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

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…

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

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!

Read More

Central Portugal - Beaches, lagoons and real-life fairy tales

Central Portugal - Beaches, lagoons and real-life fairy tales

Many tourists who’ve visited Portugal in the past - and continue to visit - head to Algarve and the beaches in the south of the country. Nowadays, more and more people are drawn away from the glitz & glamour and in stead look for rugged nature & rural charm. I like both glamorous beaches and places "off the beaten path" - somehow Central & Northern Portugal seemed to fit that bill better, combining the two.

In this second part of the Portugal in 10 days series we'll look at what you can find between the two hot spots of Portugal, Lisbon and Porto.

Read More

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!!

Read More

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!

Read More

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. 

Read More

Battons, mohawks, high heels and feather boas - 2015 Helsinki Samba Carnaval

Battons, mohawks, high heels and feather boas - 2015 Helsinki Samba Carnaval

Who doesn't love big colorful costumes, smiling people, loud music and a little rain? No one! So here goes the 25th annual Helsinki Samba Carnaval!

It wasn't my first or my last samba carnival - you may have read my earlier post: Welcome to the Northernmost samba capital of the world!!? So I was back again, running along the hundreds of sambistas last Saturday - with a camera in hand, obviously.

The carnival started at 3pm on the dot at Helsinki's landmark filled Senate Square. The bells of the massive white cathedral rang to mark the start time for G.R.E.S. Império do Papagaio samba school, which was the last year's winner and had the honor of leading the parade. An audience of tens of thousands of people had already more than an hour ago started to line up on the city streets to cheers and gawk at the stunning dancers. And it certainly was a visual overload!

Read More

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.

Read More

Make most of your travels: 10 best tips

Make most of your travels: 10 best tips

There are a few things I've learned while traveling around the world.... like never ask for "spicy" food in Mexico or Thailand and don't fall asleep on the beach without a 50+ sunscreen. Well, you probably know these already, don't you? Below some a bit deeper life lessons I've picked up along the way: my tried and true notes to make the most of your travels!

 

1. There's no perfect time.

Life is here and now. The last thing you should do is to put back something important because "it's not the best time to do it". Most likely it never will be the best time. You think you're too old? Really, it's never too late. You don't have two years to spare on your trip around the world or a month to see all of Buenos Aires? Well, what I've noticed there's never "enough time". No matter if you have two weeks or two decades for your trip you'll end up wanting more, not seeing it all. Hey, there's still tons of things I haven't seen or done even in my home town! Just make use of the time you have in stead of making excuses.

Read More

The orange Amsterdam

The orange Amsterdam

Q: What can you do in Amsterdam if you're not interested in "coffee" shops or peep shows?
A: Plenty.

Introducing Amsterdam: the capital Netherlands, the country's most populous city, its cultural hub and probably the most popular tourist & transit destination. Known around the world for the lenient drug (and various other) policies, the canals, clogs, tulips, windmills and a history of commerce, Netherlands is one tiny European giant. Tiny? The country is smaller than the island state of Dominican Republic and its famous capital has a mere population of about 800.000 - that is one tenth of London, one third of Paris and even slightly less than in Stockholm.

Read More

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!

Read More

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.

Read More

Warsaw: Shine bright like a diamond...

Warsaw: Shine bright like a diamond...

I spent a January weekend in Warsaw, dancing at the Zouk Libre Festival. Though it was a short visit, I still had some time to enjoy the winter Warsaw!

Almost in the smack middle of Poland is this cute capital city. Warsaw is a buzzing business and student city, and can just imagine the hoards of tourist floating around the medieval quarters during the summer. Perhaps it was lucky of me to be there on a nice & quiet winter weekend.

Read More

Best of travel 2014 - top destinations from around the web and the world!

Google & I made a virtual trip around the world past weeks, scouring a number of "best in travel 2014" lists by various news outlets and travel experts. My first thoughts of the lists were something like: 

"Oh, so you took a map and some darts..." and "What ever happened to cool places New York, Tokyo, Barcelona...?"

But I do get it, the idea is to recommend (mostly) fresh or less known places, since  people who travel a lot and read these lists want to see something new. And what looked like a whole bunch of randomly picked places did eventually lead me to find some clear trends in the top picks!

Read More

Christmas in Vilnius

Christmas in Vilnius

December was dark and rainy in most of Northern Europe. It felt like such a chore to get up in the morning and step out of the door .. somehow the blankets get so much more comfier in the middle of winter. So what to do to cheer up? Take a little holiday!

Thanks to the long Christmas break we had time for a small impromptu getaway. Destination: Vilnius! This lovely capital of Lithuania (yes, that's the southernmost Baltic state) is home to roughly half a million people - and many many Baroque buildings. The entire old town, Senamiestis, is in fact on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Did you also know that it is claimed that the geographical centre of Europe lies in close to Vilnius?

Read More

End of the Dalmatian tour in Split

End of the Dalmatian tour in Split

To end our trip in Croatia we came back to Split. We decided to take another route off the coast from Dubrovni to Split just for a change - and can recommend for you to not to do the same. The roads are not well marked and don't expect any express highways (even though your map might suggest something like that), but it looks like they are building one. But hey, this was a sightseeing trip!

We made a quick entry to Bosnia-Herzegovina, passed through the borders and the town of Neum... nothing too exciting there to make us stop. However we did make a short stop in Omiš on the Croatian coast. It looked like a nice town with (again) a nice beach. Especially the canyon-like Cetina river looked intriguing.. perhaps some time it could be fun to do some rafting there!

Read More

Spectacular Dubrovnik

Spectacular Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is a ~1300 year old city on the southern end of Croatia - and probably the most popular tourist destination of the tiny country. The city is famous for its old town and for its massive harbour that lures in thousands of sailors and cruise ships passengers on a daily basis. With a population far smaller than Split (40.000 vs. 180.000) it seems like a much bigger city, spreading out and up the coast line.

Read More