyone?))

Yeaaa, I´m the best of the best! In fact, 90% of my contacts in Facebook are from Kizomba, and the rest 10% are my friends. And I don´t have many friends. Thus, that´s why I created two accounts. I had to do the cleaning. I removed “friends in common” and I made some space for others. Because at some point I arrived at 5000 on each account, so I had 10000 in total. I deleted 1600 to make some space. The problem in fact is that when I mix at a festival, like today (the interview took place during a festival) I get 50 requests. When I mix in Luxembourg I can get 100 requests.

  • Each time?

Yesss! All the time. People don´t know me. They listen to music, but they don´t know me. They want to know what I am. If they want to know what I mix, they start following me on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, etc…

  • I have a question about friends. Do you have real friends in Kizomba world, those you can really trust and rely on? Do you separate you professional and your private life?

In Kizomba I have acquaintances. It´s called “acquaintances”. Many of them I appreciate and others I don´t trust. However, I have more friends than non-friends in kizomba, but they are anyway your acquaintances. Once the party is over, everyone goes home and “Salut!”. Well, whom I really appreciate in Kizomba from DJs that I´ve known for a long time are DJ Gass. We met when we were 15 y.o. We were mixing in the afternoons at the time in Paris. It´s Madiss, who helped me develop myself.  I also have a good relationship with Leda and, I get on very well with everybody in general, but I´m more close with Gass and Madiss, with whom we talk a lot, we call each other, we meet outside Kizomba world. It´s been also years since I know Valet.

  • Are they those who you can tell about your personal life?

As I said, my personal life I keep only for myself. No I don´t. It´s more like when we meet, we have fun together, we work together, but in my personal life I manage myself from A to Z.  If I have a problem, I don´t ask my family to help me. If I have a problem, it is MY problem. I do everything myself, on my own, like managing my planning, my database. I manage my taxi dancers team…

  • This is exactly my next question!

I manage my artists. I have two artists.

  • What do you mean by “my artists”?

In fact, I have a music label – I produce. I have already produced a track with Sandro “Já Não Sei”(2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If62kZ7aS2c , who recently was No.1 of Top 10 for 1 month in Portugal. Now I´m working on a production of a new artist. I take care of everything myself.

  • You are very artistic with a lot of imagination.

It´s my work! I was a musician when I was young. I played battery for 5 years and, at the same time, I played professional handball.  

  • You do like sport a lot!

You can see it! Jajaja LOL  (demonstrating me his biceps)

  • Well, let´s get to your taxi team. Why did you decide to do it? There are so many, especially in Paris!

Yes, there are many teams. However, there are Teams and there are “teams”. You have the Kiztrotters, who are well known, who work very very well!  (Kiztrotters, catch a compliment from Dj Saï Saï! LOL) Then you have SK Team, Gwany´s team VVK, Ludo´s one LS Kizz, and now you have SS Team – SaiSai Team. Why I did it? Because I have a couple of guys, Shawn and Will, who go everywhere with me when I travel by car, like Luxembourg, Belgium, etc… They are good dancers.  In addition, when I get calls I´m asked if I could bring some dancers with me. So, I was asked once, than twice…

  • Oh then it was not your idea? You were “pushed” to create it?

Yes, it was also foreseen. I will explain you: I´ve been mixing for 19 years. I´m 34 now. When I was 23 yo, I bought a pub and I was its owner for 7 years. It was called “Tropical Bar” .

  • Dj Saï Saï seems to be a real Business Man! LOL

I took it after my father. And, well, I my pub there were courses of salsa, kizomba, bachata, etc… And I started kizomba in 2008, in the pub.

  • Tony Pirata wasn´t even famous at that time yet!

He was the person with whom I started working. The first course he gave in France was in my pub. I also met Isabelle and Felicien for the first time there at that time. I will show you the photos! Everything is here! (We spent some minutes in his mobile, so I re-confirm, he has a proof to his words!)

  • Do you have so much space in your telephone to store all this stuff? LOL

I have everything here! Wait! Don´t move!  I´ll show you one video

I was wondering how can Dj Saï Saï keep all this information in his mobile, and find it so easily every time. I have waited for 2 seconds. It was in front of my eyes – his lunch with Pingusso, Rodney and Pirata, who started talking to the camera. He explained that long time ago the place to be was a Tropical bar, but it is in the past. Everything has changed and now it is AM Restaurant, “Vamos Dançar Yvelines” (https://www.facebook.com/letropical.bar ) and he made a little promotion to their current weekly parties and workshops.  (https://www.facebook.com/events/1395831560428344 )

Dj Saï Saï continued:

It´s just to say that I´m one of the first. Now it´s AM Restaurant. I rent it and I mix there.  So, in kizomba I was there one of the first. And also thanks to Atim, the singer. Atim is my best friend. He is my neighbor. He lives near my house. We grew up together. We meet every day, going info sport together and doing many more things.  So how it happened: Atim came to the Tropical Bar and he told me “Sai, there´s something you should try!” What Kizomba is I didn´t know. I knew Le Passade. At the time, it was that, in 2003-2004 it was La Passade Cabverdienne. My bartender was a cabeverdian girl. He invited her to dance. That´s how the piece “FOFU” (CABO LOVE) with MARiSA was born. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_r_y4GMFHo . So he invited her for a dance, and they danced kizomba in front of me. I said “I don´t know what it is, but I like it very much!” I was dancing bachata, but to me it seemed even better. And it´s him who introduced me to Tony Pirata. That´s how it all started… For one year it was just us, me and him.

  • You and Tony?

Yea, and afterwards he invited us to Metropolis (one of the first night clubs in Paris with Kizomba) when he composed “Gosta Bue”  And afterwards, well, there was everyone else, but for me the pillar is Tony Pirata, Symeone, Morenasso, Tecas…

  • Is it how it all started?

Yes! Everything has started like that. Then you have Moun, Curtis, Enah, and all that…that´s it!

  • Now how many taxi dancers do you have in your team?

 Thirty. Twenty SS team1guys and ten girls.

–  I´ve never seen them. Where do they dance?

Everywhere! For example, tonight they dance in Paris…  (If you are interested in more information about Dj Saï Saï team, there is an official page in Facebook with all photos and details about each member of the team: https://www.facebook.com/sst78/?fref=ts )

 

He changed subject by showing me again the first kizomba song of Atim; we listened to it for a little while;

 This is the song, which showed me kizomba! This song is the starting point!  Then, this is the artist that I told you I had produced –Sandro – Dj Saï Saï played me another song, which I realized I knew very well, –

 This song was born in my living room. I am currently working with a new artist. This is the future! – He turned his mobile screen again to me and I saw a nice girl, rehearsing in front of a microphone, –

It is in my place. She is my singer. This is the test, we continued to listen a bit more…

  • One more question: your music for me is very romantic. Are you in life as your music is? Are you a romantic person?

Saïdou is like this. When I compose, it is me, Saidou. At home it is simple. There is no alcohol. I do not drink alcohol.

  • Jajaja )))

I only drink at weekends. I do that to relax, to be Dj Saï Saï, to make myself visible to people, to talk to everyone. This is my work; we must not forget about it.  As weekend-festivals are tiring: days – nights- days- nights, socials- night parties-socials-night parties, I have to mix, than I have to talk a little bit, dance a little bit, to do this, to do that,  alcohol helps me smile to everyone and be more relaxed towards people; also to understand better in English LOL. I try to make an effort to speak it when I drink alcohol. It makes me be more sociable, more out-going.  The real Saïdou is a very reserved and quiet person. I´m also a little bit sentimental. I am what my music is. I like a lot French variety as I told you.

  • You have your own Dj Saï Saï style. I can always recognize your music.

Every Dj has its own style. My melody is like this. I am more “douceur”.

  • I see. Especially the last Senegalese composition “The Beauty Of Sénégal Kiz”. To me it’s very beautiful, but not that comfortable for dancing. I thought that the main instrument was a guitar, by the way.

No, it was Cora. It is like the Arphe in France, we have the Cora. In fact, I wrote this song for Midi Station Festival (Brussels, December 2016). As I was asked to write something exclusive for them, and at the same time as I am from Senegal – voala! Done!  As everyone re-mixes everything, why wouldn´t I write something myself? As I am Senegalese. That’s why I did it.

  • That is when I got interested in Senegal! I listened to it and I told myself “Hmmm, would be interesting to visit this country one day”

Yea, there is a festival very soon in Senegal – Dakar Kizomba Congress! (https://www.facebook.com/groups/943298679094448/?fref=ts 25-31 October 2017, Dj Saï Saï will be present there!!!!) I am going to mix in my country. You can come if you want.  You won’t regret it! Everything is included in the Full Pass: airline tickets, accommodation and the entrance fees. And the food is very cheap over there.

  • Are you taking part in its organization or just mix?

I’m a Dj. I also present the festival, obviously, because I am Senegalese.

  • Is it the first time?

Yes, it’s my first time.  In addition, my family lives there.

  • Isn’t it dangerous for me to go there on my own?

Oh no, not at all!!  There are many white people. It’s absolutely safe. For them, by the way, I’m white. Because I live in France, I work in France. When I go to Senegal, they know that I’m not from there. They know it. And they see it. They see my piercings, my style, how I am dressed.

When I speak Senegalese I have a French accent. When I walk, I walk like French. They see it. Piercing does not exist there. For them I am French.

  • Do French people realize that you are from Senegal?

Of course! You only have to see the marks here (he pointed out at the temples on his face). They were made for purification.  It’s the culture. It’s our religion. All Senegalese who you would meet in France have those marks. My elder brother and I did them as well.

  • Do you have brother or sisters?

We are five brothers and one sister. And the others didn’t want to do it, they don’t have them (the marks). I did it when I was a baby. You have to do it when you are a baby. It’s like a tattoo, it stays forever. It brings luck, for purifying, for the future.

  • You seem to be lucky! LOL

I have worked for that. When I started mixing, I was very young. At the time, I was mixing for nothing. I did not have much money.

  • Have your parents ever helped you?

No. I have done always everything myself. Absolutely everything: from A to Z.

  • Great! Now, what is the best part of your Dj Saï Saï life?

First of all, it’s my passion. It´s like a hobby and I do it for living at the same time, but it has always been my passion. Recently there are many DJs who come to Kizomba, because they would like to be recognized, well known, to travel, to take advantage of all what includes to be a DJ. Basically, to be a Kizomba Dj you have to be first just a DJ. And there are not many real DJs, those who have worked for 10-15-20 years. I have mixed cabo love, zouk, dancehall, house, reggaeton, hip-hop, funk; everything, all the styles! I had my room from 10 pm to 6 am, where I had to mix on my own all the night long. Meanwhile in Kizomba you mix only for 1-2 hours. For me to mix the whole night is not a problem.

The problem now is with all that new technology, small control machines. Everyone wants to become a DJ. They buy a MAC, a controller and they already can mix as well, but they know nothing about music. It’s a job one must know. Now you have plenty of false Djs. It became very accessible to everyone nowadays. The majority do it because it’s cool (“A la mode”), ‘cause they can travel, etc… They only see this in fact, but I don´s see it like that. That’s how you recognize a real DJ –  by the way he mixes, by the way he observes clients, etc… If everyone had this passion to mix, they would have started to mix well before the Kizomba. When Kizomba has appeared, it became very fassionable, and everyone got into it, because there are girls, travel, money, … go! They say: “Ok, I’ll be a DJ, because I like Kizomba”. However, they come and they do not know how to mix. It is not good.

