How to Level Up in Kizomba…

Be the butterfly! The best way to go from being an Improver dancer to an Intermediate dancer is to repeat Foundations!

When you learn anything for the first time there is so much information it is impossible to take it all in and this means you will miss things out.

Think about when you were learning to drive a car. Whilst first getting used to steering and accelerating it was really difficult to remember the rules of the road, indicating, changing gear etc. But a few years later all this is easy and you don’t have to focus on the basic way the car moves – you do all this as muscle memory.

Back to our Improver level dancer wanting to take the next step up. When they were a beginner, inevitably they will have missed things out whilst they were learning the basic steps due to excitement, nerves, overwhelm etc but eager to step up they take their first Improvers course so the challenge can continue – learning and being challenged feels good! But now as an Improver dancer those little things they missed out on in Beginners will have become bad habits set by muscle memory!

Think about how many people annoy you on the road because they don’t indicate or go to fast or slow or park badly – habits that all set in after they stopped learning. They don’t notice they’re doing these things but the people sharing the road sure do! (so do the other social dancers on the dance floor)

In a social dance like Kizomba once dancers go through the Improvers level an essential component to advancing is getting the basics 100% perfect. But unfortunately many dancers only see challenge and pleasure in learning new steps rather than assessing their foundations. Once reaching a good level in a dance, the steps and basic figures are muscle memory (you dont have to concentrate to do them like you did when you were a beginner) this the best time to go back an re-learn them!


You can pick up all the little things you missed first time round, self-assess your leading/following skills in order to improve, get rid of bad habits and concentrate on the nuances of the dance.

A a teacher I still take beginners lessons and I love teaching foundations as it is the core of Kizomba. It really upsets me when I hear people saying that they “don’t need to take classes any more”. Firstly because you can always be better, there is always something you have missed or could think about in a different way and secondly because dances evolve all the time there are always new things to learn.

But I will tell you something…its really difficult for your teacher to tell you your are not ready to take the next level, really difficult. We are worried you will be upset, that you will loose your motivation and you will give up. A lot of people don’t want to hear our feedback. Today everybody wants everything now! Fast Fast Fast! But this isn’t the way to become the best dancer you can be. Take your time, go back to basics and really look at how you can improve the simple things rather than craving moves that are more and more difficult.

If you want to know if you are ready to level up the best way to ask is this…

“I want to be a really good dancer, do you think I’m ready to go up a level?”

…This says to your teacher you want more of a challenge but you also want to know you are building good foundations. It will give them permission to be honest and potentially give you areas to work on whilst staying where you are or moving up. A great way to do this is to take a private lesson with your teacher. In a 1-2-1 class you can really hone your skills and work on specifically your needs rather than the groups. I would consider having a private class at least every time you want to move up a level in group class.

Kizomba is such a honest, natural form of movement, it’s beauty is in connection, simplicity and shared experience. Foundation moves done well are amazing to watch and feel.

Without having a strong set of basics moving up from Improver to Intermediate level will be near impossible! Generally moving up classes too fast will cause problems with more technical steps and with slow motivation.

In summary…
– Never neglect the foundations of a dance you are learning
– Honestly look at the way dance – self-assess
– Ask for feedback from your teachers & partners
– Repeat Foundations untill you are sure its perfect
– If in doubt arrange a private class to be sure.
– Practice makes permanent not perfect.
– Move up when you are truely ready not because you want more and more steps.

Thanks for reading