Sunday, November 1, 2015

Kizomba and the Single Life

The first time I saw Kizomba, I fell in love with the dance. It’s a sexy, sensual, sizzling couple’s dance out of Angola.  I was determined that when an opportunity presented itself for me to learn this dance, I was going to learn it. I take classes with Black Diamond Steppers Elite who also teach Kizomba. 

I’ve been taking classes for a few months now with Ken, Annette and the rest of their crew. As Ken says, “It’s easy to learn, but hard to master.” Kizomba is a dance that must be felt. It’s a dance of connection. It’s not grinding or dry humping or any other form of “nasty” dancing, but it is definitely hot when it’s done right!
Every week we review the basics, and learn a combination or two.  But a couple of weeks ago, Annette and Ken decided to have us change things up a bit and work on connection. The activity sounded simple. Leads had to be able to execute the steps for Follows without the use of arms and hands. It’s the Lead’s job to lead and the Follow’s job to keep the connection, the instructors said. 

In every class, we practice the moves and we always switch partners because it gives a chance to dance with different people and adjust to the various styling that we bring to the dance individually. The night was no different. We have to stand chest to chest or cheek to cheek to make sure that we are “connecting” with our partner in the way that we need to be. We’re partnered off forming a circle around Annette who’s going to lead us. She uses her fingers to show the Leads what steps to take while the Follows have our eyes closed. No peeking and no anticipation.  This forces partners to connect. 

Ken is in the circle as a Lead because there are usually more women in the class than men.  He stands facing his partner.  Just so happens that my partner is the guy of Ken’s partner. Annette reminds us that we have to stand close to our partner. Me and my partner are chests pressed ready to go; His girl is not. She’s hesitant to move closer to Ken. There’s a pregnant pause. Then her guy assures her that it’s ok. Everybody laughs except me and the woman moves closer to Ken.

I’m feeling weird. My melon-sized breasts are pressed against this man’s body, and I don’t know what to do. Should I step back and wait for her to give him the ok?  Should we trade partners? No because we’re going to switch partners after doing it two or three times. The music starts and we stumble through “connecting” laughing because it’s challenging to dance without using our arms and hands. We practice connecting for a while and then we move into the combination we’re working on for the week, and the remainder of the class goes well. But I’m left pondering what happened.

 I didn’t know if the discomfort was just her or if her guy was going to be trippin’ later. I also didn’t understand why she felt she needed permission to move closer to her partner, when her guy was not struggling in the least bit with us standing close together.  Why take a class like Kizomba if either partner is insecure or jealous? Or make it known that you only want to dance with your significant other. 

This incident reminded that the rules are always different for women than they are for men. And I wonder if my resistance to this double standard is why I remain single? Shouldn’t respect for a relationship go both ways? I don’t want the burden of maintaining relationship to rest squarely on my shoulders. That’s too much of a load to carry. If there are compromises and concessions to be made, they have to be made by both.
I love dancing Kizomba. And I hope to find a dancer and we connect in a way that allows us both to enjoy the dance to the fullest. If he’s unattached, that will make it all the more better.

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