We could hear Gunshots outside, and then we ran – Riquita Alta

Terence: Hello everyone and welcome to the 18th episode of the “Two left feet podcast”. Today, I was joined by an amazing guest, the wonderful Miss Riquita Alta. This was an amazing episode because she’s a wonderful person to talk you, very easy going, very funny, and very passionate about Kizomba Semba. She’s a Kizomba Semba Instructor. I had taken a class with her in Houston back in 2018 and it was an absolute joy because what she taught wasn’t very difficult, but it was something I had never seen before and it was utilizing the basics, which is very impressive because at that time, I was like “wow that’s using the basics”, but it’s in such a manner that was unfamiliar to me and it shows me that even in the basics you can stand out. You don’t have to know something advanced to truly have your own style stand out. And that was that was a Kizomba class that was amazing. So a year later, to have her on the show was awesome. If you’re interested in the culture, the history of Kizomba Semba, you want to hear her story. And in this episode, we speak about what it was like for her to leave Angola as a child and go to Portugal as a refugee. I really want to thank her because this is probably, one of my new favorite episodes. I had a wonderful time just talking to her and hearing her story this. I’m glad I did this, I’m truly happy I did this. It was great. I want to give her all the praise, all the thanks for everything she’s doing. Thank you so much Riquita, I had a blast talking to you. I know people are going to like this episode. I’m very excited to share it with you because this was a great episode. I know you’re going to find value in this one so please, leave a like and subscribe because this is a great episode. Leave a like and subscribe. Episode 18 with the wonderful Miss Riquita Alta.

Miss Riquita Alta who is a Kizomba Semba instructor, is that correct?

Riquita: yes it is.

Terence: Born in Angola and raised in Portugal right?

Riquita: yes

Terence: and you started dancing at 13 years old right?

Riquita: yes we always danced, but for Kizomba itself, or what we call the Passada, around 13 years but we were always dancing (Portuguese 03:50—53) that’s how it’s called in Portuguese. We always danced with family members and stuff but about Kizomba, maybe around the age of 13.

Terence: I did want to talk to you about Pasada but I want to get this out. You currently live in London correct?

Riquita: yeah that’s right

Terence: how you doing today?

Riquita: yeah very well. Great actually.

Terence: OK. Are you teaching today or you already taught?

Riquita: Teaching tonight.

Terence: I want to talk to you about Passada, I’m glad you brought it up. Can you tell me about it because I know it means “walking?”

Riquita: it means walking and that pretty much what it means. That’s what we used to call the dance really. Anything that had steps, couple dance, it was Passada. Kizomba, the name, came later, even though we used to say “we are going to do some Kizomba dance”, we still call it Kizomba but mostly Passada. It just means “steps” or “walking” that’s what it means.

Terence: where did the name Kizomba come from?

Riquita for the dance?

Terence: yes ma’am

Riquita: And I don’t think anybody really knows because I think “Kizomba” means “party” so we already had the name. But I think from my recollection, everything I will say here is going to be my experience because I have a different experience and everybody has different ideas of what is correct or not. I don’t think anything is incorrect, it’s just everybody has different opinions or has even experiences.

So from what I know, Kizomba as a dance started being called Kizomba when (unclear name 05:39–41) playing and not just him, others like (unclear name 05:43–46) when they were fusing Zouk and Semba and Revita to become a what they would call later, Kizomba, because I think somebody even asked when I played it, he said “what is this type of music?” and I said Kizomba.

I don’t think there is an actual date, I think it just happened naturally. So date wise, I don’t think anybody has it because Kizomba, it was already used. But it’s just one of those things. We just dance (laughs). Forget about names, there is no such thing about names.

Terence: Can you tell me about Retro Zouk?

Riquita: They say “retro” because it’s old.

Terence: so there isn’t Retro Zouk then

Riquita: I think that’s why they called it Retro. Retro means something that is old. When I started dancing what we call Kizomba now when I was 13, is pretty much when… For many years especially in Portugal, I’m talking from the point of view of living in Portugal and not so much in Angola because I left Angola very young. And yet we were always within our own communities and we always danced and we dance to not just Kizomba, not just Semba, not just to Revita, we danced to all types of music from all over Africa and we danced either separate or as a couple, so it wasn’t just Semba.

And like the main steps like the Pasada, we were already dancing long before, but the steps, when you start doing the “Saida” was like when I remember when I was 13 and this is the first time I heard Zouk music. Actually it was through my cousin. You know that in Angola in those days because of the war a lot of people sent their children before they turned 18 to live in Portugal with family, so they won’t have to go to military service and the airport. They would send their kids if they had family in Portugal. My family were refugees as well from the independence (1975).

My cousin came and he brought these vinyl of Kassav in 1984, such a long time ago. And he introduced Kassav to everybody in the neighborhood. To this day people still call it Kassav, people from my neighborhood call it Kassav. You know that Kassav is called the father of Zouk.

Terence: I was just listening to them today. I wasn’t aware of them.

Riquita: you were not aware of Kassav?

Terence: I just heard about him

Riquita: Oh my god! Two years ago on my actual birthday they came to London and all these years I’ve always wanted to see Kassav. And finally my birthday present was a ticket to go watch Kassav. It was amazing. They still sound the same even though they so much older now, they’re like ancient.

Terence: I know your favorite song is “Zouk La Se Sel Medikaman Nou Ni”

Riquita: Zouk is the medicine we need. Medikaman, that’s medicine. I don’t speak French, I used to but I still understand a little bit. That was the first Zouk song I ever had. And from what I know, Zouk was a mix of a Kompa, Ka dance, I think and even Calypso from what I heard. So it’s a mix of all those but it started off with Kompa. Kompa, I think it’s from Haiti. But this is obviously secondhand people are telling me this. Zouk, we danced Zouk music but obviously Kassav was the first and there were so many other artists that came. And I think Kassav went on a tour in Africa, not sure if it was 1983 or 1984, but that’s how they became so well known. And how the Angolans to really took to their music and then we started dancing to the music. We can relate to our own, but because it has such a particular beat and it’s so catchy. Really catchy. So for many years. At least a decade if I’m not mistaken, we in the clubs in Portugal even in Angola because even though I left and although not in 1975, I went back they 1986 when I was 15 and people are were still dancing very much to the music.

Most of the clubs in Lisbon, 99% of the music played was Zouk. Which is what we call Retro Zouk now. So yes, Kizomba as a music genre was much influenced by the Zouk music/beat.

Terence: I’m curious. Can you tell me about some artists because these two are the ones that I like. Can you tell about Bonga and Elias Diaz mwezu? 

Riquita: I don’t know much about alias even though he was quite famous. Again, I’m not great with name. I love the music. Everybody knows Bonga

Terence: I love Bongo.

