dance festival

Question Every Dance Festival You Attend

These are some questions you should be ask yourself before attending any dance festival:

  1. What’s the lineup like? Are they bringing local or international instructors?

  2. Is it the event in one location or multiple locations? How is transit/parking?

  3. Who’s DJing and how much experience do they have?

  4. What is the sound system like? Do they have monitor speakers?

  5. Is there an ambiance/atmosphere/theme in the main room? (lighting/decor/vibe)

  6. What’s the floor like?

  7. What’s the hotel/venue like?

  8. Who’s attending the festival? Is it all local dancers or more national/international?

  9. How much does the full pass cost? Is it worth it for the artists, DJs, and overall experience?

  10. Are there shows? How many shows are there each night? Do they have shows every night? Do the shows run late cutting into social dancing?

  11. What’s the overall vibe/energy of the festival like? Are people stuck in team clicks or are there solo dancers trying to make new friends?

  12. What’s the promoter’s reputation like?

  13. What kind of online presence do they have? Do they communicate via FB/IG with dancers in regards to concerns and last minute updates or changes?

  14. Are there other activities that we could do outside of the dance event?

  15. Is the festival the same every year? (same talent, same dancers) Are they trying to do something different each year to improve the dancer’s experience?

  16. How much time do you really have social dancing?

  17. Why are you attending the event? Is it for the workshops, shows, social dancing, or jack & jill?

  18. Is the festival primarily a showcase/performance, competitive (jack & jill), workshop, or social dancing (marathon), or vacation type festival?

  19. Does the festival offer multiple rooms with different dance genres or focus on one specific style of dance?

These are just a few questions, there are MANY more you could ask yourself.

Let’s improve the overall dance scene by raising the bar. With so many festivals in today’s world, the quality has gone down, and many festivals feel the same.

Being aware of the different types of festivals, congresses, weekenders, and events will help you become a better consumer in the dance world.

Everyone attends events for different reasons. There will always be unhappy or dissatisfied attendees. However, being aware and investing in events that improve overall scenes is something that we should all strive for. Quality over quantity is the name of the game. Hope everyone is having an awesome summer!

What are the differences between Zouk, Kizomba, and Brazilian Zouk?

When most people hear or see the word Zouk, it's synonymous with Brazilian Zouk.  However, Zouk and Brazilan Zouk are two separate dances and it's important that dancers understand "Zouk" and it's history/origins. 

Zouk is why we dance Kizomba and Brazilian Zouk today.  The music from these small islands traveled across oceans and developed into new dances.

People are often confused about Brazilian Zouk and Kizomba music.  Can you dance Kizomba to Brazilian Zouk, and viceversa?  We will try and keep it as simple as possible.  Please note: we are generalizing to keep this as simple as possible so the majority of people can understand the basic differences. 

Zouk - Zouk originated from the Caribbean Islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique (see map below).   Zouk is what you would dance at a family bbq on the weekends.   There were no classes or formal moves, it was just something that you grew up doing and was part of every day life.  This music genre grew in popularity by a French Antillean band in the 1980s called Kassav'.

zouk map.jpg

Kizomba - Kizomba is an Angolan dance with heavy influence from Cape Verde.  It's a closed danced where you embrace your partner closely and is danced slower than Zouk.  There was  influence from the group Kassav', along with Semba and other influences.  This too, was a low-key dance that every one grew up dancing to.  Many new sub-styles of Kizomba have since emerged like Tarraxinha and Urban Kiz.

Kizomba grew as a music/dance genre when dancers moved to different parts of Europe.  Since then, Kizomba has grown tremendously and is spreading rapidly all over the world.

Brazilian Zouk - This partner dance originated from lambada music which became popular in the 1980s in Northern Brazil.  The most well known song is Lambada by Kaoma.  Due to the lack of Lambada music, dancers turned to Zouk music which sounded similar to lambada music.  Brazilians fused/incorporated Zouk music into their zouk-lambada dance.  

Brazilian Zouk is a dance genre, not a music genre.  You can dance Brazilian Zouk to anything with a 4/4 beat.  Popular genres include hip hop, rap, trap, electronic, lyrical, indie, rock, pop - and of course, kizomba and zouk like the examples above. 

In the Brazilian Zouk scene, there are many DJs that produce and create remixes of popular songs.  Popular DJs/producers: DJ Kakah, Mafie Zouker, Lord Feifer, Arkkanjo, DJ Allan Z, and DJ Amigo.  Popular US-based DJs: DJ Power, and DJ Shiv.   

Some DJs play tracks that have a Zouk beat or "boom chic chic boom" while others play "zoukable" music (an entire blog post can be written on this).

Some points we want to emphasize:

  • You can dance Brazilian Zouk to any music genre with a 4/4 beat if you really wanted to. Zouk music is traditional music from the Caribbean Islands.
  • You can usually dance Brazilian Zouk to Kizomba.
  • You cannot dance Kizomba to Brazilian Zouk music genres. (*some do but MOST don't)
  • Brazilian Zouk is a completely different dance than Zouk and Kizomba
  • Zouk has become synonymous with Brazilian Zouk.  Promoters, artists, DJs, should promote Brazilian Zouk by emphasizing that it is from Brazil. "Brazilian" should be present.
  • Kizomba and Brazilian Zouk are completely different dances.  There should not be a mixed Kizomba and Brazilian Zouk room.
  • Kizomba is not the "sexiest dance ever,"  this is called clickbait.  Clickbait is when the person just wants you to to click for attention or views.  I believe Kizomba is sensual but not sexy - this is  subjective.  Bachata Sensual and Brazilian Zouk are also sensual dances.

Popular Kizomba festivals we've filmed: Kizomba Luxembourg, Miami Beach Kizomba FestivalMontreal is Kizomba.

Popular Brazilian Zouk festivals we've filmed: Dutch Zouk Congress, Prague Zouk Congress, and Hawaii Zouk Festival.