This is quite a controversial topic, which we would like to look deeper into in this blog.

Controversial, because kizomba is a close dance. However, what is this closeness exactly? Where does it come from? Does it have to be like this?

To begin with, let’s go back to the roots and see what kizomba is about at its origin. The word ‘kizombada’ originally just meant ‘party’ in the Angolan dialect Kimbundu. Danced in a family setting, at large parties – kizombada’s, kizomba was a traditional, family affair that Angolans could dance with their spouses, children, parents. In this context, closeness of the dance was something that united people on a family, cultural, historical level. Closeness meant a strong cultural bond that people could relate to, cherish and share.

During the 90’s there were many civil wars in Angola, which led to a lot of Angolans fleeing their country. Being away from home people used the dance to get through hard times, processing their saudades (which translates into “sorrows” or “missings” in English) and connecting to their culture. This added more depth and closeness to the dance: connection of people’s hearts and souls.

With the evolution of kizomba as a dance, its migration to Europe and overseas, with emergence of various music genres and dance styles, the feeling and the closeness of the dance have also changed. Nowadays kizomba is referred to by many as an umbrella term accommodating several genres of music and dance styles (Angolan kizomba, Cape Verdean coladeira and cabo-love, ghetto zouk, tarraxinha, semba, urban kiz). Led by the music, each of these styles expresses different emotions (e.g. romantic cabo-love, sensual tarraxinha, playful semba). Depending on the emotions two put into dance, closeness of their dance – physical and spiritual – is defined. There is no set convention dictating either of these styles to be sexual, intimate or anything else on a dance floor. It is a choice of two: how close, spiritual, physical, sensual, respectful, connected, intimate or classy their dance will be.  

In other words, kizomba is a close dance but is only as romantic or sexual as you and your partner choose to make it. As with any social dance, courtesy and respect are basic expectations, so there’s no need to feel intimidated by this beautiful and multicoloured social dance!

Thinking about giving kizomba a try? Click here!

Big hug,

Olga & Kevin – O&K Connection