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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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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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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2015 Helsinki Zouk Festival - learning to breathe again

2015 Helsinki Zouk Festival - learning to breathe again

Have you ever had the feeling of flying?
Have you ever felt out of breath by happiness?

I have, the past weekend at the Helsinki Zouk Festival.

For the fourth time, I had the pleasure to attend to this gem of an event. Freddy Marinho & Andressa Castelhano together with their Rio Zouk Style team have little by little raised the bar for what can be described as a truly top level zouk festival. After well exceeding everybody’s expectations last year, all of us were nervously and excitedly looking forward to what this year’s edition had in store for us. Can all the magic be repeated?

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Time to get excited - first look at the 2016 Zouk Congress Calendar!

Time to get excited - first look at the 2016 Zouk Congress Calendar!

It's that time of the year again: Time for a zouk calendar update! There's only about three months left of this year so it's about time we look at what's going to rock our world in 2016. Not everyone who dances Brazilian zouk travel to congresses and festivals around the world. But those of us that do, we do it with a passion!

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The new era of the Amsterdam Zouk Congress

The new era of the Amsterdam Zouk Congress

The city of Amsterdam is quite well known on the zouk world map - and likewise, Amsterdam Zouk Congress is one of the established events in the international zouk scene. Now on its fifth year the congress organisers faced an unfortunate challenge as just a couple months before the event was to take place, the congress venue went up in flames. But no fear - the Amsterdam Zouk Congress is alive and kicking, and Zouk The World was there to tell you all about it!

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Like Festival in Buenos Aires - A likeable mix of lambazouk and kizomba

Like Festival in Buenos Aires - A likeable mix of lambazouk and kizomba

Like Festival is a fairly new addition to the international zouk scene. Now I know - let’s not get confused here: Welcome to the Like Festival 2 in Buenos Aires! This is not be confused with the highly popular annual kizomba festival, also called Like Festival, held for the sixth time this September Lisbon. Well, when you use such a ubiquitous world as 'like', it’s no wonder it will pop up in every possible corner of the world. Anyway...

Zouk The World is always curious in anything interesting happening in the zouk scene around the world so I procured a reporter to scout this Buenos Aires Like Festival! Meet Jaakko Pispala, a passionate zouk dancer living in São Paulo, Brazil! He is working behind many initiatives to spread around the world, one of them is a dance-travel agency ZK Adventures, another Lambazouk Finland! He was kind enough of to tell us his Like Festival experience - so sit back and enjoy!

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Dance event survival guide

Dance event survival guide

Off to a dance festival but don't really know what to expect? How to plan a trip to a dance congress? What do you need to pack with you? How to best prepare yourself and make the most of the event?

Lucky you, going to a dance event - they're so much fun! This is the fully updated survival guide for you who are going to your first international dance event or you who want to have remind yourself of what to pack and prepare for. First we look at where to go, then other preparations for the event, then how to survive the event itself and what to do after!

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Your best social dancing experiences? Poll results

Your best social dancing experiences? Poll results

This is the start of the “Poll of the month” blog post series!

For a long time I've wanted to hear more of your thoughts so I when I opened this new website I also posted the first Poll of the month. And I was feeling quite brave right from the start - I set out on a quest to get dancers to share their best social dancing experiences. I asked you to tell where you had your best social dancing experience and what made this the best.

Those are some tough questions, I know. ‘Social dancing experience’ is not something you can quantify. It can be a fleeting moment on the dance floor - or a lasting memory. But even if it's a lasting memory, it's rarely something you write down, or compare with other experiences.  Or do you ever make notes, such as, “I give this dance 76/100 points.” I hope not!

It felt like those were also pretty private questions - do you really want to share your very personal experiences, I wondered? And it did indeed feel like you were shy to give me your replies. But I was curious and undeterred: I wanted your stories. In this post I spill the beans. Here are your best replies and my best social dancing experiences!

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2015 Berg's Congress - Back in zouk paradise

2015 Berg's Congress - Back in zouk paradise

Let's travel back in time for about six months. It was a dark & cold evening at the end of December when I was packing my bags, once again. I hate packing - somehow during the past years I've learned to hate it with a passion. But this night I didn't really mind: I was heading to Brazil, to Porto Seguro for the 2015 Berg's Congress.

Held during a 10 day-stretch around the New Year at the beautiful Praia Taperapuan on the coast of Bahia, is one of the most amazing zouk congresses in the world. Hundreds of zoukers, dancing under the Brazilian sun, the stars and the palm trees, enjoying fresh fruits, cold caipirinhas and the warm blue sea... No need to tempt me more, I was hooked!

 

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What's hot (and what's not) on the 2015 zouk congress calendar

What's hot (and what's not) on the 2015 zouk congress calendar

Us zoukers are a bit crazy about congresses, aren't we? There's big group of people who travel to a number of international events every year - some every month! So perhaps it's no surprise that one of the most popular pages on this site is the zouk congress calendar.

