Olaya & Papagaio: I can feel 100 things in zouk - Interview Part 2

Olaya & Papagaio: I can feel 100 things in zouk - Interview Part 2

Time flies when you're talking with  Brazilian zouk stars Olaya and Papagaio. In the second part of our chat we talked about the evolution of zouk. I was curious to know what makes Brazilian zouk special to Olaya and Papagaio, how they motivate their students to practice and what does DJ Papagaio feel about the current trends on Zouk music. Olaya was also kind enough to tell me how she's been coping with her work as a dancer dance during her pregnancy.

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Olaya & Papagaio: Anybody can learn zouk - Interview Part 1

Olaya & Papagaio: Anybody can learn zouk - Interview Part 1

Hmmm... what are the questions I never dare to ask the international zouk pros? And who do I know that would give me straight up answers?

It’s a rare and precious experience to get to work with something you love - and with people you admire and enjoy spending time with. Olaya and Papagaio are one of my first zouk idols - their dancing swept me off my feet in 2011 and the feeling hasn’t faded over the years (quite the opposite). So when I finally had a chance to interview them, I jumped to the opportunity with all my long thought-over questions; What is the most important thing in learning Brazilian zouk? How to motivate students? What could we do to make zouk scene better, and bigger - or do we need to? Why pro dancers have seem to have different mentalities regarding dancing with students in the parties? How to deal with maternity & teaching dance? And.. and... and.......

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Pasty Pieternelle: "There is no shortcut to Brazilian zouk" - Interview Part 2

Pasty Pieternelle: "There is no shortcut to Brazilian zouk" - Interview Part 2

This is the second part of Zouk The World's extensive interview with Pasty Pieternelle - one of the most charismatic dancers in the world of Brazilian zouk.

In the first part we talked to Pasty about how he got into Brazilian zouk in the first place, how he decided to make the dance better, the reasons for his less conventional teaching methods and how he is actively working to improve the dance community with his 'alterego', Pastycho "Your Dance Teacher Online".

Moving onto more hot topics, we continue talking to Pasty about what advice he would give to a person starting to teach Brazilian zouk, how he keeps himself inspired after all the years of dancing professionally and what in his opinion makes up the best social dancing experience?

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Pasty Pieternelle: "I made Brazilian zouk my challenge" - Interview Part 1

Pasty Pieternelle: "I made Brazilian zouk my challenge" - Interview Part 1

A one-of-a-kind dancer - that's Pasty Pieternelle for you. Born on the island of Curaçao and living in the Netherlands, he is known all over the world for his touching shows and experimental dance workshops. Anyone who has also danced with Pasty or seen him on the dance floor, is sure to know he's just as charismatic social dancer as he is on stage and gives his everything to his partner.

To me personally - and I'm certainly not alone - Pasty & his partner Josta are one of first Brazilian zouk teachers that really made an everlasting impression on me, back in the first zouk congress I visited as a budding zouker. I've had the pleasure to cross paths with Pasty several times over the years, and this time I jumped to the chance of interviewing him for the Zouk The World readers. And oh boy, what an interview it turned out to be!! I took this opportunity to ask him all important questions about his teaching philosophies, his relationship to Brazilian zouk, about his role as a dance scene mentor and how he would advice new zouk teachers.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Larissa Thayane and the Brazilian Zouk Dance Council - "We want to improve the social dance skills of every dancer" (Interview Part 1)

Larissa Thayane and the Brazilian Zouk Dance Council - "We want to improve the social dance skills of every dancer" (Interview Part 1)

If you're active in the zouk scene you've probably come across with the newly formed Brazilian Zouk Dance Council. Zouk The World met with one of the founders of the Council and a definite zouk all star Larissa Thayane recently in Helsinki and talked with her about the council, how she discovered zouk in the first place and what inspires her today.

But first, what is Brazilian Zouk Dance Council (BZDC)? On their site it says that the Council supports and promotes all aspects of Brazilian zouk and encourages the growth of the dance internationally. One of their key initiatives are the zouk Jack & Jill competitions to be hosted around the world adjacent to established zouk congresses. The BZDC also keeps a list of registered events, records of competitors and their scores as well as a registry of instructors.

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