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 6, 2017

Starting a Dance Community: Stage 3 - Continuity

To read the previous stages, use the links below:
Stage 1
Stage 2

Now that things got started and some momentum is building up, its time to think about continuity. If one thing is constant, its that changes always happen. Of course there's the other side of change and I'll use a qoute from Jean -Baptiste Alphonse Karr: "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose": which is basically that "the more things change, the more they stay the same".

And so, this is the stage where you also decide how much more you want to do and be involved in because if you've succeeded in stage two, then there are many others who will get involved in the community you started and help it continue. Staying active is an option, stepping out is an option, its really up to you and how you see your role in the community over time.

STAGE 3: Continuity
  • How to Sustain the Dance
  • What is Your Role
First, I wanted to share something inevitable: as things start to grow, the following will always happen:
  • There will be more teachers.
  • There will be more parties.
  • Other people will come in thinking they have something better to offer.
  • Other people will ride off the successes that have been built.
  • You, as the person that started things, are no longer needed to start things.
  • Someone will think that they had the original idea for something that you might have already done.
  • Someone will think that they can "build" over what is already there.
  • Lead/Follow balance will be changing
  • Recruiting dancers is a never ending activity. 
One thing is for sure, try not to get too attached to your own importance. I'm not saying this to diminish the efforts you have put in, rather to caution that group memory is short. As a community grows and different people join, what you know and what the newer members know can be quite different. There are generations of dancers that become the face of the community and each group will have characteristic of its own as they add to the community and that force of change is basically something you cannot control.

Just makes sure that STAGE TWO keeps going: classes, places to dance and hear the music are readily available.

One thing that is helpful is to develop a way to keep new people coming in. Word of mouth is most effective and partnering with other organizations helps as well. The people that fall in love with the dance are really the best ambassadors.

Continuing to showcase the dance and music in different venues will help to reach other people that you may not normally reach. If you can be creative about where to showcase the dance, then you'll be able to reach more people and that is always a good thing.

Highlighting your local DJs and instructors is also a must because these are the people that form the framework for how people fall in love with the dance.

I think dancers tend to want to bring other dancers into a new dance they fall in love with. This is certainly one way to build numbers but its not the only way. Make sure to recruit non-dancers too because cannibalizing other dance groups means that you are limited by their size. I think Kizomba on its own has a lot to offer people but its the community itself that becomes the best add for growth; when people are having fun and making strong connections, other people wnat in on that too.

When I started down this road, I was student, teacher, advertiser, writer and event promoter all at once. The last thing I thought about was being a community leader. That came later and perhaps because of my own nature, it was not something I was always comfortable with at first.

Everyone is different so you may be able to think about who and what you represent from the start. Its important to think about it so that there is some purpose in what you do. I think doing thinks with a lack of purpose doesn't help.

I had more of a vision: I wanted to create an environment that would be welcoming and cooperative from the start. One that encourages learning and sharing and allows for many people to share and contribute their passions for the dance and culture. I was already a member of other dance communities and these were the two more important characteristics that kept me involved in them.  I also had a goal for Seattle to be known as one of the best places to come to for Kizomba.

I do not think that what is currently here is all because of me - its not. There are all the people and personalities that have contributed in ebbs and flows. I do think that who you are and what you wish for the community does leave a mark whether you want it to or not. So your intentions, whether they are planned or just happenstance do make a difference.

As the community grows, you get to decide how to grow with it and how involved you want to be. For myself, I'm still trying to figure this part out while I continue to teach, go out dancing, and socialize. One thing I am enjoying is the fruit of everyone's labor: more Kizomba dancing in Seattle.

I have been lucky to have met some really great souls along the way who have become friends and mentors. I am really excited to see others progress and grow as DJs, event promoters, dancers and teachers. The very first monthly social that I started is still running and the energy of that night continues to be the warmest, more genuine dance energies I continue to enjoy. Don't forget to stop and appreciate what you have as your community grows.

February 2017 Kizomba Dancing in Seattle

Here are the events for February: 
Feb 3 - First Fly Friday at West Hall with Drop in lesson at 9 Dance 10p-1:30a (Cover $16, Dance Only $10) with DJ Emanuel Sakaita Nasser and DJ Farenji
Feb 4 - Ewe at Salsa N Seattle Dance Studio with drop in lesson with Eddy Vents 9-10pm and then 10pm - 3am with Dj Pingusso, DJ Farenji and DJ Guelas (Cover $25, $15 Dance Only)
Feb 9 - 2nd Thursday at West Hall 9:30 - 1:00a (Cover $9) with DJ Jay
Feb 11 - Kizomba room at the Hugs and Kizzes MicroFusion Practica and Social at ExitSpace 8pm to 12am (Cover $7) DJs Nicholas Bass and Farenji
Feb 11 - 2nd Saturday at 9pm, Lake Chad Cafe (msg Nephew or FB @KizombaSOUL) 
Feb 18 - 3rd Saturday Late Night at West Hall 11p - 1:30a (Cover $7, $13 joint cover with All Vinyl Salsa in Main Ballroom) with DJ Isaias Chamorro 
**Feb 23 - NO 4th Thursday this month.
Feb 25 - 4th Saturday at 9pm, Lake Chad Cafe (msg Nephew or FB @KizombaSOUL)

* Weekly Practica on Mondays Please check the facebook group page for location and time. The location for Feb. and Mar. is in Renton (contact Vicente Spencer)
* Kizomba 1 with Frances & Jay on Thursdays Feb 12 thru Feb Feb 9 from 8:00 - 9:00pm; Kizomba 2 will be the next session starting Feb 23
* Kizomba on Wednesdays at 7pm and 8pm in Salsa N Seattle with Mario and Genia with a weekly practica following. 
* Kizomba Semi-Privates with Dennis (contact Dennis Richards directly)
* Weekly Kizomba class, Tuesday evenings (msg Nephew or FB @KizombaSOUL)