Born in Benguela, a southern province of Angola, to an Angolan mother and Portuguese father, in the early 1970's and on the cusp of its independence from Portugal, Riquita is the youngest of four siblings. Due to the Civil War that ensued in Angola in 1975, Riquita and her family were forced to flee their homeland and become refugees in Portugal, where she was to live until her move to London in 1989. Riquita's teaching of Kizomba dancing came purely by chance. In 1989, in a bid to convince her reluctant and non-Kizomba dancing best friend to go clubbing with her, Riquita successfully taught her best friend to dance in one afternoon. Some of Riquita's first students are now very successful teachers in their own right. Riquita has continuously taught Kizomba and her expertise and respect by her peers has enabled her to judge in many Kizomba and Semba competitions. With nearly 30 years of dancing experience, Riquita is one of the most sought after and respected Kizomba teachers in the UK. Her approach to teaching emphasizes the basics and solid foundation, Riquita is often called a Kizomba Purist. To her being a Purist merely means that if one has strong foundation one becomes a better dancer... and the results speak for themselves. Riquita's passion for Kizomba dancing is unparalleled, only to be rivalled by her passion for sharing it with others. Kizomba doesn't just run through her veins, it's glued to her bones and in the air that she breathes. If you wish one thing for yourself today...Wish that you get to learn and be touched by Kizomba...The RIQUITA WAY!!
Lu Semba Q
I was born and raised in the Azores, more specifically in a Portuguese island called Terceira. In general, I began dancing and singing with my father when I was a child as he used to perform back in the days. When it comes to African dances I started learning about Kizomba and Semba when I moved to Lisbon to study when I was 18. Music and dance has been part of my family ever since therefore it came naturally to me. Dance is not my career; dance is my passion and what I do out of love. When it comes to Kizomba and Semba I am simply lucky enough to have some of the best dancers as my friends and to be emerged in the culture. Does dancing come first? Not at all, for me people and culture comes first and the dance is its natural expression. The most valuable dance school experience I ever had was being able to take part of classes in Luanda with “Kandengues Unidos” dance school and the dance school of my friend Paulo Isidoro dos Reis. Their teaching method is entirely different from what we find in Europe and our notion of what a “dance school” is. I can dance pretty much anything for fun! From Hip Hop to West Coast Swing just put the music on and I’ll go
DJ Valentina / Cape Verde
I was born in Cape Verde Islands on the island of Brava. I began D.J.ing over ten years ago. I got my start working for a company representing D.J.’s. I have performed at the CVMA’s ( Cabo Verde Music Awards ) I have done private events for the New England Patriots, the New York Knicks, Steven Tyler of the band Aerosmith and much more. I love D.J.ing because it is an escape from my own reality. I am in a different place and a different state of mind when I am playing music. It is truly liberating for me. I hope to inspire many others to step out of the box and pursue what they love to do, whether it be, music or something completely unrelated. It is all possible, with dedication and belief in your own abilities.
Jandira Dos Santos