Riquita: everybody calls him the father of Semba. Carlos Burity the father of Semba. I just went to Carlos Burity concert a few weeks ago. You have to know Carlos Burity is amazing. He is the one that sings “tia joaquina”. He’s absolutely amazing. He was recovering from an operation and he still came and performed amazingly well. It was like we were listening to the record, like listening to the CD. His voice is just that amazing. So I actually took a lot of videos of it. He is also considered also as the father of Semba. And so is Bonga.

Again, I grew up dancing to Bonga music. And he still sings Semba. He is still that sings that African sound which I love so much.

Terence: I love Bonga.

Riquita: Bonga is amazing. I grew up dancing to his music.

Terence So what about this new generation, What about people like “C4 Pedro”. I like C4 king chakua is my man! I know you’ve met him correct?

Riquita: I was actually meant to dance with him on stage, but everything got delayed. I had the opportunity. To be honest, I like his original music which is not Kizomba.

Terence: What is it?

Riquita: It’s his own style of music. It’s not Kizomba. People call it an African sound, it’s just very unique to him. I think his voice is much better when he sings that type of music that he sings. I still like Kizomba though. It makes his voice very unique.

Terence: I like him.

Riquita: I do love him but I prefer his music before Kizomba. I still like him. He is a great performer and a great singer. But personally, I think nobody performs on the stage like (unclear 14:10–11). The man is a god. I’ve seen three of his concerts; twice in Portugal, once in London. He has so much energy on stage. And every time he sings, at least for the times that I’ve seen him, he always brings friends. He has brought C4 Pedro, he has brought Paulo Flores. Again, Paulo Flores is another major influence in Kizomba and Semba because he was one of the originals that was mixing Zouk and Semba to make Kizomba. He is one of those up there. I met him years ago back in the day when he was very famous. He is still very famous now but now he sings Semba.

Terence: From my knowledge, Kizomba comes from Semba and Semba is the genre of music right?

Riquita: Semba is the genre of music and it also has some Zouk as well. Like Kizomba music, that’s what I’m saying. I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but even Paulo Flores in one of his interviews, said that Kizomba is a genre of music is a mix of Zouk, Semba and Kazakuta and a little bit of Angolan sounds. Kizomba is a mix. I remember when the whole thing happened. That’s why when they asked Pedro what kind of music this is, he said Kizomba. Again, I may be wrong but this is what I remember. Even Flores said this. Like I said, my experience is of the Kizomba world.

Terence: is it true that Semba has a lot of pain in it because of the oppression back in Angola?

Riquita: Yes. Often times, some of the singers use music as an outlet to go against the government and to talk the government. And they may have been using code words but some of them actually were arrested. Some musicians have been arrested because of their lyrics because at that time, Angola was a Portuguese colony so they were very much oppressed.

Terence: I understand that.

Riquita: It’s all politics as well.  

Terence: Exactly. That’s what it is

Riquita: I’m not worried with politics. Like I said, I left Angola around 1974/75. I was only four years old. From what I know, that’s where the lyrics came from. And even today, Semba music has to do with the day to day lives of people. Some of them actually very funny, but it’s actually the reality, and some of them were you know quite hard to listen because it is the reality of life in Angola. Some people have very good lives and some people don’t. Majority don’t because obviously, it’s a country that probably only the one percent of the country has wealth and the rest is below poverty line. You can’t hold me on this because, again, this is from what I heard because I haven’t been to Angola in years. So, this is what people the live there tell me.

Terence: Where did you grow up specifically and what was it like growing up there?

Riquita: We were refugees. My dad was Portuguese and my mom is Angolan. They were Portuguese that lived in Angola and went back to Portugal and they called them Retornados. So my dad wanted to go but my mom never wanted to leave. She didn’t want to leave her family, her mom, her brother, but my dad wanted to. That’s all she knew. She grew up in here country. She was 40 at the time and then my dad wanted to go obviously. I remember. To this day, I still remember my mom picking me up during the night, waking me up and getting me dressed and we could hear shots outside and then we ran. We went to another city, we stayed in the headquarters or something and then from there, we went on another bus back to Luanda because I’m from Benguela not from Luanda. Benguela is south. And so going to the capital and then from there taking a flight. I even remember to this day was a T.W.A. flight, it was an American flight to Lisbon. And when we got to Lisbon, there were no places to go. They didn’t have the infrastructure to place all of us. There was no housing for us so many of us stayed in the airport. We were living within the airport. I was a kid, I was 4 years old so to me it didn’t bother me but I can understand how hard it was for the parents and the grownups and how hard it was. There was no infrastructure. Where are we going to shower? There is nothing like that. We were literally living in the airports, sleeping there and they will just give us blankets. This was September and people had already been coming before then and people came after. We were lucky because what happened was that people were already and they already had places to stay. They were coming daily to the airport to see if they could find family members and one of our cousins found us and he took us to where he was living. It’s actually a place called Troia. It’s a peninsula. They had just build apartments for tourists. It’s a beach area and tourist area, so the beach was my playground. It’s actually not bad but when we went there, there was no apartment for us so we were actually sleeping in a garage. It was cold, we didn’t have the clothing for it because practically, my mom just packed whatever we could and we ran. Then we moved from place to place and then we had to share literally one room for the whole family.

Terence: how big was your family?

Riquita: Every family was like that. Though, it was my dad, my mom and with four of us. Four siblings. We had to share bathrooms with all these people. I think that’s the reality of any refugee when you are running from a war torn country. You have to make do with whatever you see. Actually Troia was the best in the sense that we were in a one bedroom apartment, but it was an apartment. Whereas in the other places that we lived in, were apartments but we were sharing the apartments with other people and we had one room per family stand. Eventually, they moved this to the permanent accommodation which is where my mom still lives now mostly because we moved there when I was 12, so from the age of 12 to 18, I lived in that place which my mom still lives there and every time I go home to Portugal, that’s where I go. At age 18, I left to London.

Terence: Did your mom grow up dancing?

Riquita: my mom grew up dancing what you call the ballroom dances like tango, rumba, and the old school because again, the Portuguese were there so the dances were like what they brought exactly. In those days a lot of the times, even my grandmother didn’t want my mom to engage in anything that was too African because it was all about purifying the race.

Terence: my goodness!

Riquita: yes purifying the race. Because as a black person, you were nothing.

Terence: to the Portuguese?

Riquita: To the Portuguese. When they had children with a black people, they became the “mulattoes”. Therefore, knowing their kid is going to be better off paler. So that my mom had children with a white man and my grandmother had children with white men, because that’s what they call purifying the race. I think it’s just so that kids that have a better life. To this day the black people in Angola don’t really like the mixed race because they had more perks.

