Kompa, also known as compas, is a lively partner dance that originated in Haiti in the 1950s. It combines elements of Caribbean dances like merengue. Dancing kompa is all about feeling the groove of the music, moving your hips, and having fun with your partner. Today’s dance tutorial features kompa dancers and instructors Dady and Manuela. Based in Paris, this talented duo has years of experience teaching and performing kompa internationally. Since they teach in French, we summarized some key points in English below the video to help you get started:

YouTube video

Their YouTube channel showcases numerous instructional videos that break down the fundamentals in an easy-to-follow format for beginners. With an upbeat song playing in the background, Dady and Manuela expertly guide viewers through the footwork, hip motion, partner connection, and lead-follow aspects that form the foundation of this spirited partner dance.

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Here are some key tips to help you learn the basics of kompa dancing as a beginner:

Get Into the Rhythm

  • Listen to the steady 4/4 time signature that characterizes kompa music. Tap your feet and nod your head to get a feel for the rhythm before you start dancing.
  • Pay attention to the emphasis on the downbeats in the music. This will help you time your steps correctly.

Position Your Body

  • Stand facing your partner with a comfortable space between you. Keep your frame upright, shoulders relaxed and arms loose at your sides.
  • Bend your knees slightly and keep your weight centered over the balls of your feet. This makes it easier to move your hips.

Move Those Hips

  • The secret to dancing kompa is in the hips! Allow your hips to sway smoothly from side to side in time with music.
  • Push your hip out towards your partner as you step sideways with one foot, then switch and push it the other way.
  • Let the movement flow from your center and through your waist. Your upper body can remain still.

Take Some Steps

  • Take a side step to the right bringing your left foot together, then rock back onto your left foot taking weight off the right. Repeat to the left.
  • You can travel forwards and backwards while doing the side to side hip motion. Lead your partner so you move together.
  • For turns, lead your partner into a gradual spin then continue with the basic steps. Go both clockwise and counterclockwise.

Get Close

  • As you get comfortable, slide your right hand around your partner’s mid-back region while holding hands with your left.
  • Bring your bodies closer together and coordinate your movements. But don’t cling too tightly.
  • Maintain your own posture and frame while moving as one with your partner.

Let Loose and Have Fun!

  • Kompa dancing is meant to be enjoyed. Move however feels good to you and interpret the music your own way.
  • Improvise new steps if you feel inspired. There is a lot of freedom once you have the basic rhythm and hip motion down.
  • Smile, be playful and make eye contact with your partner periodically. Stay present in the dance and the connection you share.

The most important thing when learning kompa is to relax and feel the groove. Start slow and get comfortable. With regular practice, you’ll be able to dance kompa with flair and confidence! Allow your inner joy to shine through.

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