  • Have you ever refused a job offer because you are tired of travelling, and you just preferred to stay home in order to have some rest?

Never.  As I have told you, I am a very solitary lonesome person.

  • Is it the same feeling to be in a hotel room as at home?

It is similar. If there is a TV, music, a computer and additionally a play station – it’s the same. That is what I do usually at home. But there’s something else when I travel: I meet people, I improve on my English, I share what I’ve created. Thus, it is important for me to travel in order to share out what I have done, what I have worked on. When people listen to me in the internet it’s great, but in life it’s even better.

  • Do you have favorite festivals?

Yes! Luxembourg! I was wearing its T-shirt today.

  • Yeaa, I paid attention to it! Bravoo!!!

I will tell you what my favorite festivals are: Luxembourg “International Kizomba FestivalKZL”! For me it’s Number One.  O’KIZ, I adored it. It was magnificent!! I will go there again this year. It’s also PKC (Paris Kizomba Congress), which is also magnificent. Then, “I’M YOUR DJ”, it’s in my Top5. At this moment, it’s all. There’s one more, which is becoming one of my favorites – Universal Kiz. This year I loved it. Although there was a weird planning, in Belgium it was quite good.

  • Why Luxembourg is the best? I consider it the best for myself as well. Trying to compare it objectively with others, I find it super good.

It’s the best festival for all artists. Why?  Because the organization and the location are perfect. And it’s comfortable. The first edition took part in the Novotel Hotel. Everything was happening in that hotel. There was a shuttle that took us to night parties’ location. In the mornings, everyone had breakfast all together, and afterwards we all played FIFA, because there was a playstation with TV. And the rooms were Suites. Every 5 seconds we were asked:”Dj Saï Saï, is everything OK?”, “Do you need anything else?”, “Anything to drink? This? That?” Etc… There was a dressing room, there was everything! KZL is the best festival! The best!  O’KIZ takes the second place. In fact, it is simple, it depends on the Meteo: in spring it’s KZL, in summer it’s O’KIZ, in autumn I’M YOUR DJ and in winter PKC. They are my Top 4.

  • Let’s switch to your Playlist now. When you go to a festival, do you always prepare it in advance or improvise on place? Does it depend on the county or a type of a festival you go?

I never prepared any playlist.   

  • Inspiration?

That is! Inspiration! I´m always updated, trying to find new music.  I adopt myself to other DJs all the time. This is what is called experience.

  • You come and see what others have just mixed before you and you continue with a different thing? And you have all the music always with you?

Yes. That´s how I work.  Yes, I have absolutely everything with me. If the previous one mixed tarraxa I would mix douceur.  So I adopt myself. I never know what will be the next. I think meanwhile I´m mixing.  While I mix, I have a motor in my mind, thinking what to play next, so there is a smooth transition. This is my work. This is what makes me to be here. When you listen to my complete mix, you will see that everything mixes by itself.

 

With these words I´m finishing the conversation, thanking endlessly Dj Saï Saï for his time and for his willingness to answer all questions.

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VERSION FRANCAIS:

La légende Dj Saï Saï

Si vous connaissez le mot « kizomba », vous connaissez surement qui est Dj Saï Saï, car cette personne est l’un des pionniers dans le monde de la Kizomba. Ceux qui voudraient savoir comment tout a commencé devraient lui demander. Il était là ! Maintenant, j’ai eu la chance d’entendre certaines de ces histoires, et je suis très fière et heureuse de les partager avec vous !

Je reconnaissais sa musique avant que j’ai commencé à reconnaître son visage et son nom. Il a été souvent invité au Luxembourg à nos fêtes locales et évidemment à nos festivals. Quand j’ai commencé à danser, Dj Saï Saï a été le premier DJ européen que j’ai rencontré, car je n’allais pas encore aux dancing trips.

Depuis que je lui ai parlé pour la première fois, je pouvais toujours distinguer son sourire irrésistible et vibes positives. J’espère que cela explique un peu pourquoi il est le premier DJ dans mon blog.

 

Dj Saï Saï o Saïdou est né au Sénégal il y a 34 ans. Quand il avait 6 mois, il a déménagé (ou je dirais mieux qu’il « a été déplacé ») en France. Après cette conversation, j’ai compris qu’il se considère comme un homme Français. Bla bla bla … La partie officielle est terminée. Sûrement, vous pouvez trouver toute cette information quelque part dans le net, mais commençons l’entrevue :

  • Qu’est-ce que tu fais quand tu ne travailles pas dans ta vie quotidienne ?

Quand je ne travaille pas c’es do-do, sport, composition music, PlayStation avec mes amis, …– assis confortablement devant moi, souriant, avec un verre dans une main et un enregistreur vocal dans un autre. Il avait promis de parler lentement pour que je comprenne son français.

  • PlayStation ?

Fifa, Call of duty.

  • Quelle est ton équipe préférée ?

Le PSG (Paris St-Germain).

A la base c’est ça ma vie quotidienne. A la base je passe 90 % de mon temps tout seul et je peux rester 4 jours enfermé chez moi, il n’y a pas de problème. Voilà, ce que je fais.

  • Quand tu es tout seul, écoutes-tu de la musique ?

Tout le temps.

  • Quel genre de musique Dj Saï Saï écoute-t-il ?

Kizomba ou variété française. Les chanteurs français comme Goldman, Céline Dion, Johny Halliday, tout ce qui est chanson française, je n’écoute pas de rap, j’aime pas. J’écoute un peu de musique américaine : Reggy, soul, zouk – j’adore. J’écoute beaucoup de variété française pour l’inspiration.

  • Tu es né en France ?

Non, je suis né au Sénégal. Je suis arrivé en France quand j’avais 6 mois, donc c’est presque pareil – je suis né, j’ai pris l’avion et je suis venu en France. Sénégalais de nature et de nationalité Française.

  • Sur Facebook tu as deux DjSaï Saï comptes. Y-a-t-il la différence entre les deux ?

Il n’y a pas de différence, à Facebook tu as 5000 de contactes et tu ne peux plus recevoir d’invitations. 90 % de gens sur Facebook, c’est kizomba et tout le reste c’est 10% ce sont des amis, je n’ai pas beaucoup d’amis. Donc, c’est pour ça j’ai crée deux comptes. Il fallait que je fasse le nettoyage pour libérer de la place pour les amis quand il y avait un moment quand les deux étaient bloqués à 5000.

Cela faisait 10000 contactes, donc j’ai dû enlever 1600 personnes pour faire de la place. Après les festivals, par exemple comme aujourd’hui, quand je rentre il y a 50 invitations. Quand je mixe à Luxembourg, je vais avoir 100 invitations…

  • A chaque fois ?

Oui, je vais tout le temps avoir des nouvelles invitations. Les gens ne me connaissent pas, la plupart écoute ma musique mais ils ne me connaissent pas. Dès qu’ils voient le personnage, ils écoutent ce que je fais en mixe, forcement ils s’intéressent donc ils me suivent. Ils me rajoutent sur Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc., …

  • Concernant les amis, j’ai encore une question. As-tu des vrais amis dans le mode de Kizomba, à ceux que tu peux vraiment faire confiance ? Sépares-tu ta vie professionnelle et ta vie privée ?

Dans la kizomba j’ai des connaissances, on appelle ça « des connaissances », beaucoup que j’apprécie et d’autres je me méfie. Mais j’ai plus d’amis que « pas amis » dans kizomba. Cela reste quand même plus de connaissances. Tu vois, quand la soirée est finie, tout le monde rentre chez soi – « salut ! ». Après vraiment dans la kizomba vraiment ceux que j’apprécie beaucoup – Gass, quand on s‘est connu on avait 15 ans, mais c’était que des après-midi à l ‘époque à Paris. Madiss, qui m’a aidé à me développer. C’est aussi Leda, je m’entends bien avec tout le monde mais après les affinités pures c’est plus avec Gass et Madiss avec qui on parle beaucoup, on s’appelle, on se voit en dehors. Après Valet ça fait des années qu’on se connaît.

  • Est-ce que tu peux leur parler de ta vie professionnelle ?

Non, comme je t’ai dit ma vie personnelle ça ne regarde que moi. Non, c’est plus on est là, on va rigoler ensemble, travailler ensemble. Moi je suis quelqu’un qui se débrouille tout seul d’A à Z. Je ne demanderais à personne même si j’ai un problème je demande pas ma famille, c’est mon problème. Et je gère tout tout seule, comme je gère mon planning à moi, je gère mes dates, c’est moi qui gère tout. Je gère mon équipe de taxis, j’ai 30 taxis, …

  • C’est justement ma prochaine question !

Je gère mes artistes, mes deux artistes…

  • C’est quoi comme artistes ?

En fait, j’ai un label de musique, je produis. J’ai déjà produit un morceau avec Sandro « Jà Nao Sei » (2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If62kZ7aS2c, ça fait un moment que je l’ai sorti, mais qui était numéro 1 dans le Top 10 pendant un mois au Portugal. Je produis des nouveaux artistes maintenant. Je produis moi-même, je me débrouille tout seule.

  • Tu es très artistique, tu as beaucoup d’imagination.

C’est mon travail ! J’étais musicien quand j’étais jeune. Je jouais de la basse et de la batterie. J’en ai joué pendant 5 ans et à coté j’étais un handballeur professionnel.

  • Tu aimes bien le sport !

Ça se voit ! hahaha

  • Ok, revenons à ton équipe de taxi. Pourquoi tu as décidé de le faire ? Il y a tellement, surtout à Paris !

Oui, mais il ya Teams and il y a « teams ». Kiztrotters qui sont connus, qui travaillent très bien. (Kiztrotters, attrapez un compliment de Dj Saï Saï! LOL) Après tu as SK Team, Gwany’s team VVK, Ludo’s LS KIZZ et tu as maintenant SST – Dj Saï Saï Team. Pourquoi je les ai créées parce que j’ai deux gars à moi – Shawn et Will qui viennent partout avec moi ou je me déplace – Luxembourg, Belgique et tout ça. Ils sont des bons danseurs. Et quand j’ai des appels on m’a souvent demandé : « Est-ce que tu peux ramener quelques danseurs avec toi ? ». Donc à force de ramener des danseurs, …

  • Donc c’est parce que tu étais obligé de le faire ?

Non, je voulais aussi le faire. Cela fait 19 ans que je mix…

  • Tu es vieux ! haha

J’ai 34 ans. A 23 ans j’ai acheté un pub, j’étais patron pendant 7 ans. Il s’appelait « Tropical Bar ».

  • Dj Saï Saï est vraiment un businessman ! haha

Je tiens ça de mon père. En fait, dans mon pub, on donnait des cours de salsa, de bachata, kizomba etc. J’ai commencé la kizomba en 2008 dans mon pub.

  • Tony Pirata n’était même pas encore connu à cette époque !

C’est donc avec Toni Pirata que j’ai commencé. Toni Pirata a donné le premier cours en France c’était chez moi, dans mon pub. J´ai également connu Isabelle et Felicien dans mon pub à cette époque. Attends, je te montre les photos.

  • Tu as de l’espace pour toutes tes photos ?

