Javi Santos: Social dancing changed my life

Javi Santos: Social dancing changed my life

Remember about two-three months ago when we talked about what makes the magic in social dancing? Social dancing is something we at Zouk The World are passionate about - and someone else who shares this passion is Javi Santos!

Javi is a zouk dancer and teacher from Spain and he has recently put his passion out there for everyone to see, on a new website called Social Dance. He also shares his social dance insights in dance studios and on dance floors around the world. I was anxious to talk to Javi to find out more!

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54 signs of zouk addiction

54 signs of zouk addiction

At some point you just have to admit it; "I am a zouk addict".
And I happen to be a proud one!

The list below - 54 signs of zouk addiction - is something I compiled last year but it hadn't made it to Zouk The World yet. Now it's here - with updates!! If you're still not sure of your addiction, see how many signs you can tick off!

 

Get familiar with your addiction - 54 reasons to stop worrying if you're a zouk addict or not!

1. You go shopping for clothes or shoes and see something you like. The first thing you think is "it's nice, but can I dance in this"?

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Feeling or looks, what is more important in dancing? Poll results

Feeling or looks, what is more important in dancing? Poll results

In the last month’s dance survey I dove into another one of these topics that many social dancers often ponder... and argue about: What is more important in dancing - how it feels or how it looks? Both are central things in dancing!

One person may dance purely for the feeling; Think of a moment when you hear your favorite song and your body just begins to move - the feeling from the music can make you literally jump for joy or twist of agony. Or think of the feeling when you have the perfect dance in a zouk congress, connecting with your dancer partner, maybe event tapping into an emotion that plays out from the music or from that moment. There are many aspects in dance that links to 'feeling'.

Another person may enjoy dance purely for the esthetics of it - the elegance of the lines of a body, the a person can paint a picture of a song with their body and the movement. One reason surely why people love to see dance shows, go to the ballet, perform a choreography and practice their shines is for the way it looks; the visual appeal.

But what did the Zouk The World readers think when I asked them which is more important? Let’s have a look!

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Zouk in Dublin - interview with Juarez Weiss and Mona Byrne

Zouk in Dublin - interview with Juarez Weiss and Mona Byrne

Zouk The World is all about spreading the love for Brazilian zouk - as well as spreading information! One of our projects is to map and present every place in the world where you can dance zouk. In this effort, we’re presenting people that make zouk happen around the world - we invite active dancers and zouk teachers to share their story and also give the best information about their local zouk scene for anyone planning to make a visit.

One of the first people we are talking to in this series are Juarez Weiss and Mona Byrne who run Zouk Ireland in Dublin. So who are Juarez and Mona and what's the scoop on the zouk scene in Dublin - I’ll let them tell you!

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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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Porto and Douro Valley - Misty alleys, strong wines and winding hips

Porto and Douro Valley - Misty alleys, strong wines and winding hips

Part 3 of Portugal in 10 days: A "Tour de Portugal" from Lisbon to Porto!

On the last leg of the Portugal trip we’ll visit some the highlights of the northern corner of the country; Porto and the Douro Valley. Again collaborating with us on this post is the superb kizomba teacher Kirsi VanSol. Scroll to the end of the post to see her dance tips! But first, let's do a bit of sightseeing and wine tasting!

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Central Portugal - Beaches, lagoons and real-life fairy tales

Central Portugal - Beaches, lagoons and real-life fairy tales

Many tourists who’ve visited Portugal in the past - and continue to visit - head to Algarve and the beaches in the south of the country. Nowadays, more and more people are drawn away from the glitz & glamour and in stead look for rugged nature & rural charm. I like both glamorous beaches and places "off the beaten path" - somehow Central & Northern Portugal seemed to fit that bill better, combining the two.

In this second part of the Portugal in 10 days series we'll look at what you can find between the two hot spots of Portugal, Lisbon and Porto.

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Lisbon and Sintra - Walking to the beat of Kizomba

Lisbon and Sintra - Walking to the beat of Kizomba

Part 1 of Portugal in 10 days: A "Tour de Portugal" from Lisbon to Porto!

Every year I try to make at least one trip to some of the classic European holiday destinations. And last year my summer holiday trip was all about Portugal. Here is the first chapter a three-part story jam-packed with travel & dance tips! 

I was lucky to have collaborating with me on this Portugal series a friend of mine & kizomba-dancer-teacher-extraordinaire Kirsi VanSol. Kirsi wrote specifically to you her fantastic kizomba tips to make sure you get the best of your holiday in Portugal! Scroll to the end of the post to see where you can dance in Lisbon!!

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Val Clemente and why "zouk needs you"

Val Clemente and why "zouk needs you"

Not many dancers are great teachers. And not many dance teachers can get you to learn and laugh at the same time! Someone who does this very well is Val Clemente - a zouk teacher from Rio de Janeiro. So when I met him earlier this year I was curious to find out how he makes this happen! 

Here’s Zouk The World’s interview with Val Clemente, where we talked about what makes a positive atmosphere, what is the most important thing in zouk and how to learn the most difficult moves, like the head movements. We also talked whether it makes sense to divide zouk to different styles and what style to learn. And of course I asked about "Zouk needs you"; how we could spread zouk!

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Val Clemente e porque "zouk precisa de você"

Val Clemente e porque "zouk precisa de você"

Poucos grandes dançarinos são grandes professores. E poucos professores de dança pode fazer você aprender e rir ao mesmo tempo. Alguém que faz isso muito bem é Val Clemente - um professor do zouk do Rio de Janeiro. Então, quando me encontrei com Val, eu estava curiosa para saber como ele faz isso!

