*This article does not state that Urban or fusion should not be danced or are “bad or good dances” – but that they are simply not the evolution of kizomba. They may be inspired by kizomba and are different dances all together.
THE REAL EVOLUTION OF KIZOMBA HAPPENED
Kizomba the dance EVOLVED a lot in the last 6 years, just check on YouTube videos from 2010 to 2016 from any of the so called “Traditionalists.” Because semba the dance evolved from “social semba” to “semba show” today most people only know “semba show” as semba. That had a direct impact on today’s kizomba (not fusions or Urban kiz) making it much more technical and bringing the footwork and some acrobatic moves of semba into kizomba and also the responsibility of the follower to listen more to the music and keep the timing for the leads.
Kizomba and semba are dances of connection and disconnection (disconnections are called saida movements) and it is the mastering of both that makes you a high level dancer. Today, connections and disconnection have become very technical and very “steppy.” (I think I invented a word right now. What you can’t do well – invent!)
EVOLUTION, MUTATION OR CHANGE?
In the past I’ve heard people saying that kizomba was boring and very basic and that’s why they tried to change it to make it “better.”
Their idea of “better” or “evolution” was just the addition of steps from other dances to change the dance to fit their existing abilities or personal taste, because truly the majority of them didn’t even spend a minimum of 3 years learning before they began teaching and/or inventing. Normally when we begin teaching a dance that we’ve spent little time learning ourselves, the movement we don’t master we tend to invent and pull from personal experience/other dances, adding many things that do not belong to the foundation of the dance.
The results of said changes to kizomba were “kizomba fusion,” “urban kiz,” “kizomba 2.0,” etc. The truth is that none of these so-called evolutionary dances kept the essence of kizomba. A trained eye can see straight away that the majority of the fundamentals of kizomba are missing and that there are equal amounts of influence from other dances besides kizomba. These are truly new dances, maybe mutations, but not evolution. Here are the definitions of evolution and mutation for the context of this post.
- Evolution: the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.
- Mutation: the changing of the structure
WHY THE CHANGE?
What really made most Europeans create their own kizomba dance was not the “steps” that were boring, it was the music. The genesis of change was the MUSIC.
DANCE AND MUSIC ARE INSEPARABLE. DANCE CANNOT EXIST WITHOUT MUSIC AND DANCE DOES NOT MAKE SENSE IF NOT IN SYNC WITH MUSIC.
Unfortunately many people have difficulty with rhythm; they may hear the beat, but moving their body to match it is another story. West African songs are poly-rhythmic, which means that they feature two or more conflicting rhythms. These songs create layers of distinct rhythms on top of each other.
Drums are pretty important to West African music, but these musicians actually use another instrument as well to create poly-rhythmic songs: their bodies. This is where dance comes in. Clapping and stepping are often used to create one or more layers of the rhythm. For example, in the hemiola, that pattern of three beats over beats of two, traditionally the feet are used to keep the primary beat, while the hands play the secondary beat on an instrument. See what I mean about dance and music being inseparable?
Traditional European music has one main rhythm. This is why most Europeans prefer getto-zouk – familiarity. But when you change the music you will have a different dance.
Using mainly getto-zouk, tarraxinha or very hard beats and slow instrumentals will unavoidably make you dance differently. Your dance will have more breaks to accent the hard beat and your “musicality” will be based primarily on one main rhythm – THE BEAT. That’s why instrumentals are very popular because most people learn to dance “on the beat.” They never learn how to follow other layers on top of the beat, like voice, guitar, drums, etc.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Evolution is inevitable. Knowledge is available. Wisdom and understanding are a choice.
Kizomba will always be the mirror reflection of semba like a son that follows his father.
Also because the music of both are poly-rhythmic it allows for dancers to change their feelings on the dance floor while maintaining the foundations of semba which keeps the authenticity of this beautiful dance.
Welcome to the real evolution where technicality evolves but the foundation is kept and the authenticity of the dance preserved.