J’ai tout ici. Attends, bouge pas. Je te montre la vidéo.

Je me demandais comment il peut avoir toute cette information dans son téléphone ans s’orienter aussi facilement. J’ai attendu 2 secondes. C’étais devant mes yeux – son déjeuner avec Pingusso, Rodney et Pirata, qui a commencé parler sur la caméra. Il a expliqué qu’il y a longtemps l’endroit était « Tropical Bar » tropical, mais c’était dans le passé. Tout est changé, maintenant c’est AM Restaurant, « Vamos Dançar Yvelines » (https://www.facebook.com/letropical.bar ) and il a fait un peu de la pub pour leur soirées et workshops. (https://www.facebook.com/events/1395831560428344 )

Dj Saï Saï continuait :

C’est juste pour montrer que j’étais tout au début, l’un des premiers dans la kizomba. Maintenant c’est AM Resaurant. Je loue et je mix là-bas. Aussi grâce à Atim, le chanteur. Atim est mon meilleur ami. C’est mon voisin. Il habite à coté de chez moi. On se voit souvent et on va au sport ensemble, on fait tout. Ce qui s’est passé : Atim est passé chez moi et il m’a dit : « Sai, j’ai un truc, il faut que tu essaie. Je lui ai dit que je ne connaissais pas Kizomba. Je connaissais Le Passade. A l’époque c’était ça, dans les 2003-2004 c’était La Passade Cabverdienne. Ma barman était cabverdienne. Il l’a invité danser. C’est comme ça que le morceau « FOFU » (Cabo Love) avec Marisa était crée. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_r_y4GMFHo Il a dansé la kizomba devant moi. Je me suis dit : « Je ne sais pas ce que c’est mais j’aime bien ». Je dansais bien la bachata donc pour moi c’était un plus. Et c’est là qu’il m’a presenté Tony Pirata. Et là on a commencé et pendant un an on était tout seul.

  • Toi et Tony ?

Oui, après il nous a invité à Metropolis (l‘un des premiers clubs de nuit à Paris avec Kizomba) quand il a composé « Gosta Bue ». Et après il y avait les autres, mais pour moi les piliers c’étaient Tony Pirata, Symeone, Morenasso, Tecas,…

  • C’est comme ça que tout a commencé ?

C’est ça. Tu as aussi Moun, Curtis, Enah et tout ça… et c’est tout !

  • Combien de taxi danseurs as-tu dans ton équipe ?

Trente. Vingt gars et dix filles.

  • Je ne les ai jamais vu. Ou dansent-ils ?

Partout ! Par exemple ce soir ils dansent à Paris…   (Si vous êtes intéressé par plus d’informations sur l’équipe de Dj Saï Saï, il y a une page officielle dans Facebook avec toutes les photos et détails sur chaque membre de l’équipe : https://www.facebook.com/sst78/?fref=ts)

C’est le premier morceau de kizomba de Atim, c’est celui là.

Cette chanson là qui m’a montré la kizomba. C’est avec ce morceau que tout est parti. C’est l’artiste que je produis – Sandro. – Il me fait écouter une autre chanson, que je connaissais bien.

Cette chanson était née dans mon salon. C’est moi qui le produis.  C’est l’avenir ! – Il a tourné l’écran de son portable et j’ai vu une jolie fille en répétition avec le micro.

C’est chez moi. Ma nouvelle artiste. C’est le test.

  • Pour moi ta musique est très romantique. Dans la vie tu es aussi comme ça ? Es-tu une personne romantique ?

Saidou est comme ça. Quand je compose, c’est Saidou. Quand je suis à la maison, je suis simple. Il n’y a pas d’alcool. Je ne bois pas d’alcool.

  • Hahahaha

Je ne bois que le weekend. Pour me détendre, pour être Dj Saï Saï, pour être visible aux gens, pour parler avec les autres. C’est mon travail, on ne doit pas oublier ça. Vu que festival c’est fatiguant – jour/ nuit/ sociale, soirée/ sociale, … On mixe la sociale l’après-midi, le soir après il faut aller danser un peu, parler avec les gars, faut faire ci et ça. Donc alcool m’aide à suivre mon rythme et à me lâcher par rapport aux gens. Je comprends mieux l’anglais, je suis plus social, ouvert. Le vrai Saidou est très réservé et calme. Je suis aussi un peu sentimental. Comme ma musique. J’écoute beaucoup de la variété française comme je t’avais dit.

  • Tu as ton propre style. Je peux te reconnaître facilement.

Chaque DJ a son style. Ma mélodie c’est comme ça. Je suis dans la douceur.

  • Je vois. Surtout la dernière composition sénégalaise « The Beauty Of Senegal Kiz ». Pour moi c’est très beau mais pas très confortable pour danser. Je pensais que l’instrument principal était la guitare par contre.

Non, on appelle ça la cora. C’est comme harpe en France on a la cora. A la base, je l’ai fait pour Midi Station Festival. Ils voulaient que je fasse un morceau exclu pour eux. En même temps, vu que c’est Sénégalais aussi, je me suis dis, vas-y, tiens. Pourquoi ne pas mixer un morceau de chez moi ? Parce que je suis Sénégalais. Et donc, j’ai fait ce morceau là.

  • C’est là que j’ai commencé à m’intéresser au Sénégal. J’écoutais cette chanson et je me suis dit : « Mmm, ça pourrait être intéressant de visiter ce pays un jour ».

Il y a bientôt un festival au Sénégal – Dakar Kizomba Congress ! (https://www.facebook.com/groups/943298679094448/?fref=ts 25-31/10 2017, Dj Saï Saï sera present la) Il y a beaucoup de monde qui vient. Je suis obligé de mixer dans mon pays. Tu peux venir si tu veux. Tu ne vas pas le regretter. Tout est inclut dans le Full Pass : 1000 euro tu as tout – les billets d’avion, l’hôtel. Le manger ce n’est pas cher du tout là-bas.

