New Interview Series: Solo African Dance

If you caught my most recent article on Latin Dance Community, you know that I’ve had a growing enthusiasm for solo African dances in the last few years. Kuduro and Afro House came into the picture for me early on in my kizomba dancing, and I’ve since tried Afrobeats, azonto, coupé décalé, ndombolo, soukous, and various classes just labeled “West African.”

When I get excited about something, I tend to do a lot of research so that I really understand it. It didn’t take me long to realize just how limited the resources on these African dances are – at least online, which these days is our first place to check.

I found a few short articles and some instructional videos, but few had the depth of NPR’s kuduro piece. The majority of Google hits are advertisements for classes and workshops. Those contain only one- or two-line explanations of the dance, if any at all. It seemed to me that maybe the knowledge I was seeking was passed on orally, visually, kinesthetically – not through written analysis or explanation.

Many of you already know that when I can’t find dance-related information online, I try my best to collect as much knowledge as I can to create new informational resources here on the site. That has been the raison d’être of most of Kizomba Community’s features and resources.

That’s why I’m launching a new series of interviews. I’ll be talking to different teachers of solo African dance that are connected to our kizomba scene – dancers of different nationalities, teaching in scenes all over the world.

My aim is to build up a better understanding of these dances and what they mean to people. Sure, line-ups at parties are wonderful for inspiring interest and taster classes are great for getting people started. Still, it seems to me there is a lot more to be uncovered if we are to properly appreciate these amazing solo dances from Africa.