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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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 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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Zouk in Rio - dancing like a Carioca

Zouk in Rio - dancing like a Carioca

If you like dancing there's a place you'll fit right in. That's Brazil.

Brazilians love to dance and - as it seems to the viewer - they are also extremely good at it. Some of the most famous exports of Brazil, you might say, are in fact a number of dance styles, musicians and dancers. Perhaps the most well known dance and music of Brazil is samba. There are many styles of samba danced both in Brazil and around the world but what a person typically goes to see in Brazil is samba no pé, a type of samba you'll see in the carnival parades. And just a few days ago millions (I'd be safe to guess) travel to Brazil, and in particular to Rio de Janeiro, to see just that.

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Brazil 2015 zouk playlist

Brazil 2015 zouk playlist

I'm back from Brazil - and I brought some souvenirs for you: the latest & hottest zouk tracks in Brazil right now! Below are the most memorable and most played songs from 2015 Berg's Congress and São Paulo dance floors during this January - featuring lots of great new zouk, kizomba and other zoukable tracks, as well as some classics you'll hear at the clubs in Brazil right now.

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It's time for carnavaaaal!

It's time for carnavaaaal!

Carnival! The most colourful, indulgent and rambunctious time of the year! Carnival is a festive season which occurs according to the Catholic calendar before lent, setting this year at around 28 February - 4 March. Depending where you go you may see different types of events - but you can expect massive street parties and spectacular parades. Costumes and masks are worn, and in fact historically they served a purpose: behind those you could hide your true identity, race and gender.

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The picturesque Paraty

The picturesque Paraty

Paraty (or Parati) is an old Portuguese colonial town on the Costa Verde (Green Coast) of Brazil. Paraty is one of the many beach towns between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro - I'd say it's one the top notch places to stop if you're traveling on the coastline. Just arriving to the coast over the mountains can make your jaw drop!

I really fell in love with Paraty... The old town is a sight in itself with the rough cobbled streets and beautiful old buildings. It's easy to spend a day just walking around and exploring, shopping and sitting in cafés and enjoy the laid back atmosphere.

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Can't stay away from São Paulo!

Can't stay away from São Paulo!

In January I went back to São Paulo - for zouk, obviously!  I wrote a more comprehensive report last year but below are some updates on where to find zouk in São Paulo. Some new clubs have surfaced and teachers have new schedules...

Burn the floor in São Paulo

First about the zouk nights. There's a massive zouk scene in São Paulo and you will find many big parties every week. People like to dress up, go dance & socialize and new-comers are always most welcome! on a usual week night there can be easily 200 people dancing zouk in one club - on special nights 1000.... You'll feel like going to a congress party!

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Berg's Congress - every zouker's dream holiday

Berg's Congress - every zouker's dream holiday

Porto Seguro. A little piece of paradise located in the tropics, in the sunny state of Bahia approximately in the middle of the Brazilian coast line. It was the place first seen by the European settlers over 500 years ago when one Portuguese guy called Pedro Álvares Cabral touched shore at what is now Porto Seguro city in 1500. In addition to its history, the place is mostly known for its beaches, coconuts, açaí and massive axé parties. But for zoukers Porto Seguro is especially known as the birth place of lambada - and for Berg's Congress, most likely the biggest zouk & lambada congress in the world at the moment.

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Week in the life of a zouk dancer in São Paulo (- and it isn’t a bad life!)

Week in the life of a zouk dancer in São Paulo (- and it isn’t a bad life!)

After the Floripa carnival and a couple days relaxing on the beach at Ilha do Mel I was ready to enter one of the biggest cities in South America, São Paulo. A massive city - by population (about 19 million) and by physical size, the metropolis spreads out tens of kilometers in each direction, melting into smaller cities of southern Brazil. It is actually the largest city in the southern hemisphere! I was already a bit hesitant just thinking about the place due to the sheer size of São Paulo and all the dangers & annoyances that come along with it but knew I had so much to look forward to: meeting some friends I met earlier in Rio and especially getting back to my normal (dream) life – dancing zouk!

