Friday, February 20, 2015

How to dance like a Carioca? The latest on zouk in Rio!

If you like dancing here you'll fit right in. Brazil.

Brazilians love to dance and - as it seems to the viewer - they are also extremely good at it. Some of the most famous exports of Brazil, you might say, are in fact a number of dance styles, musicians and dancers. Perhaps the most well known dance and music of Brazil is samba. There are many styles of samba danced both in Brazil and around the world but what a person typically goes to see in Brazil is samba no pé, a type of samba you'll see in the carnival parades. And just a few days ago millions (I'd be safe to guess) travel to Brazil, and in particular to Rio de Janeiro, to see just that.

Dance dance dance! A passista at carnaval, guy dancing on the street in Floripa and Berg & Bella at Berg's Congress 2013.

But....... 'Brazilian dance' cannot be summed up in just samba no pé and samba carnivals. While Rio de Janeiro is the place to be for a sambista, you'll be sure to find a great number of dance schools of all sorts, dance events for all tastes and - one my favourite things - exceptional & deliciously colorful dance clothes. Whether you're a Carioca dancer or a dance tourist like myself, you'll be like a kid in a candy store in Rio.

And yes: you'll most certainly find Brazilian zouk in Rio! Though São Paulo may hold the crown in the sheer volume of zouk dancers, dance schools and clubs (and as with anything, in the true spirit of the everlasting Rio de Janeiro vs. São Paulo rivalry, a Carioca may try to question that statement), Rio de Janeiro is the #1 destination for any self respecting Rio style / zouk tradicional dancer, to say the least. It's also the home of many great zouk teachers that are known around the world, such as Renata Peçanha and Jorge Peres, Lidio Freitas and Monique Marculano, Mafie Zouker, China, Val Clemente and Thayná Trovick, Paloma Alves,..... The list goes on and spans a few 'zouk generations' already, not to even mention all the top artists that have spread their wings and are spreading their zouk knowledge now elsewhere in the world.

Renata and Jorge, the icons of zouk in Rio de Janeiro! Captured at 2014 Helsinki Zouk Festival.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Back in Cidade Maravilhosa... Rio de Janeiro vol.3

Just a few weeks ago I was back in Brazil, aaaagain! And once again I found myself in Rio de Janeiro, the enchanting raw diamond of Brazil.... it seems I simply cannot avoid it even if I try (haha!). Actually my plan was to start this Brazil trip in some small idyllic beach town. But it turned out that our dartboard of a travel plan pointed our way to Rio!

The 'idyllic small beach town'.... Rio! Ipanema beach at sunset.

This was my third time in 'Cidade Maravilhosa', the marvelous city of Rio, and this time I'd booked us in for three days. Remember my last trip: 24 hours in Rio? Or my first one with a bit more of the tasty Carioca life - oh that was the life. Three days wasn't too much for Rio, but enough to kick-start another fun Brazil adventure :) It was the day after the Christmas holidays when my friend and I landed in Rio. We smoothly arrived to our cute small hotel right in the heart of Copacabana. It was late afternoon and the temperature was well over 30C... our bodies must have had a bit of the heat shock! We couldn't wait to head out for cold drinks and what better place to do that than right on the beach. Oh the sweet Brazilian life!

Luckily we had a good 9 hours of sleep while crossing the Atlantic the night before as the plan for the evening was to go dancing... obviously, zouk! We met up with the rest of our group of fearless Finns that were staying just a block or so away. In no time at all we were on our way to the famous Renata Pecanha's dance school where the party was held that night, ready to burn the floor! More about that and zouk in Rio in the next post!!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Brazil 2015 zouk playlist

Soon in the blog: all about my trip to Brazil last month: Rio de Janeiro, Porto Seguro & Berg's Congress 2015, Itacaré, Salvador and São Paulo!

But before that: latest & hottest zouk tracks in Brazil right now! Below are the most memorable and most played songs from 2015 Berg's Congress and São Paulo dance floors during this January - featuring lots of great new zouk, kizomba and other zoukable tracks, as well as some classics you'll hear at the clubs in Brazil right now.

A ready playlist for you? Of course! I collected all the songs I could find on this Youtube playlist!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Zouk Spring Season in Helsinki - 2015

I'm sure you guys have been waiting for this.... 2015 spring zouk season in Helsinki! Sorry for the delay in the blog caused by my Brazil trip (though honestly I'm not really all that sorry about it, hehe)!

As usual, note that the dates may be subject to change and more classes & parties are sure to appear - always check with the respective organisers for their latest schedule.