Terence: I’m curious. I don’t want to get too far in your personal life, but what was the relationship between your father and you mother like. Do you still know your father?

Riquita: My dad has been dead for many years now. They were married for many years. Some point a divorce in Portugal but I still always saw him. So in those days, divorce was like a taboo. Once you are married, you are married for life. So we pretty much grew up in a one parent family. My mom ruled us with an iron fist. African mothers, we were very respectful of her.

Terence: Are you the oldest?

Riquita: I’m the youngest.

Terence: so you got all the love then

Riquita: Not really. Not by a long shot. But I think we’re all treated the same. It’s not just obviously African families but you know they don’t spare the rod. We got whooped. We got smacked a lot. I probably did less than my siblings maybe because being the youngest. I still get beaten many times but that’s just normal. It is the way that they raise the children. I didn’t do that to my son maybe that is probably why he doesn’t respect me as much as I respect my mom.

Terence: What was it like growing up in a Portugal?

Riquita: OK Like I said, we were refugees. As a child, we were free to roam. We didn’t live in cities we were living in countryside. We had miles of the pine trees and eucalyptus trees and we would just play. Play outside until midnight, we didn’t just care. you just play it’s like. Well you could hear sometimes, your mother calling you, calling your name and then you had to run home but it was very freeing. Everybody was in the same situation, where all refugees are all in the same boat, so we made a lot of friends. I met my best friend practically when I landed in Lisbon. We went to this place in Troia, I met her and really became best friends. To this day she lives in London. She came before I did and we’re still best friends. So it is, you make a lot of friends. Back then I still have friends from back growing up in Portugal. I don’t think it was as great for the parents because again you were being moved here and there and everywhere. But for us kids, it was a great adventure. I had the best childhood. Yes I had beatings like every kid, we didn’t have much food where we had whatever was given to us by the government. We didn’t go without either. We didn’t have much clothing. We didn’t have much, we have very little but there was a sense of camaraderie between everyone, not just kids but the grownups as well. To me it was great but we had each other. And again, music. It was always party, there was always music, there was always dancing or always had parties inn each other’s houses or in the refectory because we used to always eat in one place. So we always had parties all the time and music was always a part of our upbringing. So no wonder we danced with the parents, with siblings, cousins with their neighbors with everyone. So that’s how you actually learned to dance. It’s by watching and moving.

Terence: That’s so different from my childhood growing up America. I definitely didn’t grow up dancing, so I’ve been dancing Kizomba for the past 4 to 5 years. It’s something I’ve had to learn so I didn’t grow with this, so it is interesting to see how you’ve grown up with this is amazing.

Riquita: It was there and we didn’t know any better so all we knew was that this is what brought us here. There was always food, there was always music, there was always dancing. So as kids we would around dancing with the grownups.

Terence: you said you moved to London when you were 18. What made you do that?

Riquita: I don’t know. I’ve always liked adventure. Even though I stayed in this country all the time. No it was literally as adventure. My best friend came to London as well here before me because she is a year older than me. And so I kind of follow her she always says that I follow her. She said “I left to London to get away from you but you came to London to follow me”. Again, just a different life, different my style. I just wanted something different. I love Portugal especially the parties, I have always been a party goer. It was just one of those things. Different life. I was in a new pair and there was a small Angolan community or polyp community and at the time when I came. A lot of the ladies were all pairs as well so and but there were guys. Again, the parties, house parties, they never stopped. Come to London, you’ll find house parties. So that was 1989 when I first came to London. It was a small community. I mean there’s loads of polyps and Angolans in the city but at the time, there were very few of us. So eventually there was this gentleman, a friend of mine called Alex. Alex opened the first Kizomba club in London around 1991 or 1992. It was matinees on Sunday, it was like the center of London and it was called a “79 club” and it was like the first time Kizomba club. I won like a couple of Kizomba competitions. It was so much fun and again, because it wasn’t that many of us, it was still a big group you know but considering that there’s thousands millions and even at the time there was like maybe a couple of hundreds. So we all got together and so again, we always had parties in each other’s houses and then another one opens near where I was living. It had a different name but they still call it “78 club” because it was slightly smaller than “79 club”. Weird names. It was really good but again, we all knew each other. Sometimes a small community is better in the sense that you know each other and everybody dances with everyone. There is no cliques, no jealousy, no competition, and that’s what we did. I think I’m fortunate and lucky because, I’m not the type of person that likes to paint a gloomy or bleak picture. Yes it was a gloomy, it was bleak, we all went through so much hardship but I try to look on the positive side and the positive side to me is that we were all family. Rather than try to paint and tell a sob story which some people and I understand because went through a lot of hardships and they say “please do not disrespect our culture because it means a lot to us” and I understand that but I also try to see things from a more positive outlook. It’s a family dance. It’s all about community. It’s all about respecting each other. And yes this is a dance but it is still part of our culture that everybody should respect. This is a dance. Yes, it’s a dance but its still part of us, our culture but don’t disrespect it.

Terence: When you are teaching a class, is teaching the culture also a part of teaching the dance?

Riquita: if I’m doing workshops, for half an hour I teach the culture but here we teach in clubs, unlike America. Here we teach in actual clubs. We teach then we dance afterwards. So that’s how it usually happens here. So when you do workshops and we do them in studios and its different story then you do like a few hours of the dance and then yes you do explain the history. You always start to explain a little bit of the history at any time anyway. It’s very important to do that but you know it depends also what level you are teaching. If I’m teaching beginners, I will explain in a bit but if I’m teaching people that and a higher level they should already know these things but here I still will reiterate a few of the points. So far, I have no complaints here.

Terence: can you tell me about Kwenda Lima?

Riquita: Kwenda Lima my first dance partner in London. We were the first Kizomba teachers in the U.K. Like I said there were clubs and then more clubs came about of Kizomba. But then I took like a few years off. I got married, had a child, and didn’t have the time to go dancing anymore. And some point I came back. When I came back people were dancing in the clubs Kizomba and some were dancing Lambada to Zouk music. Lambada which they call Brazilian Zouk now. I remember learning to dance Lambada with the Lambada music. It was not Zouk music.

Terence: I think Lambada is an offshoot of Zouk music?

Riquita: It comes from Lambada. Lambada music was Brazilian music I remember learning that. I remember dancing and obviously I left the dance scene for a while and when I came back I saw all these people dancing Lambada to Zouk music. People actually called it Lambazouk. This is weird because again, Zouk already has a dance which is Caribbean. But we always dance Kizomba to Zouk music or Pasada to Zouk music but we never actually said we were dancing Zouk. We knew we were dancing to Zouk music but we were not dancing Zouk because it already existed. So I found it weird and I found it bizarre as well. I could never make myself dance Lambada to Kizomba music, it was so bizarre because I used to dance Lambada to Lambada music. So obviously it changed, everything changed, the dance changed and at some point they started calling it Zouk because it is not Zouk.

