Tuning the dance

Kizomba, as many other sensual dances, fosters a harmonious connection process between a man and a woman.

At the beginning of the song, instead of jumping directly into difficult movements or fast escalation steps, men are asked to do some tuning. This means, prepare the ground by providing comfort to both dancers.

Men task – how does tuning work?

  • Basically it is about making slow steps on 2 counts.
  • 1st basic step: Side to side 1 – 2 on the same place – here you just put your weight from one foot to other.
  • 2nd basic step: create the “turning” clockwise – turn around by keeping the side to side 1-2.
  • 3rd basic step: “Traveling” – forward ­forward ­tap / backward ­backward ­tap. The same can be done with cha cha instead of tap.
  • 4th basic step: “Contra tiempo” or “virgula”, which is about turning anti-­clockwise. Two variants: 1-2 ­cha ­cha, or long-­long­ short-­short.

Even though it is a basic move, it is very powerful on providing a first connection. An also it helps to determine if a harmony is possible among both partners.

Next time you start a song, do some tuning and prepare the ride.

Switch to the right world

Last week I went to my very first bachata class in Vienna. In that city there are tons of events, many of them as testing hours for potential fans.

However I was not that sure if that was the right thing. This is not the first time I have this negative feeling, sometimes I doubt if dancing shall be my hobby. And as in the past: I pushed myself and went over there. It was the right choice, and actually I experienced a switch in my brain within those 60 minutes:

  • 0-10 min: we all dance in a big round in front of a mirror. I am still thinking, what am I doing here? this looks like a fitness exercise!
  • 11-20 min: we start to learn basic steps. I feel more comfortable and look at the instructor’s complex steps. I am able to follow most of them.
  • 21-30 min: now it is time for some funny steps. But I feel good, since I can follow most of them. The songs are also energetic, it feels refreshing.
  • 31-45 min: exercises are now in pairs with rotations every 2-3 minutes. We shortly introduce ourselves with our names and immediately try out the steps. It was comfortable and fun to meet some new faces. With some of them there is chemistry, with others not that much.
  • 46-60 min: we practice the last steps. It is fun, I start to improvise. But now the hour is over. Seriously?!

At the end some mingle with the people and finally felt relaxed for starting the weekend.

What happened then? basically I came out from my working environment full of logical thinking and jumped into the “real” world of chaos and senses. It was the right decision, and surely dancing can become a hobby for me, actually a theraphy.

Do not ask. Take to dance.

Being in a party and meeting people for the first time is great, but also a bit of challenging. Almost everybody sticks to their social circles and in most cases people will not approach you. On the contrary, you will have to take the first step.

This is specially challenging in latin-afro parties, because you shall dance in couples. Therefore, it is not just about connecting with a woman you don’t know, but taking her to dance at first place. Most guys will go for the “asking for a dance” step. However, in some cases women will respond negatively stating that they are waiting for a friend, or resting for a while. I have experienced that by myself in the past and felt a bit down.

Do it differently

Instead of asking, stand up in front of her, offer your hand and show a slight smile. She will understand and come with you to the dance floor most of the times.

Why does this work differently?

  • You are a man who takes what he wants without apologies. Come on, you are not stealing purses, you are offering a woman the chance to dance with and have fun.
  • You are present in the moment (men and women dancing). There is no need for asking about anything else.
  • Emotional strong: you are not concerned about the response of a female dancing partner. If she rejects your hand for dancing, then you simply offer it to somebody else who will value it. And by the way…
  • You are value and you show value: a woman watching a man coming towards her with confidence and taking her to the dance floor is joyful.
  • Enjoyment: you make the first move and therefore have the chance to choose with whom you dance. Isn’t it great? then do not bother and offer the hand.

All these factors are also understood by women through their intuition. Amazingly for men, sometimes speaking less and simply doing it is more fun than explaining things through dozens of words.

Try it out and enjoy leading by dancing.

bossa nova flows

About a year ago I restarted playing the guitar, first at home and afterwards in parks across Vienna.

Since I wanted to compose some new chords, I was wondering which type of music was matching my current state. I felt like getting something relax, but not sad or too passive. I jumped then into bossa nova and enjoy it a lot since then.

Technicians may say that bossa nova is too broad and there are lots of music styles among this legacy from Brazil. But I am not an expert, I do it for fun. And thus I may call it and put in my world in the way I want.

The rythm is vibely, it makes me stand-up and start my day. The chords are warm and surprise me every minute. There is no exact structure and strings can be a bit complex (jazz musicians will find it familiar). Still I learned basic chords pretty fast and start improvising. Once I got the rythm, I could hear my guitar with pleasant sounds just by coming up with string experiments.

