Hello! I'm Barbara!World Traveler & Kiz Dancer
Kizomba – Love at First Step
The truth is, I started dancing long before Kizomba was famous and conquered my heart. I was a Latin American Ballroom dancer when I was a teenager but when the time came to decide what to do in my life I chose an academic career over the parquet.
Not knowing that a whole decade without dancing was about to follow, I quit the membership in the dancing club I was in and indulged myself into as many University courses as possible. Seven years fast forward, I didn’t find what I was looking for at University and took another decision that would change my life forever: I became a digital nomad – a location independent online entrepreneur – and lived on the road. I traveled around the world making money from my computer always searching for the place that would make me happy.
It was in May 2017 when I went to a local dancing party because friends had convinced me. I knew that I didn’t really like Salsa and Bachata. But when I heard the first beats of a Kizomba song I realized immediately that this was different. I watched the dancers for the rest of the evening not daring to ask anyone to dance with me – until the DJ yelled “
It was love at first step.
How the Story Continued
In the following months, it became my habit to choose my destination in regards to whether there was an active Kizomba community or not. I started slowly to find out about this whole new world. I attended my first festival – Budapest Kizomba Connection – with a Party Pass just 3.5 months after starting. I had never heard the terms Urban Kiz or Tarraxinha before and I remember seeing the workshop schedule with all those titles… I didn’t understand what all this was.
The months after, I was in Bucharest. Marta Mignone – who I had also never heard of before – was in town and gave a workshop weekend. I was so in! And I was more than eager to learn everything I could about the dance that had changed everything.
Fast forward again: In November 2017, I was in Saigon doing a house sit. When I heard of the Vietnam Latin Xperience in Hanoi I didn’t think twice but booked a flight to the north of Thailand. I not only booked a Full Pass for the first time but also a masterclass with VersuS. The gender balance was horrible and I was waiting more than actually dancing. I was so annoyed and found the choreo quite easy to follow so I decide to try my luck as a leader. It was terrible. I didn’t even know to lead a saida and since I started in the middle of the first day’s workshop, I completely messed it up. But instead of giving in I tried again the next day and I asked some leaders I was friends with to show me basic steps. That day it worked out!
Now, I’m attending every festival I can. As a volunteer, special guest, or as a paying dancer. I’m still working on my lead but as a follower I had the most amazing dances – way better than I had hoped. I won a Jack’n’jill competition and the most important thing: I made incountable new friends who share the same passion.
It’s been an exciting journey so far and I still don’t go to places where I won’t be able to kiz. Let’s where this is taking me. But for now, I am the Kizzing Nomad!
Collaboration with Angel Padilla
A bit about me…
Hi, my name is Angel. I am an engineer from Mexico living in Germany since 2013. I am a languages enthusiast, guitar player, dancing lover and, like some friends say, a Kizomba freak.
On March 2019 I had the chance to meet by coincidence Barbara at the Valentine Dance Festival in Berlin. I had seen in the past an interview of her with a Youtuber in China in one of her many trips, where she explains what she does for a living and since then I had followed her on Instagram, where I discovered she had also a blog about Kizomba. So when I met her, we began talking about what we both do and how much we enjoy traveling and dancing Kizomba as much as we can.
I’ve been dancing for a few years but I first discovered Kizomba less than a year ago, in Sommer of 2018, and I just became obsessed with it. I’d never seen a dance style with this amount of musicality and freedom to improvise, create new moves and have such a connection with the partner.
After just a few weeks of learning it with different teachers at the same time in the region of Germany where I live, I decided to go to Portugal to the DMAES Summer Bootcamp in Porto with AfroLatin Connection, where I was able to see one of the best scenes of Kizomba, and learn with amazing teachers and dancers from all over the world. This made me want to learn Kizomba even more.
Since the beginning of 2019 I’ve been going as much as I can to Kizomba festivals all over Europe, especially as volunteer to be able to get involved more and more in this world and have contact with teachers and organizers, and since Barbara has created this amazing platform to share experiences and reviews of festivals, she has allowed me to share my experiences here on her blog.
I hope this helps other people to know which festivals to attend and which ones would fit to their taste and needs. And more than anything, I hope all these posts help spread the amazing world of Kizomba.