Floating across the floor, in a kizomba dance in perfect symphony with your partner, connected to the music and each other, communicating without words entirely.


If you already know the kizomba dance, you know exactly what I am talking about. If not, well, you are in for a treat!

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The Magic Kizomba Dance Is Flow

Let me show you up-front how it can be done in this video of my friend and dance teacher Victor and his partner Paulina dancing on the Prado in Old Havana.

The Kizomba Dance Origin

The Kizomba dance style originally comes from Angola, although it has become super popular all over the world by now, evolving in different directions.

The predecessor of Kizomba, the Semba, was already a couple- dance. Kizomba music emerged as a fusion of Semba, Angolan Merengue, Kilapanga, and other Angolan music influences.

As it has become popular and spread throughout the world, Kizomba dance got further mixed with other dance styles.

Such as tango, hip-hop, Latin dances, Lambazouk, and acrobatics, which created several major subcategories like the Kizomba FusionUrban KizUrban Kiz Tango, and Urban Kiz Sensual.

The people of the country of origin, the Angolans, claim that kizomba is much more than a dance. It is a way of LIFE, they say, you live and breathe the Kizomba!

I am inclined to agree after having been a student of the dance for a couple of years on and off. It is a mesmerizing, almost magical way to dance, and it is a challenge to let go, relax, and let yourself be gently led.

Also read: ONE salsa casino class | Salsa Lessons In Havana Cuba!

The kizomba dance is often romantic and sensual.

The Urban Kizomba Style

The style of urban kizomba evolved as a process to adapt the expanding kizomba dance to different styles of music than the classic African sound.

It started in Paris around 2014, so very recently, and the development of the urban variation of the kizomba generated a lot of controversy in the “classic” kizomba circles.

One distinction between the classic kizomba and the urban kizomba, as it has been called, is that the kizomba has traditionally been danced in a circle while the urban kizomba is danced more in straight lines.

Also, the music following the Urban Kizomba is a form of electronic fusion of kizomba, ghetto zouk, and tarraxa (Tarraxinha is the hip-rolls or movements that you add while dancing Kizomba) mixed with other styles such as R&B, Rap, and Hip Hop

Check out this article about the differences between classic kizomba and urban kizomba. 

Kizomba Dance Is For Couples

My favorite thing about this dance is the level of communication you need to have with your partner.

So if you are a woman, or a follower regardless of gender, it is a serious exercise in listening to the other person with your whole body.

It looks kind of easy, but let me assure you, it is not. There is no choreography, no pre-planned moves, you just have to be in sync with your partner.

You can really see the magic of the connection between a couple dancing the Kizomba. There is a flow and energy between them, that is intense and suave at the same time. It is truly beautiful.

Also, I really love the Kizomba music! It is not limited to a specific genre but is defined by the rhythm that is typical for the Kizomba regardless of style.

What Does Kizomba Mean?

In its country of origin, Angola, Kizomba is an important part of the cultural identity.

The word itself did not exist until 1975, and the word Kizomba means something like a celebration in the language Kimbundu. It is also said to mean recreation and community.

Kizomba as a dance style, however, can be traced back to the late ’70s and ’80s in Angola. After major musical influences from the Zouk (Antilles), it from from the Semba, another popular Angolan music style.

The Kizomba evolved among many other dances in Angola’s long history of dance.

Originally, the dance was connected to gatherings, “kizomba dances” where people could enjoy good conversations, nurture their culture and enjoy their partner on the dance floor.

The dance is characterized by a slower, often romantic, more sensuous rhythm in comparison to the traditional rather fast Semba dance.

The actual kizomba music emerged as a more modern music genre with a sensual touch, mixed with African rhythm and Haitian Compas.

The dances milonga and tango are also loved in Angola, and both dances have influenced Kizomba as it is known today. Some people even describe Kizomba as “African Tango”.

Kizomba In Lisbon

When the Portuguese landed on the coast of Africa in the 15th century, they brought not only pain, suffering, and slavery – but also pieces and parts of western and European culture.

Over time, these bits and pieces from Europe slowly merged into the African culture, including the music and dance styles like dancing in couples.

Although the Kizomba dance and musical style originated from Angola, it later developed to its present form, or forms, mainly in Lisbon in the 80s and 90s with the influence of other countries.

Because of this, Lisbon is sometimes referred to as the capital of Kizomba. Since the style has spread super quickly throughout Europa and has become very popular.

Although the Kizomba has developed in many different directions, the styles have kept the original name Kizomba. For this reason, there exists a debate in some dance spheres as to what is the “real” Kizomba.

Eduardo Paim The Father Of Kizomba Music

Eduardo Paim, to the right, is internationally recognized as the “father/creator of Kizomba music”. He and his band had a major role in the development of the music style creation.

Most kizomba songs are sung in Portuguese or a dialect from the various Portuguese-speaking, African cultures.

“The couple performing this dance feels at the time, the moment, the impulses that make their dance as elaborate as possible. Kizomba is poetry in steps. We even say we write on the floor with steps”.

Eduardo Peym, “Godfather of Kizomba” in Angola


“Kizomba is like drinking water, you have to dance it! You have to live it, and then you will understand. Because somehow we can all see ourselves in Kizomba. We communicate in touch. At first sight it seems like a sexual dance, but it is not. You can almost see the soul of the person you are dancing with. It is very very important. It is our culture, it is us! “

Dinamene Cruz, TV presenter, TPA


What Is Special About Kizomba In Cuba

Kizomba has long been danced in Angola, Portugal, and Cape Verde.

It has spread to a lot of other countries, like Spain, France, England, Poland, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Byelorussia, Lithuania, Egypt, Switzerland, Serbia, Canada, and also the United States. And of course Cuba!

Cuba, which was heavily involved in the long civil war in Angola could not avoid bringing parts of the Angolan culture with them back to their own country.

Among other things, the Kizomba arrived in Cuba, and when dancing in the kizomba in Cuba today there have integrated many Cuban elements into the dance.

The Cuban culture, and especially dance culture, strongly influenced the kizomba you see in Cuba.

Also read: 8 Enticing Cuban Dance Styles

What are you going to do in Havana?
What are you going to do in Cuba?

The World Kizomba Day 2019 Team Havana

Check out the beauty of this group of Cuban kizomba dancers dancing in harmony in front of the Havana sunset at the end of the Malecon in Havana.

There is no way you do not fall head over heels for this footage!

Also read: 33+ Legendary Things To Do In Havana Cuba | The Ultimate Guide 2022!

Kizomba Classes In Cuba

If you are a beginner, or maybe you already know what you are doing but want some brush-up or inspiration, there are excellent dance schools in Havana you can visit during your holiday!

Who does not want to dance kizomba, or salsa, or bachata, or whatever, when in Havana?

Check out these two schools, the first one is Habanakiz run by Tony and Loliett in Old Havana. The second is Casona del Son, which offers classes in a variety of dance styles.

Follow the links below for more information.

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Do you have any questions about the kizomba or dancing in Havana? Leave a comment, or send me an e-mail! Happy to help!

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