Kizomba, Kizomba, Kizomba, Kizomba…The Angolan born dance is taking over the latin dance scene with a sexy storm! In recent years Salsa and Bachata have been the primary dances emphasized at most latin congresses and festivals. Today, Kizomba has taken its place alongside Salsa and Bachata as a viable dance that promoters and organizers can market to the public. Kizomba has been popular in Africa, Portugal (most Kizomba songs are sung in Portuguese) and other European countries for many years, but has only recently became a staple in the USA. Below are 10 influential names/duos that you must know if you are beginning your journey into the sensual world of Kizomba.
10. Riquita Alta (Angola) – Alta was one of the first female Kizomba teachers and has taught (both privately and in a classroom) for over 25 years. She has partnered Kizomba with Kwenda Lima (another Kizomba legend) to teach and she has also won the prestigious Africadancar competition in London.
9. Joao Rocha (Portugal) – Rocha is a well known instructor, performer and promoter. He is the organizer of the “LIKE” dance Festival in Lisbon, and the “BIKE” dance festival in Belgrade. Has taught and performed in over 25 countries including festivals in the USA, Europe and Russia.
8 .Felicien Rossa and Isabelle Periac (France) – Popular French Kizombo duo. Have taught and performed all over the globe and have a heavy influence in Europe.
7. Helio Santos (Cape Verde) – Helio is a world-renowned dancer, teacher and choreographer, born in Cape Verde. In his early childhood he started dancing the traditional dances from Cabo Verde. He has been teaching and dancing for more than ten years and he is the founder of the dance project KizombaXtreme. Santos is one of the young, rising talents in Kizomba.
6. Kwenda Lima (Cape Verde) – He learned Kizomba from one of the early pioneers of the dance, Ze Barbosa. Kwenda created and teaches a form of dance known as “Kaizen”. Kaizen is expressed through various tribal dance movements and the movements are a form of communication, and are meant to convey universal unity. He is often seen wearing beads around his hands. The beads represent spirituality and things that are important to him.
5. Jose ‘Ze’ Barbosa (Cape Verde) – Initially taught traditional Cape Verde dances before entering the world of Kizomba back in the late 90’s. Ze teaches at several schools in Lisbon and at festivals/congresses around Africa and Europe.
4. Albir Rojas (Panama) & Sara Lopez (Spain) – Currently the most sought after Kizomba instructors in the world. They met in Spain, formed a dance partnership and soon became Kizomba sensations. Search ‘Kizomba dance’ on Youtube and you won’t scroll long before you see four or five videos featuring ‘Albir and Sara’. They had a huge influence in spreading Kizomba thanks in part to their style and (more importantly) friendly personalities. Albir and Sara are no longer a duo, but they’re both still immensely popular.
3. Ricardo Sousa & Paula Loureiro (Portugal) – Have danced together since 2000, and are the founders and artistic directors of the famed “Afrolatin Dance Company”. They are also the official judges of the international Kizomba competition “Africadançar”. They have performed and taught at many Salsa/Kizomba congresses and festivals in Portugal, Spain, Poland, UK, France, Tunisia, Serbia, Puerto Rico, and other countries worldwide.
2. Avelino Chantre (Cape Verde) – One of the influential dance pioneers who helped popularize Kizomba in Europe. Beginning the the late 80’s, Chantre began spreading traditional Cape Verdean dances and performances across Europe and the Americas. Avelino is also a musician, actor and creator of several choreographies and shows. Collaborated with Joana Machado in a dance project called Ultimate Kizomba.
1. Pedro Vieira Dias Tomás (Mestre Petchu) & Vanessa (Angola) – Considered the ‘Master’ or Godfather of Kizomba by many. Petchu is to Kizomba what Eddie “The Mambo King” Torres is to Salsa. Petchu is credited with being the first to teach Kizomba and Semba in Portugal, and he also set up the methodology of teaching these dances.
Others who have had a significant impact on Kizomba include: David Campos, Mafalda “Butterflies” Amado, Tony Pirata & Sophie, Mandela Nelson & Lisa Dunke, and Ivo Vieira. Who are your favorite Kizomba dancers?? Let us know!