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.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Kizomba Portland Love

It never ceases to amaze me how the energy of early discovery and building a new community can be so different and exhilarating compared to the normal high that comes from just dancing and teaching. There's a freshness and excitement of being on the leading edge that makes it even more fun than it already is.

I have been blessed to be part of so many beginnings that go beyond teaching someone to take their first steps when learning kizomba. I've been lucky to be part of 1st and 2nd waves of kizomba in places like: Seattle, Vancouver, Mexico City, Nicaragua and now Portland.

Portland is a late bloomer. When Kizomba Seattle started ramping up a few years ago, we had visitors from Portland and Vancouver (BC) coming to join us for our weekend workshops and dances. While our scene here in Seattle developed at a steady pace, the folks up north really fell in love with it and they have successfully integrated it with other dances in the form of SBK (Salsa Bachata Kizomba) nights and Kizouka (Kizomba and Zouk nights). There are studios teaching regular classes and DJ's on the scene to help keep the party going.

For Portland this was not the case. A handful of dancers would journey to Seattle but there never seemed to be a lot of momentum as far as creating a scene of their own... until now. Thanks to some of the early pioneers there is Facebook page (Kizomba Love Portland) a practica that's monthly (once or twice) and studios that are hosting workshops to teach kizomba. I was privileged enough to be invited along with Dennis and Oriel for a mini-Valentine's weekend hosted by Dance with Joy.

Its always a blast to teach and even more so when people are just soaking up everything to the point that one can see a difference in the way people dance from one day to the next. These workshop weekends are wonderful because I get to spend more than just an hour with the students that come: I get to spend 3-4 hours and even more over the course of the weekend. I get to dance with everyone  and feel the difference in their dancing from day 1 to day 2. Last but not least, I get to experience the generosity and welcome from the folks that hosted the workshops and hosted my stay in Portland.

This is also the first collaboration that involved travelling outside Seattle with fellow instructors and friends from Seattle. I am so glad we were able to agree to do this because so often the environment for teachers is more competitive. I feel sometimes that we don't give each other props enough because we know of the financial risks to the event producers so we care more about getting the gig for ourselves. I'm thankful to Rachel Lidskog for being so open and excited by the idea of having all of there for a mini-weekend of Kizomba.

It was great to talk to some of the first dancers that came to learn with us in Seattle and the newer ones that have added their love of the dance as fuel to get things going. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next and to be a part of it as much as I can.

Thanks to everyone that came and supported the event (including the Seattlelites that joined us for the road trip!). Thanks again to Rachel for taking the chance and bringing us there to teach. Thanks to John and Cynthia, our lovely hosts, who opened their home to us and fed us and gave us a home away from home for the weekend.