The vocals are appealing, and lyrics are commonly positive and invite to join. They are not that high or low, they are natural. Even if you did not understand portuguese, you can get the vibe if you put yourself on the song.

Start your bossa nova journey through a set of classic songs. Then you can choose at which temperature you want to keep it going. Do not use headphones, better hear it at home with good bass strength in a wireless speaker.

Do not stick to the same music you have to hear on the weekends, try new stuff and discover your own tastes.

Baby steps for compositions

Once I started playing guitar as a hobby, the idea of composing songs became reality. Putting your mind state and creativity in sounds is fun! After some time, those improvisations became parts of songs, which I reworked several times. And the last versions became those songs which where played together with friends.

Do you need a method for composing music? sure you should, a song from Ismael Miranda reminds us some basic steps for beginners:

  • A reason is needed: usually there is at least one thing that pops up in you mind during the day. That is a good reason for writing a text and/or trying out some notes related to that.
  • A constructive theme: avoid negative topics. Writing about broken hearts or how shitty is the world may look like being deep emotional. However, putting yourself around that attitude harms your vitality in the long term. Put lyrics and sound in front of you as a tool to lead in life.
  • And also inspiration: if course it may be difficult to compose in the middle of stress or during another activity. Choose some time during the day where you may have the serenity to put those senses into notes.
  • You must be patient, otherwise you will loose it: this is a good tip. Do not expect to come up with complete songs at the first try. Improvisation may be a good thing, but most of the time you have different versions of the same notes. Bring it to life, nurture it, let it grow, and leave it if that shall be the case.
  • Put seasoning on it: this is about having fun at the end. Play it and add those details that you enjoy. The songs are basically a reflect of your personality.

Try out putting your present state into sounds and lyrics. And enjoy uniting your dreams with your daily life.

Kizomba for healthy roles

A few months ago I took a Kizomba course for trying out something completely new. It ended up actually being a short class on masculine and feminine energy.

During the very first class the teachers told me some facts that reminded me about my role as a man:

  • The man leads the dancing steps, he must recreate the sensual interaction pleasantly for him and the women he dances with.
  • The woman must open herself and trust the man’s movements. She shall follow the steps and complement them with her feminine choreography.
  • The man must take firmly and confidently the woman’s body, in order to let her know on which direction to dance. He shall not be ashamed on leading the interaction.
  • The man shall be relax and enjoy the dancing steps, which will provide comfort to the woman as well.
  • The dance increases the energy gradually. At the beginning there are simple steps for warming-up and building comfort. As the time passes, the man inserts the steps that add beauty and sensuality to the song.
  • The songs are mostly about feelings, connection, senses and lovers’ stories. Topics about materialistic lifestyle and/or with negative energy are avoided.

At the beginning I was unsure to try this music. But fortunately I did, and it reminded me to take away the structured thoughts that work / studies place in our heads. And to embrace the beautiful chaos which leads to a natural interaction. Under my lead as a man with the feet on the earth and fun in my dance.

Jam session or open mic?

This one goes to the music players. It is not just about nice sounds, but also passing your personal state to the outside world. Playing music is for me like a therapy and lets me connect with others, which quite balances the current digitalized yet impersonal venues.

If you play an instrument, then you may be interested to build your friends’ circle in Vienna with other musicians. Sounds like a plan, so where to start? for the last couple of years I noticed two particular types of events: jam sessions and open mics (microphones). Both are aimed to connect musicians, but are different in the context and type in interaction. So I decided to make a short list of characteristics for you to better decide:

What to expect in a jam session?

  • You will play with others: fun and knowing new people is guaranteed.
  • However, if you are not good enough, it will be fair that somebody else takes over your instrument.
  • It will last pretty long: you could play between 30 and 60 min without interruption. It is just about putting some chords on the table and/or following others.
  • There is an after party. Or even more, non-musicians will dance and make a party together with you.
  • You meet musicians with high spirit, most of them are having their 15 min of full fun.
  • There are always exotic instruments to watch around.

What to expect in an open mic?

  • Everybody will have 10 min to play their own songs. It is a chance to test and/or introduce your repertoire to a public.
  • It is smooth: just chill and relax hearing others while waiting for your turn.
  • There is also an after party of course, so you will also interact with others.
  • These events are more common during the week, there are at least 2 open mics during weekdays.
  • You meet musicians with good technique. Most of them are studying music and bring good inputs to learn from.

You probably found advantages and disadvantages for each type of event. Generally, I recommend you to go to open mics if you already have some songs and want to motivate others to join you. Also if you are in a chilly mood and just want to stay for a few moments.

On the other hand, jam sessions work better if you are willing to… jam around. There is no pressure to prepare a program. It is also more fun if you want to party a bit longer and want to mingle with the people.

Try both and check what suits you best.