Dancing without expectations

Dancing without expectations

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” ― William Shakespeare

There are many things about social dancing that lights the spark in my eyes; Creating the first connection with a dance partner. The triumphs, surprises and even fails in leading & following.
Sharing a unique moment.

With the enjoyment of social dancing comes its challenges - and mysteries. Why one dance with the same person, even in the same place or the same music, can be a triumph once and another time the magic is >puff< gone. Even when both dancers are comfortable with their moves, even if you like the song, the floor is smooth and you're feeling good the dance may still not turn out to how you thought it would.

But what were you imagining? What are you expecting from your partner? And what if your dance partners expectations different than yours? 

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How zouk swept me off my feet - and 10 tips for (future) social dancers

How zouk swept me off my feet - and 10 tips for (future) social dancers

"Dance like everybody is watching"
-Said no one ever

Dancing seems to be a daunting idea for some. "I don't dance", "I have no rhythm", "Oh it's nice to see you dance but really I can't" - isn't that what we hear often? How many times have I seen the "Dance like nobody is watching" poster, as if dancing would be something you would need to hide or be ashamed of?

Trust me, anybody can dance.

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Q&A - From basics to beyond and zouk trips to Europe and São Paulo

Q&A - From basics to beyond and zouk trips to Europe and São Paulo

After you learn the basics how do you step to the next level? I saw that dancers of zouk have moments when they don’t make the steps anymore or they make different steps and doesn’t look like basic.

I'm a big fan of zouk and I'm travelling to Europe in September, so naturally I want to squeeze in as much zouk as I can. Do you know of good events or places to go? 

I'm going to São Paulo this summer. Where can I find lessons that get progressively harder?

Zouk The World gets questions from readers every now and then - and I always try to help! There's a bit of backlog so apologies for the late replies. Some of these questions might be on your minds too, so I thought I'd share my answers here in the blog.

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What makes a great follower? Your tips for social dancers! (Poll results)

What makes a great follower? Your tips for social dancers! (Poll results)

A great follower is patient with the lead and allows them time to make decisions about what moves they wish to execute, without trying to lead themselves. -Rose, Ireland

Dance as one even when you are doing something separately. -Sophie, USA

Being able to understand and respond to the the shape of the music and the motion of the leader. -Anonymous

I love when girls ask guys to dance, especially when they're beginners. -Henning, Germany

What are the qualities of a great follower? How can one become the most wanted follower of the dance floor? What is following really all about? This is what I set out to discover when I asked you "what makes a great follower in social dancing?" And Zouk The World's readers certainly did not fail me.

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Level up! Brazilian Zouk intensive courses and teacher training

Level up! Brazilian Zouk intensive courses and teacher training

In my hometown there isn't too much Brazilian zouk going on, where could I learn (fast)?
I'm dying to know more - everything - about zouk, what's the nearest intensive course I can find?
Are there any teacher training courses for Brazilian zouk?

No - I'm not here selling you a course on anything. But it looks like there are a lot of people itching to take their dancing to the next level, as I do get a lot of questions for recommendations on intensive training weeks and teacher coursers. So I thought I'd help you out with a list of events for you to look into!

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Olaya & Papagaio: I can feel 100 things in zouk - Interview Part 2

Olaya & Papagaio: I can feel 100 things in zouk - Interview Part 2

Time flies when you're talking with  Brazilian zouk stars Olaya and Papagaio. In the second part of our chat we talked about the evolution of zouk. I was curious to know what makes Brazilian zouk special to Olaya and Papagaio, how they motivate their students to practice and what does DJ Papagaio feel about the current trends on Zouk music. Olaya was also kind enough to tell me how she's been coping with her work as a dancer dance during her pregnancy.

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Olaya & Papagaio: Anybody can learn zouk - Interview Part 1

Olaya & Papagaio: Anybody can learn zouk - Interview Part 1

Hmmm... what are the questions I never dare to ask the international zouk pros? And who do I know that would give me straight up answers?

It’s a rare and precious experience to get to work with something you love - and with people you admire and enjoy spending time with. Olaya and Papagaio are one of my first zouk idols - their dancing swept me off my feet in 2011 and the feeling hasn’t faded over the years (quite the opposite). So when I finally had a chance to interview them, I jumped to the opportunity with all my long thought-over questions; What is the most important thing in learning Brazilian zouk? How to motivate students? What could we do to make zouk scene better, and bigger - or do we need to? Why pro dancers have seem to have different mentalities regarding dancing with students in the parties? How to deal with maternity & teaching dance? And.. and... and.......

