June 29th, 2013
That evening I met Ivo Viera and starting taking regular classes with him that still continue today. A few days later I met Eddy Vents at a Kizomba weekend of workshops in DC. My first privates with Eddy were only about the music and the culture.
I had found a new beat that I wanted to understand, to feel the roots of what this new music was and a month later through the encouragement of Carla Poma I met my teachers and mentors Mestre Petchu and Vannessa Pura Ginga. That was it I was permanently hooked. They invited me to train with them in Portugal. A few months later my dear friends encouraged me to go to Porto to train with Afro-Latin Connections before my 1st of several KSC began. I figured sure what the heck i'm already getting a ticket to Portugal why not stay and extra few weeks. and go to Porto also. Holy smokes was I so unprepared. That began my friendship and training with Ricardo and Paula last December. I spent one month training and dancing for 10 - 15 hours a day between Porto and Lisboa. When I left Portugal I had trained with people who have becomes my friends, my teachers and my family. The one thing I learned the most was I had to go back and keep training.
As soon I returned people started asking me to teach. I am from Washington DC, and in DC we are lucky enough to have Oscar B.A. Oscar was the first person to start teaching Kizomba in DC and he has worked hard to build the community and teach when people had never heard of Kizomba. So I would send everyone to Oscar, and still encourage people to take lessons from him. Missing Portugal and my family there I decided to return this past August and this time I stayed for two months. Oh what two months that was. I started at ALC bootcamp which I am preparing to bring a US invasion next year :), and ended with the Like Festival in Lisboa dancing everyday. I made new friends and trained with some of the best instructors in Europe, like Miguel E Susana, Paulo & Lana, Bernadeth & Dilson, and Morenasso, but always remaining true to my mentors. I have trained over 250 hours with my mentors over the last year. This does not include the hours at all the amazing festivals, clubs practicing, and countless privates and classes with the above mentioned instructors.
After speaking with Petchu about what was next in my journey and his encouragement to teach he honored me with a new name to teach under, the name is Kianda T. A name that to me connects to my mambo dance company YemaShun. YemaShun comes from Yemaya and Oshun, Orishas of Santeria. Briefly they represent the Goddess of the Oceans and the Goddess of the rivers and streams. YemaShun represents where the rivers meet the oceans, when Oshun comes to visit her mother. Kianda is the Angola Queen of the Oceans. I love the water and the purity and clarity of the water. Life springs from the oceans they way music and dance makes me feel alive. I hope I will always honor my mentors in the way that I train, learn and teach. Thank you for my being such a huge part of my journey. I look forward to sharing my knowledge with the world, while I continue to learn.