Dancing without expectations

Dancing without expectations

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” ― William Shakespeare

There are many things about social dancing that lights the spark in my eyes; Creating the first connection with a dance partner. The triumphs, surprises and even fails in leading & following.
Sharing a unique moment.

With the enjoyment of social dancing comes its challenges - and mysteries. Why one dance with the same person, even in the same place or the same music, can be a triumph once and another time the magic is >puff< gone. Even when both dancers are comfortable with their moves, even if you like the song, the floor is smooth and you're feeling good the dance may still not turn out to how you thought it would.

But what were you imagining? What are you expecting from your partner? And what if your dance partners expectations different than yours? 

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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.

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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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Mistakes - a hidden shortcut to learning

Mistakes - a hidden shortcut to learning

When was the last time you heard somebody say “I love making mistakes”? Umm, never? I think never is when I’ve heard that.

And who would love making mistakes? Aren’t we naturally programmed and brought up to succeed, to “do the right thing”, to aim for perfection? I think many of us are. And I think it’s mainly a good thing; I don’t know what the world would be like if everybody started to aim to fail, to be terrible.

But, if you’re obsessed about being perfect and expect to be best at everything, then I think you’re up for a lot of disappointments. It’s no newsflash that nobody is perfect. Everybody makes mistakes (yes, even you, your partner, your boss, your teacher). It’s natural. And better yet, it can be a great untapped resource - at least if you’re at all into things like ‘growing’, ‘learning’ and ‘developing’.

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What training combinations best support dancing Brazilian zouk? Poll results (Part 2)

What training combinations best support dancing Brazilian zouk? Poll results (Part 2)

Can learning Kizomba make you better at Brazilian Zouk?
Do notice your Zouk skills improving with regular stretching exercises?
Or how about going to Hiphop classes?

Maybe. It doesn't hurt, I'd say. These will certainly build your coordination, balance, flexibility, musicality, leading and following skills... All of them are things that any Zouk dancer would welcome.

But if you would be looking for the most optimal palette of training types to supplement dancing Brazilian Zouk, would your list include Kizomba, stretching and Hiphop? What kind of training do you think best supplements dancing Brazilian Zouk?

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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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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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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.

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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”!

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Larissa Thayane - "Foundations are the key" (Interview Part 2)

Larissa Thayane - "Foundations are the key" (Interview Part 2)

I sat down with Larissa Thayane recently to talk about her historical zouk project, the Brazialian Zouk Dance Council - read more about this in the previous post.

While I had a chance to talk to her, I wasn't going to miss this opportunity to hear from her what is that drove her to zouk and what drives her today. And I gave her a chance to share her advice to all us zoukers on what she feels are the most important things while learning zouk!

Zouk The World: Tell us a bit about your zouk history - how did you get involved with zouk in the first place?

Larissa Thayane: I’ve only danced Zouk 10-11 years now. Before I started with ballet, jazz, contemporary, and that’s what I did my whole childhood and as a profession. When I moved to Rio de Janeiro, where I started working with a ballet/contemporary company, I started to do salsa because I just wanted to do something for fun. So latin dance was my hobby! That’s how I met different dancers and learnt samba de gafieira, bolero, forró - and saw zouk for the first time. Initially, it didn’t get my attention. 

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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!

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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!

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In the flow - 5 keys to the magic of dance flow (Part 1)

In the flow - 5 keys to the magic of dance flow (Part 1)

Flow is a moment in time when you’re both challenged at the activity that you’re doing, and when you also have complete autonomy in the task you’re conducting.
Everett Bogue, in The Hidden Art of Achieving Creative Flow.

Have you experienced flow? Dance flow? Creative flow?

I have. One thing that's so great about dancing - and dancing zouk is what I'm writing about here in particular - is the flowing motion. When you're in the dance flow, you will certainly have one of the most pleasurable moments on the dance floor (or anywhere).

It is when we act freely, for the sake of the action itself rather than for ulterior motives, that we learn to become more than what we were. 
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

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Practice makes perfect - myths & theories about becoming an advanced dancer

Practice makes perfect - myths & theories about becoming an advanced dancer

The right genes, starting at an early age, dedication, motivation, passion, 1000+ hours of practice, great teachers, natural talent, exceptional physique, unlimited amount of money... What is it that makes a person into a truly great dancer?

What is an advanced dancer? And how to become one?

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