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Eddy Vents: Why Most Kizomba and Salsa Teachers Are Bad

What do you think makes a good dancer or teacher? Is it the ability to teach, a well rounded knowledge of the dance, years of experience, a flair for dance or just sheer personality? UK Kizomba legend Eddy Vents believes that most of the dance teachers around at the moment know nothing about Kizomba and are just out to get your cash. He’s here today to share his thoughts on the UK Kizomba (and Salsa) scene and terrible teachers. Can it really be true? Read on to find out…

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Eddy:

“The power of dance never fails to amaze me. It is able to unite people,  but it also has the power to divide. What I’m about to share about the Kizomba (and Salsa) dance scene may not please everyone, but it needs to be said.  My heart needs to speak.

In my opinion, learning how to dance should always be a joy, a journey and an adventure that we want to experience for some years. There should be no kind of stress at all, simply the desire to have a lot of fun.

Everybody wants to teach

There is something that scares me in the Kizomba scene. For some reason everyone wants to be a dance teacher.  Most of these people have only just learnt to dance themselves but they are teaching it already. They have probably never learnt it for real, only imitated moves they’ve seen on YouTube and think that this is all they need!

I met some people in my workshops last year that couldn’t even pronounce the word ‘Kizomba’ and they are teachers already!!  Others think that they are so naturally gifted at dance that they can teach just about anything. If it’s popular they do it. Some believe that if they are Black or African they deserve the title of teacher. Many people only start learning Kizomba today but are already looking for someone to be their partner because they want to ‘practice’ so they can get better because they want to be performing or teaching tomorrow. Unbelievably Kizomba teachers already outnumber students in some areas or the USA.  It’s obvious that something is going badly wrong.

Knowing the true beauty of Kizomba

This is a sad state of affairs. It’s sad to see that many people are only learning Kizomba just to teach it. They are only concerned with mastering the right body movement and they forget all of the other stuff about Kizomba that is equally important and part of the whole package. Sadly 80% of people don’t even know what Kizomba music is. That’s why they have trouble when you ask them the difference between Kizomba and Semba.  The only thing they know is that one is slow and the other is fast. It’s obvious straight away that they don’t have any clue what Kizomba really is, and they it’s likely that they never even heard a Kizomba song.

All these people have something in common. Whatever they do, whether that’s performing or teaching they do it badly. But they also have another thing in common; they think that what they do is always superior to other people’s efforts.This is why dances like Kizomba, Salsa, Bachata have many more bad teachers than good.

Basics are best

It’s vital that we master the basics before we do any further in a dance. It’s funny too see how many people discuss the importance of the foundations and basics  but then don’t actually follow that principle themselves! How many of them really do that? The idea is only to make them look good publicly. Then when we watch them dance…..LORD HAVE MERCY.

I have said it often and I will repeat it again, ‘To be good in any dance, they key is in the music and how you master your basic.’ Only those people who actually do this will understand my words.

You need to devote time to Kizomba. Do workshops and classes, dosome research, ask questions, listen and become a dancer organically.

On good teaching…

eddy vents dancingWhat does being a teacher really mean? Most Kizomba teachers don’t even comprehend what the word means. As long they can break down the steps they call themselves ‘Teachers’. This is not what being a teacher is all about,  its something that anyone can learn by taking classes like everyone else.

All teachers have the responsibility to learn the roots of any dance they are teaching regardless of the ‘style’ they like or teach. Breaking down steps does not make you teacher. Being a teacher should make you care about pedagogy, didactics, psychology, history, ethics and also how to be a better human. Taking peoples money without having a clue about what you do is robbery, plain and simple.

Evolution and Styles

People often use the word ‘evolution’ to justify their b******* and terrible way of dancing.  At the same time they use the word ‘traditionalist’ as a negative thing. Where has this skewed thinking come from? I have commonly heard it said that this or that person has a ‘different style’. So let me clear something up for you. Most of the dancers that appear the have a difference or unique style don’t know the slightest thing about real, genuine Kizomba. They are just taking your money.

They don’t even know what real Kizomba is. Most of them haven’t learn the traditional way, just copied second-class moves from an online video clip. When bad dancers teach others, it creates a whole flood of bad dancers.  Everyone will call what they dance a ‘different style’. Is it a good thing? I’ll leave that up to you.