Terence: but they call it Brazilian Zouk too right?

Riquita: yes but they take the Brazilian out that and they just say Zouk this and Zouk that. Anyway, there is this girl that I plan to see in china because she has moved to china. Her name is Nadia. She was a Salsa dancer. I taught her to dance Kizomba and she loved it. And then other people used to see us dancing and they say “what is this?” Because obviously they are dancing Lambada to Zouk music or to Kizomba music but they didn’t know what it was. And we told them it’s Kizomba and that’s what we Angolans dance to type of music. And a lot of them were asking “why don’t you teach?” But at the time, I wasn’t confident enough to teach on my own and also when you went to showcase a new dance to them, I think you need, a couple of men and women to showcase it properly. So, I don’t think I’ll teach somebody until I meet somebody that’ll be my dance partner. And then one day I think was 2004, when Kwenda moved to London, I saw him dancing. He was already in Lisbon so I didn’t even know that people were teaching Kizomba. I think they had just started as well. I had this idea to teach for a year this but I wasn’t comfortable. I was already teaching people one on one, but not like big groups because I was shy. I was okay with one on one but not public speaking. When I met Idish   , I asked him if he would teach with me and he agreed. So, obviously, we had the Lambada people but we wanted a bigger audience. None of us was known in the Salsa world but everybody knew who Nadia was so Kwenda did a demo with him in a big stage. It was a big weekend when she did the demo with him. So people would know what Kizomba is because she is Angolan as well but she used to dance Salsa as well. I was on the background and because there was not Facebook, I got email addresses, asking people if they wanted to learn the dance and working in the background. So I was working in the background and then she actually set up a workshop for the 3 of us and then I had other friends and my friend Nadia set up regular classes every week. So that’s how teaching to a bigger audience started. It started from there and other people got involved and other people like Idish and Miguel Montero who became teaching as well. It became bigger and then my students became teacher themselves. Some of them still teach. It was a long journey because people were not used to it so it took them a long time to be convinced of this dance. But eventually I started hearing that in Poland they were teaching it then all the sudden everywhere else. But Portugal and the UK were the first ones that started teaching Kizomba. Although I had no idea that it was being taught in Portugal, just that I wanted to teach. The reason I wanted to teach was because, around mid-90s, like (unclear 41:32) started doing the same thing with them with the fusing Zouk with their quality better with their own sound and all the other public countries in the same thing with other music, and other polyp communities did with their traditional music. So for many years the (unclear 41:43) had the monopoly of the music of Kizomba. So they started slowing down the music because it used to be quite fast. So they started slowing down the beat and all of a sudden it Tarashinya. I like dancing a great Tarashinya. When the rhythm is there, it’s a great connection. But at the time, I was used to my Pasada, because I was used to the moves. A lot of people say back in day, Kizomba was very plain and very buoy and that is not the case. Whenever I dance with people and they do old school moves, people say “oh my god this is amazing!” We did a lot of moves back then but it’s more upgraded but they’re still the same moves. The only different is I still prefer dancing in the old way, because nowadays, especially with the men, you see the men doing all this footwork. Where a couple is dancing, you look at the guy. That doesn’t mean they don’t look at the woman, but you look at the guy what women think because we supposed to be the beat keepers they can make you exactly the beat because they are doing so much footwork in different beats that they need to come back to the main beat and by doing that it’s up to us the ladies to keep that beat. So we walk. Don’t get me wrong, I love dancing Kizomba and Semba, I don’t mind the walking, but the way we dance in the old school way back in the days that whatever footwork the men did, he made the woman do as well. It wasn’t just him doing footwork and we are walking but we are doing it as well. It was really a symbiotic relationship back then. We were literally, mirrors, reflections of the men in every sense. So all the movements come from the waist down. The frame usually stayed intact. Whatever you did, doesn’t matter if you move this way, twisted, we always stayed here. We never moved from this position. Stay there but everything was from the waist down. All the Semba and Pasada was from the waist down. Occasionally, there would be an open frame but it wasn’t so much, the frame was here and the movements were down there. But everything the men did, so did the women. That’s what we call dancing as one. Its two people, but you look like one. When you see Semba and Kizomba being danced now, it doesn’t look like one. It looks like two people.

Terence: you are right

Riquita: that’s why I still prefer to dance the old way the old school way. Whenever I find somebody that dances that way, I get excited. There are people who know what they still pull up from my they swim back in and they mix the old and the new so much so that even in my classes I still bring old school moves and I mix them with the new moves because we don’t leave then, we leave now so and to make sure that you get a little bit of everything and then there are people that I love dancing with which some people have difficulty following, which I find in a lot of ladies nowadays. No matter how good they’re not used to the old school moves, therefore, they are used to walking. So whenever they dance, if somebody does old school moves, they can do it. They make mistakes because they are not used to doing footwork but used to walking. And I’ve seen this quite a bit. But it’s just a question of getting used to that and that’s why I try to teach old school moves, so people, women, are able to follow anyone.

Terence: OK yeah

Riquita: But obviously there’s people like (unclear 45:49), he is brilliant and is one of my favorite dancer but he won’t go all the way in dancing with most women because he knows he brings a lot of the old school. Yes he mixes with new but he brings a lot of the old and not everybody can follow him and he does a lot of footwork and he makes me the footwork. I absolutely love dancing with him but not many women can, but then there’s people like Dasmara Dos Santos. He’s also brings the old school in new school. But that man is just a joy to dance with and that because he’s so smooth everybody loves dancing with him and then there’s people like (unclear names 46:31) and again he brings a little bit of the old and new. I do like the mix of bringing up and the new because then you get a little bit of both worlds. But there are a lot and there are people that I know here in the U.K. They’re not known because they’re not teachers, they’re not going to promoters but they just dance and they’re just amazing dancers. They’re very old school, but I get the pleasure to dance with these people that not many people do so and I’m very lucky.

Terence: I would love to take a class with you.

Riquita: when I was in Houston last year, I did do a couple of old school.

Terence: You did it definitely and I enjoyed it. I’m curious, can you tell me about Ginga?

Riquita: a friend of mine asked me to describe Ginga in one word. And obviously I said it in Portuguese because he asked me in Portuguese. And I said “Naturoridad” and that means “natural” in English. It’s like the natural body movement. Everybody has a body movement, they are natural body movement which you see when you walk. Some women have a little bit more than the others but Ginga is a natural body movement. It’s gracefulness.

Terence: is that how ladies can style while dancing?