In this post I sum up the latest news on the zouk event scene and present some of the newcomers on the festival circuit. While 2015 is well underway, there are still many interesting events coming up. Most congresses from now until the end of the year are already confirmed - and some already for 2016. And the 2016 calendar is coming up around August-September here at zouktheworld.com!

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DansaBrasil - celebrating 10 years of lambazoukin' Barcelona!

DansaBrasil - celebrating 10 years of lambazoukin' Barcelona!

It was a gorgeous sunny Thursday morning two weeks ago when I boarded a train in Alicante on the southwest coast of Spain. I was leaving my little Spanish spring holiday behind me and dragging a surprisingly heavy trolley bag. The air was still cool and people were going about their usual daily routines but I had a certain special smile on my face: I was on my way for some all-day-all-night zouking in Barcelona at the DansaBrasil 2015!

DansaBrasil congress, also known as Congresso Internacional de Lambada/Zouk en Barcelona, had been long on my list of "must-visit events". Being already at its 10th edition (!!) it's quite a historic event in the zouk scene and for many European so called old school zoukers it has been their first zouk congress. Though on this particular jam-packed weekend there were a lot of options for us zouk dancers; while many of us enjoyed bank holidays on Friday 1st of May, the congress organisers around the world also wanted to bank on this. Events in addition to DansaBrasil that same weekend were the Prague Zouk Marathon,  L.A. Zouk Congress and the Zouk Fusion congress in São Paulo.

But my (harder than ever) choice was made - I was not going to miss the 10th anniversary of DansaBrasil! 

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Beyond words: Helsinki Zouk Festival 2014

Beyond words: Helsinki Zouk Festival 2014

It takes quite a lot of effort to create something good. But what does it take to make... magic?

I know, I know. Last year I made the statement that Helsinki Zouk Festival is a zouk event quite unlike any other. And true, the 2013 HZF was great. But indeed, the last weekend's 2014 HZF was simply beyond words.

I try not bore you with everything I've already told before. Yes, Helsinki is a cold, dark place in November. The zouk scene is small but us zoukers in Helsinki are extremely proud of it. And I think many may agree we've developed a fairly nice group of dancers here. But now, we also have one of the best zouk events in the world!

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Zouk non-stop at Zouktime 2014!

Zouk non-stop at Zouktime 2014!

A couple weeks ago, after a 3 year break, I made a return visit to Brno for Zouktime 2014. This was the fifth edition of what is among (if not the) best zouk congresses in Europe at the moment. Yes, I said it.... Zouktime definitely topped my zouk congress chart for the past couple years!

Taking place in a quiet city of Brno, Czech Republic, Zouktime attracts a couple hundred zouk dancers from all around Europe and the world. And there were quite a few names that certainly did attract the people... 

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Baltic Sensual Weekend 2014

Baltic Sensual Weekend 2014

Whenever there's a zouk event closeby - I'm there. And so I was at the Baltic Sensual Weekend in Estonia last weekend! This was the second edition of the event that last year took place in Villa Andropoff, now in Hotel Lepanina in the area of Kabli, about half an hour drive south from the "summer capital of Estonia", Pärnu, and about 180 km from Tallinn. The idea seemed to be to gather Baltic & Northern European zouk & kizomba dancers under the same roof, learn some new moves & refresh on the fundamentals, leave the city for some nature & fresh air - and of course to party until early morning!

And what can I say? Mission accomplished!

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AfroLatin Flow - a hot dance weekend in Helsinki!

AfroLatin Flow - a hot dance weekend in Helsinki!

It was the warmest weekend of May when AfroLatin Flow arrived to Helsinki. Not just hot artists and sensual dance styles but also warm weathers, yay! Those three put together means we were in for a very steamy weekend!

AfroLatin Flow is a three-day festival for the kizomba, zouk and bachata dancers, organised by IDNZ. There were quite a number of talented artists involved:

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London Zouk Fest - a happy meeting of zouk styles!

London Zouk Fest - a happy meeting of zouk styles!

Back-to-back festival weekends take a toll on any dancer. But I'm not any dancer, I told myself - I can take it! :D So just a couple days after Tallinn Salsa Festival I repacked my bags for London Zouk Fest. I had been looking forward to this lambada-zouk & Vero zouk weekend for quite a while - both my favourite zouk styles under the same roof!

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The stylish Tallinn Salsa Festival

The stylish Tallinn Salsa Festival

It has been a busy start of the year - but I'm not complaining! Last weekend I made a detour to the Tallinn Salsa Festival, to see my friends in Estonia, and to see if I could still dance any salsa!? The artist line-up was an interesting mix; Terry & Cecile (LA salsa), African Jet (LA salsa), Erodys & Tenna (Cuban salsa), Mark-Anthony (NY salsa), Felicien & Isabelle (kizomba), Andre & Arina (salsa & tango), Nemanja & Asya (salsa & kizomba), Joseph Davids (salsa & bachata), Xandy & Evelyn (zouk), Marco Zanella (salsa & bachata), San Miguel (Cuban salsa)... So I was expecting a nice combination of different Latin, African and Brazilian dance styles!

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