IOLANDA RANGEL

How did you get into dancing?

My mum was a professional dancer so I grew up seeing her dance at family parties. In 2011, Lucia Nogueira introduced me to Barrio Latino. Before that, I just danced in family and friends parties. Later on, we were invited to host the Kizomba parties at Barrio Latino (hot Kizomba nights) and later in other bars as well.

In 2012, Lucia Nogueira decided to participate at the ÁfricAdançar competition and at this time we were living together and almost all the good dancers she met on the dance floor were invited to our house and we would cook African food. One of those dancers was Dasmara. That year Dasmara helped Lucia with her choreography for ÁfricAdançar.

After the competition, Lucia thought Dasmara and I would make the perfect dance couple so she took care of everything and registered us for the 2013 competition. At that time I was still not very engaged with the professional dance world but I had to take things seriously because Dasmara was already a professional and had specific goals in mind. He would ask during our practice sessions, ‘what would you do if we won the competition’ and my answer would be: nothing, I will continue with my normal life but that was impossible.

After winning the competition we were invited to our first workshop abroad, I think it was in Spain, I refused as I was still not sure if I would cope with my regular job, dance and university. The invitations didn’t stop and Dasmara kept me updated until I finally made a decision. In 2013 I gave up my job and became a full time teacher. It was a life changing moment and I haven’t stopped since.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on my psychology career; I want to be as good and comfortable a psychologist as I am on the dance floor. The great thing about psychology is that it is present in every single thing, our lives and it also helps me a lot in my classes, especially with understanding people, what they need and why they are there. That’s also the reason I’m more focused on private lessons now rather than group classes. I think I can help more by having 1:1 time with someone.

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

I would have said that it was winning the ÁfricAdançar but I only realized how good that was later on as I didn’t really live the moment. I can say though, that one of the most memorable moment as a teacher was having someone cry in one of my classes, thanking me for doing so much for her, allowing her to be more confident, and to express herself.

I still receive a few messages now and then from people saying that I’ve changed their lives somehow and I feel very grateful for that. They keep me going in those moments that I think it’s very hard to keep up with this lifestyle.

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

If you are looking to be a teacher: have your values in place. There will be times that life will test you and you may hesitate in your choices but if you have your values in place, your answer to the life challenges will be way easier. These are things you can apply to every area in your life.

If you are looking at becoming a dancer: enjoy as much as you can, take classes and ask questions. Connect with the culture but most of all go to social places where you can meet people, practice, enjoy and make friends.

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

Liverpool for a Kizomba workshop (9 Nov)
Me Kuia festival in Bratislava (16 to 18 Nov)
Nossa Kizomba festival (30 Nov to 2nd Dec)

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