On the dance scene we often hear the phrase “it’s just a different style” when describing dance movement that doesn’t adhere to the foundation of a particular dance.
We can’t deny there is a proper use of the word “style” when it comes to dance, study any of the arts and personal style has been highly regarded throughout the ages.
Every named dance has its own identity/body language, that should be respected, not ignored, as long as it is being called by said name. Just like anything in life, there are boundaries and rules, whether we like them or choose to acknowledge them. When we break more rules than ones we keep we cross out of the realm of personal style and find ourselves in the arena of creating something new; if executed well could lead to being acknowledged as creative ingenuity and conversely, poor execution often walks a short path to obscurity.
When you are fusing dances together you are not adding style but CHANGING the dance or creating something different. When that happens a new dance or musical genre is created and should be given a new name. This is not a crime, has always happened and will always continue to happen.
What Style IS
All humans walk differently. You could say we all have our own signature walk and for that reason, no two people will dance exactly the same way. As I said before, STYLE is not created by fusing different dances into one like some sort of movement gumbo. Rather style involves learning, even mastering, the FOUNDATION of one dance to the point where you’re then able to execute your signature movements while respecting said foundation.
The word STYLE lost its real meaning these days because people use the word to excuse their mediocrity and justify their lack of skill or understanding of a certain dance. We could say the word FUSION gained popularity for the very same reasons. Lack of understanding a dance or willingness to invest in truly mastering a dance lead many “ARTISTS” to just add movements from dances they already knew well (tango, salsa, bachata, etc) and voila we have fusion.
Having a different style means I can still dance with everyone and our body conversation is completely compatible and clearly understood by everyone who dances that same genre while still having my personal.
When we truly haven’t studied a dance, naturally, it will likely be difficult for us to identify nuances or the flavor that each person brings to the dance. Another frequent comment from the ignorant is that musicality or technique of the original dances are too basic, that’s why they add or fuse from another dance they already know. In reality they just never took the time to truly master, understand, or appreciate it; taking the shortcut of fusing is not as difficult or creative as mastering and truly developing style.
Besides our own natural way of walking, when we learn a dance we usually gravitate to a particular basic movement that resonates with us, one that we focus on and master and apply in our dance more than any other movement and that lends itself to a different flavor or style than anyone else.
Being creative in a dance requires that FIRST we truly understand and master the foundation to be able to then break SOME rules of the dance to give it a different flavor or even create a variation on the foundation.
When observing people dancing a cultural dance that we’ve studied well we can clearly see how each person dances with their own style.
How can we consider Salsa on 1 or 2 just a different STYLE of Casino (Cuban Salsa) if the dancers can’t dance together; how can we consider Bachata (Dominican Bachata) just a different style from Sensual Bachata if their dancers cannot dance with each other; how can we consider Kizomba and Urban Kiz different styles if their dancers cannot dance with each other?
If they’re just different styles, why do we create different rooms at festivals for them to be danced in?
How can people fight to prove that the original dance and the new “style” are the same when everything about the original dance has been rejected by the new style creators, including the music?
Kizomba like any other dance has rules and nuances that gives it its own identity. Those who master the foundation can then go on to develop their own style. To demonstrate that I am leaving you videos of different couples dancing different styles/flavor of kizomba and all of them can dance with each other; their bodies speak the same language.
This is STYLE. Different flavor and technique, but the same FOUNDATION, the same body language, the same MUSIC and they can all dance in the same room.
Eddy was born Edson Monteiro in Guinea-Bissau and raised in Portugal. Growing up in the PALOP community surrounded by various West African rhythms he always felt electrified by Kizomba. In 1998 he began his career as a promoter in Lisbon orchestrating parties which he continued after moving to London in October 2009.