1) Lack of Body Awareness/Control
When I first started dancing kizomba I struggled a lot with being aware of what my body was doing. Since Kizomba is danced mostly in a close embrace it was difficult at first to internalize the movements and steps and know what I was doing without seeing myself.
To overcome this, it is super important to see yourself dancing kizomba by video recording yourself dancing. I prefer video over a mirror because by watching yourself in the mirror you focus on looking at yourself versus feeling the movement and focusing on your partner to ensure you connected and guiding her through the steps. I prefer to use mirrors during class time, or dance rehearsal.
I remember the first time I saw myself dancing kizomba, WOW! What an eye opener! The way I looked and the way I felt were completely opposite. I have found it most beneficial to practice dancing to a song, make your mistakes and FLOW with them, meaning keep dancing to the music don’t stop dancing entirely or get frustrated (this is a bad habit to make, always try to find a smooth way to come out of a step or move you didn’t intend on, you’d be surprised when you come up with new unique moves!), review the video see where you made mistakes, then practice some more!
2) Lack of Balance
Another thing I struggled with a lot when I first started to dance kizomba was balance. With kizomba, not only do I need to be aware of my balance and be in full control of when and how I shift my weight, but I also need to be aware of my partners balance and where her weight is. This is extremely important to become a smooth, confident, and versatile leader in Kizomba!
To overcome my lack of balance, I practiced my kizomba steps alone to music and really focused on having 100% of my weight smoothly transition from foot to foot and using my hips as suspension to keep my upper body as still as possible.
Leg exercises like squats and also practicing yoga can help you develop a stronger sense of balance. Once your sense of balance is on point, you will be able to become more aware of the balance of your partner and ensuring that she flowing with the shifting of your weight with every step.
3) Lack of Confidence Around Women
This may come across as a surprise, but I was totally one of the unpopular, nerdy guys in high school. I was awkward in my own skin, and completely awkward around girls I found attractive. One of the major reasons I’m an advocate for dance is that dance has helped me not only with my self-esteem but also helped love myself.
In 99% of my privates with guys and also in my classes/workshops, I really have to focus on getting the guys to be relaxed and calm and confident in not only being close to another female they may or may not find attractive and but also be confident in their leading. I always tell guys in my classes that they have to find their inner teddy bear to get the girls to relax, the girls have to feel that everything is going to be alright, that they are safe and protected. Once the girl you are dancing with is calm and relaxed, you can lead her A LOT more smoothly with less effort and energy.
To overcome my lack of confidence around women, I really made it a goal to put myself around more women. At socials, if I got afraid to ask a girl to dance, I counted to 3 and went and asked her despite my fear of rejection. 90% of the time she says yes! If you never ask, the answer will always be no. Day to day, try giving a girl you like a genuine compliment with a genuine smile, take a girl out to lunch and listen to them with no strings attached, be a gentleman! If you are too shy, a less direct approach would be reading a women’s magazine to help familiarize yourself a little bit about women psyche or watch Sex In The City to understand how women think.
4) Lack of Musicality
One of the elements in my dancing I’m always super aware of is musicality. I always aim to interpret and flow with the music as much as I can, to truly become one with the music. I’ve met many guys who struggle with identifying the different layers in a song, let alone actually dancing to them on the social dance floor.
Here are some simple steps you can do on your own to start to develop your musicality, these steps will help you internalize the sounds with your body:
- Start humming, clapping, stomping, or snapping your fingers to your favorite kizomba songs so you can create the sounds that are happening in the song in real time. Try to catch the strong beats, then the secondary sounds. Try to play the songs with your body!!
- Find the 1 count in the music, these usually mark the beginning of different parts of the song, such as the intro, bridge, chorus, verse, etc. Find the 1 is important because that where you’ll hear the changes in the song, and knowing where the 1 allows you to prepare for it and react to it musically.
- Practice dancing Kizomba songs by yourself with your favorite songs to practice hitting certain beats, sounds, lyrics with different moves! Highly recommended!!
- Recommended resources:
- Blog: 7 Tips To Become More Musical on the Kizomba Dance Floor
- Neokiz Musicality Timings Aids: I take 3 kizomba instrumentals and I call out the 1 and 5 counts throughout the song.
- Recommended resources:
Learning to dance kizomba has definitely opened my sense of awareness is multiple ways. From body control, balance, confidence around women, and musicality; there was also many realizations of lack of connection, lack of awareness of my partner, lack of intuition and creativity. There could be a whole lecture on just the mindset to become a good kizomba dancer. From a dance that I initially viewed as too basic and just grinding, to now discovering new levels of connection, new strengths and weaknesses within myself as a dancer and a person; kizomba is truly a magical dance.
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