This time last year, I was so busy worrying about mambo performances, I barely had any bandwidth to keep up with kizomba. I survived the performance craziness (thank goodness) and took a little break. When I was recharged, I had a crazy thought that perhaps I could go to the source to learn more about kizomba.
It turns out there are lots of congresses to go to... but I was congressed out: from January to March of 2011 I had already been to 5 congresses! I didn't really want another congress. I considered a week in Lisbon but that was just too pricey for me. Then, I found this trip to Jamaica: a salsa - kizomba vacation in Ocho Rios. Perfect! I did what research I could, and tried to enlist some fellow kizomba-crazy people to come with me and in June 2011, off we went.
Not only did we get to meet Petchu and Eddy Vents who are amazing people and a wealth of warmth and information. We got to learn the basics all over again with them. They shared their knowledge, passion and love of kizomba with us and it was fantastic. I just wished we could have spent more time with them! [NOTE: The rest of the trip and all the other cool folks I met were just as memorable. I'm not getting into those details because I'm focusing on the kizomba part.]
I got back to Seattle with a bit of a conundrum about how to expose more people to kizomba. Basically, there's classes, socials, spreading the music and demos.
There were smaller successes with workshops but in order to get momentum, we had to teach a class series. I wasn't really sure my dance partner amd I were ready to teach a whole series - after all, we are both still learning.
Getting the socials going were hard. There just wasn't enough people to pay for a place and one of the public venues ran out of business. Socials in people's homes are great but not scalable to the general public.
I also wished for a DJ to help spread the music. I met a pretty amazing DJ on the Jamaica trip but he's based in London - it would've been tough to get him here for gigs once a week.
I also needed to work with someone on a demo so we could show people what this dance was all about and hook them in!
So here's what happened in 2011 [and where we are now in italics]:
- I took a chance and rented studio space for a social in the October of 2011 and made $1. Who-hoo! [Now we have 1st Friday Kizomba Socials at East Hall with attendance increasing each time!]
- I started practicing every week with my dance partner and a few other "early adopters" to help myself get better at this dance and to work out how to teach it. [We still practice and its one of my favorite evenings - ever! ]
- I taught a few more workshops with my dance partner and the attendance just kept growing. [We were overwhelmed at an Om Fusion night in November 2011 where we had our largest workshop yet: over 40 people!]
- Century Ballroom, continuing their support, gave us a chance and we taught our first class series in November of 2011. Oh Snap! We've taught one other series and another starting in a week. [ I can't say enough how grateful I am for the support that we've received and continue to get from the Century Ballroom.]
- A friend of mine who is crazy about the dance decided he would DJ ... AND he's great at it! [He DJ's the 1st Friday Socials :) ]
- With the help of my mentor/teacher/friend, I brainstormed a way to bring Eddy over for our small but dedicated crew. [ He's coming in April for an weekend intensive.]
- My dance partner and I started working on a demo. [We performed for Century Ballroom's 15th birthday on Feb. 2012.]
Most recently, thanks to some key folks (see Spreading the Kizomba Love post), just this month a couple from Portugal came to teach us about kizomba and we had 40 people attending - see some pictures. That was simply fantastic.