Monday, September 30, 2013

Dance congress survival guide

How to plan your dance congress trip? What do you need to pack with you? How to best prepare yourself and make the most of the event? This survival guide is particularly for you who are going to your first international dance congress. Lucky you! I wrote this from the zoukeira's point of view but I think it can be used by any dance congress traveler! If you're a beginner dancer you can also like to read my thoughts on how I became a zouk dancer (and how can others too).

To plan your zouk congress trips you may also want to look at my zouk congress calendar!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

International Zouk Flash Mob 2013 in Helsinki

The International Zouk Flash Mob is happening right now all around the world. Thousands of zouk dancers have joined forces, trained hard the past few months, sent a million messages, made hundreds of videos .... all to make an impression, share their passion for zouk and dance for peace & love!

We had a small but fun group of our dancers that joined us this year in Helsinki - and we had a great time!

Look up Youtube (and perhaps even your local news outlet) for more videos! There were about 160 cities in around 50 countries around the world dancing zouk today. More details will follow about exact number of cities and countries that took part in the event. But safe to say we made history today!

And if you're curious you can read more about this flash mob here!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Zouk calendars!

As I've been getting a lot of questions about calendars of zouk events I went ahead and created a couple of Google calendars for the zouk enthusiasts: a congress calendar for all international zouk congresses and a calendar for all zouk happenings just in Finland. You may have noticed I have added both calendars in the left side bar of the blog - you can view them below in detail.

Zouk congress calendar

For the global zoukers please feel free to use this zouk congress calendar. I will keep the calendar up-to-date as event dates are confirmed and new events announced. Please do check the links attached in the calendar markings for the latest information from the respective event organisers for any possible changes or cancellations. For the full list of annual zouk events feel free to look at my list of 2014 zouk congresses.

You can subscribe to the calendar below through this address (as well as view events via feed readers and view a read-only version of the calendar directly in your browser). If you are organising a large zouk congress please do let me know in the comments section to have your event added in the calendar.

Pole Art 2013

I revisited Pole Art last week. And yet again I was amazed. The amount of talent involved in pulling through any of the shows there is beyond my comprehension... both physical skills and artistic talents. The Savoy theater and its stage with the impressive lights was really perfect for this event!

About the performances... I really enjoyed the first guess show with Saulo Sarmiento & Anna de Carvalho. Perhaps for me it's the dynamics between two dancers - like in zouk - that really can bring the show to the next level.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

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 Dubrovnik 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!

So we had two days in Split before heading back home. Last on the agenda was shopping, beach time and visiting the number one sight in Split: the Diocletian Palace. The palace, built by the Roman emperor Diocletian for his retirement home (yeah...) over 2300 years ago, is no longer really a palace but more like an old city. The palace area has been through many wars, has served as a home to various people and over the centuries been rebuilt on numerous occasions, making it more complex and more interesting over time. This is another one of Croatia's marvelous Unesco heritage sites - like also Plitvice and old city of Dubrovnik.

Spectacular Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is an ~1300 year old city on the southern end of Croatia - and probably the most popular tourist destination of that small country. The city is famous for it's old town and for it's 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.

We had a place to stay on the hills above Gruz harbour - the location was a bit hard to find without a GPS (though I don't know if it had helped) as the city is built more like a maze. The views over the harbour and Lapad was stunning, if you stay there make sure you book a room with a sea view.

Above the Gruz harbour: Day..
..and night, equally beautiful!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On the road again, at Pelješac 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!

From Makarska we drove the picturesque coastal road to Ploče where we would get on another ferry to Trpanj, on the Pelješac peninsula (nothing to see in Ploče btw, an industrial town). Another short, one hour ferry ride and we were on the peninsula's northern side in Trpanj from where we continued straight to the southern side of the peninsula, to our next destination: Orebić.

Pelješac peninsula

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dazzling Dalmiatia - off-roading on Brač

A trip to one of the many famous islands is a must if you are ever to come to Croatia. We picked Brač, just outside Split. Ferries leave from Split to Supetar several times a day and take around 50 mins (price was around 150KN/car and 30KN/person, the same price range goes for most Jadrolinija ferries around the coast). From Supetar we drove straight across the hill to Bol where we arrived at around 11pm and hadn't made any bookings but still had no trouble finding a lovely apartment to stay in. Very handy! 

Leaving Split
We had a couple days to discover the gorgeous island. The weather was a stark contrast to the cool (cold) mountain climate of Plitvice - sunny & hot! We passed the first day walking around the city of Bol, the pine tree lined beach walk, lounged on the famous tongue shaped Zlatni Rat beach (great smoothies there too!). The evenings we continued our trip tradition of Croatian "tapas": local salami & prosciutto and some wine. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

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.

Arriving to Split

2014 zouk congress calendar

Find the updated version of the calendar: