Kizomba is...

"An embrace means I don't feel threatened by you, I'm not afraid to be this close, I can relax, feel at home, feel protected and in the presence of someone who understands me. It is said that each time we embrace someone warmly, we gain an extra day of life."

A quote from Paul Coelho (one of my favorite authors) that describes for me what dancing kizomba is like.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Retrospective and Many Thanks.... Just Because

I remember the very 1st Kizomba dance I ran at the Century Ballroom in the winter of 2011. It was an experiment to see how many people would actually come to a Kizomba party. Jay and I were just starting to teach classes (back when Halo was still open) and in order to give our students time to dance, we had a with a short practice hour after class. There was no regular social for Kizomba though there were attempts at a monthly gathering in local club/restaurants where possible.

Hallie and Alison suggested that I try hosting a dance just to see who would come. It was a little nerve wracking, hosting my first social. Luckily, things fell into place: Maurycy very kindly volunteer to DJ for the night and I knew at the very least, my group of fellow Kizomba crazies were ready to come and dance and help me at the door. They all helped with details I couldn't even think of: change box with change, stamp, etc. I can't remember what I charged for the door (maybe $5?) but at the end of the night, I officially made $1 after paying back the rental for the room.

Phew!

So exciting and nerve wracking and somehow, it was decided that the Century Ballroom would host a Kizomba Dance on the 1st Friday of every month starting February 2012. I was a little nervous that night but I should have known that things would work themselves out. That first night was a total success: all our students came out, lots of friends and supporters and fellow other dance dancers came as well. All in all a successful kickoff.

The very first 1st Friday Kizomba in East Hall at the Century Ballroom (Feb 2012)

End of the night 1st Friday Kizomba at Century Ballroom
The picture above shows the dancers that remained through the last dance that night. While most people in the picture have moved out of Seattle or just moved on to other things in their life, I think you'll recognize a few faces that are out there still dancing what they love.

There's a great energy that comes with being there first, to set the trail and start something new. I am lucky enough to have experienced that with a great set of friends. Back then 20 people in the dance was a great turnout and it didn't matter that you just danced with the same people over and over all night long.

I also relied a lot on this small group of people that fell in the love with the dance along with me. I believed that if I could just show people the dance, they too would fall in love and keep coming back. Our DJ's  gave their time freely once a month on a Friday night to make sure there was music to dance to. The dancers were just excited to be there and when I started teaching the drop-in lessons, it was never an empty class.

Fast forward to 2016 and we now have an average of 60 at the 1st Friday dance (with the highest number of attendees at 102). There is a Kizomba dance at least once a week. There are 3 studios regularly offering Kizomba classes and 2 others hosting regular Kizomba nights. Monday Night Practica started in 2012 with less than 10 people and is now regularly attended by well over 20 people. This community-run weekly gathering has changed hands and locations many times over the years and has drawn in many new members. DJ's are now paid for their time and even though the number of students for the weekly classes aren't always high, I am still able to teach this dance that I love to help others fall in love with it too.

Many of you who know me know that Kizomba is not the only dance that I love: I also dance bachata and salsa and when I can, dabble in tango, swing and blues/fusion. All these dance communities have great people that have enriched my life. I love to dance. I am proud to say that this Kizomba First Friday night, holds a special place for me because of the wonderful energy that is generates. I suppose its like watching your baby grow up but more than that, unlike any other night (and I could be a little biased), the energy in the room when you walk in the door to dance is always rich with warmth and still remains friendly and inviting with that tinge of that excitement to just make you want to dance.

Some time around 11:30 ish
Last Song of the night (1:30 am end)
I love taking breaks from dancing up in the DJ booth: it gives me the chance to watch the room, talk to the DJ, take some pictures and just soak in the energy on the floor. Last night was no exception. I took pictures during the middle of the night and at the end and as you can see, the number of people did not dwindle at all.

While I miss that first generation of dancers and the excitement of meeting them at this social once a month, the dance itself has never failed to life my spirits and make me smile. The Kizomba Seattle community has grown and somehow, it feels like everyone gives their best energy to keep things alive and well. Not only have we all grown as dancers, there are so many other activities and outings that have been spawned from the friendships created within. The DJ's that have also grown over the years and many of them now play their own gigs and continue to hone their craft. I think its great that the community has always understood that and let the love of the dance override the occasional bumps on the road. Every single one of the instructors and artists that have stopped by Seattle to teach and share Kizomba have said that this family we have is one of a kind and embodies the true spirit of the dance.

It is a blessing that I hope will never go away. The 1st Friday Kizomba nights at the Century Ballroom have always had a great energy to them that I never tire off and am always grateful for.

Kizomba Seattle Love - August 6, 2016


Much thanks and here's to many many more lovely dance nights <3

2 comments:

  1. Great post and insights. I really want to thank you for taking the time to put this together.
    I adore Kizomba Tanz. Kizomba provides aerobic exercise without the strain on the joints. Its also a great way to meet people and socialize.

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