Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Zouky summer, zouky fall

It's been a busy summer since I got back to Finland at the end of June. I've spent a lot of time with my friends and family - and back at the dance studio! The weekly zouk socials at the Opera stage in Helsinki have gone well and we wrapped up the summer season two weeks ago. Besides the Opera backyard, we've been out dancing zouk at various clubs in Helsinki, in parks and beaches all around, at the summer cottages and even at one midsummer "lavatanssit"!

Mzouk hits Helsinki

In July we had some Mzouk workshops in Helsinki with a Finnish Mzouk teacher-in-training Ossi. The course attracted quite a lot of people - it was nice to get us zoukers together during the summer!

This was my second "two day intro to Mzouk" course. Out of all the different zouk styles Mzouk is perhaps not my personal favourite... It's quite difficult especially for girls as the basic position is not optimal in terms of balance (=you are standing on your tiptoes, feet tightly together). Also some of the signals can be a bit confusing, such as the desplata taught on this workshop (=the leader shakes his hand to signal a type of cambré). I'm not a big fan of "atrificial" signals: if every style had a bunch of signals that are not based on leading by body/posture/hands it would be an inevitable result that there would be lots mixed signals on the dance floor. And it certainly wouldn't promote mixing styles which I think is one of the cool things about couples dances.

The idea behind Mzouk training is good though: they really aim for a strong basic training and it's true that with a good knowledge of the basic technique you are more confident, have better body control and lead/follow better from the start. But for me it's not one of those styles that I would fall in love with instantly. Despite that I think it's good to test & learn all kinds of styles and there's always lots of things you can take out it! I'm very curious to see what and how the style's experts Daniel and Leticia  Estévez López will be teaching when they come to Finland in November!

If you're interested in Mzouk you can learn with the Spiral Dancers' teachers - you'll find their school in Barcelona but the teachers travel to congresses around the world and they also host couple festivals, the biggest is in the start of December.

Fall zouk classes in Helsinki

In August we got back on track with the fall zouk classes! If you want to dance in Helsinki we do have really good teachers:

Rio Zouk Style's Freddy Marinho and Andressa Castelhano have several courses running this fall, progressive courses for beginners (Fundamentals, Thursdays) and intermediate (Improvers, Thursdays) dancers as well as drop-in lessons (Tuesdays). The progressive courses are in two 8-week sections and the first started last week - it looks like there's still some spaces available so look them up soon!

Soile Vedenpää has zouk classes on Saturdays as well, a styling class for guys & girls (Smooth Moves) and a lambazouk class. The classes run from last week until mid December, you can drop in any time or sign up for the whole season for a discounted price.

Latest schedules can be also found on our active Facebook community "Brazilian zouk in Finland" (and if not you can always post a question there about them!).


All summer we've been training on and off for the big International Zouk Flash Mob! There are currently over 90 cities in 37 countries practicing for a big event that will take place all over the world on September 16th!

Below is the promotional video, showing a bit about how it started and what the event is all about. There are lots more videos of e.g. the training sessions all around the world at the IZFM organisers' Youtube channel and teachers' interviews on zouk and the flash mob, such as with Olaya White Dendê from Barcelona.

Can't wait to see how this turns out! Hopefully the flash mob is a big success here in Finland and all over the world!

Festivals, congresses, events

Nowadays you'll see Finzoukers in most congresses in Europe - I'm so happy we have such an active group of dancers in Finland! This summer there were Finnish dancers present at least at the Berlin Zouk Congress, Salsa & Zouk Beach Festival in Scheveningen, the Swiss Zouk Festival in Zürich, Mzouk camp in Barcelona and the Amsterdam Zouk Congress. During the summer there were also other events in Paris, Moscow, St. Petersburg, London, Warsaw... And more events are coming in September; in Barcelona/Santa Susana, Brno and Gdynia. That means there's a zouk festival or congress pretty much every weekend in Europe!

Outside Europe the zouk calendar is not as impressive but nonetheless there are lots of events during the summer and early fall: in June there was BHzouk Congress in Belo Horizonte, Brazil; in July the Australian Ilha do Zouk in Tangalooma, Queensland; in August the Zouk South East Asia Festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and in September is the Buenos Aires Zouk Congress in Argentina. In October there is the biggest zouk event in Australia (and that side of the globe), Brazil Central, in Brisbane. And in the turn of the year the biggest zouk even in the world, the Berg's Congress, in Porto Seguro, Brazil.

Though the events calendar is more packed in Europe there's still a lot going on every month and every week (or even every day) especially in the big cities of Brazil and Australia! To check where you can find the closest zouk club, class or congress the most comprehensive list is at the Cazouk pages. And for some more in-depth info you can of course find in this blog! Search for your country / town or click on the places or dance styles in the tag cloud.

Coming up: a zouky winter in Helsinki!

Zooming back in on Finland, there's lots to look forward to for the rest of the autumn and winter. The weekly zouk classes will run all the way til December and there will surely be practicas & socials as well. October also marks the second anniversary of Brazilian zouk in Finland - it was October 2010 when the first classes started in Helsinki. I'm looking forward to a big celebration this October!

In mid October there is the Fresca Festival and there they will host the Fresca Latin Championships with a zouk competition on Oct 19th. I hope to see as many zoukers as possible taking part in this! Last year we were possibly the biggest group in the entire competition (which is quite impressive considering it's mainly a salsa festival): let's keep it like that and show the best of FinZouk!

In November is the event all of us Finzoukers are waiting for, the 4th Brazilian Zouk Festival in Finland. Nov 16-18 Helsinki will see its biggest zouk event in history with teachers and dancers coming from all over the world. The workshops are held by our resident teachers Freddy and Andressa (who are organising the event) and Soile as well as top international guests treachers from Brazil: Leonardo Neves and Layssa Liebcher; and from Spain: Daniel and Leticia Estévez López. For registration and more information go to here! All of us Finns are excited to show the zouk world the Finnish hospitality... and how we BURN  the floor!! ;D

For anything and everything happening in the zouk scene in Finland the best resource is our Facebook community. There you can find the latest info on classes, parties, socials, practicas, events and general discussion & tips by our active group of dancers and teachers - join the group! :)

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