Riquita: yes because it’s a lot of hips walking and if you’re already a graceful person when you walk, it’s easier. But literally, it’s walking in a nice manner. It’s swaying and swishing, it’s natural body movement but a lot of women overdo it. Again if you are dancing with the men, you are dancing with somebody that’s leading, you are not dancing on your own. If you’re dancing on your own, then yes you are free especially when the guy opens the frame. When a man opens a frame, you’re not in front of him you’re not in frame therefore, you have only a bit more freedom to move. But when you are in frame and I see the guys also have their Ginga, but the women are over doing it. And as far as I’m concerned with Kizomba, you’re supposed to look like one. That’s how I grew up. So that means that if the guy’s doing one thing and you are over doing your moves, you actually dancing against the man not dancing with the man, not dancing with the flow but against the flow. So I think it’s very important as a woman to always follow, not as a woman, because I some men follow, but the leader of the movement. You can have a little bit more of the sway which is okay as a lady. Although I have seen guys that have more Ginga than women do, and all the movement comes from the waist so, just match the guy but don’t it because when you overdo it, it just doesn’t look natural anymore, it’s still has to be natural and Ginga is a natural body movement which still has to feel natural not overdone. If you over do it, it doesn’t look good to me. It’s not natural anymore because you’re making it, forcing something that should come naturally. Ginga is natural body movement. It’s grace and fun but it’s you not forcing or trying to be someone else.

Terence: could you tell me about Tanya?

Riquita: She is my dear friend and we do work together many times. We teach in a very similar manner. Even though we do teach together but we found that we teach very similarly when we do teach together because again, she’s Angolan like me. She came in the second wave of refugees to Portugal. She has more of an Angolan experience than me. Like I said, I did go to Angola in 1986 when were still in height of the war, so much so that there was curfews, we couldn’t go to a party or we had to stay in the party until six in the morning. If they found people outside, they could be shot or picked up and those kids could be taken to the army. So you had to stay indoors and obviously, it had an effect on the way parties go on till so late nowadays. If we went to a party we had to stay so we partied all night. So Tanya came later. Although her experience is the same as mine, but a little bit more geared towards the Angolan side of things because she was there whilst the war was going on whereas I left when the war had started. I experienced myself as a refugee which was bad but she experienced the war herself. We both experience food shortages as well in our own experiences. She’s a brilliant teacher. She’s great. Graceful. She teaches a lot of about Ginga and how women should move their natural body and how to bring it out. Her class are absolutely amazing. I have helped her in classes, I’ve seen and witnessed her class, and she is very well spoken. She is very nice and sweet and I can’t be like that. She’s been teaching for quite a long time as well. Like me, she can do the men steps as well as the women steps. It’s a privilege to have attended one of her classes really. She teaches a lot of the culture and the history much more than I do even though I know the same things that she does, but she makes it a point to always have cultural classes. Because a lot of women don’t support each other so she tries to make a point of having these classes for women which we all support each other and so like we all sisters. She is an amazing person and as a professional, she’s great.

Terence: I want to have a show soon so can you put a word for me?

Riquita: yes sure. She will be fine. She was living here in the UK and stayed here for many years. Although she’s has moved to Portugal but yeah I can get in touch with and she’s asked really great. I learnt she’s going to be staying in America for some time, she’s going to talk festival, I think. I know she’s going to be in the one that Oscar does and I know she is going to be in Still City as well. She’s going to be in a few in a few months.

Terence: How did you know Miss Lucia Nogueira?

Riquita: Lucia is my girl. I met her actually when Eddie Vance was doing a competition, I was going to be one of the judges and she came to the competition. She wasn’t going to compete but a guy there convinced her to compete so she decided to compete and she was just she was very fresh at that time. She was just learning and she started a few years back and I loved her from the beginning. She has just has. Poise and ease and she is friendly and happy all the time and when I dance with her and was leading her she was amazing. So she entered the competition actually but she did amazing and again she was against all these people have been doing follow up to me she would have been high up there but you know I wasn’t the only judge. So that’s how I met her. She’s very ambitious and she obviously started teaching as well. I don’t ho as I was I don’t know at the time if she knew how to lead but she learned it how to lead then she can teach with a partner she can teach on her own which I find as a teacher if you’re going to teach, even if you have a partner, it’s good to know both of course you know because you never know you might have to at some point teach on your own. I was with Kwenda for a year, we were together for a year teaching, but then after that I discovered that I’m too bossy. I know Lucia says I’m one of her role models but she is also one of my role models as well because she went out there and then she conquered the world practically. And you know she doesn’t always teach with Eddie, she teaches by herself many times and she’s very much sought after everywhere in the world and she’s just such a natural gifted teacher. People just love everywhere she goes. Again, she has the sense charm and she’s always smiling and laughing and I love that are happy. It means that whatever you’re doing, you love what you do and you are not just doing it for the fame or fortune. She does it because she loves it. I love dancing with and I have a video with her where we were leading each other.

Terence: I’ve seen the video

Riquita: yes and it just flows it flows so well because she is a brilliant partner. She can lead so well, she can follow so well and you know to me she’s up there. She’s one of the top dancers.

Terence: that’s awesome. Talking to her because I had her on my episode previously, and what stood out the most apart from her passion was her teaching style. She truly wants to teach you and make sure that you learn it.

Riquita: That’s how it should be. I’ve actually taught with her, been in the class with her and I have assisted her because she has assisted me as well. Usually in festivals, if I’m teaching and she’s teaching and with Tanya as well. We help each other. When you want people to actually learn, you make sure that you spend as much time with each student. I do the same thing. I dance with everyone and make sure I don’t just dance with that one person that is assisting me and she does that too. When we teach, we dance with everyone. And with each person that I dance with, I will give advice to help them improve because it’s great that students should praise you but they should be able to learn something from you. It’s a male dominated place as well and it’s like you invite men but you don’t invite women. You invite men with their partners but very seldom will a woman teacher teaches on her own is going to be invited. And if she’s invited these to do ladies. I knew I could do just as well as any guy. I’ve been teaching longer than most people have. If you are invited, here in the UK, we have no issues whatsoever. But in America, because I have taught there many times, they never had any issue with me teaching by myself. I can do the steps as well as any man. Most ladies come to me and say dancing with me is better than dancing with most guys because I exert some old school moves. I’m not trying to pat myself on the back, but it’s the reality. I’ve been dancing more than many of you guys have been alive. I started getting when I was 18. Obviously I thought my best friend and that’s how I learnt to lead. so it’s a lot of experience, so don’t overlook a woman teacher because she doesn’t have a partner or because she’s teaching on her own because we can give just as good and probably many times better and not better than everyone because I don’t think anybody’s better than anyone, we’re all different but we can do just as well and better. I’m not going to be politically correct here. Say it how it is I know how to switch from being a follower to being leader. Not every woman can. Obviously I’ve seen a lot of women leading and they leading like girls. If you’re going to lead you have to lead like a guy, like a leader. You should be teaching if you are going to be teaching the men to lead that way. On the other hand, people they know what they’re doing like me and I’m going to say me because there’s no lie here. And that Lucia and Tanya and Josie and there’s other so many other women that are really good leaders and they can they can out lead anyone and they can out teach anyone. So don’t overlook us ladies because we are ladies. It’s 2019.

