Social Dance Life #1: Dear Kizomba Girl…

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The following Social Dance Life story was sent to us from a dancer named “Ohio Salsa”.

“Dear Kizomba girl from cruise…

I was on the Latin dance cruise last year. I was interested in Kizomba as a second dance so I had about five beginner group sessions under my belt with about ten dances. I had enough basics to hold my own as a newbie and was excited to be there on my trip of a lifetime.

It was Saturday and I ventured out on the Kizomba deck of the ship.  I danced twice to start…a little shaky at first but OMG exhilarating.  The sense of community, sharing, and belonging was thrilling and now I see why its popular.  You appeared to me a beautiful and Asian.  All smiles I asked you to dance. You smiled and said ‘Ok’.  I started with “heartbeat” to find a grove with you.

You suddenly went in to this pelvic grind undulation move that left me speechless. I tried to follow you as to not let you down but then you stopped in the middle of the song and asked, “How long have you been dancing? How many years….um…. months……..days?”

I was floored.

I said with a smile, “I’m new but have enough to get by”. You then said (hand on heart) “I’m an advanced dancer from TX, do you even know what a ‘box step’ is?” (lol…I still don’t). I thought “Wow ok! I wasn’t ready for that”.  Then in the middle of the deck in front of God a country and everyone you proceeded to teach me Kizomba.  Smacking my knees and legs if stepped incorrectly…much like you would if you were disciplining a toddler.

I have never felt more defeated and like crap in all my dancing experience more than that moment. I don’t know why it bothered me…perhaps I put you on a pedestal or put too much burden on you.

Thank heaven the song ended. I left the Kizomba deck (head down) and went back to my cabin immediately. I thought “Why am I here? I suck”. I started reviewing my videos from Kizomba dance class and thought… “Was I that bad? She didn’t even let me lead a single move before she humiliated me.”

I never danced Kizomba after that on the cruise and that memory still impacts me.  I know it shouldn’t have, but it did.

So dear girl from cruise, choose your words carefully.  We were all new once and in this instance your words crushed my fragile dance spirit.

With advice from my warm friends back home at the studio I have continued on my Kizomba journey fueled not by hurt buy by your harsh words. If I see you again let me apologize ahead of time for not asking you to dance…I’m sure an “Advanced dancer” would be more than happy though… ;- ).

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  • Remy dancedevil says:

    This is so wrong in so many ways. Correcting on the dance floor, putting someone down, acting posh. For what Kizomba girl? Bcos u know 4 moves? In a dance style which is not much to begin with anyway in the world of real dance? So u r advanced? I’m Kizomba???? 3 basic steps 2 said as and that’s it? What does that mean? It means u just learned about kiss French style which is actually trying to put basic tango moves into Kizomba but in such a bad way that it even makes basic tangueiros’ toes curl. Kizomba became popular last 4 years. And the pelvis movements, the taraxinha movement, is not to be danced with strangers, according to Angolean etiquette. But more important: social dancing is about connection and fun, not about ego, despite the many classes u attended (not so many I figure) u still did not get that. U know what? learn at least 5 dance styles for the next 10 years for 6 hours a day, and then let’s talk again. and even then, no way u can be arrogant. Real toppers are modest.

  • David Sander says:

    I’m sorry you had this experience with Kizumba! To broaden your perspective, go and find one of the local Argentine Tango dance groups in your area and go sit and watch them dance at one of their Milongas. You will be rescued from this bad experience with the different social perspective that Argentine Tango dancers have and how well behaved they are. A more liberal version of this behavior is what Kizomba is supposed to be!
    Its also generally considered in all social dances to be rather bad form to teach on the dance floor, I’m good and often get asked to do this but then I keep the instruction to the point and minimal and follow the dictum that its always as or more important to motivate new dancers to keep dancing and training.
    I also get into sensual bachatas locally, but the key idea here is that the follower in my case has to want to do this, I’m not in the habit of intruding on someone’s personal space on the dance floor unless I know them! No amount of “advanced” dancing can justify embarrassing a new dancer, making them feel small, or worse, making them feel like not dancing again. This makes the dance community smaller. Feel happy that you don’t need an ego trip like this!

  • David Sander says:

    Also all beginners need time and experience to learn to dance which is actually more complicated than just moving your feet properly. Its like learning a new language! I had the experience of being a slow learner and getting started after 50. This was very frustrating for the first year, but I continued to like the people I met at dancing. This worried me years until I talked to a former World Champion Salsa dancer this year who said she was a slow learner too! I was amazed and gratified to be normal. So just relax, go dancing regularly and take the lessons you are interested in. Regularly challenging yourself will lead to improvements that will make you unrecognizable in two years!

  • Ohio Salsa says:

    Thanks……yeah that hurt when it was happening…I’m learning that there’s always one in the crowd.

    So I focus on what good came of it…

    If I know the person is very new…I take extra care to encourage them while dancing, I never coach, I lead and make them feel beautiful no matter what…

    I danced with a beginner girl last week , I know she was because I saw her in the level 1 Salsa class…..I think it was the first time she tried a social…So we danced I kept it simple….it was done she asked… “was I ok, I suck right?” ..I held her shoulders lightly and said “You were perfect , you better save me another dance” …she ran back to her lil friends and high fived them…. ;-)

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