Kizomba Oslo: Interview with Tone Pettersen
Tone Pettersen is a Norwegian lady who organizes kizomba and semba events in Oslo. In Agora Kizomba Magazine we talked to her and she told us about the scene of kizomba in Norway in general and particularly in Oslo.
Hei, Mrs. Pettersen, Is it very difficult for Norwegians to dance a dance that requires such close physical contact?
No. Not really. We have very good tango dancers here. It is rather the opposite which is the problem. They think kizomba is a «sensual» dance
Why do you think kizomba seems so “sensual” to them?
Using the word kizomba for «sensual» fusion dance is common all over the world
How do you see the kizomba scene in Norway in general and in Oslo in particular?
It is only one city in Norway who has good kizomba dancers, Stavanger. They have a very good teacher there
The other cities are very much fusion and urban kiz and people are confused about the various dances. It is easy to see in festivals how that works. and as an elderly lady I immediately feel whether it is proper kizomba culture or some European sexualized culture
It is easy to see in festivals how that works. and as an elderly lady I immediately feel whether it is proper kizomba culture or some European sexualized culture
Is there a lot of difference between Oslo and other Norwegian cities such as Bergen, Trondheim, or Finnmark region?
All parties are either urban kiz parties or mixed music. Only my parties has been pure kizomba
Do you mean in general or dancing?
Yes, general, but Latin and Kizomba in particular
I am not very well known in other cities
In Tromsø social dances are held every week in which they dance Latin dances and some Kizomba and in Kirkenes also
Yes. I know they have a latin/African mix in Tromsø. Probably the only possibility in small cities
In a city like Oslo I think it is time to make pure kizomba That is also the only way we can attract the palop people to dance kizomba. If they go to the mixed parties they will either be bored or dance tarraxinha when they play ghetto Zouk and urban music
In proper kizomba parties and festivals I dance a lot. In mixed festivals there is another culture and I am very seldom asked to dance
When you say pure kizomba, do you mean the traditional Angolan kizomba?
Angola have many traditional dances. Kizomba is not one of them. But I know that people sometimes use the word traditional about kizomba. Kizomba is actually a very modern dance and should not be called traditional
There are people who call traditional Angolan Kizomba to the dance that was born in Angola in the 80’s
Yes I know. They should stop saying that. It is enough to use the correct names for the various dances
Yes, of course, What attracted you most to kizomba?
I have been dancing both traditional and social African dances since 1977. I was running an African dance club in Oslo around 1985 with my husband in the time Zouk came to Africa and Zaire was big
I was running an African dance club in Oslo around 1985 with my husband in the time Zouk came to Africa and Zaire was big
After that I also danced Cuban dances, Brazilian dances and tango. And I have loved music from Cape Verde and various other African countries for many many years
It was mainly music from Cape Verde which brought me to kizomba , via the period with ghetto Zouk when CapeVerdians still were teaching what we all thought was kizomba at that time
Could you talk a little about yourself and your experience organizing events in Oslo?
I just wanted to make a small event last February to show the locals what kizomba really is and to help the local community to grow
The focus on culture is as important as the dance. We eat, talk and socialize a lot and the first edition was very popular so I decided to make one more. And now I am planning number 6 but still to support the local community. Not to compete
I never plan anything on Fridays because I want all my guests to support a local party. And my teachers also teach in the local parties and local schools very cheap
Do you think that Kizomba and other Afro-Latin dances are going to gain followers in Norway and that they will become as well known and practiced as salsa and bachata?
I think that it is natural that urban kiz grows faster than kizomba
African music and dance is more difficult for us and that is why people choose European dances
The same happened to Bachata. It is the European Bachata sensual which is now the most popular. So the people who will dance kizomba/semba will be fewer but it is also a growing number world wide. And more pure kizomba festivals and weekenders help
I think the worst «enemy» for kizomba now is ghetto Zouk music and «Zouk love» type of music.
In Angola that music is never dances in a kizomba party. It is listened to in taxies and supermarkets and sometimes use for tarraxinha to get a girl to bed
What do you think of certain more modern rhythms such as tarraxo or fondecia?
I like the music used for urban kiz dances such as «tarraxo». Unfortunately very few dance this kind of music with women at my age. Or some people might think that I dont like urban kiz. I must say that I dont like the festival culture we have. But I like the dance. Some reminds me of other dances I have been doing like tango and belly dance
I do not hear any kizomba in the music used for tarraxo
Thank you very much for answering my questions, you’ve been very kind. I hope that the events you organize will continue to be very successful and that next year I will be able to attend one of them.
I will make more events. But I am asked by the local Angolan Association to make one when they celebrate their day on the 16. November. Could not say no.
Don’t miss this Kizomba event in Oslo: Casa da Tone semba and kizomba weekend