The people who genuinely love Kizomba

Thankfully, there are also plenty of people who are actually working hard to become a better Kizomba dancer. They want to understand how the dance works and understand all they can about it. They do the workshops, suffer the travelling, take private classes, ask lots of questions and do lots of research. Full respect goes out to these people. Keep doing what you are doing and together we will give hope to the Kizomba and Salsa scenes.

Kizomba is still a relatively new dance craze in the west. And of course, in order to spread this wonderful dance we need people to teach it. However, with things as they are, what will be the cost to the real dance? Kizomba loses its soul if everyone only has their sights set on making money from it and not taking pleasure in it for what it is.

Dance, have fun and enjoy your journey as a dancer. In a few years but not before, you will be able to pass on your experience, knowledge and journey to others. There is no short cut.”

***Whilst Eddy mainly refers to Kizomba through the article, he is also speaking of Salsa and Bachata too***


BIO

Eddy Vents has been surrounded by Lusophone music from the early childhood. His undoubted passion for Kizomba and exceptional teaching skills has made him a winner of the award for Kizomba Teacher of the Year 2014 He’s a lifelong dancer who finally bowed to the encouragement of friends in 2010 and started to teach. His motto is “The Master is the Music”.

Find him on Facebook.

18 Comments on Eddy Vents: Why Most Kizomba and Salsa Teachers Are Bad

  1. I can’t tell you how primitive this article is. He doesn’t tell any concrete thing about what makes a good teacher, only whining about those “others” who are so bad teachers, and they don’t know anything. This is sooo pathetic. This writing is obviously from a VERY unsuccessful man, who is too stupid to make a success, and he is trying to make others look bad to make him look better. He is probably also a bad dancer/teacher – regardless of that award. You can NEVER hear successfull people whining about how bad are others.

    • The man who wrote this certainly is successful- he was voted the UK’s number one Kizomba teacher in the national LUKAS Awards and has vast experience both dancing and teaching. To me, he soundss like a man who is very frustrated with so much of the UK Kizomba scene. Whilst I don’t agree with everything that he says- he has a point (with regards to Salsa at least). So many dancers just want to fast-track to being teachers or DJs without knowing what it’s really all about.

      • Successful people do NOT whine about how bad are others. There are TONS of bad musicians and music teachers, but have you ever heard Sting whining about how bad are others? I don’t think so… Only unsuccessful people are whining. An award does NOT differentiate what kind of person you are, an award doesn’t mean shit. How he acts like tells me what kind of person he is. This article is not about giving any info what makes a good teacher, this is only pure whining about others… pathetic.

        • Paul (SalsaDiablo) // October 23, 2014 at 11:00 pm // Reply

          If I started singing dull,tedious ballads so badly that anyone who heard me decided that they were no longer going to buy dull tedious ballads any more, but would only listen to hip-hop from now on, this would effect Sting’s sales of his dull, tedious ballads. And he would be whining from the roof-tops at full volume about me. As he’s not slow to whine about plenty of other stuff.

    • If you would be part of the kizomba scene you would understand that. If you are not I makes no sense to try to explain that. Since you would anyway not understand it. And Eddy pointed in detail what the problem is. You need to be involved to understand the dilemma.

    • I can see your point however attacking him is non-productive. Here is the answer to your inquiry – Qualities of a good instructor.
      https://www.facebook.com/notes/john-morey-salseroblanko/qualities-to-look-for-in-an-instructor-your-instructor/305319346156319

  2. Yes, finally the truth. 100% agree. I have no problem with people making money to share their passion and to be able to do that as a living. What I disagree with is the watering down of what it is they are teaching to the point of turning wine into water and selling it as wine. An understanding of the music, roots and culture of the dance, kizomba, salsa etc is what will give the dance value and meaning. Just breaking down steps and combinations is a soul-less task even it does turn over a lot of profit for some. In Angola or Cuba, you couldn’t do that because people understand the music and can tell a fake from the real deal. This is not the case in some parts of Europe and especially in the UK because we have no connection with the culture unless we make an effort to do our own research instead of blindly following our teachers. Eddy is spot on but how do we rectify this? I suggest more events like FLAC (Festival Live Music Angolan and Cuban) which focus on the music and dance to develop a deeper connection with the culture.