  • Tu organises ou t’y vas juste pour mixer ?

J’y vais comme Dj, mais je représente aussi le festival vu que je suis Sénégalais.

  • C’est la première fois ?

C’est la première fois. Après j’ai ma famille là-bas.

  • Tes parents habitent au Sénégal ?

Mes parents – oui.

  • Ce n’est pas dangereux pour moi d’y aller toute seule ?

Non, pas du tout. Il y a beaucoup de blancs au Sénégal. Moi où j’habite c’est cité avion, là où il y a l’aéroport. Après tu as les Almadis, coté touristique où il y a beaucoup de blancs. On a aussi cité AirFrance ou on tous les résidents français blancs qui habitent là-bas. C’est chic. Des belles résidences avec des gardiens devant les villas. Là il y a beaucoup de blancs qui travaillent et vivent là-bas. Tu ne risque rien. Moi-même pour eux je suis un blanc. Vu que j’habite en France, je travaille en France. Quand je vais au Sénégal ils le savent que je ne suis pas de là-bas. Par rapport, à mes piercings, mon style, comment je m’habille… ils le savent. Il y a aussi l’accent français. Comment je vais marcher, comment je m’habille – ils vont le voir. Piercings ça n’existe pas là-bas, ils vont le voir.

Dès que j’y vais, ils le voient. L’été dernier j’y étais, j’étais avec mon cousin qui habite là-bas, on marchait et tout le monde se retournait dès qu’ils nous voyaient.

  • Comment les Français voient que tu es Sénégalais ?

Juste avec mes marques ici  (il a souligné aux tempes sur son visage). Quand tu es né là haut, on fait ça pour te purifier. C’est une coutume. Moi et mon grand frère on a ça. C’est comme un tatouage. C’est religieux et c’est une coutume chez nous. Tous les sénégalais qui sont nés là-bas et sont venus en France ou n’importe où après, ils ont ça.

  • Tu as beaucoup de frères ?

On est cinq garçons et une fille.  Moi et mon frère on a, mais les autres ils n’ont pas, parce qu’ils sont nés en France. Mon grand frère travaille à la mairie…

  • Quand ils font cette marque ?

Ils font ça quand t’es un bébé. C’est comme un tatouage qui reste pour toute la vie. C’est une coutume de purification, pour porter de la chance, pour l’avenir, pour tout.

  • Tu as beaucoup de chance !

J’ai travaillé pour, J’ai commencé à mixer quand j’étais jeune, au début je le faisais pour rien du tout, je n’avais pas beaucoup d’argent, j’étais là avec mes potes. J’ai toujours fait tout tout seul d’A à Z, jamais demandé de l’aide.

  • Qu’est-ce qui est le meilleure dans ta vie de DJ ?

Pour moi c’est une vrai passion – passion. C’est comme mon hobby. Cela me fait vivre aussi, mais ça a toujours été ma passion. Il y a beaucoup de Dj qui viennent maintenant et ils ont marre. C’est plus qu’ils veulent profiter – être connu, voyager, faire la fête. A la base être Dj Kizomba tu dois avant être juste un Dj. Il n’y a pas beaucoup de vrais Dj, qui ont travaillé pendant 10-15-20 ans. Moi, j’ai mixé cabo love, zouk, dance hall, house, reggaeton, hip-hop, funk – j’ai tout mixé, tous les styles. J’ai travaillé dans les discothèques où j’avais une salle que je devais occuper de 22 heures à 6 heures du matin. Ça veut dire que je mixe tout seul toute la soirée.

Tandis qu’avec kizomba tu mixe juste 1-2 heures. Pour moi mixer la nuit entière n’est pas un problème. Le problème maintenant avec des nouvelles technologies, même les filles deviennent des Dj, toi demain t’achète un Mac, un contrôleur et tu peux mixer aussi. C’est devenu accessible à tout le monde maintenant. La plupart fait ça par rapport à la mode, voyages etc. 

Ils ne voient que ça en fait, et moi je ne vois pas comme ça. C’est comme ça que tu vois un vrai Dj – sa façon de mixer, comment il voit les clients, etc. Si tout le monde avait cette passion de mixer, ils ont remixé bien avant la kizomba. C’est juste kizomba est arrivé, c’est la mode et tout le monde veux mixer – il y a des filles, voyages, de l’argent, … allez ! Vu que la kizomba est devenue mondiale et il y a des Dj partout, ils voient le flyer – voyage etc. Ils achètent un mac et contrôleur mais connaissent rien en musique, c’est un travail. Il faut connaître, maintenant tu as plein de faux Dj.

  • Est-ce que tu as déjà refusé un travail parce que tu étais fatigué de voyage et tu voulais juste rester à la maison tranquille ?

Jamais. Comme je t’ai déjà dit je suis quelqu’un de solitaire. Je suis tout le temps tout seul chez moi, le fait de voyager, … Tant qu’il y a la télé, l’ordinateur, la musique et une consomme – la PlayStation, c’est bon. Chez moi c’est pareil, je pose mes affaires, je ne fais rien de plus. Mais quand je voyage je rencontre du monde, je vois des gens, j’approfondie mon anglais, je partage ce que je fais. Pour moi c’est important de voyager pour partager ce que je fais. Parce que m’écouter sur Internet c’est bien, mais me voir un vrai c’est mieux.

  • Quels sont tes festivals préférés ?

Oui ! Luxembourg! Bah, déjà c’est celui-là. J’ai mis la T-shirt aujourd’hui.

  • Oui !!! J’ai remarqué ! Bravo !!!!

