Get to Know the Angolan Kizomba: An Introduction to the Genre
June 24, 2020

Kizomba is a popular music and dance genre that originated in Angola. Its origins can be traced back to the late-1970s, but it only became a genre of its own in 1984. While it’s a relatively young art form, Kizomba has grown in popularity in recent years.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the basics of Kizomba so that you have a better idea of what to expect should you try it yourself.

Kizomba Means Party

This genre of musical expression takes its name from the Bantu word for party. And that’s exactly what you can expect from this type of dance!

It takes its inspiration from dances such as the Semba, Kilapanda, and Angolan Merengue. However, the movements associated with Kizomba are not as energetic. Instead, it’s characterized by slow, smooth, and sensuous motions that usually involve two dancers locked in an intimate, albeit rather loose, embrace.

In terms of the music, Kizomba typically involves Portuguese songs that are slowed down to a rhythmic cadence. However, other types of music from African cultures can also be used.

How to Dance the Kizomba

Since it is a couple’s dance, Kizomba involves two people whose aim is to synchronize their movements perfectly along with the music. The leader guides the follower with their torso and right arm, and both will glide elegantly across the dance floor.

Some people might say that Kizomba is a smoother type of Tango. The main difference between the two would be that the dancer’s lower body performs thrusting and circular movements in Kizomba, whereas the Tango is more about elongated positions.

It should also be noted that a certain type of attitude is expected from the dancers as they perform. This is known as Ginga for women and Banga for men. These terms are quite tricky to define, but they essentially mean to dance with happiness, confidence, and most notably, with soul.

Cultural Influences

The Kizomba was largely influenced by Portugal, as evidenced by the type of music that it’s most commonly associated with. More specifically, however, this genre originated from the club scene that Portuguese immigrants to Angola perpetuated.

Perhaps the biggest and most noteworthy contributor to this dance subculture is a musician named Eduardo Paim. He is considered internationally as the father of Kizomba and continues to shape its evolution today.

Its Popularity Today

Today, Kizomba is popular all around the world. It has spread well beyond its Angolan roots and is now danced in countries such as Belgium, Brazil, China, and East Timor. We can only imagine that this musical phenomenon will continue to garner fans from every corner of the globe.


Now, doesn’t all that put you in the mood to get on the dance floor? We highly encourage you to give the Kizomba a try! Don’t worry about it sounding complicated, as it really isn’t. You might even surprise yourself and turn out to be quite natural. You won’t know until you try, so get your Ginga (or Banga) on and start dancing!

We normally offer Kizomba classes in Toronto, but are now unable to do so due to the current pandemic. However, we do have an updated YouTube channel, send us a message with what you would like to learn and we will make easy-to-follow dance demonstrations if you’d like to learn the dance in your own home!

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