K-Iceland Kizomba Festival
Iceland is an enchanting place, smack dab in the middle of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Iceland remained a fairly under-the-radar place to visit. From gorgeous landscapes to friendly people, this country has a lot to offer. It’s only about 5 hours from New York and 3 hours from London by plane, so this (surprisingly green) country is pretty easy to visit for travelers based in the United States or Europe.
K-Iceland is an intimate, human and friendly Kizomba event that focuses on quality and good energy more than quantity.
This year is held in Reykjavik from 13 to 15 September
This time we interviewed one of the organizers of this festival, Anaïs
Hello, could you talk us about yourself and your career
Hello, Eva, my name is Anaïs (Barthe). I’m originally from France but I’ve been living in Iceland since 2014. Before being a kizomba instructor, I’m in the first place a contemporary dancer. I’ve been dancing professionally for more than 10 years, in independent contemporary companies, in opera productions, in France and abroad, and for a few years now in Iceland.
I created « Kizomba is Icelandic! » in 2015, an organization offering regular kizomba classes in Reykjavik, social nights, workshops and holding for the 2nd time last September, the northernmost kizomba festival in the world, K-Iceland Festival.
When did you start dancing?
I started dancing as early as you can join a dance class, which means 4 years old… It started becoming more serious from 11 years old when I joined a professional course for young dancers in Toulouse, France. There, I received during 8 years my dance education in jazz, contemporary, ballet but also salsa, hip-hop, afro, dancehall, etc… and I discovered kizomba finally in 2011 through the salsa social nights I used to go.
For some reasons, I’m naturally attracted by all these dances with a really strong grounding and organic energy. I found in kizomba a crossroad between what I like in dancehall, what I like in Cuban salsa or rumba, what I like in dance contact or contemporary dance (contemporary dance is so much larger than what media let you see, check the work of Hofesh Schetcher for example).
How would you define the Kizomba dance scene in Iceland?
The kizomba scene was pretty much nonexistent before I moved to Iceland. Salsa and Bachata were there for a few years already but everything needs to be done for kizomba. I didn’t have any ambitions to be a kizomba teacher even if I was teaching before,
I was just a kizomba lover that wanted to be able to keep dancing even on an iceberg 🙂
I had 2 options, or to travel every weekend to festivals to feed my need, or to start building a kizomba community here in Reykjavik. Well, I picked up the most challenging one. What is nice about starting from scratch is that you are able to instill your vision and philosophy about kizomba, and it helped a lot to build a friendly and healthy atmosphere here.
Could you talk to me about your experience in organizing the K-Iceland Festival?
K-Iceland Festival was the continuity of my thoughts about bringing kizomba to Iceland. I wanted to show to people here the energy of an international kizomba festival, bringing top-dancers and instructors to receive the best knowledge and simply to be able to experience what kizomba is on a larger scale. It also gave Icelanders the desire to travel abroad to other festivals.
We hold the 2nd edition last September, and it’s always such a warm feeling to see what we have been able to create: a human, friendly, respectful and qualitative event with people from all around the world, gathered during a weekend in the most unexpected and amazing place on this planet.
Could you advance us some news for the upcoming festival?
All our projects are still in the box, and it’s still too early to talk about anything, but if everything works out well, it promises to be exciting!
The easiest way to stay informed is to
follow us on facebook or Instagram, looking for « Kizomba is Icelandic! » and « K-Iceland Festival ».
What are your future goals?
One of my future goals and the most exciting certainly this year is to embrace my new role as a mom. Besides that, we will keep working on bringing up and making grow kizomba here. It always takes time to break codes and change mentality. Dancing is so beneficial for all genders, at all ages, even though if it feels far from your roots or your culture. Kizomba has a lot to offer to Iceland.
What do you think of Kizombachata or Lambazouk?
I don’t know if I should call myself a purist because it wouldn’t be true. I’ve always been crossing disciplines and styles but the most important about it it’s to know where things are coming from.
I’m not sure I will go myself into this but I hope instructors are aware of what they teach and share with their students the origins of each dance… It’s so easy to create confusion.
Thank you very much, Anaïs, we will be watching the development of this festival, the northernmost kizomba festival in the world.
You still have time to get your tickets, click HERE