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…
“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…
What 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***
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”.