Move to the Kizomba

Mar 25, 2014, 09:28 IST | Hassan M Kamal

Whether you dance the Zumba or the Masala Bhangra to stay fit, adding the sensual Kizomba might help de-stress and at the same time, spice things up with your partner. Hassan M Kamal demystifies this African dance, and finds out how Mumbaikars can add it to their fitness regimes

If you thought Salsa, Tango or Jive was sexy, you haven’t experienced Kizomba (pronounced Kissomba). This African dance has been gaining popularity across Europe and last week, at a bootcamp in Mumbai, couples had a chance to learn the moves. One of the workshops was conducted by international Kizomba trainer, Favian Bustos and his partner, Cynthia Mandez. They introduced this sensual dance form at the three-day event by Salsa India.

Favian Bustos and Cynthia Mendez at the recently held Kizomba bootcamp in Khar. Pic/Satyajit Desai

What is Kizomba?
Bustos, who was recently in Mumbai, informs that Kizomba originated in the 1980s in Angola. A sensual dance, Kizomba is a craze in Portugal, Spain and France. “It’s not a show dance. It’s about you, your partner and the music.

It’s similar to Argentina’s Tango, but here, the music moves you and your partner. So, if you don’t dance to it, you are not doing Kizomba,” he asserts.

Favian Bustos and his partner Cynthia Mandez (centre) recently conducted a workshop on Kizomba. Pic/Satyajit Desai

How it helps?
Unlike Salsa, Zumba, Bhangra or Zouk that have found their way into fitness regimes, Kizomba is still to make inroads due to its slow movements. But here are a few fitness pluses from it:

>> A stress buster: While other dances are physically demanding and help tone muscles, Kizomba tones the senses, and can be a stress buster. “After working hard all day, you look for a route to de-stress, relax and enjoy music and dance. That’s what Kizomba gives. It’s not sweat-effective or physically demanding, but helps release relaxing endorphines and allows the body to release the stress,” informs Bustos, adding, “Our senses and mind get worked up the most.”

>> A start-up exercise: In most popular dance routines today, the tempo rises and continues to, and stops suddenly. Incorporating a few Kizomba movements will relax the body and mind. “In Salsa, your blood starts rushing, likewise in Bachata, but in Kizomba the moves leads are reverse — the heart beat lowers, the body relaxes a bit, and you breathe. This makes it ideal as a warm-up and cool-down dance routine.” While the focus is on the senses, the intensity of movements and steps also work on the muscles. Kizomba has a lot of hip isolation and contra-body movements similar to Tango.

>> Couple therapy: Kizomba is a close contact dance. “There is no proof, but it can be very useful in couple therapy as Kizomba requires one of the partners to follow the other. It teaches one to let go and stop trying to control the other; it’s because Kizomba requires you to connect with your partner, and let him/her lead you,” he elaborates.

>> For weak knees: Since Kizomba is not physically demanding, it’s useful for those nursing injuries or with weak joints and knees, to relax and enjoy. "In Europe, the dance has been around for five years. Many who practise Kizomba are in the 50-60 age group," he adds.

>> Less chance of injury: With Western dances, if your technique isn’t right, you may end up injuring yourself or your partner. “There’s a lot of technique that goes into Kizomba too, but the chances of injury are less as it’s a slow-paced dance.”

CALL 7506009938 (For details about upcoming Kizomba workshops)


What is it? A fun and flirtatious form of partner dancing from Cuba that is celebrated worldwide for its sensual moves, fusing steamy Afro-Caribbean and Latin styles into simple and lively movements. Some call it a dance of passion.

How it helps? “A great exercise for losing weight, burn fat and calories, Salsa requires a lot of movement, specially involving the lower body muscles, the heart and the collective cardiovascular system. It also helps overcome shyness,” says Suman Acharya, Salsa trainer at Viva La Salsa India.

USP: “Salsa dancing can improve relationships as well. I’ve had several students tell me it saved their marriages or how they’ve stopped the need to see a therapist,” adds Acharya.

Who is it for? Everyone. However, those with weak knees and joints should consult a doctor.
Duration prescribed: One hour (if not doing any other exercises) every alternate day.

CALL 7506009938

Masala Bhangra

What is it? A dance fitness cardio workout that combines dance movements of Bhangra with Bollywood and danced to Punjabi music. A session usually lasts from 45 minutes, but can be extended to an hour depending on the participants.

How it helps? “Masala Bhangra helps tone your entire body including your legs, arms, shoulder as well as your core muscles — hips, back and abs.

The core muscles help maintain a straight posture,” says Shalini Bhargava, master trainer of Masala Bhangra, who will be participating at the upcoming Body Power Expo in Mumbai.

USP: A good mix of Punjabi music, Bhangra and Bollywood dance routines makes this workout fun, adds Bhargava.

Who is it for? Everyone
(people with weak knees and joints and pregnant women to consult a doctor before joining a Masala Bhangra class).
Duration prescribed: One hour every alternate day (along with regular work out routine).

At JG’s Fitness centre, Gopal Bhavan, Tagore Road, Santacruz (W).
CALL 26496277/


What is it? A dance fitness inspired by Latin rhythms that features movements found in Latin dances like Belly dance, Meringue and Salsa.

How it helps? “Zumba is an intensive workout regime that helps burn calories at a fast rate, adds to your flexibility and improves your body posture,” says Pallavi Jain, a Zumba trainer with Fitness First.

USP: The combination of Latin music and dance makes Zumba a fun workout regime. Besides, the regime also teaches you a few dance moves you can show off on the dance floor.

Who is it for? Everyone. However, those with weak knees are advised to be light on their feet while moving on the dance floor. “Avoid stomping as it will hurt your knees,” she adds.

Duration prescribed: One hour every day (if not doing any other exercises).

At Fitness First, second floor, Mega Mall, Oshiwara, Andheri (W). CALL 42505900

Favian's five-step routine

Warm up: Start with a session of Kizomba (7-8 minutes), follow it up with a slow routine of Bachata or Ballroom dance like Ramba. 

Build up: Opt for the faster Bachata or Cha Cha Cha. You can add a Hip-Hop movement.

The top: Choose one of the fast dances like Samba or Jive and Swing

Break down: At this point, your heatbeat is fast, so go for Bachata routine movements.

Cool down: The last session of any dance routine, it’s when you tell your body to slow down. Kizomba works wonders here as it helps slow your heart beat down and your mind too.

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