• The Angolan dance kizomba has quickly gained traction across the world. 
  • The dance style is known for its sensual skin-on-skin moves.
  • Dance studios across South Africa are now offering kizomba classes, as it takes off locally.

Originating in Angola, kizomba has become a global phenomenon in the dance world.

It means "party" in Kimbundu, one of the most widely spoken languages in Angola, and has even helped shape the semba, which is considered to be the nation's traditional dance.

The kizomba is a sensual skin-on-skin dance, consisting of swaying movements, at a slower, more sensual pace than the semba.

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Kizomba has taken off on dance floors across the world, and AFP last year reported that it is now being taught in London, Paris and  New York, with festivals and workshops as far afield as Shanghai, Moscow, Tokyo, Mumbai and Auckland.

It is also now all the rage in South Africa, and classes are popular at dance studios in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town. The annual Mzansi Salsa Festival, which will be held in October, will feature a number of kizomba workshops and performances - and kizomba will also be part of the Johannesburg Afro-Latin festival, planned for March next year. 

“It's one of those dances you cannot do unless you have a great connection with your partner," said Primrose Ramokotjo, who is one of the many kizomba fans at the University of Cape Town’s dance club.

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She says the dance is performed everywhere these days - in studios, but also anywhere else, including on the beach. 

Ramokotjo uses an app called Mais Kizomba, that streams music from her tablet for dancing outside the studio.

“I enjoy [the app] so much. The weird part is I don't understand a word because it's not in English. But, I love it. It’s the feeling, the emotion and the tone of the singer that just grips me.” said Ramokotjo.

Mais Kizomba, the app.


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