Kizomba: The History of Bachata’s More Sensual Cousin

There are certain things that define a culture: its food, its history and its art. And while museums exist to give us a glimpse into the olden days, it’s performance art that has served as the portal by which we connect the past to the present. Dance and music, in particular, have existed since before

Kizomba HipLatina

Photo: YouTube/Academia Danças do Mundo

And it is here where my journey with Kizomba began; at the intersection of culture and self expression; at the place where a colonial past and civil unrest meet with resilience and optimism. I first discovered Kizomba about two years ago by way of a random YouTube video shared on social media. The scene took place inside of a modest dance studio, the subjects moved in a seamless, slow, and sensual wave and I thought to myself, ‘this is the sexiest Bachata I’ve ever seen’. But it wasn’t bachata, in fact, the video description claimed it as ‘Kizomba’. I gave it no further thought until I traveled to Portugal last year and began to hear rumblings of Kizomba night clubs; and for good reason: while Kizomba is an African zouk inspired dance style, its growing significance in the dance world owes its success to its prominence among the immigrant communities of Lisbon.

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