Thursday, April 24, 2014

Brazil on the Baltic Sea!

Brazil, the Baltic Sea. What does the two of them have in common?

Well, two weeks ago a group of us went on a Brazil themed cruise over the Baltic Sea, from Helsinki to Stockholm - that's what!

There are a tens of cruise liners crossing the Baltic Sea between Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Germany and Russia every day. Brazil was (and still is) a seemingly popular theme on the cruise liners Viking Line and Silja Line this spring! I obviously JUMPED on this like the Brazil, samba & zouk fan that I am, and organised a little trip for the group of us dancers!

So what's in a Brazil cruise on the Baltic Sea?

Obviously a big fat Brazilian buffet! The picanha wasn't as delicious as in Brazil (could it really be?) - but at least they had the picanha, yummy. The food was great, the selection was enormous and the company was fantastic!

Samba and capoiera shows! There was a couple shows each evening in the night club by a Brazilian dance goup. The samba costumes were quite beautiful actually!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How to improve your musicality? 6 exercises for dancers

There I discussed about musicality in dancing, how to define it, the theories involved in general, in zouk and in leading and following as well as what musicality means to me.

From theory to practice - how can you improve your musicality? 

“And if the music's good, you dance."
- Unknown

See my zouk music playlists

Perhaps you've taken a musicality workshop with your dance teacher or at a congress, and you have already an idea how to work on your musicality (I fully recommend taking workshops and private classes!). But there's plenty of exercises you can do on your own, and this will allow really to dig into details and work at your own pace. Below a collection of exercises that will flex your musical muscles! I hope you'll find these tools useful - I've worked with a variation and combination of these over the years and I feel they've helped me.

NB: If you're worried about wearing out your favourite song in the exercises below then by all means pick song that is not your most loved tune. I wouldn't worry though; the song may wear out for a while as you do this, but you will get more kick out the exercises with a song you really enjoy and will probably in the end love it even more. And after intensive listening sessions you can take a little break from that song and it'll be sure to regain its power.

Ok, lets get to work!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Getting a grip with musicality - the most vague and insightful part of dancing

Musicality is to me one of the most important aspects of dancing. The best dance partners are gifted in many respects; technique, style, connection and they are overall great people. Musicality is one important trait among those, it helps an otherwise good dancer rise to an extraordinary dancer. And for me it's the thing that makes the magic happen on the dance floor.

In the words of ballet teacher Deborah Wingert. “Musical dancers don’t just turn until they stop. They turn until they have to move on to the next point in the music. Musical dancers never get so caught up in steps that they ignore the music.”

Theories on musicality

Musicality - no matter how important it is to me - is something that I've always struggled to really explain or quantify. Even some of the definitions I've come across are extremely vague, such as this by choreographer Wade Robson: “Musicality is understanding music on a technical level, and then dropping all of that knowledge so you can sit deep inside the music. It’s dancing inside the music, as opposed to floating on top of it.”

Well, how is dancing "inside" the music more musical than "floating" on it?? Or if your dance teacher tells you to increase pace or make a movement bigger it is usually quite clear, but if he or she would tell you to increase musicality, what do you do?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2014 zouk congress calendar - updated!

This is an update to the extremely popular 2014 zouk congress calendar! The list below includes all major* zouk events around the world during 2014. Most of the events are now confirmed, even up until the end of the year! Those that are not confirmed are also on the list with their 2013 dates. The cancelled events are at the bottom of the list. If you'd like to see the previous version of the 2014 zouk congress list from Sep 2013 you can still view it here.

To help you plan your personal "zouk world tour" all the links and dates have once again been checked & updated, and all the events that appear for the first time in 2014 are marked as NEW. Also a couple new type of events have been included in the list - these are events that are designed to be "only" big international zouk parties with no or very limited amount of workshops. On the list these are marked with PARTY. My blog posts of the events can be also seen along the list! Any questions? Dig in!!