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Claire’s passion for African dance earns her international acclaim

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ENNIS woman Claire O’Meara describes herself as “just a girl who fell in love with a dance and a culture”, and that love has now brought her to international acclaim.
Claire is a Kizomba dance instructor, and she has just been named as the Kizomba ambassador for Ireland, joining an elite group of performers and instructors promoting the dance globally through festivals and international workshops.
Claire has been dancing Afro-Latin for over 20 years after living for 10
years in Florida. She stumbled across Kizomba at a salsa dance club in Limerick and
was instantly hooked.
Kizomba is a dance which is native to Angola in West Africa. It is a new genre of music hailing from the late ‘70s early ‘80s influenced by Semba music and
Zouk from Carribean French Antilles.
Claire specialises in Angolan culture and the roots of the dance which has become a global phenomenon and is danced in all corners of the world.
It is a social dance, with Kizomba meaning ‘party’ in the language spoken in Angola, Kimbundu.
Everybody is equal on the dance floor, and colour, age or wealth is irrelevant.
“When we dance we can relax our mind and let the music create magic,” said Claire.
Claire believed she had to bring the dance to her home town of Ennis, setting up her dance company Kizomba Ennis in 2016 and hosting weekly classes, masterclass and events for fellow dancers.
She decided to take a big step and travelled to Lisbon to train with Master of the dance Mestre Petchu. As Angola was a colony of Portugal, Kizomba is very popular in Portugal, especially Lisbon.
On returning she decided to teach as a solo teacher and artist and works with top
artists for performances.
Claire never planned on becoming an international artist or teacher, she just wanted to share the social dance in her home town of Ennis.
“I’m just a girl whom fell in love with a dance and culture. My aim was to share Kizomba in my beloved town of Ennis.
“For five years I have worked hard through sweat, tears and plenty of laughs along the way to create Kizomba, Ennis never imagining I would be on a world stage.
Claire is a qualified contemporary teacher and teaches traditional Afro and Ginga along with Kizomba.
She is passionate about sharing the heritage and culture of Kizomba and Angola as it is not her culture and she believes it is important to share proper information with respect and love.
In recent years Claire has been working with promoters teaching at festivals around Ireland, UK and Europe building up a global following.
Since lockdown Claire moved her classes online for free as she understands the importance of mindfulness in these difficult times. Her classes have been strongly supported and the feedback hugely positive.
She said, “It’s rewarding to see my dancers spirits lifted and helps us all stay
connected until we can dance together again.”
Her ethos is on building her students’ confidence and self belief. Speaking about being named Ambassador for Ireland, she commented, “I am both humbled and extremely proud to represent my country on a global stage alongside the top artists in the business.”

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