Instructor and dance veteran, Ronnie CK, will be hosting Nairobi’s first Kizomba dance festival.
Dubbed the Kizuri Kizomba Festival, the continental event will be held on December 7-9, with the main dancing workshops being held at the Pump Fitness studio in Valley Arcade.
The event is open to everyone interested in the dance.
On Friday December 7, there will be opening cocktails and a conference at the Club Galileo for the visiting instructors from around the continent.
Galileo will also host festival parties and social get togethers. On Saturday and Sunday, dancers, instructors and the general public will attend the various workshops and dance routines for fun. This session is where all Kizomba enthusiasts are expected to mingle, learn new techniques and general have fun the whole day.
Charges for the entire weekend will be Ksh7,500 ($100) per person.
Monday is dedicated to community relations and all visiting instructors will join the hosts on a visit to the Lang’ata Women’s Prison in Nairobi, where they will have a hangout with inmates who have been learning how to dance Kizomba while doing time.
The Kizuri Kizomba Festival, a first outside Angola where the dance originates from, has been a long time coming.
Unknown to most Nairobians, there have been fragmented but growing communities of Afro-Latin dance lovers in the city; dancing to Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba.
These communities exist in little pockets across the city catering to different classes of people.
In an underground club in the central business district there is Club Metro on Koinange Street. Every Wednesdays and Fridays from 6pm till late, the club hosts classes for Salsa and Bachata, followed by a free-for-all social dance session.
Occasionally, the club host events and invite foreign instructors to teach on technique. Classes typically cost Ksh300 ($3) per person.
For first timers in Club Metro, you will notice that the dance floor is segregated according to the level of dance skills. At the back of the studio are beginners, improved dancers who are now paired in the centre and the seasoned dancers are at the front. They are just one step close to being professionals and you can see it in how fluid their moves are as they glide over the tiled floor.
Kizomba, Salsa and Bachata classes are also offered at a studio on the second floor of the Lavington Mall; a studio on Brookside Drive in Westlands run by Kizuri festival organiser Ronnie CK and dance instructor Dan Ombok also teaches at the Rosslyn Heights.
Every Sunday from 4pm-7pm Club 40Forty in Westlands offers free classes in Kizomba, Bachata and Rueda.
Given the number of dance studios in Nairobi, the community of Afro-Latin dancers is still negligible in Nairobi and you meet the same people at every social dance.
A social dance is a session, usually held in the evenings, with either a live band or music by DJ.
The most famous social dance sessions in Nairobi are at the Metro Lounge on Fridays, Serena Hotel every other Saturday, Club 40 Forty on Sundays, Art Café (the Oval branch) on Fridays, Club Spree and Brew Bistro (Westlands) every Thursdays.