How did you get into dancing?

I was only 8 years old when I started dancing. I was born in Angola but I came to Portugal very young, however the Angolan culture and dance were always present in my life through family and friends.

When I moved to Lisbon I started going to African discos and bars, and then was when I met most of the dancers whom are today the greatest references in kizomba and semba.

What projects are you currently working on?

Kizomba is my passion, but it’s not my only job. I currently teach in a school in Lisbon, the Latin project, together with my dance partner Paweł Krysiak, every Monday’s from 21h, kizomba and semba. We do workshops at some national and international festivals and also do private classes when the opportunity comes.

What’s been the most memorable moment of your journey as a dancer so far?

The most memorable moment as a dancer was, with no doubt, the moment I won the ÁfricAdançar competition in 2015, it was a beautiful moment and I was not expecting that happening in my life.

There were so many hours spent training and it was worth in the end because It was in that moment that I could show myself as a Kizomba and Semba dancer and it was important to me to have people recognise my work.

Before that, I’ve participated in other dance competitions with other partners, but this one was the most special because I could let go and lose the fear of performing in public.

What advice would you give to up-and-coming dancers looking at you for inspiration?

Kizomba and semba are dances where there are no boundaries; I mean colour, language, social status, etc. These dances promote union and family environment … it’s important to look at African Dances with respect and understand that they carry culture and history.

Nowadays people have the opportunity to learn how to dance good quality Kizomba and Semba, therefore, my advice is that people should try to learn it properly, and there are plenty of good professionals capable of teaching how to dance properly and gracefully. And the most important thing is to dance with pleasure and with the heart and never because you feel obliged to, this way you’ll be able to enjoy the good things the dance brings.

I give classes but I’m still learning, I’m still trying to improve, and when I go out to dance, I dance with pleasure because that’s how it makes sense to me.

What can we expect from you for the rest of 2018?

Unfortunately I won’t have much time this summer to dedicate to the dance, however from September you can count on a lot of Kizomba, Semba and Ginga workshops. At the African nights you can always count on the smiley Marley to dance with, always with a lot of Angolan Ginga. My Focus will always be to work to improve and to dance with passion.

Thank you very much for the opportunity.

You can follow Pawel & Marly kizomba e semba here or at www.pawelmarly.com

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