Kizombatreat Festival

A dialogue between upper body and lower body connection in couple dance.

Foreword: Between 3 and 5 June of this year (2022), the first kizombatreat festival took place at Etage Tropical in Ghent. Many times we refer to the importance of Etage Tropical within the kizomba community and how 15 years ago we were at the origin of the spread of this Angolan dance in Belgium. Together with Jose Garcia Ndongola from Angola, we put kizomba on the map in Belgium.

Kizombalove was born and from there this specific dance scene grew and developed, with the Urban Kizomba emerging just a little later in Paris. Mainly distributor of the authentic kizomba product, Etage Tropical soon also welcomed the French influence and offerd the dancers lessons within a fixed school year pattern, but also workshops on a monthly basis, social dance moments and festivals. Rabbil Ngwije from Burundi was trained by José Garcia Ndongola and mastered the authentic kizomba like a goeroe. These days he organizes festivals and Etage Tropical was privileged to function as his base.

The event was a hit. The best kizomba dancers from Europe traveled to Ghent to enjoy their favorite dance discipline for the weekend. Within the artist programmation I met DJ Rockkizomba and his wife Giedre Lapaite. They have a dance school in Frankfurt and were booked for the festival.

In their quest for perfectly executed kizomba, Giedre explained the importance of dance with closed eyes. Why body connection is so important for leaders and followers:

During the festival I noticed that many leaders danced with their eyes closed. Giedre has an explanation for this: the main purpose of closed eyes is to break down the visual stimuli and thusfor that specific sense. This to put more emphasis on taking and feeling. Visual stimuli also sometimes cause distraction and distract from the essence, namely connection with the dance partner. You see things around you, you experience external impulses as a result of which the attention for the dance partner is therefore sometimes lost.

Touch as a part of the dance and more specifically with the importance of the upper body (breast connection)

  1. Chest connection / upper body without connection of the arms:

At that moment we read through the chest connection the weight shift from one part of the body to the other part of the body. Fi. From left to right and vice versa.

  • Feeling the emotion of the dancepartner creates an aesthetic representation of the dance. The atmosphere in which the dance takes place determines the dynamics and the appearance.
  • No chest connection and only armconnection. As the Viennese Walz for instance where the body frame and a tight arm frame determines the movement.

In general, we may conclude that these impulses provide a well-defined framework in which the movement is created. The upper body becomes, as it were, the outer frame of the entire dance movement of both dancers (both dancers are becoming one movement)

Another very important thing is that the upper body indicates the lead.

You push with the upper body in de direction in which you want to go. In salsa the upper body pushes the follower in the desired direction or movement.

The lower body and specifically the legs will mainly initiate the motion

The connection with the lower body reaffirms the correct impulse of the upper body. Every part of the lower body plays an important role.

Hips: the lower body also gives a nice feminine accent for ladies by using the hips.

Knees: the knees provide extra direction, because Kizomba is a dance that arises from the ground, the floor upwards. The knees control the hips in this way and complete movement of the body.

The knees also play an important role in bachata. When they push against the follower’s thighs, the fluidity of the movement can be derterminated.

Flowing or tight knee connextion is determined by the style of dancing. Tango versus Bachta is danced in a completely different way. But in both cases, the knees wil provide an essential body connection.