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/

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:

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THE INTERVIEW

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

The beginning…

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

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

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

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

 

The way you work?

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

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

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

 

Who does what?

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

Dj PINGUSSO    Sometimes we share tasks, we exchange tasks.

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

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

 

What’s your favorite part of the organizational process?

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

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

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

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

 

How do you deal with lessons learned?

Dj  X-TRA   there are 3 types of mistakes:

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

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

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

 

What´s the key of KZL success?

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

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

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

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

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

 

Anyway, do you make good profit on it?

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

 

Plans for further growth?

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

Dj PINGUSSO   Nooo, I guess we are good.

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

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

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

 

Team rules?

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

 

Team meetings

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Dj X-TRA   getting better, creativity, family

RODNEY   family, enjoyment, friendship and happiness

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ATTENTION

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

FOR THE FIRST TIME Luxembourg International Kizomba Festival PRESENTED:

The Unique Pass

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

NO taxi-dancers

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

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

 

ATTENTIONWhat is the idea behind this decision?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Official KZL T-shirts all over 5 years:

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Mike Evens & Skizomba in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc

The concept

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

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

Mike Evens

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

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

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

The atmosphere

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

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

Pure emotion

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

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

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

 

Kizomba in Russia -I´M YOUR DJ Moscow edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–         How is the preparation going?

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

–         Is it difficult to get a Russian visa?

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

–         What is the current situation in kizomba in Russia?

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

–         What place does kizomba dance take in your life? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Harvey Bkl:

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

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

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

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

Nico Viet-Marron:

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

Lucien Noten:

  • Do you like dancing kizomba in Russia?

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

  • Is it somehow different from European parties and festivals?

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

  • What are your expectations?

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

  • Is it difficult to get a Russian visa?

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

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

Do not abuse the Russian courtesy.

Jesse Bruno:

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

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

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

Yoann Soares:

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

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

Ryan Blanken (DJ Ryze):

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

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

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