Difference between Kizomba and Urban Kiz

I usually get this question asked once every week, so let me talk about this. I am not here to make a judgment or suggest one over the other, you should ideally try both the styles and see which one suits you the best. One thing I have noticed, in social dancing, you will encounter both styles on the dance floor depending on who you are dancing with and, of course, the music you are dancing to. These two dance styles are very different, but also have so much similarity. To understand each style, we need to understand a bit of history and where they came from.


Kizomba music was born in Angola in the 1980s by musicians who were influenced by the zouk of the French Antilles but inherited from the semba. Kizomba is music with a sensuous touch, the rhythms are slow. This sensual touch is mixed with African rhythm and Zouk. It is music for the soul. Kizomba dance was defined in the 80’s when Angolans began to dance to the new, slower and romantic musical style with the same semba technique.

Urban Kiz

Urban Kiz was born when the dance of the kizomba was adapted to new styles of music which is more modern and with a greater freedom of expression and movement. Urban Kiz is a mix of Urban (Ghetto Zouk,Hip Hop, R&B, Rap, Electronic, House etc) music and dance styles. Urban Kiz was born around 2014 in Paris.

To most people who watch the dance for fun, there doesn’t seem to be any differences, but there exist several differences in the execution of the two dance styles. Below are some of the key differences between Kizomba and Urban Kiz.


Kizomba is usually danced in a closed embrace involving a close chest-to-chest connection between partners. Whereas, in Urban Kiz, there is more separation between the partners to allow for more footwork.


Kizomba dance is usually very smooth and harmonious. Where in the Urban Kiz there are frequent breaks, syncopation, sudden changes of direction and more tricks. Urban Kiz attempts to make body movements to express little details in the music.

Leading Technique

Kizomba is usually lead with the chest, hip and legs. Where in the Urban Kiz,  the follower is mainly guided with arms. In Urban Kiz the follower needs to be little dissociated to allow the leader to guide through the arms and make rapid directional changes.


Kizomba dance is very grounded with soft knees (weight on the heels) whereas Urban Kiz is more upright and dances lightly. 


In kizomba the posture is very relaxed, whereas in Urban Kiz, the posture is straight, rigid and somewhat tighter.


Kizomba dance has very limited tricks, whereas in Urban Kiz there are more tricks, leg lifts and accelerations.


Kizomba moves and movements are very circular, whereas in Urban Kiz it is a linear pattern, change in direction is done in perpendicular angles or by reversing directions.


In Kizomba the leader uses smooth and simple movements, this is to allow the follower to express their styling with hips, whereas in Urban Kiz the leader is the one who has more creative freedom, while the follower has a rigid posture.

I hope this helps, drop me a message if you have any questions or need more information. Look forward to seeing you on the dance floor.

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