It was the middle of June and I was reaching the end of my big trip around the world when I arrived to London. Actually I was also getting back to square one, to London, where this adventure started over six months earlier. I was dying to be done with the trip, I was missing my friends and family, my own bed.. my clothes :D So this was the next best thing, just one final step away from returning home! Even on the Tokyo airport (from where I flew back to London) they had a flight leaving to my home town, almost the same time as my flight to London, it was killing me!! But it wasn't all that bad - I was going to see & stay with friends in London too and dance dance dance zouk like no tomorrow!
I had to get up early in Tokyo to get to my flight and I wasn't too thrilled. Somehow I managed to fit all my stuff in my two bags and got the airport early - ready to "enjoy" another 12 hour flight. I thought I'd get some sleep but I guess I was too excited to relax enough so I just kicked back and watched a bunch of movies instead. I closed my eyes towards the end of the flight and suddenly I was in London! London, baby!
It was a Friday afternoon and I waddled with my stuff to my friend's place, changed gear and was off - determined to stay awake through the evening and kill any jetlag that was heading my way. So I went to see a zouk class at the famous Pineapple Studios. I had just flown across nine time zones and been up & traveling for about 20 hours so I didn't really feel like taking part in the class. But went to watch just out of curiosity.
On Saturday I headed to The Bar at TCR for some dancing! It was also the night when Paulo Mac, one of my favourite zouk artists from Rio de Janeiro, was in town and he did a really great show there! He sang very nicely live too, btw. After the first song Paulo encouraged all of us to start dancing and soon the small dance floor was packed, people were dancing in every corner of the bar. I couldn't help buying all of his CDs after the show - and got a kiss with them too! On the cheek, of course! :D
I found at least one video of Paulo's London gig (below). You can also take a look at his channel.
Sunday evening I spent lambazouking at the Gem Bar. My night ran late so I skipped the zouk classes they had before social dancing (like happened every night that week) but the social was really fun and I had some really great dances there too! It's not as big as Monday's lambazouk night but the space is one of biggest ones in any case and quite a lot of dancers. It's nice to see people come out for so many social zouk nights in London every week.
Monday is the #1 weekly zouk night in London! I was there for the second time and again the famous lambazouk party wasn't at its usual location, the Grace Bar; this time it was in Sway. Was a nice venue there too and again lots and lots of people turned up to show their best moves. I didn't get to sit down at all that evening - I'm not complaining though, it's always a pleasure to dance with the great London zoukeros! Some even remembered me from my last visit :)
Tuesday I returned, also for the second time, to the Rhum Jungle for some Rio style zouk. There are typically less people there than on Mondays and it's definitely a smaller space. But if you're into Rio zouk then this is the place to go out dancing in London! That was also my last night in London - this time. I know I'll be back, sooner or later...
A complete list of the zouk classes and clubs in London at the bottom of the post.
Sightseeing - what is that?
In the middle of all the dancing I even got around to the city on most days. After so many months of pretty much non-stop sightseeing I wasn't too keen to do any of that in London but I did enjoy just walking around the city. I visited the Tate Modern and there was a pretty crazy Damien Hirst exhibit at that time. I also popped by at the British Museum - that was impressive. They have historical collections from all around the world and most of it is free to visit (donations recommended) - was too much to see even! The city was full of people, as usual, but I can imagine it was especially busy this summer with the Olympics coming up. Lots of Union Flag decorations could be seen everywhere, quite nice actually.
It was quite fun being in London, with all the zouking and seeing friends. It was the first time I saw any of my friends after going around the world! But I was generally anxious to get back home already. Being 6,5 months away and traveling through 12 countries on 5 continents makes you appreciate certain things... I was actually delighted I could honestly say that I had been looking forward to returning home for quite a while :)
All you need to know: zouk the week away in London!
Below is the most recent info on the zouk club nights (including zouk classes) in London. For some I found mixed info on the exact current prices so you may find something different at the door, also some offer special promotions such as "bring a new friend to get half off for the entry" (noticed that at least for Mondays/Garce Bar and Saturdays/Kiss Club). Every now and then there tends to be also special nights with guest teachers and different workshops (e.g. in June Dadinho & Suelen was visiting) so keep an eye on the club organisers' sites!
Mondays is a lambazouk night at the Grace Bar (42-44 Great Windmill Street). The party is hosted by Solange Diaz & Joe Koniak who are also usually running the classes, some classes also with guest teachers: 7.30-8.30pm (beginners and intermediate) and 8.35-9.30pm (all levels). 9.30pm onwards social dancing (til around 12am). Entry £8 for the party and £10/12 for both party & classes. Most recent info you can probably find on their Facebook page.
Tuesdays Rio Zouk Fusion has classes & a club night at the Rhum Jungle, Cottons (70 Exmouth Arms). The classes are at 7.30-8.30pm (beginners and intermediate) and 8.30-9.30pm (intermediate) with Sarah Gibbons and Davi Leandro. 9.30pm - around 11.30pm social dancing. £6 for 1 class, £8 for 2 and free entry for the social.
Wednesdays there's a new club venue, Kanaloa (18 Lime Office Court, Hill house, Shoe Lane). 7.30-9.00pm there are classes taught by Nataliya Grigorova and Mohammed; social dancing is from 9.00-11.30pm. Entry is £10 for classes & club and £5 for club only. Check out the latest info at their Facebook page.
Thursdays has a new zouk club at Club 10 in the Hotel Grange St Pauls (10 Godliman Street), opening night Sep 6th 2012. Organised by OndaAmor, there are zouk classes on different levels starting 7.30pm and Latin Zouk Club 9-11pm; beginners courses are free, other levels pay £5 (including the club) and entry for club only £3.
Saturdays you can go zouk to The Bar at TCR (183 Tottenham Court Road) from 9pm-1.00am. Entrance £8, includes a free drink. The party is ran by Kleber Saúde, some more info at his site.
Saturdays there's also lambazouk at Kiss Club in Holborn (4 Wild court) 8pm-2.30am by Braz Dos Santos. They play a mix of music for different zouk styles and I heard there's also a fruit buffet until the wee hours of the morning. Entry £10, classes for all levels.
Sundays there's (lamba)zouk night at Gem Bar (10 Beak Street) right in the centre of London. There are classes before the club night by Marisa Gulino, Gary Carr & the OndaAmor team: 7.30-8.30/9.30pm latin zouk/lambazouk (all levels). The social continues 'til about midnight. £10 for club and classes or £7 for club - both prices include a drink / free entry on occasions.
Learn to zouk in London - Classes
Besides the club nights, on most days there are purely classes too. Check out the latest schedules at:
Lambada Zouk Uncut (Lindale Thompson, Mondays)
Danceworks Studios (Becky Bisase and Solange Diaz, Wednesdays and Saturdays)
Pineapple Studios with Rio Zouk Fusion (Sarah Gibbons, Thursdays and Fridays)
Pulse Dance Studio (Braz Dos Santos, Fridays)
Fitness First (Nataliya Grigorova and Mohammed, Sundays)