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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Helsinki Zouk Festival 2013 - a zouk event quite unlike others

Helsinki Zouk Festival 2013 - a zouk event quite unlike others

Renata Peçanha & Jorge Peres, Leonardo & Becky Neves, Bruno Galhardo & Eglantine Oliveira, Mafie Zouker, Daniel & Leticia Estevez Lopez and the hosts, Freddy Marinho & Andressa Castelhano. They were the reason why people from all over the world flocked to dance at the Helsinki Zouk Festival last week!

Held now for the second time in mid November (though it was fifth festival held in Helsinki it was only the second international event), we had 2,5 days of workshops and 3 nights of parties in the center of Helsinki at the spacious venue, Gloria. The crowd was mostly from the Nordic & Baltic countries, Russia, Netherlands, Germany, Spain and some even as far as from Canada & New Zealand.

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Best moments of IZFM 2013

Best moments of IZFM 2013

A few weeks have passed since Sep 21st and the International Zouk Flash Mob 2013. What a great idea it is to unite the world with dance! And unite it did: thousands of dancers in altogether 127 cities in 43 countries took part in the flash mob.

The list includes such landmark places as New York, LA, Miami, Toronto,  Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Rome, London, Berlin, Barcelona, Athens, Moscow, Dubai, Sydney, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo, Mumbai,.... but also some even more exotic locations like Fortaleza (Brazil), Flagstaff (USA), Stavanger (Norway), Santiago de Compostela (Spain), Minsk (Belarus), Irkutsk (Russia), Astana (Kazakhstan), Dnepropetrovsk (Ukraine), Beirut (Lebanon), Muscat (Oman) and Chiang Mai (Thailand) -- just to name a few! The tremendous work of numerous volunteers to make this event happen made it into a success story in a global scale.

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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!

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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.

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Dazzling Dalmatia - Brac and Peljesac peninsula

Dazzling Dalmatia - Brac and Peljesac peninsula

While touring Croatia we tried to find some nice, peaceful, interesting places with lots of nature and we ended up going to the Pelješac peninsula - it was also conveniently "on the way" from the island of Brač to Dubrovnik. To get back to the mainland we drove from Bol to Sumartin and barely made it to the ferry leaving to Makarska (and possibly made an island record with those mountain roads as we noticed the ferry schedule a bit too late). The view of Makarska from the sea is quite impressive with the Biokovo mountain range looming right behind the city, going from 0 to 1700m in altitude within quite a short distance. Makarska looked like a lovely town too - shame we couldn't stay everywhere!

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Start of a Croatian adventure - Zadar, Plitvice & Knin

Start of a Croatian adventure - Zadar, Plitvice & Knin

This summer I returned to the life of a tourist and finally made it to Croatia! I have been dreaming about discovering the beautiful beaches of Dalmatia for ten years now so it was about time. We had 12 days to see as much as much of the country as we could. I had done some research into what to see - and learned pretty fast that there's waaay too much! Luckily Croatia (especially the coast) is quite compact and the roads are in good condition so we got into our rental car and set out from Split with as little planned as possible.

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Welcome to the northernmost samba capital of the world!!?

Welcome to the northernmost samba capital of the world!!?

Helsinki is quite the samba city even though you may have a hard time imagining it. Every year, now for over 20 years, there is a big samba carnival right in the center of Helsinki - held following the same traditions and rules as in the all-mighty Rio de Janeiro. With the small exception that the Helsinki Samba Carnival (HSC) is held the second Saturday of June, as it would be quite too cold to do it in February-March!

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Prague zouk congress lives up to the hype

Prague zouk congress lives up to the hype

The Prague zouk congress came to its 4th year in 2013. Boldly dubbed by the organisers as "the most anticipated zouk congress of the year" I certainly booked my ticket early, back in last November(!!). This year the congress took place during the Easter holidays and the Prague - as pretty much all of Europe - was experiencing unseasonably cold weathers. But even the cold & grey Prague was as beautiful as ever with festive Easter decorations and people were enjoying the cheap but tasty food & drinks!

But we weren't feeling the cold as the temperatures climb in the zouk congress atmosphere. Right in the center of Prague Old Town – next to shopping center Palladium on the top floor of department store Kotva was the location of the Prague zouk congress.

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The picturesque Paraty

The picturesque Paraty

Paraty (or Parati) is an old Portuguese colonial town on the Costa Verde (Green Coast) of Brazil. Paraty is one of the many beach towns between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro - I'd say it's one the top notch places to stop if you're traveling on the coastline. Just arriving to the coast over the mountains can make your jaw drop!

I really fell in love with Paraty... The old town is a sight in itself with the rough cobbled streets and beautiful old buildings. It's easy to spend a day just walking around and exploring, shopping and sitting in cafés and enjoy the laid back atmosphere.

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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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Berg's Congress - every zouker's dream holiday

Berg's Congress - every zouker's dream holiday

Porto Seguro. A little piece of paradise located in the tropics, in the sunny state of Bahia approximately in the middle of the Brazilian coast line. It was the place first seen by the European settlers over 500 years ago when one Portuguese guy called Pedro Álvares Cabral touched shore at what is now Porto Seguro city in 1500. In addition to its history, the place is mostly known for its beaches, coconuts, açaí and massive axé parties. But for zoukers Porto Seguro is especially known as the birth place of lambada - and for Berg's Congress, most likely the biggest zouk & lambada congress in the world at the moment.

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Soundtrack of a lambazouker - 2013

I've been collecting the most memorable and most played songs of the past January's Berg's Congress and also music from São Paulo zouk dance floors during that time.

At the bottom of this post is the list of artists and names of tracks on this playlist (to date). There are surely plenty of great tunes still "missing" and I welcome all suggestions! Out of all the tracks the biggest hits were perhaps 2Much's Anjo, Anarita's Letting Go Tonight, Brianna Barros' Love Me Like You Do, Bruna Tatiana's Te Quero Bue, Kaysha's Diamonds and Trey Songz' Heart Attack.

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