Luxembourg, pour moi c’est numéro 1 –  Luxembourg International  Kizomba Festival (KZL). O’KIZ je l’adore. C’était magnifique. J’y vais encore cette année. C’est aussi PKC, qui est aussi magnifique. Après, « I’M YOUR DJ », dans le Top5. Pour le moment, c’est tout. Celui qui commence à rentrer gentiment c’est – Universal Kiz. J’ai aimé. Même si on avait un planning bizarre, nous les Dj français parce que les hollandais ils ont pris le dessus. Mais on va dire, en Belgique c’est pas mal aussi.

  • Mais pourquoi Luxembourg est meilleure ? Pour moi c’est comme ça aussi. J’essaie de le comparer objectivement avec les autres, je le trouve super bien.

C’est le meilleur festival pour tous les artistes parce que l’organisation est carrée. L’organisation, les lieux sont parfaits, c’est convivial, malgré que ça soit grand c’est convivial. Mon premier festival c’était dans Novotel Hôtel. Tout se passait dans l’hôtel. Il y avait un bus qui nous ramenait dans une grande salle pour la soirée. Et nous le matin, après le petit déjeuner, jouons au FIFA, parce qu’il y a la PlayStation avec la télé. Les chambres sont des suites ! Chaque 5 secondes on nous demande : « Dj Saï Saï, Ça va ? Tout se passe bien ? Vous voulez si, vous voulez ça ? ». On avait nos loges, on avait tout. C’est le meilleur festival. KZL est le meilleur festival. Cela dépend aussi de la saison – pour l’hiver c’est KZL, pour l’été c’est O’KIZ, pour l’automne – PKC, pour le printemps – le Luxembourg festival, pour l’hiver c’est PKC et pour le jour de l’an et même pour le printemps – I’m jour DJ. Tu as mon Top 4.

  • Passons maintenant à ta liste de musique maintenant. Quand tu vas au festival, tu te prépares toujours à l’avance ou t’improvise à l’avance ?

Je ne fais jamais de playlist.

  • Inspiration ?

Inspiration et moi je me fais à la page sur toutes les musiques. Et après j’ai des exclusivités, j’ai tout. En fait, je vais m’adapter par rapport aux autres DJ. Tout le temps. C’est ce qu’on appelle expérience.

  • Tu viens et tu regardes ce que les autres font avant toi et tu continues à ta façon ? Et tu as toute ta musique toujours avec toi ?

Voilà ! Si l’autre a joué de la Trans, moi je vais jouer de la douceur. Je m’adapte. Je ne sais jamais quelle musique va enchainer après, je réfléchis pendant que je mixe. Il y a un mécanisme, il y a des sonorités dans la musique qui font que quand tu les mets ensemble ça se mélange bien. Quand tu écoutes une mixe complète de chez moi – tu vois que tout se mélange tout seul.

Avec ces mots je termine la conversation, remerciant sans cesse Dj Saï Saï pour son temps et sa volonté de répondre à toutes les questions.

 

What is a kizomba PROMOTER?

I never paid attention to this subject until I met a kizomba promoter Saba, a nice smiling girl from Berlin, whom I got to know for the first time at the Brussels Kizomba Festival a few days ago.  As we became friends easily, taking into account her open-minded and very sociable character, I started wondering how she happened to become a promoter. Then actually, I got curious about what this activity is.

We all see daily in Facebook someone’s familiar face announcing future dancing events with their promo-codes. How do they happen to appear on these flyers? Would YOU like to be one of those people? Would you like to know what they exactly do?  Let’s get to Saba and see what she’s telling us!

  • I guess, at first, you became a kizomba dance addict; otherwise, you wouldn’t go so far with all this promotion stuff, right?

Yes exactly! I started dancing first in my city, then abroad… I knew more and more people, then, one day; actually, someone asked me if I wanted to be a taxi dancer and a promoter at the same time in his team in Paris. I was told I could do it really well! I have never thought that my dancing was so great that I could ever be a taxi dancer; neither had I known that women also could be taxis. Therefore, it was not really my initiative. I started working with that team for a while, and afterwards some other organizers came up to me and asked me if I wanted to promote their festivals too. In the end, one by one I was making my own deals… and became a kizomba promoter.  That is how it all started.

  • How much time do you generally dedicate to your promotion work? Let’s say, in hours per week?

It depends on special promo offers… Sometimes I post a little bit more, it depends on team groups, and they can post often or seldom. Right now we have Christmas promotions, so I do it a bit more. Sometimes teams give you more information as well. Actually, it takes time, yes. However, I do it with my cell phone now, so I am connected all the time in-between my everyday duties, I never count the hours. Wherever I am I can do it, but it takes some hours a week for sure. In addition, I try to get new ideas how to do it, in order not to annoy people. There are too many promoters! Therefore, I want to be more creative, put some funny pictures, videos, and I try to do funny wording in my texts. I mix all that with my personal posts, so people can get entertained with everything altogether.

  • What about that promotion group which you have created in Facebook? What is it about?

-It´s called “Enjoy Saba’s kizz discounts” and it is particularly for my discounts, because sometimes people have to scroll in my normal account to find the information they need. I also get many questions in Messenger, where people ask me information regarding travelling and other issues. It takes always more and more hours…  Moreover, at the same time my crowd is growing, LOL.  Of course, unfortunately, I get many messages from kizz guys who are not seriously interested in promotions, but wanna just to flirt with me. With the time, I have started quickly identifying what the real intention of the message is. In any case, I always stay friendly of course!  (Laughing) – “but it’s about the promotion!”- I tell them.  

Therefore, this is just an internet promotion part. The other part, which is also very important, is to be at festivals!

  • What exactly are you doing apart from internet promos and assisting festivals?

