Dance Select Canada was officially launched on March 17, 2019, with a Konpa Social event by its founder Schiller.
Today, having taught hundreds of students worldwide, they've also participated in popular Kizomba festivals such as Groove ‘N Kizomba, Global Tarraxo, and Kiz ‘N the 6th, contributed to fundraising events, and produced shows around Montreal.
They organized the very first Konpa Social in Montreal — a place to dance Konpa and only Konpa all night right after the class.
Our mission Is to share Haitian culture with the world through the art of our traditional dance: Konpa., recognized by native Haitians and loved by many.
We're dedicated to provide a safe environment to learn and grow as a dancer whether it's on a social, romantic, or sensual level.
History of Konpa
Konpa music was born in Haïti. On July 26th, 1955, Nemours Jean-Baptiste and his band LasCahobas played this fresh new beat called Compas Direk revolutionizing rhythm in Haiti.
What about the dance? Before Konpa, there was Haitian Meringue played by Webert Sicot and Djazz des Jeunes to name a few. At the same time, Latin bands were coming in to entertain Haitians with Salsa and Merengue.
Some dancers wished they could be on the dance floor but found these dances not accessible and difficult to learn and lead. When they heard Konpa, they were very happy to be able to move comfortably because the dance was simpler. We believe that at first Haitians were dancing to latin music and then adjusted their dancing to Konpa.
Artists that made their mark: Ti Manno, DP Express, Magnum Band, Phantom, Tabou Combo, Coupe Cloue (Konpa manba)
The music went through 2 revolutions:
#1 Big Band Konpa
To play Konpa, you need a lot of instruments such as drums, guitar, bass guitar, saxophone, trumpet, piano and voices, which means that you basically need a large band. Eventually, technology replaced some of the instruments, therefore eliminating some of the live musicians. That's when full bands disappeared and other bands were able to transform themselves into mini-djazz (smaller bands of 3 artists)
Full bands still live today and there are institutions of Konpa music that ensure that they keep the tradition alive: Tropicana d’Haïti and Septentrional.
#2 From Zouk to Konpa Love
This style of music that originated in Martinique took Haiti by storm, notably the band Kassav. The rhythm was slower allowing dancers to move more intimately on the dance floor. The beat was more regular and with fewer instrument
It was so popular, that some radio stations refused to play Zouk to discourage its popularity.
The band Tabou Combo wrote a song where this message was passed on:
"Atansyon atansyon, nouvèl generasyion, pa kite konpa ale, si nou pas ranmasel…"
Which translates to:
"Careful, careful, new generation, don’t let Konpa die if you don’t make it go forward…"
Konpa survived by adapting and developing in what's called Konpa Love. Before that, it had a fast beat that didn't leave room for closeness and intimacy. Konpa Love on the other hand allowed dancers to express themselves more romantically.
Konpa Love is still very popular and gouyad gained in popularity. What makes it distinct is this instrumental solo past called ploge (to plug), that is incorporated into every song, usually played by the guitar (kod lan) or piano, the trend took off in the 90’s/2000’s. and remain part of the composition to this day The group 5Lan commercialized it with the word Gouyad (grinding, to whine). You can’t have a Gouyad Session without it being introduced by the Konpa love rhythm first. Of course, Djs and beat makers created remixes and songs with almost only gouyad sound since it is very popular but not the only way to hear or dance Konpa.
A Taste of Konpa Music
Upbeat in style: ChTabou Combo, Tropicana, Djakout, and Klass.
A romantic slower rhythm: KDanse, Lakol, Zin, Carimi, Gracias Delva, Nu Look, Vayb, Kaï, Harmonik, Alan Cave, Phylissia Ross, Magdala, Rutshelle.
Highlighted by the guitar or synthesizer solo of a Konpa love song: 5Lan, Katiz, CruzLa.
Founder, the one with the ideas and drive to make it all happen.
Inhouse Teacher, he is passionate about sharing his knowledge and seeing you thrive in your dance.
Collaborator and teacher. She loves to teach and create choreographies.