The word “kizomba” (or “quisomba” before Angolan independence in 1975) comes from the Kimbundu language of Northern and Central Angola. It means “party” and “kizombadas” were occasions when people gathered to socialize and dance. Today kizomba stands for the music genre and the dance style*.
KIZOMBA, THE MUSIC
Kizomba, the music, came after kizomba, the dance, which was really an adaptation of semba to new influences in music, like kompa but mainly zouk from French Caribbean.
After hosting the popular band Kassav’ in the early 80s, local musicians like Eduardo Paim with Kijila, S.O.S, and Os fachos, FAPLA-Povo, Paulo Flores etc. quickly followed and created the music, initially called semba-zouk after its basic components. However, many did not approve of the name, so it was soon changed to kizomba, as the music is made for partying and dancing.
KIZOMBA, THE DANCE
The base for kizomba steps and ginga (ie. body movement) was semba, however the character of dancing changed as you can observe in the videos below. The feeling and connection with your partner as well as music became even more important.
Due to close cultural connection with the other PALOP countries (Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe) and the similar influence of zouk music on the steps of their traditional dances, we can see many different styles of dancing kizomba. We encourage you to choose the one that fits you best, but whatever you do, please, separate the kizomba show from social kizomba.
When dancing kizomba, it is not the patterns or tricks that matter. On the dancefloor, you and your partner are surrendering to the music, to each other, you are communicating with your entire bodies, enjoying the sensuality, enjoying the connection with your partner, with the ground, all in search of harmony, even complicity.
When learning to dance kizomba, you also find out about semba, tarraxinha, kuduro, afro house, funana, rebita, morna, coladera, puita, marrebenta, gumbe and many other dances. It takes your soul, before you know it ...
* Although there is great depth in the dance alone, it is very important to recognize and respect the much larger meaning it holds to the people who grew up with it, especially in Angola. For them, kizomba is much more than a warm childhood memory, and is brought to us mainly as a consequence of their unfortunate past. Sharing such an important and intimate part of their culture is our privilege and although it is bound to be technically adapted to the world, we should do our best to preserve it in its purest form as well.