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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7 Stages of packing for a dance trip

7 Stages of packing for a dance trip

And my parable of starting to blog again…

Have I ever mentioned I hate packing? I do, with a vengeance. Especially packing for dance trips; you just need so much more stuff than on "normal" holidays, have you noticed? You'd think that after all these years of traveling, I'd get so used to it that it goes like a breeze. Well, probably because of all the years of traveling, I'm just so sick & tired of it, it feels more like a hail storm.  But I've noticed there's a certain pattern. Maybe by acknowledging the pattern, I'll learn not to hate it so much.

What's your packing routine? Here's mine!

 

1. PROCRASTINATION

Ah, the illusion of time. And my favorite pass time - procrastination: It’s way too early to start packing. I’ll just relax now and worry about until later, there’s still plenty of time. And anyway, looks like I haven’t even done the laundry yet…

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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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Zouk in Hanoi - interview with Binh Mai

Zouk in Hanoi - interview with Binh Mai

Want to travel around the world and dance Brazilian zouk while you're at it? It's possible! Zouk has already spread to almost all corners of the world. This month I had the pleasure to catch up with Binh Mai, also know as Deepwell Zouk, who works to spread Brazilian zouk in Hanoi, Vietnam.

This is another edition on Zouk The World's project to map and present every place in the world where you can dance zouk! We’re talking with people that make zouk happen around the world, inviting 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! See our previous story about Zouk in Dublin with Juarez Weiss and Mona Byrne! 

But now, let's travel to Hanoi and talk to Binh Mai about zouk in Vietnam!

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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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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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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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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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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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Zouk in the Netherlands .....gezellig!

Zouk in the Netherlands .....gezellig!

There are a couple contenders in Europe for the title of the biggest zouk city. For quite a while Prague, Barcelona, London and Amsterdam have been at the top of the list. All the aforementioned cities have a large number of zouk teachers, dance schools, congresses and party nights and are pretty much neck and neck for the #1 zouk destination in Europe.

Lately, I've been hearing that the zouk scene in Amsterdam is not like it was in its heydays and perhaps Prague and Barcelona are now in reign...? Be that as it may, I was in Amsterdam last week and certainly had to go check out the local zouk scene!

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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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Zouk in London - dancing my way home

Zouk in London - dancing my way home

It was the middle of June and I was reaching the end of my big trip around the world when I arrived to London. Actually I was also getting back to square one, to London, where this adventure started over six months earlier. I was dying to be done with the trip, I was missing my friends and family, my own bed.. my clothes :D So this was the next best thing, just one final step away from returning home! Even on the Tokyo airport (from where I flew back to London) they had a flight leaving to my home town, almost the same time as my flight to London, it was killing me!! But it wasn't all that bad - I was going to see & stay with friends in London too and dance dance dance zouk like no tomorrow!

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Zouk in Japan - the surprising latin & Brazilian dance hub

Zouk in Japan - the surprising latin & Brazilian dance hub

Believe it or not, you can do lots of latin dancing in Japan, even zouk! And not just in Tokyo but in various locations in the country. I was excited to visit some other cities beyond Tokyo in my quest to find out how is Japanese zouk and extended my time in Japan a couple days just for that :) Tokyo dance scene information follows right below, scroll down for Osaka and Kyoto!

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Brisbane - zouk capital of Australia (part 2)

Brisbane - zouk capital of Australia (part 2)

If you want to dance zouk in Australia Brisbane is the place to go. During my week in Brisbane I had lots of time to go check out the latin dance scene - obviously I focused on the zouk socials and classes since this was the zouk capital of this side of the world! There's something going on every night, either classes or parties; or both. If you're more interested in parties it's best to be in town for the weekend. There are also great latin and zouk congresses in Brisbane and the area - scroll to the bottom of the post (after the full listing of the weekly zouk classes & socials) for more info on the events!

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Enjoying the Sydney latin scene (part 2)

Enjoying the Sydney latin scene (part 2)

Sydney is quite a good spot for us latin dancers and I had 10 days to check it out. The city is not known for its zouk scene (Brisbane is the Australian zouk capital) though you’ll find zoukers and some socials & parties there. But for salseros and bachateros there’s a lot of things happening, something every day of the week.

I happened to be in town for the Sydney International Bachata Festival! As I was busy being a tourist I didn’t want to tie myself to the festival schedule so I just decided to join a couple of the parties. First it was the pre-party at the Mediterranean restaurant on Oxford Street - cool location. When I walked in a zouk song was playing but only a few couples were on the dance floor. No reason to worry though, soon the floor was packed! They played mostly bachata with a couple salsas and zouks in between. I was happy I found some really good zouk dancers later on in the evening. And obviously tons of amazing bachateros. I had never danced bachata on that level before or Dominican style bachata ever!

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Windy Wellington

Windy Wellington

After a bit over a week on the New Zealand's gorgeous South Island I was moving back up to the North Island. I took a morning bus from Nelson to Picton, basically just over one big hill, straight to the Picton ferry terminal. I could already check my bag in the ferry that would leave in about two hours so I had some time to go explore Picton!

Picton is probably mostly known for the ferry connection but it was a nice little town. It had a bit more modern feel to it, compared to the other South Island towns that I visited. The harbor area is the prettiest part of town with manicured lawns and palm trees, the bay was full of sailboats, motorboats and yachts. There’s some pricey cafés with views to the bay or just can just take a seat in the park.

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Feel the earth move in Christchurch

Feel the earth move in Christchurch

It was another early morning (after one late evening…) and I was getting on a bus from Queenstown to Christchurch. I had planned to go to Christchurch that day simply because I knew there was going to be some zouk that night and I certainly wasn’t going to miss that! But I had no idea what an interesting town I had added to my travel plan...

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New horizons, New Zealand: Zouk & adventures in Auckland

New horizons, New Zealand: Zouk & adventures in Auckland

It was one of those long nights. But one I had been waiting for a while: my flight from Santiago to Auckland. I had come to the end of my four months in Latin America.

Four months... it had passed so fast. As I packed my bags once again I was feeling quite happy since I had grown a bit tired of the cold, damp & dirty gringo trail through Bolivia, Peru and Chile. In any case it was a big milestone for me, leaving South America in one piece after all the adventures that I braved all by myself. I had so many fond memories and made so many fantastic friends, and I knew that I'd be coming back for sure... But now, it was time to move on!

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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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