Terence: I think an important part of the dancing is knowing how to lead and because it only makes you a better overall dancer correct?

Riquita: yes. Actually at some point last year I was doing this with my friend Rashid. She is from Jamaica Dominica. She was taught by Talk and she is an amazing dancer, leader and teacher. She’s really good but she’s not recognized, not known all over the world like me. She’s yet homegrown talent, there’s so much homegrown talent in the world about. A brilliant teacher and there was a time we were doing these workshops which we call “if you can lead you can follow, if you can follow you can lead”, which we were teaching ladies to follow and men to lead. Because it does make you a better dancer. So whatever the other side is doing, you know what to expect and that’s what we were doing and actually we were very popular and I need to go back to that. Maybe I need to do another workshop, we did quite a few workshops on that and it’s very interesting because there were more women that wanted to lead than men that wanted to follow. But a lot of men were interested in learning how to follow too. So it’s very important to learn both. You literally become a better dancer.

Terence: personally I would love to take their class because my overall goal is I want to have great dances so I would love to take that class because that sounds as an amazing class.

Riquita: I’ve done it in Cancun for the teacher training where I was teaching the women to lead and follow because again teacher training is important especially if you want to be teacher because you have to learn both sides of the coin. You need to know how to do both because you might end up having to teach on your own one day because even when you are explaining to a lady, it’s important and I prefer anyone, knowing how to do both, especially Kizomba because of the connection.

Terence: it’s like trying to teach something and you only know half of it. You need to know all of it.

Riquita: Definitely. I do that from time to time whenever I do these workshops. And people love it and they are glad when they understand why it happens and the reason behind every move in leading and following. They get it and they become better dancers. People that I dance with that are amazing dancers are the ones that can do both sides. Men or women, it doesn’t matter. I love dancing with Rico. He is amazing. He is Eddie Vance’s cousin. He can lead and follow. “Swave” means soft, smooth. He is such an amazing dancer. I actually danced with him in the Joaquina’s concert. He is a great dancer and the way that we teach is very similar. Polyp is set to teach similarly. I’m not sure because I haven’t seen all of them teaching. The ones that I know teach similarly as the same way that I teach. We are all very much focused in foundation. I’ve seen people teaching that the beginner’s class and they are teaching Saides. Yes you can teach it but your first class should have the most important steps which are (inaudible 1:08:05) and it’s important for the people to learn the foundation before they start learning technical steps because I think technical steps are easier and can be learnt anytime. I teach any level but here in the U.K. People ask me to teach intermediate because for some reason they think because for the experience that I have that not many people can teach intermediate so they’ll ask me to teach intermediate. So I have people come to my class the first time, they’ve been learning with other people and they’re often times they don’t know the foundation. They can do steps and it doesn’t matter, what level I teach, I will always put the foundation with it because when you’re learning a step you actually need to know when to apply them within the foundation. So I always do foundation every time, every level, every class I do, there’s always half of it for Foundation and a half for a dozen tricks and oftentimes, people get the tricks but they don’t get the foundation. They don’t even know what (unclear 1:09:10—14).

Terence: you are saying strella is the start and boglo is combo right?

Riquita: some people call strella boxing but I actually call it “box it”. So for everybody to be on the same plane

Terence: I understand

Riquita: within the foundation, there are so many things that you can do, you can play with the foundation. You know Breaks and stops and within the foundation, so many things you can do.

Terence: I’ve been talking to a lot of people like Salsa instructors, Kizomba instructors, Brazilian Zouk instructors, one of the questions that I asked the is what does it take for someone to go from an immediate level to an advanced level? And what they tell me every time is to go back to the basics.

Riquita: Of course. Always go back to the basics and that’s the reason why even if I’m doing intermediate or advanced levels they always do foundation to make sure that people know what they’re doing because it’s repetition. Repetition is what makes you have muscle memory. Repetition is important even when people say they already know it, I still go through the steps because it is still repetition. If you don’t do it enough times, people remain at the intermediate level, they forget about the foundation they’re only going to be like that and then the dance is not enjoyable. So, I’d rather make sure they know Foundation properly and then insert the moves with the foundation and that’s what makes the dance flow.

Terence: And I want to ask you this question for myself and maybe many other people who aren’t fortunate to have a teacher like you, is our only option to go to festivals or conferences?

Riquita: I don’t think you learn that much in festivals especially if it’s big festivals. If it’s small festivals it’s a more of a community feel, we have more time to spend with each of you. When it’s massive festivals, the teachers all have the time to go to everyone and therefore how much are you actually going to learn. You can still go to for festivals but if you really want to learn either go to small festivals or if you go to a larger festival get private lessons with the teacher. So also do your homework because not every instructor that’s famous is a great instructor. I’m not famous by any stretch of imagination. Yes a lot of people know me here a lot of people I mean America and they know me in a few other countries but again being a woman is a handicap on her own, yet I can teach. I have a lot of experience and I see a lot of people that are really famous and then they pull in the crowd and they’re teaching skills are mediocre.

Terence: Not everyone can teach.

Riquita: not everyone can teach. You can be a very good dancer but it doesn’t mean you can teach. If you are going to be a good teacher, you have to know how to dance. But you don’t have to be a good teacher if you are a good dancer. It doesn’t mean that you are the teacher. You have to be a good dancer. But being a good dancer doesn’t make you a good teacher.

Terence: that makes all the sense in the world

Riquita: I haven’t seen everybody teach and I only make my judgments based on what I see and sometimes the products like the students. Nowadays, students are not only a product of their teacher but also a product of the entirety. I always tell my students anyway, don’t just come to me because what’s going to happen is you are going to be clones of me and I don’t want anyone to dance like meat I think we all should be individuals I think we all should be unique, so I say go to as many teachers as you can. Obviously, I will give my opinion of who they should go to dance with or to learn with and then to develop your own style. Not your own way of dancing and be you don’t be so many someone else. I can tell straight away when I see students the way that they dance, I know their teacher. Because, there’s always a main one, there is always the main teacher. And I have friends that said to me “I met somebody that I knew straight away you were a teacher” Because they do what I do but having said that, I always hope that all my students are going to be an amazing dances, but not everybody learns at the same pace. Some people learn very slowly, some people are very fast some people come to my classes a few times but then they go to other people’s classes and then they might not necessarily be great dancers. And I don’t want people to say I’m their teacher when I’m not their main teacher. I need to be their main teaching for them to be called to say “I am you teacher”

Terence: if I lived in London, I would come to your classes all the time.

