“Dança” is the Portuguese word for “dance.” “Makèzú” means “Kola Nut” in the Angolan language of Kimbundu. It has deep roots in the culture of Angola, and has been used to cure hunger pangs for generations, and also has deep religious connections to the people. Kola Nut is utilized as an energy boost as it has caffeine and is sometimes chewed.
We wanted to pay homage to Angola via the great Angolan poet Viriato Da Cruz’s poem “Makèzú,” which also influenced musician Ruy Minga to create a song of the same name in homage to the poem. This poem told the story of two ancient street vendors who reminisced the old days when people believed in the magical force of the kola nut.
As we embrace kizomba, we always want to stick to the root of the dance and, like the kola nut, allow its energy and magical feeling to take over us. Our goal is to strive to carry the essence of Viriato’s poem, the history of the music, the originality and native feeling of the dance, and the ability to give those who want to fall in love with kizomba the strength to do so.
ChaliannaInstructor/DirectorAs a native New Yorker, Chalianna’s dance background began with her heritage and culture stemming from the Dominican Republic. After growing up dancing bachata, Chalianna began to study dances such as Afro-Brazilian, Belly dance, traditional Congolese dance, hip hop and more. Having prior experience teaching hip hop to middle school students prepared Chalianna with the skillset necessary for teaching and spreading the essence and beauty of Kizomba.
Yair & ChaliannaDynamic Dance DuoChalianna & Yair are not only known for their teaching but event promotion as well. They've hosted many successful parties & workshops including Mika Mendes, Ricardo Lemvo, Katumbella, Mandela, Eddy & Laury, Bernadeth & Petchu|Vanessa. In 2014, they set forth on a journey as co-organizers with 3 other promoters to create the Miami Beach Kizomba Festival. The festival in its 1st year held over 500 individuals & the 2nd year, saw over 1,000 individuals. Chalianna has further endeavored to promote & highlight the presence of women within the African Rhythms industry with the launch of ELLA: African Rhythms Affair in December 2015 with two additional partners. Their passion, love & respect for music, dance & culture that is not theirs is almost unparalleled. They plan to continue elevating themselves, & everyone they encounter to bring the best experience within the Kizomba dance scene.
YaïrInstructor/DirectorOriginally from New York and coming from a Haitian background, Yair spent his whole life dancing to the sounds of Konpa bands, as well as Cabo Zouk and French love Zouk styles. In addition to these dances, Yair has experience with all forms of Breakdancing, Bachata, and was a student of the world renowned Santo Rico Salsa School for a few years. He was introduced to Kizomba in 2010 in New York City and fell in love with its movements, sensuality and gracefulness.
Festivals | Events We’ve Taught