Pick any definition you’d like for summit (SUMMIT: the highest point on a mountain; a meeting between great minds; an apex; the peak or the topmost level attainable) and you will begin to get a better picture of what you’re really saying when you mention the White House Kizomba & Zouk Summit! This is more than just a festival!

The White House Kizomba & Zouk Summit started out as a vision and was called sKyzomba; the very first kizomba festival in the DMV area.  Held on July 6th the festival hosted one of the most respected European dance couples, Recardo & Paula from Afro-Latin Connection and one of our very own well respected American dance couples, Ivo and Shani. After listening to much feedback and much appreciation for the first two festivals, Tanya realized that she had to close some gaps between kizomba festivals in the US and some of the top kizomba festivals in Europe. In the beautiful Summer of 2014 during a 10 day kizomba/semba emersion @DMAES Boot Camp, leaving Muxima Bar somewhere around 5am, Tanya sat down with Ben Peli and two more well respected Kizomba and Semba Instructors, Miguel Monteiro from Portugal and Leonard Seymore from the US. It was on this special day that many of “your” ideas came to be the reason this festival has evolved into what it is today. The vision changed and so did the name.

The Summit is the very first festival of its kind for 2016, offering a place where we can all come together and experience an emersion into the African culture and history. There is truly something for everyone: beginners, intermediate dancers, advanced dancers, instructors, kizomba & semba lovers who just wanna have fun, brazilian zouk lovers, inspiring DJ’s,  and live band fanatics (if you have a favorite kizomba song (ANY KIZOMBA SONG), we have the biggest surprise for you). For the first time EVER, Edwardo Paim (the creator of the kizomba sound) will be sharing his experience and performing live for hours at this event.

Ok, so what does all this mean to you when there are so many things to consider? It means you may find yourself breaking through the barrier of not knowing anything about kizomba or zouk to dancing until 6am. You may find yourself in some intensive instructor training for instructors or a 4 day Choreography course (about half the price of flying to Europe for this course with the same instructors). You may find yourself exploring the many aspects of brazilian zouk. You may find yourself as part of the track tailored to DJ’s and musicians. You may find yourself as part of a video with art, culture and a fashion show or with the White house in the background. You may find yourself dancing with, sitting next to or hanging out with well respected and recognized national as well as international dance instructors. Your opportunities are all in one place, here!

Join us in April 2016 for the very first festival of its kind in the DMV area as we make history once again! Highly recognized and printed in material all around the world, The White House Kizomba & Zouk Summit has more than doubled in size every year while keeping its African family get-together feel for a reason you have to experience to believe!



At a time when zouk was the most popular music at parties called kizombas and  played frequently on Luanda´s music radio stations, what was often listened to and danced to at kizombas ended up giving its name to the music and dance genre being created. The kizomba genre, a rhythmic mixture of semba and zouk, the well-known music of the French Antilles, was the result of this fusion.  Although a branch of the lyric writing techniques of Paulo Flores and of the use of Ruca Van-Dúnem´s synthesizers, Eduardo Paím is, undoubtedly, one of the foremost names in the history of Angolan Popular Music, for the influence he had on the young people of his generation and those which established themselves after the 1980s, and he is unanimously regarded by critics as one of the founders of the kizomba genre. It should be reiterated that the musical projects Kijila I, II and III, the result of Eduardo Paim, Ruca Van-Dúnem, Ricardo Abreu and Luandino having met up in Portugal, can be regarded as a milestone in the creation of the rhythmic structure of the kizomba genre.   From massemba, the “belly” dance, arose semba, which in turn, mixed with zouk, gave rise to Kizomba.

The dance style Kizomba is a development of the Massemba “belly” dance, where couples embrace each other to accompany the beat of slower and rhythmic songs. As a result of modernisation and Angolans gaining access to Portuguese and foreign culture, particularly seasoned Angolan sailors bringing foreign records home in the 1950s, the society of Luanda began to accept foreign rhythms such as  G.V., tango, merengue and the ballads of Popular Brazilian Popular Music, responsible for couples dancing closer together.

On the closure of the main recording studios after the independence of Angola in 1975, “zouk” began to take over at parties (kizomba), and the majority of Luanda´s radio stations played this type of music. A rhythmic mixture of semba and zouk, kizomba became the young people´s music of choice in the 1980s.

kizomba dancing


Brazilian Zouk is a dance that developed from the Brazilian dance Lambada. The dance is now combined with a variety of music, including Caribbean Zouk music, which is how the dance came to be known as Zouk. Lambada’s success, widespread as it was, lasted only about five years. By the mid 90’s lambada musicians were few and far between and the majority of the lambada dancers had lost their inspiration. Some dancers sought to continue the lambada style and began experimenting dancing lambada to the Caribbean music influence of Zouk. This fusion was highly appealing and eventually lead to the widespread Brazilian zouk dance style that can be seen today. Zouk music in the 90’s was significantly different to the current popular zouk music that is danced to.

It is commonly believed in Brazilian Zouk dance communities, that Brazilian Zouk dancing is merely the combination of Zouk music and lambada dancing. Brazilian dance has evolved significantly since the days of lambada. When watching the three dances (Caribbean Zouk, Lambada, and Brazilian Zouk) one might ascertain that Brazilian Zouk has assimilated more than just musical influences from Zouk. Indeed, elements of the traditional Caribbean Zouk dance, such as the slow shift in weight from one side to the other done in very close proximity, can be established in observing the reinvention of Brazilian Zouk lambada. Thus, all three elements of Brazilian Zouk (Lambada dance, Zouk music, and Caribbean Zouk movement) might have contributed to the resulting dance that we most frequently refer to as “Zouk.”

Brazilian Zouk dancing has spread around the world, and has developed into numerous healthy dance scenes. Whilst Brazil is still home to Zouk, other countries, such as Australia, Thailand, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Holland, Spain, Russia, Germany, Czech Republic, Sweden, England, Denmark and the United Sates, have also established healthy Zouk scenes.