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7 Stages of packing for a dance trip

7 Stages of packing for a dance trip

And my parable of starting to blog again…

Have I ever mentioned I hate packing? I do, with a vengeance. Especially packing for dance trips; you just need so much more stuff than on "normal" holidays, have you noticed? You'd think that after all these years of traveling, I'd get so used to it that it goes like a breeze. Well, probably because of all the years of traveling, I'm just so sick & tired of it, it feels more like a hail storm.  But I've noticed there's a certain pattern. Maybe by acknowledging the pattern, I'll learn not to hate it so much.

What's your packing routine? Here's mine!

 

1. PROCRASTINATION

Ah, the illusion of time. And my favorite pass time - procrastination: It’s way too early to start packing. I’ll just relax now and worry about until later, there’s still plenty of time. And anyway, looks like I haven’t even done the laundry yet…

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What makes a great leader (in social dance)? Poll results

What makes a great leader (in social dance)? Poll results

"In some types of partner dance, lead and follow are designations for the two dancers comprising a dance couple."
"The lead is responsible for guiding the couple and initiating transitions to different dance steps and, in improvised dances, for choosing the dance steps to perform. The lead conveys his choices and direction to the follow through subtle physical and visual signals, thereby allowing the couple to be smoothly coordinated." Wikipedia

If you look at the above description of a lead, the task seems concise and maybe even fairly simple. Leading is not rocket science. But being 'a great leader'.... ask any follower and you'll get a long list of things (or perhaps, a long silence). 

In the last month's poll we asked you to tell in your own words, what makes a great leader (in social dancing)?

Leaders; Do you recognize yourselves - your leading - in these words:

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Challenge: Why I love Brazilian Zouk

Challenge: Why I love Brazilian Zouk

I recently got a dance video related challenge from a friend & student of mine. And I’m always up for a challenge!! But what would a blogger do - turn this into a blog post, obviously.

The challenge was: Why do you dance what you dance? Post your favorite video of your favorite dance(s).

A great challenge - and a tricky one! 

 

SO, WHY DO I DANCE BRAZILIAN ZOUK?

While many participating in this circulating challenge have been posting videos of dance shows, competition performances and demos that have inspired them to dance, for me, the ultimate reason I dance is not entirely in the dance itself.

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What music pulls Zoukers to the dance floor? Poll results

What music pulls Zoukers to the dance floor? Poll results

You know that feeling when you just can't sit still; this urge that you need to wiggle your body right now? What is that irresistible thing that makes a person - no matter their age or shape - want to move their feet or shake their booty?

It's the music. 

For me music definitely is the thing that pulls me to the dance floor like a magnet. And the delicious tum-tchik-tchik of the zouk beat is what has been driving people to learn Brazilian zouk, just as much as the dance itself - or even more.

Zouk music or in the context of this post, zoukable music, encompasses a very broad range of music styles. For one person their favorite music to dance zouk to can be Wiggle by Jason Derulo, for another person it can be Gravity by Sara Bareille and for another it might be Lambazouk by Gil Semedo. All of those (and more) goes easily in the spectrum of "music for Brazilian zouk". And that's one of the things that makes Brazilian zouk such an intriguing dance: all the variety, all the marvelous options and suggestions different styles of music can provide. The sheer volume of inspiration that can be drawn from the music is hard to put into words. And music evolves, so does Brazilian zouk. 

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Mistakes - a hidden shortcut to learning

Mistakes - a hidden shortcut to learning

When was the last time you heard somebody say “I love making mistakes”? Umm, never? I think never is when I’ve heard that.

And who would love making mistakes? Aren’t we naturally programmed and brought up to succeed, to “do the right thing”, to aim for perfection? I think many of us are. And I think it’s mainly a good thing; I don’t know what the world would be like if everybody started to aim to fail, to be terrible.

But, if you’re obsessed about being perfect and expect to be best at everything, then I think you’re up for a lot of disappointments. It’s no newsflash that nobody is perfect. Everybody makes mistakes (yes, even you, your partner, your boss, your teacher). It’s natural. And better yet, it can be a great untapped resource - at least if you’re at all into things like ‘growing’, ‘learning’ and ‘developing’.

