African Connections
Celebrating Black History Month
Dance! Kizomba, Semba, Life!
Photo of Edson Monteiro laughing

Celebrate Black History Month with Kizomba, Semba, and so much more!

African Connections is programmed by Tania Amaral


February 10th

Photo of Edson Monteiro, sitting down

Sharing is Caring: African people sharing their culture & Experiences | 2.0 hr | 6 PM | Open to Everyone | Donation at the door | Vault Cafe

Edson Monteiro (aka Eddy) from Guiné – Bissau, Nataniel Pedro José (DJ Nata) from Angola, Tania Amaral (aka Pynksy Shell) from Mozambique. What do they all have in common? They are all Africans and they speak Portuguese. They will share a bit about themselves, their cultures and their journey as African artists from distinct countries.

February 11th

Photo of Edson Monteiro demonstrating a dance in a workshop setting

Dance and Movement: Kizomba Workshop | 2.0 hrs Class | 9.30 AM | Adults | $35 | Pre-registration please | German Hall, 71 Caledonia

Edson Monteiro (aka Eddy) will share Kizomba the way it is established in Angola, the country from which it arose! Kizomba comes from Kibundo, one of the many languages spoken by Angolan People. The meaning can be translated to something like a party, in the sense of coming together and having a good time. With food, music and of course dance. Eddy was born and raised in Guiné Bissau, but he already lived in Cabo Verde, Portugal, and now he lives in Portland in the USA. He is a very well-known name in the Kizomba community. He will bring all those vírgulas, quarter and full turns, from balance to bloqueio, it’s all about Angola and their dance Kizomba. Even if you never did this dance in your life you have to try and if you already know bring your ultimate swag to the class.

Photo of Edson Monteiro, standing up

Let’s talk about it: Lecture & Debate | 2.0 hrs Lecture | 12.00 PM | Adults | Donation at the door | German Hall, 71 Caledonia

The Influence of slavery in Music & Dance

Edson Monteiro (aka Eddy) from Guiné – Bissau, will deliver a one-hour presentation that highlights the history and background of slavery and its influences on music and dance in Africa. Following will be a Q&A and discourse session. This is a unique opportunity to listen and learn how things are so interconnected regarding the influences of African people. From the continent of Africa to the diaspora and then come back to the roots.

Photo of Edson Monteiro leading a dance workshop

Dance and Movement: Semba Workshop | 2.0 hrs Class | 3.00 PM | Adults | $35 | Pre-registration please | German Hall, 71 Caledonia

Edson Monteiro (aka Eddy) will offer Semba class and movement as it is done in Angola, Kizomba’s birthplace! Semba is tradition, it is Angolan people and their culture. This dance is much older than Kizomba and actually, Kizomba comes from Semba but was transformed and influenced by other rhythms such as Zouk from the Antilles.

That is why one can not talk about Kizomba without the Semba and because of that here we have the mother of all, the Semba as people do in Angola. One can not waste this opportunity to feel in the body all that fluidity and musicality.

Photo of DJ Nate

Closing Party: African Dance Social | 4.0 hrs | 9.00 PM | Adults | $20 | Pre-registration please | German Hall, 71 Caledonia

Dj Nata (Nataniel Pedro José) Will bring the hits up and forward. He spins Kwassa-Kwassa, to Afro-Beats, Afro-House, Ndombolo, Kizomba, Semba, Shaabi and much more. Bring your best shoes, and moves, and get your groove on.
Light snacks, non-alcohol drinks available for purchase.

February 1st-28th

ONGOING ACCESS to Rui Djassi Moracén’s presentation,
The (True) Essence of Kizomba

Photo of Rui Djassi Moracén holding a microphone

Rui is the founder of the “University of Kizomba”, a non-profit educational initiative that aims mainly at promoting Angola at large, preserving its culture as well as the essence of its dances. Under that umbrella, he has taught workshops and/or participated as a panelist at major kizomba events across 3 continents, namely:

• Africa: Luanda, Nairobi
• Europe: Hamburg, Rome, Warsaw
• North America: Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington, and Toronto.

His professional background is in the oil & gas industry. He has degrees in Chemical Engineering (University of Cape Town) and Technology Management (Georgetown University, USA). Rui teaches kizomba as a hobby and has promoted it outside of his home country of Angola since 2001 when he was part of a small group of Angolan students at the University of Cape Town who decided to share their nation’s music and dances with other students on campus.

Over the past 20 years, Rui’s passion for kizomba and its precursor (semba) has evolved from teaching folks the correct body mechanics of these dances and shifted towards emphasizing the importance of understanding the socio-cultural dynamics associated with kizomba on much wider and deeper perspectives.

His kizomba research interests lie at the intersection of music, musicality, dance, influences (historical, political, geographical, etc) and how the combination of these elements contribute toward the unique soul-satisfying bliss that kizomba provides to everyone on and off the dance floors across the globe.

He spends considerable time in Angola where he continues to unearth and gather even more interesting research materials related to kizomba/semba, which he then shares during his workshops and/or online at You can also enjoy his great taste and love for music at

Faune by Geneviève Johnson
Actress, Dancer, and Choreographer
Giron Sami Teahter

The Sámi People’s Theater, Giron Sámi Teáhter