Riquita: I know you will. I will be in Houston again in July remember?

Terence: I’m going to be there, I have to be there. I want to ask you. What are some of the lessons that you’ve learned from dance that you’ve been able to translate to your everyday life

Riquita: And I’m not really sure because I haven’t actually haven’t thought of dance in that way. Maybe a little bit more graceful. And moves, and my interaction with people. Be nicer to people. You have to be nice to everyone and sometimes not always. You know I think is being more tolerant because again as a teacher, we have to be more tolerant and see everybody as equal. I’m just trying to because I haven’t really thought about how dancing has been affecting my day to day life. I enjoy being around people more, sometimes I don’t. Because you see them so much that

Terence: you want a break. I definitely understand that.

Riquita: I’m a social person, so I do like to be around people. I teach and I dance, I love to dance. yes it’s real. My best friend always says I have the most beautiful smile when I dance.

Terence: it’s real.

Riquita: it’s real. I dance is one of the happiest. When I’m on the dance floor is when I’m actually the happiest in my life. I’ve always been that way since I was a kid. I’d put music in the living room and I’d start dancing. Dancing never left me. Dancing is my first love and it’s always going to be there with music. There was a time my mom saw me and she said “oh my god! You are going to wear out the carpet. Always putting on music and always dancing because it makes me a happier person. So on and off the dance floor, dancing makes me a happier person. Dancing definitely made me a nicer person. Not that I wasn’t nice to begin with. Although they do say you shouldn’t be saying that you are nice, other people have to say that you are. But I know that I’m nice. I like to think that I know who I am.

Terence: self-awareness

Riquita: I’m very self-aware. And I tend to be a happy person even when a lot of people don’t think so.

Terence: I want to ask you this. For people who feel like they’re stuck in a beginner’s rut. What advice could you give them?

Riquita: You might have to change that teacher. You might have to do your homework on who are you going to learn with. You may want to have private lessons because sometimes private lessons are easier and you learn quicker. Invest in private lessons if you really want to learn to dance. Listen to music, get music from the deejays or from the teachers, listen to the music and learn to listen to the beat. Listen to the music all day, all the time and then it gets in your head and then at some point it will eventually click. But if you are stuck in a rut there has to be obviously a reason that you are stuck in a rut. It could be that you need private lessons that you are not good with group lesson. Could be that your teacher is not the right one for you. It doesn’t mean that the teacher is a bad teacher, maybe not just be the right teacher for you. So change until you find the on that fits you the best. If you really want to learn, you’ll do everything in your power to learn. Definitely investing in classes especially private lessons.

Terence: I don’t know if you would mind saying this but how much do you charge for private lessons?  

Riquita: I’ll tell the people but everybody charges differently. I try not to charge too much but I know some people charge through the roof. You are not surgeon, you’re not a doctor, even private doctors will charge that much. It’s a dance, a craft that took you years to perfect, let’s not diminish what dancing is, but you are not saving lives. Maybe sometimes you are saving life. I want people to learn if I’m going to charge through the roof, people might not want to invest in lessons and I really want them to learn, so I don’t care so much about the price. I’m not a philanthropist, I still want to get paid. I’m not here to do charity but I do really want people to learn. I will charge a fair price.

Terence: I think that speaks to you as a teacher. You want to teach this, you want to give out their knowledge.

Riquita: You need more students if you don’t charge that much so you have to clever about it.

Terence: What does it take for an intermediate to get to that advanced level?

Riquita: I don’t even think there is an advanced level. Once you know how to do the foundation and you know it well, you are advanced. You don’t need to know over a thousand tricks to be a good dancer you need to feel the music. When you dance with somebody, I feel the music through him. If as a lead you are able to follow that music and have music and you know how to dance to the music because music is king and dictates everything. If you know how to follow that music and you know all the nuances of the music all the brakes all the ups and downs and you know when to stop and start and you know and you can convey that to the lady and the lady is like (this is as a leader, obviously as a follower it’s a different story). If the lady is smiling throughout the dance, then you are an advanced dancer. On the other hand as well (if the man is sweating). I’ve been told “You make me sweat” by many men. I know that I have got some pretty light yes because then you challenge me you make me. So you challenge me. For Angolans, if they don’t know you, they start off small and they are pleased if you can follow them but if not, they get disappointed. To us, dancing Kizomba helps to socialize. A lot of people just want to dance and they focus so much on the dance and they forget so much that we are socializing. I chat on the dance floor without missing a beat. I do that because it’s so much fun. If a man is dancing with a lady and she is following him as he is giving her more, he will see her as an advanced dancer because she is able to give him the feedback that he wants. Whenever I lead, for instance a woman or man that can follow me everything that I do with ease, it inspires me to do more, it inspires me to make instinctive moves. If a woman is smiling and you can tell on her face that it’s bliss, you are an advanced dancer. So this how it is. It’s not about levels, it’s about how you dance to the music and how you make the other person feel. You have to play with each other. Like I said it’s a symbiotic relationship and a conversation and if it all goes smoothly, then you are nice dancer. It’s not about levels. It’s not like what Bruce lee use to say that “what belt are you?” It’s not about the level it’s about how you know how you feel in how well you can feel within yourself. Even me that I have been doing this for years, I always learn and I love observing people and I always learn with what they do. Don’t be afraid to go back to beginners’ level.

Terence: I think as a teacher, you should always be learning from every student.

Riquita: you always have to upgrade. Yes I have my style of teaching, I have my style of dancing, I haven’t seen anyone that doesn’t love dancing with me both men and women. I’m not being conceited

Terence: you are a master at your craft.

