Interview with Mahamadou Traore – Kizomba dance teacher in Tromsø
Tromsø is located more than 300 km inside the Arctic Circle, which with its 70.000 inhabitants makes it the most populated city in those latitudes.
Tromsø is a two-hour flight from Oslo. In the morning there is usually a lot of activity, in the shops, in the harbour… The centre preserves a multitude of small wooden houses, among them you can see the house where Amundsen stayed before setting sail for his expeditions to the North Pole.
You can also visit the Polar Museum to learn about all the ins and outs of these explorations, cross the Bruvegen Bridge to reach the continent and visit the Arctic Cathedral (the northernmost cathedral in the world) and ride the cable car (the Fjellheisen) to see the view of the city. Watching the Hurtigruten sail past under the bridge and watching the sun set behind the mountains on the island of Senja is a magical experience.
The season to see the Aurora Borealis starts at the end of August and lasts until the end of March, and the midnight sun can be seen from 20th May to 22nd July
Some of the activities you can do in Tromsø are kayaking, sledding, trekking, hiking, fishing … and of course dancing, both Latin and Kizomba dances.
This time we interviewed Mahamadou Traore, a kizomba teacher working in Tromsø
Hei, Mahamadou, it’s a pleasure to interview you
Hei. Thank you. Nice to meet you.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am Mahamadou TRAORE, originally from Mali, living in Tromsø, Norway for the past 18 years. Studied in England, Russia and Norway, I have demanding jobb but find always time to dance.
When did you start dancing?
I started dancing in 1996, salsa while leaving in London. Then caarying on here in Norway where I started to dance Bachata in 2009. I first danced kizomba in 2010 during a festival in Oslo. Just a crash course. Then in London in 2013 and so on.
As a french speaker i grew up with Zouk from the Caribbean. Kizomba music reminded much of it and at some parties they even played Zouk ( most people didn’t know the difference). Salsa was fun but demands a lot of energy while i could / can dance kizomba for hours non stop. I like the rythm, the possibility to change energy level during a dance, the chemistry. It was and still is pure joy.
Is it very difficult for Norwegians to perform a dance that requires such close physical contact?
Yes, it is difficult for Norwegian to start dancing kizomba. But those who managed to get started are fully engaged. I tell my friends and colleagues to come and try kizomba because it is a therapy for them. Let go the control over who is the leader and get “up close and personal”
How would you define the Kizomba Dance Scene In Norway in general and In Tromsø in particular?
In Norway in general, there are very few leaders and quite a lot of followers. The kizomba milieu is like a family, we do lot of social things. Spontaneous parties or meetings. It is very including. Tromsø is quite a small town and many other dance styles. Kizomba and zouk are the latest comers. So the Kizomba scene is not big.
Is there a difference between Oslo and other Norwegian cities?
The only difference is that in big cities like Oslo, there are more kizombeiros which create some problems. Oslo is now divided between schools and orientations ( kizomba, urban kizz and fusion) old and new. We are too small to be divided
Have you ever danced Kizomba in other countries?
I dance mostly at festivals. Travel 2 times a month. Expensive but worth it. I was in Ukraine 2 days ago, but Russia, Poland, Germany, Holland, Baltic states, Hungary, Portugal, England, Sweden, Spain and France are among others the many countries I have been for dancing
Do you think that Kizomba and other Afro-latin dances are going to gain followers in Tromsø and they will become as well known and practiced as Salsa and Bachata?
I am positive, so I will say yes. It needs a lot of work. Some of the girls have been at festivals and are already asking about Kompa
How did start Kizomba in Tromsø?, how did it get there?
Some girls have been abroad on festivals. Came back, decided to invite a teacher from France, then from Russia. Then we started a kizomba social dances, where we just learn the basics and try to practice what we know. Me and my then girlfriend decided to teach. We travelled abroad, learnt from som of the best: Pechu, Albir, Felicien, Curtis, Enah, Joao, Afrolatin, Paulo…
What are your future projects?
Will just keep dancing, keep improving untill i physically cannot anymore
That ‘s nice!!!Thank you very much for the interview, greetings
Thank you, greetings.