  3. Paul (SalsaDiablo) // October 18, 2014 at 11:04 am // Reply

    At last ! I could have written this about Salsa, over the last twenty years, and probably have. (Right Charlotte ?). The early latino Salsa teachers, with their deep understanding and passion, being superceded by all the clueless Brits who went into teaching after a year of Salsa, with no musicality or understanding.
    Your first guy commenting is typical of these – so clueless he doesn’t even recognise his ignorance. I see so many so called “advanced” teachers – who are just perpetuating generation after generation of badly taught dancers who are then again teaching. This is why the general dance standard in the UK is so poor and getting worse by the year.
    When I go clubbing I find it depressing to go into a room of 50 couples and try to spot the one or two who are actually dancing well. Sometimes I don’t find them at all.
    (And yes a successful dancer/teacher can criticise others, because the bad teachers are destroying the scene, and he care about this.)
    I am happy to find someone else daring to stand up about this because I was feeling a bit alone in the wilderness being a kill-joy.
    (I don’t consider myself a GOOD dancer, but I know one when I see it.)

  4. Colin Patrick // November 28, 2014 at 8:07 pm // Reply

    I can but only agree 100% with Eddy’s point of view on this.

    I come from a town in the UK not a million miles from London and I see this kind of thing a lot.
    Generally IMHO I find that it is Salsa teachers, similar to the kind mentioned previously by Paul who see Kizomba as the new ‘trend’ and want some of the action, so, they learn some basics, watch you tube, do a few workshops and hey presto, they are the towns official kizomba representative. Alas, the fact is, they are far from Kizomba teachers.
    I have been learning Kizomba now for 3 years. I have spent many MANY hours and spent a small fortune on lessons, travelled 1000’s of miles (both in the UK and abroad) to get to these lessons on the hunt to learn more and become more experienced. I was very lucky, I found early on a teacher local to me who was taught by Mr Eddy Vents directly and since has competed for UK Internationally and performs/teaches both accross the UK and Internationally. I know travel myself at least twice a week to learn directly from Eddy. His passion for Kizomba is unprecedented and his teaching is second to none. His morals are more important to him than teaching a short routine to rush basic dancers through to improver/intermediate level. He will make you do basics for months if they are to right. He will play KIZOMBA music in his lessons, not Zouk, Ghetto Zouk or some poor commercialised rip off of a pop track.

    So in response to Des who posted 1st. It is quite obvious you know nothing of the man you are slating. He is in fact a very successful teacher/promoter and you ignorance I am afraid is evident for all to see.

  5. Eddy… read this = https://www.facebook.com/notes/john-morey-salseroblanko/oh-i-can-teach-i-have-been-dancing-at-least-6-months-now/797491776939071

    This article can be used in conjunction with your article. What you wrote is not new… it is a disease. All we can do is do the best we can as instructors and remain “a student of the dance” so that our students will emulate that. Let’s just hope for the best.

    Good luck and keep plugging away. Keep providing QUALITY and not QUANTITY.

    We are SALSA in Huntsville AL
    http://www.salsalabama.com

  6. Good teaching goes hand in hand with knowing your trade or whatever you’re teaching, having a passion and a deep understanding of it and MOST importantly ensuring progress. A lot of people teach without making sure their students make progress and sometimes the reason why they’re not checking the progress of their students is because they don’t have the knowledge and the depth to correct them. Teaching is more than giving a routine for people to do or copy, it’s passing on knowledge as authentically and ethically as possible.

  7. kizombadancer // March 23, 2015 at 5:56 pm // Reply

    I agree with the sentiment of the article, if not the spirit. I want to stay away from character assassination or name-calling, and instead focus on the issue with my two cents. The question at hand is: What do you think makes a good dancer or teacher?
    1. Knowledge (know art/subject origins and evolutions)
    2. Inspiration (can you get people interested in what you do)
    3. Communication (can you effectively structure and pass on information)
    4. Experience (tenured in the art/subject)
    5. Musicality (dances to music on multiple levels)
    In my humble opinion, all great teachers have these five qualities (regardless of their “style”).

  8. Charlotte since when was 4 years experience as a teacher classed as “vast”.
    1 “award” in 4 years (please note the inverted commas – won on probably less than 100 votes from mates) hardly overflowing.
    My main gripe with people like this is they start to believe their own publicity and declare “MOST” others both kizomba and in this case salsa teachers as rubbish when they actually know about 20 people which just breeds animosity as per this comment from me. if you are so upset with these “FEW” individuals, at least have the nerve to name them your highness. i also like the comment that says others are only interested in taking your money of you, but find very few people who spew this garbage give free lessons. i won’t comment on your dancing/teaching abilities because i don’t know you, what is more i don’t want too.

