The future of Bachata Sensual and Urban Kiz in the US

I believe bachata sensual and urban kiz will be spearheading the latin-dance scene over the next 5 years.  Urban kiz and bachata sensual videos are among the most popular dance videos online.  They appear on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram from artists all over the world and are consumed daily by dancers/non-dancers.

Unfortunately, these dance videos are often filmed in a manner that sexualizes the dance in hopes for a "viral" video.   The most important thing about these videos is that it creates engagement.   This content catches people's attention, they share, they tag, they like, and social media algorithms favor this type of content.  When this happens, this content appears on people's feeds and ultimately it's what the masses will consume.  

The dominican bachata scene is strong in the US, don't get me wrong.  However, there's been an increase in bachata sensual artists coming from abroad filling in a demand that has yet to be filled with local bachata sensual artists here.  While dominican and urban bachata will continue to be strong, there will be more competition and variety with the increase in bachata sensual artists.  Moreover, bachata sensual videos often receive more engagement than dominican bachata videos.

The Kizomba scene in the US was lackluster when we started filming 4 years ago.  There were very few events and festivals.  Today, most big festivals cater to Urban Kiz or Kizomba.  There have been many Urban Kiz weekenders and events popping up in the past two years as well.  Urban Kiz videos also receive more engagement that kizomba videos.

Sex sells.  In today's media consuming world - "sexy" videos are what people want to watch.  Dancers hype up certain artists and want to look and feel sexy just like they do in that one video on Facebook.  Artists have become overnight celebrities and treated like gods.  Heck, if you filmed a video a certain way, you could become famous over night and start teaching/traveling the world. 

It's up to the dancers and artists to know what they are consuming and promoting.  It's up to us to be aware of the different styles of dance and origins of dance genres.  We all have our preferences, fine. However, I believe there is a fine line between a good dance video showing connection and musicality, versus a sexualized over-the-top grinding twerk-like video.


2018 DC Zouk Festival

It's not often that I get to travel for pleasure, but this weekend was the exception.  As an avid bachata, kizomba, and brazilian zouk dancer- I was really looking forward to dancing all three dances throughout the weekend.  

Most festivals that specialize in one dance have a variety of rooms for specific sub-genres of music.  For example: A Kizomba festival will have a Kizomba room and an Urban Kiz Room.   A Zouk festival will have a Neo Zouk room and a Lamba Zouk room.

Typically, festivals that try to cater to all styles of dance usually end up with one or two rooms being full/packed(usually salsa and bachata), and the remaining rooms(kizomba/brazilian zouk) are usually empty and have very few people dancing.  

The DC Zouk Festival is the only festival that I've attended where all three rooms were full/somewhat full and had decent energy.  I was able to dance all three styles and feel good in each room.  Some people came just for one specific style of dance, others like myself came for two or three different styles.  

I'm not one to take workshops, participate in jack and jills, or watch shows- I strictly social dance.  Therefore, I can't comment on the quality of the workshops or shows at this festival.  From a social dance perspective, this festival was exactly what I was looking for.  Sure, the rooms could've been a bit bigger with more dance floor and AC.  However, the sound systems and DJs were good and provided a comfortable environment where I could dance kizomba, bachata, and brazilian zouk.

DJ Emerzive and DJ Soltrix played some banger sets with high-energy tracks.  I really enjoyed the bachata room more so than the other rooms.  The zouk room was too crowded and hot.  The kizomba room had it's moments throughout the weekend and the DJs were also laying down some solid sets.

Here's almost 20 minutes from DJ Emerzive's set on Saturday:

Cheers to Sami for a great festival!


Brazilian Zouk in San Diego - One Zouk

Hosted by Brunno/Paula and Yuan, One Zouk Social has become the best spot to learn and practice Brazilian Zouk in San Diego.   We celebrated a number of birthdays including: Melissa Elder, Brunno Theodoro, Megan Travers, and Tom Souza!  Kyle Mikami hit the decks for a 4-hour set and played a mix of eclectic tunes.  Below is a sample of the mix from earlier in the evening.

Friday the 13th didn't scare anyone from coming out as we had a huge turnout from Los Angeles.  Below is a video of the birthday roda!

Kyle Mikami will be back June 9th, 2018 to play another set in San Diego.  If you enjoyed this content and would like updates on the Brazilian Zouk scene in Southern California, subscribe below!

2018 Los Angeles Zouk Festival

Hosted by Shani Mayer and Christian Whitecloud, the 2018 Los Angeles Zouk Festival is right around the corner!  Located at the beautiful Queen Mary in Long Beach, California - this is one of the longest running  Brazilian Zouk festivals in the US.  

This year's edition includes a "LambaZouk Track" option that allows dancers to take intensive courses from some of the world's best Lamba Zouk instructors.  Instructors include Adriana, Lena Thieme, Ry'El & Jessica, Gilson, Felipe & Patricia, and the one and only - Master Braz!  Master Braz recently obtained a unique Visa that will allow him to work in the US and teach Lamba Zouk.   

This year will include a teacher's course taught by Jaime Arôxa, Leo & Becky, and Gilson Damasco.  These amazing artists will be teaching history, technique, musicality, and different types of teaching methods.

The Jack & Jill is always a fun and hectic competition.  Expect to see new faces this year as Brazilian Zouk has seen tremendous growth this past year.

Other highlights this year include Rodrigo and Karina from Sao Paulo, Brazil!  They are an amazing couple and one of the biggest influencers in the Sao Paulo zouk scene.  Check out a video that we filmed of them when we in Brazil in 2017.  DJ Kakah will be blessing us with amazing music as well.

Brazilian Zouk festivals are always fun, busy, and exciting.  For us, the deck parties definitely stand out from any other event.  These parties allow us to dance outdoors and enjoy the Southern California breeze.  They have afternoon parties on the deck along with after-parties that usually last until sunrise.  

See you on the dance floor!

If you're interested in attending this year's event, you can purchase tickets here.

Ivette Bogarin Bachata Video Shoot

We had the pleasure of working with Ivette Bogarin last week in Orange County, California.  She is a professional latin-dancer specializing in Salsa and Bachata.  Based out of Tijuana, Ivette entered the world of dance back in 2010.  She trained with Alma Latina and established artists like: Sheila de Jesús, Terry Tauliaut, Rodrigo Cortazar, and Ivan Valdespino.

If you are interested in taking classes with Ivette, shoot her a message.