Wow!! 2015 was a great year in general, finishing with a very busy final month of the year that included non-stop excitement and activity. I thought I would take a few moments to reflect on some of my recent experiences.
As many of you know, I decided back in July 2015 while on a trip to Cali, Colombia (South America) that my passion for dance, culture and language was so strong I needed to make a change (ie. follow this passion…). I didn’t realize it fully then, but I soon understood that not quitting my job of 10 years as a university administrator was no longer an option. My last day was November 25th!
The next few weeks were incredible packed beginning with my Salsa Team performance at the Seattle Salsa Congress over Thanksgiving weekend. We did it Team! Sending my team partner, Liz special love and admiration. Thank you!
The following weekend I was on a plain to Madrid, Spain where I attended the Sensual Dance Kizomba Festival… met a ton of new friends and caught up with some old amig@s. GREAT festival by-the-way with awesome performances, workshops, parties and an even a room dedicated specifically for all-day social dancing and practice.
Next stop was Paris, France, which felt a lot like the international version of my hometown, San Francisco, California or even New York city so adjusting to the fast pace was no sweat. Packed subways, friendly people (most of the French were very kind to me) and best of all, non-stop Kizomba parties. You can dance every day in Paris!!
The dance creativity/ innovation that I witnessed in the City of Lights is second to NO other city I have visited. The French are really given a hard time for innovating and changing dances (lol), but I must say, something must be in the water as there is no shortage of people packing clubs and dancing til 0-dark-thirty in the AM. From Tango to Kizomba to Zouk to Mambo….you find it all in Paris and it’s done on a very high level.
Next was the undisputed European “Kizomba/ Semba Heaven” Lisbon, Portugal. I missed this place a ton already!! The people, the food (ie. pastel de nata), the cafes, the history, and of course the dancing. My two weeks in Lisbon began with the one and only Christmas Kizomba Festival. Intentionally organized as a smaller festival, the quality dancing and awesome music will be embedded in my memory for a long time to come. I now have a really good idea of what a complete and authentic “Kizomba” party should look like… more on this at a later date.
As a special part of this of trip, I had the privilege to spending Christmas eve and day with one of my mentors and greatest Kizomba teachers, Mestre Petchu and his family. To say Angolans (the people who gave the world Kizomba music and dance) know how to party, would be a huge understatement. I will NEVER forget these two days. It was over a dozen people with incredible Angolan and Portuguese cuisines, drinks, music, laughter, and of course Kizomba and Afrocentric dances. An unbelievably, super rich, cultural experience for me to say the least!
Fortunately, I had no issues making friends during each of these stops and I want to send a special shout out to all of my new best friends from around the world- you know who you are. Know that I sincerely appreciate the time meeting and connecting with each of you. Beyond the cities I visited, I now have very special connections with Argentina, Cadiz, Kazakhstan, Australia, Moscow, Sweden, Switzerland, Bogota, Boston, the Carolinas and the list goes on….
I finished the European portion of my trip back in the great city of Paris, which seems to be bouncing back quickly from recently tragedies. Shout out to all Parisians- may 2016 be peaceful and a blessing to you! Needless to say, I feel incredibly blessed to have had this opportunity to follow my passion. Mexico City, DF, Havana, Cuba, and Cali, Colombia are NEXT! Stay tuned!
Some may be asking (my dancer friends in particular) how can he afford to do this…. I’ll just say in short, where there is a will, there is a way. It can absolutely be done. Perhaps start with evaluating your life priorities and moving forward from there. Anyhow, check out some of the photos and videos via the links below. Happy 2016!