Aqui está nossa entrevista com Val Clemente. Conversamos sobre o que faz uma atmosfera positiva, o que é a coisa mais importante no zouk e como se pode aprender os movimentos mais difíceis, como o movimento de cabeza. Também falamos sobre se é uma boa idéia a dividir zouk aos diferentes estilos e o que estilo se deve aprender. E claro perguntei sobre "Zouk needs you"; como poderíamos espalhar zouk!

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Who should ask for a dance? Poll results

Who should ask for a dance? Poll results

There are (quite) a few topics that split opinions among social dancers. One of them is who should ask for a dance - is it the man’s job, should women take charge in this, or does it even make any difference?

Last month I posed this question to you, hoping to get a lot of replies.
And reply you did! Thank you for taking part in this poll so actively!

The zouk dancers are quite a liberal and equal bunch. We prefer to dispense with the formalities - there’s no cabeceo like in Argentine tango or any rules of who can ask whom. But are we really completely liberal or do we want complete equality? The leader has more responsibility in the dance in many ways so should the leader also be responsible for asking the follower? Or on the other hand, as the follower should surrender to the lead, should the follower then make the decision of who she wants to follow? Like I was expecting, and could read from your comments, there’s not a 100% consensus on this.

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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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Salsa vs. Zouk

Salsa vs. Zouk

You might remember from last year that I started a new chapter in my dance adventures: learning cross-body salsa. I spent the last four months of 2014 learning the salsa basics and ended the year feeling quite excited about my new dance skills. My spins were faster than ever, coordination and balance improved, following skills renewed and generally I feel superb. And utterly confused.

But I had no time to feel renewed or confused. Almost straight from my last salsa class I flew to Brazil for a month of zouking, all day and night. I quite literally had to zouk the salsa out of me and fast! It didn’t take long to sink back in my comfort zone - into the arms of the fantastic Brazilian zouk dancers. The month in Brazil was like a month in *sigh* heaven, to put it short. After coming back home from Brazil I dove further back into zouk. After the bliss of Brazil I didn’t really miss salsa all that much - the zouk tunes were calling to me like sirens luring sailors to shipwreck.

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A breath of fresh air - revisiting Alicante

A breath of fresh air - revisiting Alicante

Welcome to Alicante! On the Costa Blanca (the ‘white coast’), in the southeast corner of Spain lies this jet-set port, laid back beach town, urban metropolis and historic city. Know both as Alicante and Alacant, the city is home to some 350.000 people, plus another 450.000 people in its surrounding towns and hundreds of thousands of tourists and summer residents that flock to Alicante each year.

I had a chance to revisit Alicante a bit earlier this year. It had been a while… a looong while. I was picturing in my head a plain sandy beach and a 1990’s cookie-cutter beach resort but - to my pleasant surprise - found a lot more than that!

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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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Traveling dancer's vocabulary: English - Portuguese (Brazil)

Traveling dancer's vocabulary: English - Portuguese (Brazil)

Knowing the local language can help a lot while traveling. Unfortunately (IMO) it's not possible to learn every language of the world - but learning even just a couple key words and phrases can save you from a lot of trouble. And it always makes a positive impression with the locals!

With kind assistance from my friends in Brazil I compiled this short Brazilian Portuguese vocabulary for the traveling dancers. 

A conhecer a língua local pode ajudar muito durante a viagem. Infelizmente acho que não é possível aprender todas as línguas do mundo - mas pode realmente ajudar se você aprender ainda algumas palavras e frases importantes. E isso faz sempre uma impressão positiva!

Com a ajuda dos meus amigos no Brasil eu compilei este pequeno vocabulário de inglês - português brasileiro para os dançarinos que viajarão. 

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Braz Dos Santos: Dance is a massage to the spirit

Braz Dos Santos: Dance is a massage to the spirit

It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments. You sit face to face with a true legend of your #1 passion in life and hear them open their heart and share their life story. That was me last month, sitting face to face with a certain tall and dark gentleman. And now I get to share this story with you: my interview with Braz Dos Santos.

In case you don’t know Braz yet, he is indeed a living legend of Brazilian zouk and probably one of the reasons why we are dancing this dance still today. He started his dance career 28 years ago by winning a lambada competition on his first night on the dance floor. Leaving his perilous life as a fisherman he soon went on to be a dancer with the iconic Kaoma band. Still today he is dancing and teaching, and is probably as energetic & joyful as he was 28 year ago.

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Braz Dos Santos: Dança é uma massagem no espírito

Braz Dos Santos: Dança é uma massagem no espírito

É um momento unico. A sentar-se cara a cara com uma das lendas verdadeiras do seu paixão e ouvir quando ele abre o seu coração e conta a sua história. Isso foi eu no mês passado, falando com um cavalheiro alto e moreno muito genial. E agora eu posso compartilhar esta história com vocês: a minha entrevista com Braz Dos Santos!

No caso de você já não conhece Braz, ele é de fato uma lenda viva do zouk brasileiro e, provavelmente, em parte por causa dele nós estamos dançando esta dança ainda hoje. Ele começou sua carreira de dança há 28 anos e ele ganhou uma competição da lambada na sua primeira noite na pista da dança. Deixando sua vida perigosa como um pescador, ele logo se tornou um dançarino com uma banda icônica, Kaoma. Ainda hoje ele dança e ensina, e é provavelmente tão enérgico e alegre como ele era 28 anos atrás.

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