1. Listen to Kizomba music OFF the dance floor.
In the car, while you are working, in the shower, this will increase mind’s library of kizomba songs, the more songs you know the easier it will be to be musical because you know the patterns of the songs, the highs, the lows, the voices, the changes, the melody, etc. Try to absorb it all in little by little, one song at time if need be. Knowing what’s coming up in the song will help you think a few steps ahead plan what you want to do to creatively express that change in the music.
2. Practice, practice, practice.
Practice with a partner, if you don’t have a partner practice by yourself (I do it all the time). Dancing to some of your favorite songs, and expressing the different beats, the changes, the highs, the lows, when the bass/beat drops, the melody of the voices, etc. It will always help you become more intuitive on the dance floor and plan a few steps ahead, and actually practicing planning a few steps to end up in a particular desired step at the exact time. Whether you are with a partner or not, practice makes perfect off the dance floor.
3. Use the intros and outros of the song to your advantage!!
Don’t skip over them! As soon as Kizomba starts playing, they usually have an intro that can vary from 16 – 32 counts, and these intros usually have something very unique or soft about them, dance softly to the music from the beginning! This is very important time in the music because you are setting the tone for the rest of the song and also creating a sense of comfort, and trust for whoever is following you! The same applies to the end of the song, hold your follow and dance softly they way you started until the very very last note! EXTRA BONUS TIP: Give your follow a hug after dancing at least 2-3 songs, assuming you are at a kizomba social with a DJ who is mixing the kizomba songs continuously!!
4. When there is no bass, stay in place!
A lot of Neo Kizomba (non-traditional) songs take the bass way in their hooks/breaks, and play with their voice or soft sounds. Don’t just dance through them! Enjoy the quietness of this part of the song, enjoy the presence of your partner, enjoy the moment, there’s no rush at all let the world disappear, its just you and your partner in these moments and wait for the bass to drop in again.
5. Play around with half time, and 4 count steps with the music, don’t dance on tempo the whole song.
This applies more to Neo Kizomba music, than it does “retro/traditional” kizomba (which is typically danced more on tempo). Again this goes paying attention to the feeling of the song you are dancing to. If the song is slow and melodic, TAKE YOUR TIME, you are not rushing to do anything or go anywhere. Be calm, be smooth, and enjoy each step fully! There is alot of “space” in between steps to recognize, and savor to follow with the music. Taking your time will create a more calm, relaxing, and enjoyable dance with your partner.
6. Learn the to identify the types of songs you will hear!
Depending on where you started dancing Kizomba, you’ve probably heard of a lot of different words pop up here and there. Kizomba, semba, tarraxinha, zouk, ghetto zouk, French caribbean zouk, brazilian zouk, lambada, afro house, kuduro, kompa and more. It can be very confusing at first to know what is what and how they all relate to each other, BUT don’t lose hope or get frustrated. Keep going to classes, workshops, etc. and learning from different instructors and you will get there. There is a rich history and culture behind Kizomba that you will discover in due time. To start off, make it a goal to be able to identify semba, from retro (traditional) kizomba, from upbeat kizomba, to slow and sensual kizomba (ghetto zouk), to tarraxinha and be able change your energy and dancing according to each. Keep in mind these different types of music aren’t so black and white, each song will have it’s own vibe and flavor and some songs will be harder to identify.
7. Find a balance between being too predictable and frantically all over the place.
Kizomba is a calm, smooth, sensual dance. With that being said, you still want to make your dancing enjoyable and not too predictable, but also not going crazy with tricks and syncopated steps everywhere. We all watch a lot of videos of fancy demos and performances on YouTube, but this all changes when we dance socially. By all means, use a well practiced move or syncopated step SPARINGLY and MUSICALLY on the social dance floor. Be sure it’s clear and musical. Before trying a more advanced move or syncopation please be sure you are paying attention to the skill level of the girl you are dancing with, you want her to be as relaxed as possible throughout the whole dance, it’s better to skip the advanced move if you are going to risk disrupting her relaxed state of mind. Remember, Kizomba takes us to that special place between being awake and asleep and our dance from beginning to end should make it easy to stay in that special place.
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