Tania Mendonca


How did you get into dancing?

As most Angolans, I got into Kizomba by dancing with family. I can’t pinpoint the exact date, but I can tell you that my earliest memory was dancing Semba with my Dad who passed when I was seven.

What projects are you currently working on?

I think I’ve finally found my space in this scene where I think I can add more value, so my contribution is directed to the ins and outs of the culture and music, so my projects are more focussed on these fields, however, I still plan on continuing my ongoing projects with the ladies/followers and of course, teaching Kizomba in its most original form, you know… the one we all fell in love with at the beginning. I would also like to work with more female teachers across the globe.

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

I have many but two in particular marked my career forever. The first was when my beloved former dance partner suggested we do a class focusing on the culture and musicality. We made it compulsory to every festival we taught. Our first was in Warsaw Kizomba Festival, I was very nervous, and didn’t know what to say so Sa’id said ‘just tell your story, your story tells the story of most Angolans’ so I did. Afterwards, I received a long heart-warming standing ovation; there were lots of tears so I guess I touched them. That was a turning point in my teaching career. Right there I knew that was my path in the Kizomba scene and I’m forever grateful to him.

The second was my first visit to Seattle. It started in Houston; I was very welcomed there too, but it was Settle that made a difference in my career. I was going through a very delicate period in my life and was ready to abandon teaching altogether, they didn’t know this but thanks to them I’m still here. I can’t put the experience into words… it was just magical. It had nothing to do with dancing; it was just all about the people. And now, every time I’m in doubt, I return there, to those memories and my faith in the Kizomba people gets restored again.

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

I would like to see people interact more. This world of festivals can be very lonely if you don’t have thick skin especially for the ladies who are new to the scene. We need to divert our focus to the people more rather than the dance in my opinion.

When we teachers say that Kizomba is a social dance we mean socialising with each other (not dancing with more people). Just because music is playing doesn’t mean we have to dance to every song right!? I can tell you Angolans would prefer to “hang out” with a group of friends anytime to dancing (as long as music is playing); dancing is a complement that goes hand in hand with barbecues, dinner parties and backyard get-togethers.

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

I still have some traveling lined up this year, Lisbon with Ginga Art 27th to the 30th. October I’m off to USA with Steel City Kizomba Festival 12th to 14th and Mexico with KADE in December.

I can’t believe we are past halfway in the year and I still have so much I want to do. Some are my personal projects which involves other people but that’s a secret for now but I can tell you I’m returning to my tribe (ladies) big time with my “More Than A Follower” intensive workshops. I’m also hoping to share more on my channel “About Kizomba” about the culture, translating songs etc etc and, I may even start something in London where people can dance “real” Kizomba and socialise more, who knows!?

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