It’s been a decade since I started promoting and teaching people about kizomba. I was enthusiastic about fostering community, especially in places when kizomba was just emerging on the scene. Building Kizomba Community (as a website, a business, and a community) was a challenge, but also a real passion project.
I think the content from Kizomba Community’s website, especially the informational articles, blog posts, and interviews, are worth keeping available online, even if I’m not producing Kizomba-related content regularly anymore. Unfortunately I can’t justify continuing to pay the high costs for professional hosting with a custom domain.
So, I’ve migrated most of Kizomba Community’s content to this free WordPress website. I apologize for any broken links or missing images! I have fixed everything on the static pages, but the blog posts may take a bit longer.
I recently joined a group in Germany called “Women Expats Entrepreneurs Empowered” or WE^3. They invited me for an interview to share my journey as an entrepreneur. The interview focused mainly on my work as a language teacher and editor, but of course I had to talk about my dance career as well! I have copied it below with permission.
Three weeks ago marked the one year anniversary of my arrival in Germany. I had talked in December about perhaps having a little anniversary party, but 2018 came at me with more than enough plans. Suddenly it was February 1 and I had completely forgotten its significance.
Beautifully, two women here in Stuttgart not only reminded me, but made me feel incredibly loved and appreciated. I had a private blues dance lesson scheduled with each of them because it happened to be my afternoon off from my day job. The first was one of the first people I ever spoke to about coming to Stuttgart, was the one who checked out my first rental apartment and set up my first blues dance classes, and was very helpful as I sought my first work visa. She arrived with a meaningful hand-made card and my favorite local chocolate. The second has been friend, confidant, language teacher, and repeated moving van driver. She brought me a beautiful daffodil plant (which amazingly I have not yet killed!)
Although I haven’t lived in the United States for quite a while now, there’s one American lady who is always popping up in my Facebook newsfeed in posts related to Afro House and kuduro: Shafeeha Monae. I reached out to her to discuss her personal dance journey and her thoughts on the role of African solo dancing in the kizomba community in the US.
As usual, what follows is my adaptation of Shafeeha’s words from our interview. Any mistakes are my own.
Lucia Nogueira is an international kizomba teacher with the distinction of being one of the very few women teaching on her own merits. While she has partnered most famously with Eddy Vents, she has a huge number of solo projects, including training programs specifically for female teachers.
By the time I met Lucia for the first time, we had already had several extended conversations online. From the role of women in the kizomba world to teaching strategies to business development, we had so much to talk about!
The first time I came to Germany as an adult was for a blues dance festival: the 2013 American Blues Classic in Hamburg, Germany. I had an amazing weekend. I got hosted through Couchsurfing and my hosts were amazing. I got to see the sights, eat delicious home-cooked food and go to an awesome house party in addition to enjoying the blues festival. I remember commenting to friends, “I really feel like I could live here!”
That weekend I also met another dance teacher who was living in Germany. I asked him a bunch of questions about how he had managed to to get a self-employment visa. I went online and did some more research. I filed this all away for later use.
By Rui Djassi Moracén
One cannot expect somebody who’s never been to Angola – or knows nothing about its troubled past – to fully grasp how the simple act of dancing, singing and socializing has always served as collective catharsis for its people. As Achille Mbembe, highly respected Cameroonian philosopher and political theorist puts it:
“Music has the capacity to marry soul and matter. Indeed, in Africa, music has always been a celebration of the ineradicability of life, in a long life-denying history. It is the genre that has historically expressed, in the most haunting way, our raging desire not only for existence, but more importantly for joy in existence – what we should call the practice of joy before death”.
In August I wrote a pair of blog posts: one about getting my visa to stay in Stuttgart (and the challenge of finding an apartment) and one about my ankle/foot injury. Over the summer I spent a lot of time stressing about these challenges, to the point that they seemed to consume my every free moment.
Well, here we are with autumn announcing its arrival and I feel like I finally have everything I’ve been waiting for.
Today marks two months since I saw an orthopedic doctor for the first time. Two days ago was the first time in that period I went back to dancing.
I didn’t realize how much I had missed it.
It’s time for a long overdue update. Here’s the short version:
1. I received a one-year work visa/residence permit.
2. I love living in Stuttgart, in spite of the seemingly endless search for an apartment.
If you care to read more, the details follow.