I wear t-shirts, we install banners at festivals, and I give flyers, cards to other dancers. I also have an experience of recruiting taxi dancers for the Valentine´s Dance Festival in Berlin.  Nevertheless, I want to highlight that it is super important talking actively to people, not only putting banners and wearing t- shirts.

  • Do you consider kizomba promoter a real work or just a hobby?

–  It’s of course not my main work, it’s not that much money, but it’s a job, yes, of course, I don’t do it for nothing. But, it’s also for fun, because I love kizomba, I want to share my passion, especially with people who have never been to festivals. I can imagine how it feels like! It is so cool to meet more and more new people each time, they also become friends of mine; it is like creating a family. I really love that. I love dancing, the music, the feeling of the connection I have during dancing and especially with all the people around the world! For example, this year I danced kizomba in Malaysia and in the Philippines, and apart from that, I was at 18 festivals only this year!  It is a great movement of amazing energy and happiness!

  • What personality one must have/what kind of skills in order to become a promoter?

 I think it´s important that you are any euphoric and happy person. That attracts a lot of attention from people. You also should have many followers on your Facebook account, which makes it easier. I have already a big “clients database”=)). In addition, it is always good to speak different languages. It´s always better not to be shy. You should have a kind of sales mentality, or experience in sales also helps a lot. Oh, and don’t forget that having been at many festivals, knowing many organizers, dancers, teachers and DJ’s, knowing the crowd and how it all works is essential!

  • How can you actually become a kizomba promoter and start taxi dancer activity?

You can start on your own by contacting organizers of some festivals. This year I have worked as taxi dancer only three times. More men are needed, because there is a whole “battery” of women waiting for a dance! It´s so sad, as men realize their importance and they can sometimes abuse the “Special Status” they have by being a taxi dancer. Especially Paris is like a “taxi dancers´ factory”. Everyone wants to become a taxi dancer or teacher, nobody wants just to dance!  (Laughing)

  • Any recommendations for those who would like to try it?

Don´t start because we are too many! Now the market is full jajaja (laughing)

  • And… to say Goodbye to my followers?

Please, feel free to join my group “Enjoy Saba´s kizomba festival discounts” in Facebook, especially these days. There are some interesting offers, which might be appealing to you. I´d be happy to assist you, in case you have questions about the upcoming festivals. And….of course, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I wish you all to meet many cool people in 2017 and have many nice dances with them!)

We laughed a lot more after the interview and, obviously, we left a lot out OFF record LOL

So… have you decided to become a kizomba promoter, a taxi dancer, a teacher, a DJ now or to be that special strange person who just enjoys the kizomba dance?))

Kizomba teacher – Aimé from Luxembourg

The first person, I dedicate my post to, is my first kizomba teacher – Aimé.

Many of you know him. In Luxembourg he is a Kizomba Man #One for me. But the day I met him I didn’t know that. Anyway it doesn’t change anything. His fame hasn’t changed him, he’s still the most considerate teacher I’ve ever known. There are dancers/taxi-dancers who became really arrogant and rude in the light of their Glory, but it’s not the case of Aimé; and this was the first thing I wanted to highlight about him.

When I started I had no criteria. I could not compare. I didn’t realize how lucky I was. Because a kizomba teacher is not just a very good dancer. It’s also a person with a great ability to explain, patience, good discipline and sense of responsibility, who knows how to transmit correctly information or skills to others. Not everybody can teach.

Unfortunately there’re too many courses appearing recently out there like mushrooms after the rain and closing at the same speed, because  kizomba people are so artistic type, they are gone with the wind depending on their inspiration and mood. When they start a course and then go travelling every 7 lessons out of 10 per month, I don’t see any point for them to start a course. Even if you are the best dancer in the world, but unable to be responsible for people who rely on you, willing to learn, it makes no sense. So, my kizomba teacher was all the contrary.

What particularly makes his teaching so good for me?

  • he speaks English very well so he can perfectly explain everything to foreign people and and expats whose French is still a shit.
  • he is very steady regarding the place, the time and day of lessons. He seldom makes changes, so you always well know where to go, like a clock – no mess in plans, no unexpected surprises.
  • if there are many people he doesn’t forget to change lines often so that everyone could see and hear him very well (I refer myself to workshops)
  • he’s joking all the time, which makes his lessons a lot of FUN, so you are sure to have a very good time in warm home-feeling environment.
  • even if you know nothing about kizomba and want to start from zero, you don’t have to wait until September, but you can directly join his lessons whenever you want during the year, because every lesson (Beginner Level**)  starts in the same way – basic steps and moves. So you are always able to catch up on the most important stuff.
  • at the end of lessons he gives 5-10 minutes time for free couple dance in order to IMPROVISE on what has been learned during the lesson. He asks gentlemen to mix up moves as they wish (changing order, rhythms, etc.) , make more or less steps than it was shown in the “combination”,  which develops their OWN IMAGINATION and helps them to better cope at parties.
  • at social parties he will invite you for a dance. Even if has to refuse you at a point in time – he has a good reason for that, and he will do it in the nicest possible way. Also he never forgets about that person he refused – he will invite you back the moment he has a chance to do so. At least according to my experience and to what I’ve been observing him for months and comparing with what I’ve being told about other teacher… This definitely gives him a big score!

I have tried hard to interview him for this post, but in the light of the third edition of our Luxembourg International Kizomba Festival he was so extremely busy, that I realized it could be some time before the interview happens. However, I felt right to publish my thoughts on him just after the Festival, so you could see for yourselves what a great organizer he is and what a great projects and events he is capable of putting together, with the help of his team.

This post is not about Luxembourg Kizomba Festival, it’s just about my kizomba teacher Aimé.

To finish this positive feedback I’d like to personally THANK him for everything he has taught me!!!

THANK YOU