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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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:

Read More

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!

Read More

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.

Read More

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?

Read More

Patience as an active tool in social dancing (Part 2)

Patience as an active tool in social dancing (Part 2)

One topic I come across on a regular basis when talking with other dances is patience. Many dance teachers find it’s one of the most important qualities in dancing and learning; this came up in my conversations with lambazouk master Ricardo Ferrari (interview to come), kizomba teacher Kirsi Van Sol (read her insights for dancing in Lisbon & Porto) and many others.

This, and my personal ups & downs with patience, lead me to write about this topic. Welcome to Part 2 of the Patience-series! Last week I already started with talking about long-term patience and perseverance in the long road of developing as a social dancer:

“Be patient” - the (way too) long road from zero to hero

Patience works with us, as well as against us, in short term too; not just the way we learn and develop in the long run, but also how we act and react each moment on the dance floor. Impatience has a way with interfering with our social dancing. This post is all about how to improve your social dance experience by mustering up some more patience.

Read More

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!

Read More

Floorcraft in practice - 14 tips for the dance floor (Part 2)

Floorcraft in practice - 14 tips for the dance floor (Part 2)

In Part 1 you could read the introduction to floorcraft. 

Now let's get to work - here are 14 practical tips to improve your floorcraft! This includes some general dance floor etiquette and basic leading & following skills - all you need to make the dance floor safe and enjoyable for everybody.

Some of the tips towards the end of the list are categorised specifically for leaders and some for followers, but all are important to know no matter whether you lead or follow.

Read More

Social dancing floorcraft - dance floor survival basics (Part 1)

Social dancing floorcraft - dance floor survival basics (Part 1)

Imagine a big open space and your favorite song - you can already see yourself dancing across the floor, can’t you? I love a dance that covers the entire floor space, gliding from one end of the room to the other. But most times you go out dancing you don’t have a massive open space: you’re on a dance floor full of people.

The dance floor is open to everybody and no matter how crowded the floor is and no matter if you’re a beginner or a professional dancer, you have an equal share of the floor. So how can I get the best out of the space so that everybody on the dance floor can enjoy their moment? Well, I looked it up. Welcome to Zouk The World's “Floorcraft 101”!

Read More

11 things I wish I knew when I started dancing zouk

11 things I wish I knew when I started dancing zouk

Just a short while ago I was celebrating my four-year zoukiversary! (Yes, that means it's been four years since I started dancing Brazilian zouk.) Time flies by and a lot has happened during those years, such as traveling around the world by myself as well as basically redefining myself.. no biggie! :D Never did I imagine that such a thing as Brazilian zouk would just take my life by the balls and completely sweep me off my feet. It's been a fun ride!

Reminiscing the years passed by, it's fun(ny) to read old blog post and watch the old dance videos - that is some scary stuff! But all part of one awesome journey. This lead me to think what would I do differently if I had the chance? Nothing really, I guess. But there are indeed some things I wish I knew when I started dancing zouk. Some of these are things that people did keep telling me - but at that time I didn't really sink in. Here's what I would tell to my fellow beginner zoukeiros and zoukeiras that are in the beginning of their dance journey!

Read More

Zouk music - your guide to artists and playlists

Zouk music - your guide to artists and playlists

I often get questions about zouk music... Us dancers love to get new music as much as we can. Even though our music collections can already have hundreds or thousands of tracks we keep looking for something new & exciting. I'm a passionate consumer of zouk music myself and look up new music every week so I thought I would offer you my playlists for Brazilian zouk!

Read More

Zouk dancer's challenge: Learning salsa!

Zouk dancer's challenge: Learning salsa!

A while back I decided to take on a new dance challenge: I signed up for salsa classes for this autumn season. In other words: Salseros, beware! :D

So starting early August I've been learning cross-body salsa with a simple intention of becoming a fluent social salsera. I committed myself to this project for four months -  it will be exciting to see how much I improve during that time and how I'll feel about salsa then!

Read More