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Ilha do Mel – sweet beaches in Southern Brazil

Ilha do Mel – sweet beaches in Southern Brazil

I had planned on having some chill out days after carnaval in Floripa and before my zouk marathon that awaited me in São Paulo the following week. And obviously since I was on the Brazilian coastline I looked up where are the nicest beaches between the two places. The answer was pretty clear: the island of Ilha do Mel, “the island of honey”.

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Carnaval in Floripa - the Brazilian samba parade (part 2)

Carnaval in Floripa - the Brazilian samba parade (part 2)

Brazil... Carnaval... I certainly wasn't going to miss a samba parade at the local Florianópolis sambódromo! The main parade on Saturday was sold out by the time I got in town on Friday so I got a ticket to the next best thing, the final parade - the champions’ parade held the following Tuesday.

And I made sure I was there early. The parades are at the Floripa samba street, sambódromo (yes, they have one too, like in Rio). It’s like a sports stadium but with one straight white concrete alley. It's a funny concept to have a stadium for basically a couple events per year (or do they actually use it for something else too?) but in the Brazilian mindset it might be just the thing.

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Carnaval week in Floripa - drag queens, caipirinhas, samba and desert beaches (part 1)

Carnaval week in Floripa - drag queens, caipirinhas, samba and desert beaches (part 1)

Three flights. Three effing flights. Never again will I book a trip to somewhere with two stopovers. This time even the second flight left an hour late so the second stop was a bit more “exciting”. But these are the things a girl needs to do to get to a carnival! So I flew from Argentina to Brazil, from Salta to Florianópolis (=Floripa), on the Thursday before the Carnaval.

Carnaval - a Catholic holiday - is a major event all over Brazil, in most places in South America as well as many places in the rest of the world as well. The Brazilian carnaval though seems to have nothing to do with anything that resembles a religious holiday ;) I had heard that Floripa is one of the nicest places to see the carnival in the southern Brazil. I manage to get the (idiotic) flight and a hostel there so I was all set!

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Iguazú Falls - Steamy walks, cold showers and border crossings

Iguazú Falls - Steamy walks, cold showers and border crossings

After a very short sleep on my last night in Ro, I arrived to the hot hot hot Foz de Iguacu, the Brazilian village next to one of the world natural wonders, the Iguazu Falls. I was actually spending my stay at the falls in the neighboring village cross the border in Argentina (yay, a new country!), in the town of Puerto Iguazu.

By the time I got to my lovely hostel I was all covered in sweat and was happy to see a big garden and a even small pool! It was a very relaxing place after the noisy Rio and couldn’t be happier with some peace & quiet. My plan to rest that night didn’t go that well as I ended up going out for dinner with the girls from my room. And we had such a fun night, talking about all the usual stuff and having some very tasty pizza, wine and free caipirinhas! And – I got to climb over the hostel fence when we came back :D

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Carioca life – sol, sucos, samba, zouk and the amazingly beautiful Rio

Carioca life – sol, sucos, samba, zouk and the amazingly beautiful Rio

It was 6am on a sunny Wednesday morning when I arrived to Rio de Janeiro. And I knew I had arrived to the city of Gods, the Cidade maravilhosa. I was immediately struck by the beauty of the city. The greens hill encircled by lakes and favelas - my tired eyes were happy to see Rio! I strolled with my heavy backpack to a super artistic hostel a couple blocks from the Arches of Lapa, right next to the hills of Santa Teresa.

Feeling exhausted from 20 hours of traveling I anyway wanted to get out so I headed to Ipanema beach… and fell asleep on the sound of the big waves thundering to shore. Ipanema is a truly beautiful , massive long beach dotted with people and flanked by another beautiful set of hills. The sun was already setting when I came back to rest before my “big zouk weekend”.

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Rio zouk congress 2012

Rio zouk congress 2012

One of the things I was looking forward to the most on my trip around the world was to get to zouk in Brazil. I managed to fit an actual congress on my travel plans – the 3rd international zouk and lambada congress in Rio de Janeiro, organized by Renata Pecanha. The congress had four nights of parties and three days of workshop and my plan was to clock in as much dancing as possible.

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