Riquita: Yeah and I’ve not dance with anyone that didn’t enjoy dancing with me, men or women, they all enjoy it. Because I love it so much and I translate that into what I do. It comes from within, it comes from here you know anything comes from the heart and if you can enjoy it even if you are not experienced on the dance floor. But if you have the energy and that’s why I say to a lot of women that complain that they’re not are not getting dances, it’s the way that you feel. If you feel happy, you may not be dancing with anyone, dance on your own, dance with each other, that’s what we do, that’s how we grew up, we didn’t want to dance with the guys. Even if you don’t get a dance with a guy, to me it’s about the music. The other day, I was in this place that I teach and the music was really getting to me, I actually didn’t want to dance with anyone, I wanted to dance by myself. The music was so good and I was doing my thing and I was like enjoying the song and closing my eyes. It’s more inviting that way even though you want to dance alone. Just be happy. Be in an environment where you are able to go to these places, you are able to listen to this wonderful music and you are able to dance even if you dance on your own. I love dancing on my own, I don’t have to dance with a guy the whole time. Not every man will dance. I do understand that there is ageism, sexism, weight, and it influences so men’s choice of dance partners, but that’s not how I grew up. I grew up dancing with everyone. And to be honest, everybody goes out to dance and everybody goes out to have fun, nobody’s obliged to dance with anyone, you will only dance with whoever you want to dance with. But when you go out to dance, enjoy. You go out to dance, the person that you won’t give anything for, might be your best dancer tonight. Dance with everyone unless the person is been inappropriate with you, just go out there and enjoy. This is how I see it. I grew up in an environment where everyone dances with everyone. It doesn’t matter, we all dance and the children with adults. That’s what it means. So I find it really weird that people only dance people but again nobody is obliged to dance. At the same time, it’s just me giving advice giving like please if you go out dancing make sure that its community spirit

Terence: that’s a great outlook. I love it.

Riquita: it’s a partner dance. Even if it’s not, you see that lady in the corner she hasn’t had a dance for the whole night just go and ask her and make her night. The same with the women because there men that women won’t want to dance with because again they might be older, they might be overweight , go and ask them to dance. I am from a generation where a woman can ask a man to dance. I won’t do that unless he is a friend of mine because that’s not how I grew up. And I have no issues, I mean I’m a teacher and everybody knows me but I do go to places where nobody knows me and I get dances. It’s your outlook and how you portray yourself. I went to a party the other day, I knew very few people there, and it was polyp party. A lot of people know me on the Kizomba scene but not on the polyp scene. I used to know everyone but now I don’t because I don’t really go to polyp parties. But I went to one but literally I didn’t stop dancing because there is always a smile, it is all about having fun. 

Terence: what is one tip that you would give someone to make them a better dancer immediately?

Riquita: you are asking too much dude (laughs. It is always going to come back down to music. It’s about listening and learning to listen to the music but nothing is immediate and you’re not going to be good at anything overnight. So you can’t immediately be good at anything. But you can learn to listen to music and can learn to understand music and that will make you maybe most likely learn quicker once you’re in the in the music.

Terence: I think that leads me to my next question. What does the word musicality mean to you?

Riquita: musicality what it means to me, again, this is what I’ve been talking all about. Learning to listen, knowing the music yes and knowing how to feel the music and knowing how to apply your moves to the music and so that’s what musicality is. Is really dancing to the music. Not dancing just for the sake of dancing because a lot people will just do lots here and there but they’re not actually listening to the music, they are just like dancing by numbers. They’re not actually listening. A person that listens to the music and you know and that dances to every beat, you don’t just dance to main beat but also the melody like the secondary beat and sometimes a crescendo and then you stop and then you wait until the vocals drop and then you dance to the vocals. But for in order for that to happen, you have to listen to music constantly and that’s you become accustomed to the music and even though you may not know a song it may be a new song many never heard it, but because you’re so used to listening you know when the beats going to drop you know straight away when the vocals are going to drop even though you may not have heard the music or before the song. It’s all about the music and like I said, every teacher will always say music. It’s everything. Just listen to as much music as you can. Don’t just listen to ghetto Zouk or Tarashinya, listen to everything. Listen to old music, old African music and then you get a better appreciation of it and it is going to be so influential in the way that the dance as well.

Terence: I want to thank you for taking your time out to talk to me. You have so much information, which is amazing and I really appreciated that.

Riquita: Wait until you talk to Tanya. She has all the cultural background. I do prefer talking about the dance.

Terence: I want you to tell me, what are some of your upcoming events? I know that you are going to be in china pretty soon.

Riquita I was there last year as well. I was in Hong Kong last year teaching and I’m Going to be in China and obviously I’m going to be Houston and like that I don’t travel that much because dancing teaching is not really my main job. A lot of people do these as their main job. To meet it’s always been a hobby. I love dancing and teaching.

Terence: I thought you were a fulltime teacher.

Riquita: I do this as a hobby because I love it so much. I think if I did it as a job it would lose that sparkle and I still want Kizomba or any type of dance to make me happy. If I’m going to do it as a job, it’s not what going to be this interesting so I want to do it as an enjoyable hobby. So I have a job and I can’t travel as much as I would like to but occasionally, do go to teach abroad. But I still prefer teaching here.  

Terence: can I ask what you do?

Riquita: I’m a nanny.

Terence: are you teaching the little ones how to dance?

Riquita: no. my son is 23 and he can’t dance Kizomba. You know kids these days. They want to do street dances. My son used to go to street dances classes but he never wanted to learn Kizomba even though I’m a teacher. It breaks my heart. It’s really does. When I say people dance by number because they don’t really listen to music, polyps in general only dance to songs that they like so if you get rejected by a guys who dances polyp, it’s mostly because he doesn’t like the music. I will say yes to everyone because of what I do because as a teacher you have to dance with everyone but if I don’t like a song, I will say to a student I’m sorry. I need to enjoy it. When I dance I need to enjoy the music because it’s all about the music, so if I don’t like the song, I’m not going to best just because somebody asked me to dance I need to enjoy the music. So if it happens just politely tell the person that you don’t like the song.

Terence: In my experience, it’s very difficult to dance to a song that you don’t like

Riquita: but a lot of people do.

Terence: But it’s not as enjoyable

Riquita: It’s because maybe you’re a musical person but lot of people don’t understand musicality, a lot of people just dance and go to learn because they enjoy dancing. But there’s a difference between dancing and being a good dancer and really enjoy the dance. But anyway, it’s a different thing. Not everybody’s a good dancer.

Terence: I think there’s no better feeling than when the D.J. puts like your favorite song on

Riquita: oh my gosh. Then again and I’m going to be mean here when the DJ puts in your favorite song and you want to dance with a particular person because you know that song you know and then somebody comes and asks you to dance, it’s going to spoil that song for you. This is me being mean, I don’t want them to spoil the song for me. But certain songs I prefer dancing on my own. Its better, it feels better, it goes even a little better. So I will dance with you unless you are inappropriate with me. Just don’t be inappropriate with me and I’ll dance with you

Terence: tell the people how they can get in contact with you

Riquita: My name is Riquita Alta. On Facebook its Riquita Alta. On Instagram its Bilunda Angolans (you can search with Riquita Alta as well). So those are the two. Social media that I use but most of the time I will post all the events that I go to that I teach them all and I always post them so if you want to get in touch with me messenger or Instagram oand Check my Facebook and see where I am and come in there check out my classes. You won’t be sorry.

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