kizomba

Thank you 2017 latin-dance festivals!

2017 was an incredibly busy year for us.  We filmed over 15 Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, and Brazilian Zouk dance festivals and congresses.  We were exposed to many different promoters, locations, cities, countries, personalities, dancers, and artists.  We learned a lot about how different festivals are organized and ran.

Like with anything in life, one needs to have balance.  Filmed festivals every weekend will inevitabley burn someone out.  We tried our best to keep a good balance of local gigs, travel, and dance gigs.  Unfortunately, there were months where we filmed several dance festivals consecutively.  

With all the experience we got in 2017, 2018 looks brighter than ever.  We have new clients on the horizon and are super excited to continue working with with our favorite festivals.  It's not easy traveling with expensive equipment and filming/editing a 3-5 day festival non-stop.  There are times where we need to take a step back and take a break.  

Bachatea - Madrid
Amsterdam ZNL Zouk Festival - Amsterdam
Bachata French Kiss - Troyes
WestZoukTIME - Bruno
L.A Zouk Festival - Long Beach
Official - Prague Zouk Congress - Prague
Montreal Salsa Convention - Montreal
Zouk Me Summer Fest - San Francisco
Los Angeles BKS Festival - Orange County
Kizomba Luxembourg - Luxembourg
MiamiBeach KizombaFestival - Miami
Zoukadise - Puerto Vallarta
Montreal Is Kizomba - Montreal
Dutch International Zouk Congress - Breda
Hawaii Zouk Festival - Honolulu
Kizomba Harmony African Dance Experience - Cancun

Check out our work: sbkzmedia.com
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We don't try and work with every festival.  Rather, we focus on relationships with good promoters that are fair, honest, and try to do what's best for their respective dance community and push it in the right direction.  A big thanks to all of those promoters that we've worked with, and that we continue to work with in the future - you know who you are!!

 

Shooting the Kill Jill Music Video with Archie and Sizzle

We filmed Kill Jill earlier this year in San Francisco with Archie and Sizzle.  The track was produced by DJ Kakah and we had William/Paloma and Ry'el/Jessica as dancers.   This was not an easy shoot to coordinate since we had many people involved and logistically, it was difficult.

Our first location was Dolores Park.  This is a relatively new park with an amazing view of the city.  We had many takes at this location and it turns out that the footage from this location came out the best.

The second location was the Palace of Fine Arts.  This location is a popular tourist location and was unfortunately a very windy location.  Due to the wind, we didn't use any dancing clips in the music video but utilized some solo clips.

The third location was a lookout point nearby which had great views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.  Again, the wind was a factor - however, most of the dancing clips were useful and the solos from Archie and Sizzle were great.  We finished shooting at this location around 4:30 and headed to the hotel where we were staying to meet with DJ Kakah and William/Paloma.

Due to arrival/logistical issues, we were pressed for time as the sun was setting.  William and Paloma had just landed so we frantically found a location in the neighborhood nearby.  We took two takes just before the sun had set.   Had we had more time, we would have found a better location and included DJ Kakah in the video as well.

Overall, the music video turned out great.  It really shows the energy of the dancers and plays well with the musicality of the track.  The solo parts by Archie and Sizzle are high energy and I'm really happy with the camera movement.

We shot this video with a Sony a6300.

We plan on working with Archie and Sizzle in early 2018.   You can check out their website here:  KizombaWorth.com Also, keep an eye out for a new CD to be released sometime in March of next year.

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.

Brazilian Zouk in Mexico

It's only a matter of time before we see Brazilian Zouk festivals in major cities in Mexico.  Salsa and Bachata have ruled the scene for years, and now we are seeing Kizomba make it's way into the scene and it's growing faster and stronger than ever.

This year, Brazilian Zouk made it's way to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  It's a beautiful city located on the coast about a three hour drive from Guadalajara.  The event was located in a small and intimate hotel with mostly Mexican tourists.  

Many of the dancers traveled from Mexico City and Guadalajara.  Brazilian Zouk is relatively new to Mexico, so the level of dancing was not very high.   However, dancers were eager to learn and picked up the basics in no time.  By the end of the congress, many were dancing well and had learned the fundamentals.

Brazilian Zouk may seem difficult at first.  However, if you learn fast and put your mind to it, it's really not that difficult - whether you are a lead or follow.  The biggest tip I can give is don't be intimidated.  Treat Zouk like any other partner dance and focus on building the basics.  The advanced patterns and head movements will follow later.

Overall, the turnout was great even with poor weather and the earthquake that took place a couple weeks before the event.  The organizers are very friendly and are excited about 2018 being even bigger and more fun.   Small, intimate, and creative festivals are always more fun than bigger festivals.

Here is the recap from the 2017 Zoukadise Festival, enjoy!!!

 

Bachata French Kiss 2017 | France

It was my second night in Paris and I decided to go out to a Bachata social.  What did I find?  Bachata Sensual is definitely on the rise.  One room was packed with dancers while the other room was completely empty.  That other room?   Good guess,  it was the Dominican room.

It's good to see Samy El Magico keeping Dominican bachata alive in France.  While it's not the norm, it should definitely be available and respected.  The festival is also centered around this respect.  Samy brought an eclectic mix of bachata artists that dance all different styles.  

I really enjoyed the music throughout the festival.  The bachata DJs played a good mix of Dominican, Traditional, and Urban.  They also had a separate Kizomba and Salsa room.

The thing that stood out for me the most at this festival was the location.  Situated two hours East of Paris, the festival was held in the beautiful city of Troyes.  The city has flavor, taste, and history.  The buildings show age and tell a story.  I was able to fly my drone around the city for a few minutes until the police stopped me.

20 minutes outside of the city is a number of champagne/wine vineyards.  Unfortunately, we weren't about to go champagne touring(we'll have to save this for next year).  Samy has big plans for 2018 and we are excited to return to film another amazing festival!