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.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Muito Obrigado A Toda Familia (Thank You To The Whole Family)

Kizomba Seattle has been around for almost 5 years now. Every time we have a visiting instructor come to teach and dance with us, they tell me that they love the community we have here because it embodies the spirit of kizomba.

When I embarked on this path, it was simply for the love the music and the dance. It touched me in a way that no other dance had and I really just wanted more people to dance with.

This past weekend we were privileged to have Mandela with us to teach us about Semba, Kizomba and Afrohouse. Despite his catastrophic English (he says that his english is "catastrophe!") there was no loss in communicating the spirit of the dance. We had a smaller group than normal attend our workshops and I'm pretty sure everyone left with something new and better than what they started with.

Each visit is unique because of each instructor that visits shares some of themselves with us while they are here. This one is most memorable for this moment I witnessed during one of our small group sessions:

Mandela was talking about the feeling that goes into the dance and how technique can only take you so far. We had just finished learning a pattern and he wanted the group to just dance so he could observe us and walk around to provide feedback to the couples that were dancing. After playing 2 semba songs that were playful and a bit faster paced, he put on a kizomba song that was gentle and mellow and the whole group's energy went from bright orange/red to mellow blue/grey. It felt like everyone took a deep breathe in with a long exhale to just sink into the music.

I was watching on the side as Mandela was observing the group and he was so moved. I think he would have given a shout of joy right at that moment if not for the quiet quality of the music. I wish I could have taken a picture.

What he did was stop the music and walk to the center of the group and explain how, in all the years of teaching groups, he was never more moved by what our whole group just did. To see how everyone responded to the change in music moved him.

As for me, I just wanted to shout and say "Go Kizomba Seattle!!!" Many of the people in class have learned with me, from me and all have grown in the dance over the last few years. I could not have been more proud or happy to hear us all be acknowledged by Mandela.

Oh-My-God! {as Mandela himself would say}

I will remember that moment for a long, long, time.

My thanks goes out to everyone that was a part of the weekend because everyone's participation was what made it memorable. There are a few people worth calling out tho so here goes:
  • Mandela: Thank you for your energy, your time and your generosity. It was such a pleasure to have you here in Seattle and even tho I don't speak Portuguese or Spanish and can passably understand French, you are proof 100x over that dance is an international language. THANK YOU for giving all of us your love sharing yourself and your energy.
  • Ana: Thank you for hosting our guest and helping with translation and logistics. It was very helpful to have someone who could speak Portugese be part of the experience and especially too because you and Mandela had already met before. 
  • Jessica, Mario and Landy: My other translators and general help: you guys rock! Thanks for being flexible too and working with the little adjustments during the weekend.
  • Katie: Thank you for your help over the weekend and opening your home to us to end the weekend. I think it was the best possible way for things to end.  
Kizomba more than anything is about family and I'm so grateful and proud of our family, with all its diversity.

Here are Mandela's own words:


My thanks to the whole family
The Kizomba of Seattle for caring
Thank you for the excellent weekend!!

The Kizomba family from Vila do Conde e Povoa do Varzim* will be waiting for you. 
Mandela Mandela akademia of kizomba.

*these are 2 small cities in Portugal where Mandela lives.

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