  9. Well… finally i have my say!! I partly agree with this article but hugely disagree with most of it. Firstly, i think the person who wrote this article is sad really. He is encouraging kizomba to be more contravatial than it already is. The Uk salsa scene was such a better place before kizomba came to the picture and people like this are the ones who spoil the fun. Yes, they might be bad teachers out there… dah obviously, like any other dance or proffession for that matter. These bad teachers have a positive and nagative impact on the scene, positive as in they have encouraged kizomba to be available in parts of the UK where there are no legitimate teachers. Most people doing these classes are aware that their teachers might not be the best but they appreciate the opportunity that they are given to learn the dance and had they been a better teacher nearer then they would have gone to them. Myself, i learnt kizomba from a so called bad teacher and with the help of Batuke and other workshop, i can kizomba well now. Had it not been the so called bad teacher who started a local kizomba even, my interest in kizomba wouldn’t have grown. So stop attacking these lovely people, they are the reason why kizomba has grown so much… now i agree they are some who are seriouly bad like the ones you say they couldn’t pronounce the work kizomba properly but then again you sound like an arogant person so maybe it was just their accent, hrrrrrr so much hatred in this!! You might have won an award but lets face it, you dont have a dance degree… do you? People go to university to learn how to teach and dance for years ‘bless them’ and thats a legitimate teacher other wise you are just another bad teacher who is just better than the rest and i don’t have a problem with that…. just don’t critisise others, they are just like you. If you are the best that UK has to offer then we are all in trouble… ‘on different styles’ This is a free country, people dance anyway they want, its only a hobby for most people anyway. You can not control eveything/everyone, let them be. If they want to jump up and down on a kizomba track, let them be!!! They are not stealing your joy… Lets stop this drama and dance in peace!!! JUST SAYING!!!!

  10. Hi Eddy,
    I can feel your passion and I sympathise, but the MAIN objective of any partner dance is to connect with and make your partner feel comfortable and have a good time! It is not for the benefit of onlookers unless you are in competition/exams, but even then if the first criteria is not met then that will be reflected in your performance. All dances are transitional (Even ballroom!), and they change and conform to the audience / society they find themselves in. I do concur with many of the points you make, but I think you need to let it go and just continue to do and teach the way that makes you happy. Who knows perhaps in another decade a new dance might emerge from what is now known as Kizomba!

  11. Ok, there was no kizomba forum so I went and created one. I’ve been dancing kizomba about 2 years on-and-off. There’s not much online and no real place to ask questions etc. so I created this forum.

    If you’re into kizomba, please join and contribute to the discussion.
    If you’re looking for kizomba classes and events, we have a listing.
    If you’re a teacher or promoter, here is your chance to add your class/event to our listing.

    Many thanks. To find the forum, search for “kizomba forums” on facebook. The link is on that page.

  12. Learn the compromised or shall I say ‘adulterated Kizomba’ at your own risk or judgement, remembering that the real roots and solid foundation of Kizomba and Semba are fully understood by and from those who originate or have deeply researched and connected the Kizomba dance and music with the Lusophone culture. The main article above is justified, we need to preserve the integrity of the dance. Those who adapt or modify it, are free but should not use the same brand name. We have various TV sets from China or wherever, and they carry different names and not the same. Even the Chinese, after copying, would rename ‘Sony’ to something else e.g. Soni, Sonee, Son-ee, or whatever and not ‘Sony’. Maybe we need a watchdog for Kizomba, to laydown and safeguard original standards.

  13. I like Eddy. He really is one of the best Kizomba teachers ever. He is the best man to learn the roots and have the pure joy of Kizomba as how it was done since the beginning of the this beautiful dance. I totally agree with him talking about the bad teachers. It’s a curse and it’s up to the student to identify the bad ones from the good ones. Step in to different teacher’s classes than your regular and see what’s going there and see what suites you better. What I don’t agree with Eddy on this article is what he speaks of styles. Nowadays the dance scene and styles are very complex. Fortunately or unfortunately, this is Evolution and this is something which you and I have no control of. Every style and variant doesn’t fit to everybody. Each individual and each dancer is different and how they see, dance and their preference of music is different. This is exactly why a dance room of one style gets crowded than the other room at a festival. No two people are the same and no two people dance the same. Having said that what we must understand is a dancer in the social scene would prefer a certain style over another. That is completely their individual preference that you, I and Eddy must respect.

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