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Pasty Pieternelle: "There is no shortcut to Brazilian zouk" - Interview Part 2

Pasty Pieternelle: "There is no shortcut to Brazilian zouk" - Interview Part 2

This is the second part of Zouk The World's extensive interview with Pasty Pieternelle - one of the most charismatic dancers in the world of Brazilian zouk.

In the first part we talked to Pasty about how he got into Brazilian zouk in the first place, how he decided to make the dance better, the reasons for his less conventional teaching methods and how he is actively working to improve the dance community with his 'alterego', Pastycho "Your Dance Teacher Online".

Moving onto more hot topics, we continue talking to Pasty about what advice he would give to a person starting to teach Brazilian zouk, how he keeps himself inspired after all the years of dancing professionally and what in his opinion makes up the best social dancing experience?

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Pasty Pieternelle: "I made Brazilian zouk my challenge" - Interview Part 1

Pasty Pieternelle: "I made Brazilian zouk my challenge" - Interview Part 1

A one-of-a-kind dancer - that's Pasty Pieternelle for you. Born on the island of Curaçao and living in the Netherlands, he is known all over the world for his touching shows and experimental dance workshops. Anyone who has also danced with Pasty or seen him on the dance floor, is sure to know he's just as charismatic social dancer as he is on stage and gives his everything to his partner.

To me personally - and I'm certainly not alone - Pasty & his partner Josta are one of first Brazilian zouk teachers that really made an everlasting impression on me, back in the first zouk congress I visited as a budding zouker. I've had the pleasure to cross paths with Pasty several times over the years, and this time I jumped to the chance of interviewing him for the Zouk The World readers. And oh boy, what an interview it turned out to be!! I took this opportunity to ask him all important questions about his teaching philosophies, his relationship to Brazilian zouk, about his role as a dance scene mentor and how he would advice new zouk teachers.

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Why do you dance? Poll results

Why do you dance? Poll results

Why do you dance?
Is that an easy or a hard question?

To me, it’s quite a tough question. And I love tough questions! Especially asking them (hehe). So that’s what I asked you last month! In November’s Poll of the Month I asked you to tell us why do you dance, and more specifically, what is the most rewarding aspect to you in dancing. No multiple choices this time, just a chance for you to share your own dance motivations!

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Q&A - traveling for dance and cozy zouk events

Q&A - traveling for dance and cozy zouk events

 I have recently been exposed to Zouk, but there are no teachers anywhere close - is it possible to learn Zouk intensively in Brazil?

How long had you been doing Zouk before going around the world for travels? I'd only picked up Zouk nine months ago but have become absolutely addicted. 

I find big dance events overwhelming - do you know any small yet nice zouk / kizomba / fusion events?

Zouk The World gets questions from readers every now and then - and I'm always happy to help! Some of these questions might be on your minds too, so I thought I'd share some of these questions and my answers!

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Finding your Dance Confidence - 10 tips (Part 2)

Finding your Dance Confidence - 10 tips (Part 2)

Yesterday I was talking about dance confidence and what is it made of. Read the Part 1: Case of the missing Dance Confidence.

Ok, so now we have some idea about dance confidence. But how to build those confidence levels?

Honestly, it’s hard to pinpoint what makes or breaks one’s confidence. How confident you naturally are, what experiences you've had and what you may expect from yourself are just a few things that influence it it's very individual. There is no secret recipe for a 100% bullet-proof dance confidence - but there are some things that can help along! Below I share some simple tips that I’ve used over the years to boost my dance confidence.

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The case of the missing Dance Confidence (Part 1)

The case of the missing Dance Confidence (Part 1)

Why are you always so happy at the parties?  This was a rather surprising question one of my dancing friends asked me right after the last Helsinki Zouk Festival. The answer to me felt obvious; Why wouldn’t I be happy? It’s so much fun to be at festival parties, surrounded by awesome dancers and to get to do the thing that I love - dance zouk! But there was a point in that question: dance parties and festivals are not just moments of “riding on top of the clouds”. There are ups and downs… And sometimes, it might feel there are way more downs than ups.

A festival party or even the everyday dance social can sometimes feel like climbing to the top of Mount Everest. When you’re struggling the get forward there are some others that appear to make it to the top of the hill so effortlessly. How come some people seem to naturally ‘have more fun’? Is there a secret shortcut to being in a good mood or getting a good dance flow?

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