Kizomba, derived from the traditional dances Semba (Angola) and Pasada (Cape Verde) among others, is a partner dance coupled with music from Angola, Cape Verde and the Caribbean primarily sung in Portuguese or French Creole. The music often has a romantic flow and the dance is often slow and smooth. Kizomba has gained popularity for its unique musicality and strong connection partners form through the dance. Today, Kizomba is used as an umbrella term for various forms of dance which are related to it, such as semba and urban kiz.
Semba is a playful, rhythmic form of music and dance from Angola, said to be the predecessor of Kizomba. Traditionally, Semba was danced in lines where men danced in front of the women, only touching at specific moments in the song through the hips. Today Semba has evolved into a partner dance with large steps on a fast beat, and lots of room for playful improvisation.
Fun fact: people say the word ‘semba’ comes from ‘massemba’ meaning “to touch belly buttons” – a move that was traditionally done to show affection to a partner at social gatherings.
Urban Kiz is a musical, modern take on the traditional Kizomba dance, considered by many to be a true fusion of kizomba and modern music genres, including zouk, R’n’B, and rap. The dance was born outside of Africa through experimentation with kizomba, tango, hip-hop steps, and more. Although the fundamentals of kizomba are still important to Urban Kiz dancers, the technique and body movements are very different from the traditional Kizomba dance. As Urban Kiz has strong influencers from many different regions and styles of dancing, it has skyrocketed in popularity across the world, and is still evolving today into even newer dance forms.