Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I love sunsets

Be it home or travelling, sunsets really draw me (and my camera) in... The past couple weeks we've had some really nice ones! During the summer holiday there's plenty of time to sit by the lake or the sea and watch the sun go down and enjoy the view.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More islands.. Suomenlinna!

Summer in Helsinki = picnics everywhere! It's also the best time to visit the many islands along the Helsinki shore. Suomenlinna sea fortress is our regular spot! Great place for enjoying the sun with a nice sea breeze, boat spotting, exploring old fortresses, hugging big cannons, having a snack, having a drink... :) Also met one local resident, an orange kitty!

There's lots more to see - cafés, submarine, summer theater... Also places that the regular people are not welcome such as the prison!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Island Salsa

Last weekend Salsa Borealis (Helsinki Salsa Association) organised a 24h salsa party in the Pihlajasaari island, a popular sunbathing and camping spot five minutes' boat ride south of the mainland Helsinki. The party started at noon on Saturday and ended some time Sunday afternoon and attracted I'd say at least a hundred salseros and salseras there! The weather was really hot with practically no wind, luckily the sea was still pretty cold so the steaming dancers could cool themselves down!

Salsa in Pihlajasaari - super rueda and lots of colourful dancers!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Zouk to salsa - crossing styles

Yesterday was a pre-opening night for one dance bar/restaurant in Helsinki and we got to open the Cuban styled bar's dance floor with zouking to salsa music! A crime to a salsero maybe but normal to us dance floor - dance partner stealing zoukers ;)

We recently had a discussion about crossing and combining music and dance styles - this started about Papetchulo's Ta Bater, a kizomba song which I fell in love with in one zouk party. For me it's perfect for zouk but excellent obviously for kizomba as well and it's great that a song can be used in many dance styles. I've also come across with some bachata type zouk and salsa songs, and I'm sure there's plenty of other more or less fluent combinations around.

Sometimes we cross styles more deliberately... I've noticed that if you're really dying to zouk, you can zouk to almost anything that has some kind of beat. Often we zouk to reggaeton and sure I could zouk to salsa or even to heavy metal if I really wanted to (and have done that!). I've heard that this is seen in other dance circles as well, mixing the dance and music styles - and I would welcome even more of this! But beware - this is not for everyone, just for us dance-mad people ;)

Dance parties and bars are great venues for this! In Helsinki downtown the list is not very long if you're into salsa, bachata, kizomba, zouk or reggaeton type of jamming but there's something at least a couple nights of the week. In general the places to go to are Cafe Caisa, Coronita, Cuba, Havanna and Pacifico. In addition to them many dance organisations have social dancing at various venues, it helps if you follow groups such as Salsa Borealis, Alppila Latin Dance Social and of course Brazilian Zouk in Finland.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Let the girl fly...! Pasty would say. Tuesday was another 'zouk in the Opera park' evening. As a lot the zoukers were late or on classes we had to be a little more creative and try new things, such as following and leading blindfolded, two guys leading one girl.. whatever we could think of. A nice challenge and great practise!

Blind leading (..the blind?)

"Where did she go??" - Absolutely the best pic of this practise :D

We also took this extra time to work on some lifts -- working on the 'let the girl fly' part, which some of us in particular enjoy a lot! We put together our first lift combo:

That was so much fun! We'll definitely use this now - and continue working on the lifts in the future! Maybe some day our lifts will look something like in this show (perhaps with only some ~10 years of practise?!):

Monday, July 4, 2011

The hot Helsinki zouk and samba festival

Last weekend we had the Second Helsinki Zouk and Samba Festival: 8 hours of fantastic zouk workshops by Freddy Marinho and Andressa Castelhano, a Brazilian couple that currently teaches in Moscow. Really enjoyed their style of dancing and teaching - plus it was also the Rio style zouk which I'm more familiar with :) Took one of their samba de gafieira workshops as well. That was a bit tricky and not at all like the samba (no pé) I'm used to but was fun to try it!

We also had two zouk parties so definitely got my zouk dose for a couple days! ...But again I'm craving for more!

Learning to follow.. As Andressa said: "On the dance floor you have to obey the man. And elsewhere, the man has to obey you!"